Maatsuyker Island Group

Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: A4i, A4ii (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 901 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2008 low not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
This IBA consists of the whole Maatsuyker group of islands, which about 10 km off Red Point in Southwest National Park, Tasmania. The IBA includes De Witt Island, Maatsuyker Island, Ile du Golfe, Hen Island, Flat Top Island, Round Top Island, Louisa Island, Walker Island, Flat Witch Island and Needle Rocks, but excludes Chicken Island. The islands selected for inclusion are largely undisturbed rocky islands with natural vegetation which varies from grass through forbs and ferns to Leptospermum-dominated scrub and eucalypt woodlands, depending on the degree of exposure: De Witt Island (515 ha, densely wooded with a 354 m summit), Maatsuyker Island itself (186 ha, well-known for its lighthouse and meteorology station, a Leptospermum-dominated island with weeds and other remnants of previous occupation and a 278m summit), Ile du Golfe (68 ha, scrubby limestone ridge), Hen (8 ha, pristine island), Flat Top (1.6 ha, with a short herby plateau surrounded by cliffs), Round Top (6 ha, pristine steep rocky island), Louisa (23 ha, wooded island separated from mainland by 250 m sand spit), Walker (15 ha, with stunted scrub) and Flat Witch (64 ha, shrubby) Islands and Needle Rocks (a series of rocks off Maatsuyker, five with birds, totalling 10 ha).

Key biodiversity
More than 50 species have been recorded in the island group including thousands of pairs of Common Diving-Petrel (8660 pairs estimated on Round Top, 1000 pairs estimated on Flat Top), 2900 pairs of Little Penguin, 17 pairs of Pacific Gull, 10 pairs of Sooty Oystercatcher and five pairs of Hooded Plover at Louisa Island (White 1981) and probably many more across the IBA; Swift Parrot and Wedge-tailed Eagle have been recorded at De Witt Island; Peregrine Falcon at Ile du Golfe, De Witt and Maatsuyker Islands; and Orange-bellied Parrot and Grey Goshawk at Maatsuyker Island. Lewin's Rail was commonly heard by White (1981) at Louisa Island in 1977, and there are records from Maatsuyker and Flat Witch Islands. At least six pairs of Soft-plumaged Petrel at Maatsuyker Island, and possibly overlooked on other islands are possibly the critically endangered subspecies deceptornis; this species otherwise only occurs within Australia on Macquarie Island. Very small numbers of Sooty Shearwater nest amongst the Short-tailed Shearwater. Five pairs of Hooded Plover were reported on Louisa Island by White (1981). Strong-billed Honeyeater was common on De Witt Island in 1977 (White 1981).

Non-bird biodiversity: Metallic Skink, Three-lined Skink, Tasmanian Tree Skink, Long-nosed Potoroo, Tasmanian Pademelon, Swamp Rat. More than 2000 Australian Fur Seals, mostly at Walker and Maatsuyker Islands and Needle Rocks; 130-140 New Zealand Fur Seal pups and small numbers of Southern Elephant Seal annually at Maatsuyker Island. Eastern Pygmy Possums on Little Witch and De Witt Islands. New Zealand Fur Seals breed on Little Witch. De Witt Island is dominated by eucalypt forest, and White (1981a) recorded 56 plant species despite deliberate burning of bird rookeries by fishermen.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Maatsuyker Island Group. Downloaded from on 29/05/2020.