St Helens (Tasmania)

Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i, A4ii (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 2,366 ha

Protection status:

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

Site description
This IBA consists of four neighbouring but discontinuous sites around St Helens in north-east Tasmania. These are St Helens and Paddys Islands, the adjacent 9 km open oceanic Maurouard Beach and Peron Dunes inland of the beach, and the inner reaches of Georges Bay. These are included in the same IBA as they are neighbouring areas in or adjacent to the St Helens Conservation Area and distant from other similar seabird or shorebird sites. Intertidal flats along the whole northern shore of Georges Bay from St Helens bridge to Granite Rock/Blanche Point and the southern shore as far as Stockyards Flat are important for Pied Oystercatcher. St Helens Wastewater Treatment Plant is excluded as it only supports small numbers of birds but the Medeas Cove wetlands have supported Australasian Bittern and Lewin's Rail and are worthy of further fieldwork (Binns 2008). St Helens and Paddys Islands are composed of granite with rocky shorelines, no beaches and plateau-like summits. The vegetation on St Helens (51 ha) varies from Poa poiformis dominated coastal areas to areas of dense shrub; Paddys (4.6 ha) is dominated by Poa poiformis with scattered Disphyma crassifolium and Atriplex cinerea. Maurouard Beach is an open exposed sandy beach - the entire beach and dunes are included in the IBA for their populations of Hooded Plover and breeding Fairy Tern.

Key biodiversity
Breeding seabirds include an estimated 10,000 pairs of White-faced Storm-Petrel, 2350 pairs of Short-tailed Shearwater and 10 pairs of Common Diving-Petrel at St Helens Island, and small numbers of Kelp Gull and Caspian Tern at Paddys Island. The 18 species recorded at St Helens Island include Lewin's Rail, Brown Quail and Brown Goshawk. In 1998/99, 11 shorebird species were recorded on Maurouard Beach: Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew Sandpiper, Sanderling, Hooded Plover, Pied Oystercatcher, Red-capped Plover, Fairy Tern, Crested Tern, Pacific Gull, Kelp Gull and Silver Gull. Occasional sightings of Green Rosella, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Tasmanian Thornbill, Yellow Wattlebird and Yellow-throated Honeyeater recorded in Atlas of Australian Birds surveys from 1998 to 2008 (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Non-bird biodiversity: Metallic Skink occurs. Poa poiformis is the dominant plant at Paddys Island and at lower elevations at St Helens Island, notably areas where scrub has been reduced by fire. Acacia sophorae, Leptospermum scoparium and Leucopogon parviflorus scrub, Pteridium esculentum and a thick covering of Tetragonia implexicoma are other features at St Helens Island, while Disphyma crassifolium and Atriplex cinerea are scattered amongst Poa at Paddys Island.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2018) Important Bird Areas factsheet: St Helens (Tasmania). Downloaded from on 11/12/2018.