Mornington Sanctuary

Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A2, A3 (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 320,668 ha

Protection status:

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

Site description
Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary IBA follows the boundaries of the station, now a Wildlife Sanctuary, in the Pentecost subregion of the Central Kimberley bioregion of north-west Australia. The IBA is identical to the property as it is managed for biodiversity conservation, specifically Gouldian Finches. The adjacent Marion Downs station has recently been acquired for conservation and may be added to the IBA if the new management enables it to support significant numbers of the key birds. The landscape is dominated by massive sandstone mesas and heavily folded sandstone ranges, but also includes low escarpments, volcanic plains, glacial rock pavements, and valleys with deep alluvia. The annual rainfall is about 700 mm per year. Several permanent waterways run through the property, most notably the major tributaries and the upper reaches of the Fitzroy River. The dominant vegetation types on Mornington are various types of tropical savanna - using the Beard classification system, the National Land and Water Resources Audit identified 12 different savanna-based Vegetation Associations on the property. Other ecosystems are embedded within the savanna, including fire-sensitive systems such as riparian systems and Livistona gullies, herb fields on sandstone pavements, Callitris intratropica communities, and sandy seepage areas at the base of sandstone ranges. All of these ecosystems are considered 'at risk' by the NLWR Audit. The bird fauna is a mix of semi-arid rangeland and tropical savanna species.

Key biodiversity
Thus bird diversity is high, with over 195 species recorded here to date. Mornington also has significant numbers of several bird species of conservation significance at state and/or federal level including Square-tailed Kite, Peregrine Falcon and Pictorella Mannikin. The riparian areas have high numbers of raptors, especially Barking Owl, Southern Boobook, Brown Falcon, Grey Goshawk, and Collared Sparrowhawk. Diurnal raptor diversity is high in general, with 20 species recorded out of the 24 listed for Australia. Because Mornington lies between the wetter areas of the north Kimberley, and the drier deserts to the south, some unusual species turn up in reasonable numbers seasonally, including Black Honeyeater, Shining Flycatcher, Hooded Robin and Yellow Chat. The sanctuary also supports small numbers of the near threatened Star Finch and Blue-billed Duck.

Non-bird biodiversity: Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary contains 20 species of frog, 65 species of reptile, and at least 29 species of mammal (including 20 non-volant species). These totals grow as more fauna surveys are undertaken. Species of conservation significance include Crocodylus johnstoni (Specially Protected Fauna under WA legislation), Petropseudes dahli and Hydromys chrysogaster (both Priority Fauna under WA legislation), and Dasyurus hallucatus (Endangered under EPBC Act). The list of plant species is continually growing, but currently stands at over 600, including several listed as Priority Flora under WA State legislation, and one plant that is federally listed as vulnerable - Eucalyptus mooreana.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Mornington Sanctuary. Downloaded from on 04/03/2021.