Lake Machattie Area

Year of compilation: 2008

Site description
The IBA consists of Lake Mipia, Lake Koolivoo, Lake Machattie and the surrounding Georgina River-Eyre Creek floodplains in western Queensland. The area is defined as the extent of the floodplain, which has supported large numbers of waterbirds and supports a population of Grey Grasswren. The IBA is located in the arid zone in a region that receives, on average, 168 mm of rainfall per year. The floodplains are seasonally inundated but contain several large freshwater waterholes, which persist well after floods have receded. Lake Mipia and Lake Koolivoo are seasonally inundated each year; Lake Mipia often retains water until the following flood season, but Lake Koolivoo is usually dry by early summer. Lake Machattie is inundated about once every three years. All three lakes are fresh when first inundated but become progressively more saline when close to drying out. The floodplains are marked by anastomosing channels and waterholes lined with open Coolibah woodland and surrounded by grasslands, forblands, samphire and lignum on the floodplains. Estimates of total numbers of waterbirds include over 300,000 in March 2001 (179,000 estimated from systematic transects, not including the lakes, another 150,000 for the pelican colony), over 163,000 in May 2002 (Mipia 33,000 and Koolivoo 42,000 from aerial surveys, and Machattie 53,000 in aerial survey but 88,000 in ground survey), 150,000 in April 2000 (not including the lakes, based on systematic transects).

Key biodiversity
A single large but sub-threshold count of 859 Australian Pratincole at Lake Machattie in September 2000 (Barter & Harris 2002). A maximum count of 152 of the near threatened Black-tailed Godwit in shallow marsh near Lake Mipia on 17 April; 2001 (Jaensch 2004). The near threatened Letter-winged Kite is rarely encountered in the IBA (Atlas of Australian Birds database). Large numbers of the congregatory Flock Bronzewing (e.g. thousands use the Tomydonka Waterhole area during droughts; R. Jaensch in litt. 2009) have been recorded at waterholes in the general area; this may qualify as an IBA species if numbers are better known.

Pressure/threats to key biodiversity
Need to develop and implement an appropriate fire management regime for Lignum floodplains. Must ensure free water inflows from Georgina River and Eyre Creek.

Land ownership

Site access / Land-owner requests
Permission to enter must be obtained from station owners.

Roger Jaensch kindly provided much of the waterbird and ecological data for this IBA.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lake Machattie Area. Downloaded from on 14/08/2022.