Lake Hawdon System

Year of compilation: 2008

Site description
This IBA consists of the larger south-east coastal lakes of South Australia, namely Lakes Hawdon, Robe, Eliza, St Clair and George. The IBA extends for 1 km inland of each lake as these fields and grasslands are sometimes used by Orange-bellied Parrots. These are the most important of a system of lakes in the inter-dunal corridors between current and historical sand dunes, from Paranki Lagoon close to the southern Coorong to Lake Bonney (SE), northwest of Port MacDonnell. Lake Hawdon is a shallow semi-permanent brackish lake divided by a road on a bank into northern and southern basins. At their maximum extents, the northern basin is 6 km by 6 km and the southern basin is 9 km by 4.5 km but the maximum water depth is usually 1 m and both are often dry. Lake Hawdon regularly supports threshold numbers of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper. Lake Robe is much smaller. Lake Eliza is a hypersaline coastal lake with a maximum depth of 1.4 m; it has local water inflows and loses water through evaporation. Lake Eliza regularly supports threshold numbers of Banded Stilt. Lake St Clair is similar to Eliza but even more saline. Lake George is about 13 km by 8 km, has a maximum depth of 3.5 m, and was naturally hypersaline but now functions as an estuary with water inflows, from Drain M and an outlet to the sea. Lake Hawdon South is unallotted crown land with a proposal to designate it as a Conservation Park and possibly a Ramsar site. Further surveys may indicate that Two Lakes and Lake Wooley, pristine wetlands close to Lake George, should also be included in the IBA, as might the sand dune system grasslands between the lakes and the sea, which have occasionally supported Orange-bellied Parrots, and adjacent beaches and small offshore islands from Baudin Rocks to Cowrtie Island, which irregularly support breeding Fairy Terns.

Key biodiversity
One significant count of 190 Blue-billed Duck at Lake George in 2001 (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Investigate the impacts of water abstraction and diversion.

Protected areas
Several - see separate section for details. The IBA also contains the sites of Heritage Agreements # 453 and 751.

Land ownership
Lakes are State or local government but surrounding land includes private land.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Hawdon System. Downloaded from on 11/07/2020.