Wyperfeld, Big Desert and Ngarkat This is an IBA in danger! 

Country/territory: Australia

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

Area: 974,268 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2016 very high not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The Wyperfeld, Big Desert & Ngarkat IBA incorporates a large area of contiguous mallee in north-west Victoria and north-east South Australia including Wyperfeld National Park (361,770 ha), Big Desert Wilderness Park (142,300 ha), Ngarkat Conservation Park in South Australia (266,692 ha) and adjacent smaller reserves and state forest. The central feature of the Victorian portion is a chain of lake beds connected by Outlet Creek, the northern extension of the Wimmera River. The lakes only fill when the Wimmera River over-supplies Lake Hindmarsh to the south of Lake Albacutya. The IBA boundary could be extended south into farmland at the southern section of Wyperfeld NP near Murrayville-Nhill Road to conserve the area's Australian Bustards, and also to include Lake Hindmarsh (13,500 ha) and the Lake Albacutya Ramsar Site (5731 ha), which support important numbers of waterbirds when flooded and sometimes support nesting Regent Parrots. However, these lakes are predicted to flood much less frequently in future, given increased levels of water abstraction and decreased levels of rainfall. When it rains the semi-arid landscape is transformed by tiny desert plants that sprout from long-dormant seeds, carpeting the ground with clusters of flowers. The area also contains vast areas of mallee wilderness, which support many rare and endangered plants and animals.

Key biodiversity
Lake Albacutya formerly supported large numbers of waterbirds including counts of 700 Freckled Duck (Martindale 1983), 10,000 Banded Stilt (Robinson 1984), 20,000 Grey Teal, 3000 Australian Shelduck, 3000 Pacific Black Duck, 2000 Australian Wood Duck, 1500 Hardhead, 1000 Australasian Shoveler, 3000 Eurasian Coot, 100 White-necked Heron and 100 Yellow-billed Spoonbill (DEWHA 2008). The endangered Australasian Bittern has been recorded during flood periods. The IBA is also estimated to support 5-10 pairs of Australian Bustard and 1-10 pairs of Western Whipbird, the latter being one of very few remaining inland populations of subspecies P. n. leucogaster (R. Clarke in litt. 2007).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Wyperfeld, Big Desert and Ngarkat. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 15/07/2020.