Key Biodiversity Areas

Western Australia & Northern Territory

On this page Ozcranes presents six KBAs in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, which have been declared based on significant habitat supporting more than 1% of the minimum estimated global population of Brolgas. Details of Brolga population surveys and estimates can be found in Brolga FAQ 1». Full details for any KBA can be found by searching the BirdLife Datazone website, details at the end of this page. Figures from the 2008 National Waterbird Survey were calculated from data downloaded courtesy University of New South Wales Waterbird Surveys.

An introduction to the KBA program and details of the Atherton Tablelands KBA (trigger species Sarus Crane), are here», with a list of all eight Australian KBAs related to cranes. The Gulf Plains KBA», north-west Queensland, is important for both Brolgas and Sarus Cranes.

Western Australia

Brolgas at Lake Gregory-Paraku, Western Australia (Paul Thomsen/ Djambalawa Public Domain)

Brolgas at Lake Gregory

Lake Gregory-Paraku

Lake Gregory is a significant freshwater to saline wetland in arid Western Australia, with important breeding populations of waterfowl and major influxes of migratory waterbirds. A paper can be downloaded from University of Queensland: Halse, SA, GB Pearson, and WR Kay. ‘Arid zone networks in time and space: waterbird use of Lake Gregory in north-western Australia.’ International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences 24 (1998): 207-222. The aerial National Waterbird Survey in 2008 recorded 2928 Brolgas.

Mandora Marsh and Anna Plains

This KBA is a seasonally flooded wetland in Western Australia supporting significant populations of a number of waterbirds, including over 3,500 Brolgas. Halse et al 2005, ‘Mandora Marsh, north-western Australia, an arid-zone wetland maintaining continental populations of waterbirds.’ Emu 105, no. 2 (2005): 115-125. The abstract can be viewed at Emu. The aerial National Waterbird Survey in 2008 recorded no waterbirds, as the wetlands were dry.

Northern Territory

Brolga wetland in Kakadu, Alligator Rivers, Northern Territory (Geoff Whalan)

Brolga wetland Alligator Rivers

Cadell-Blyth Floodplains

These Northern Territory floodplains on Boucalt Bay were declared a KBA based on supporting up to 3,000 Brolgas and significant populations of other waterbirds. The aerial 2008 National Waterbird Survey counted 4,709 Brolgas and an incidental (eBird) search in 2009 counted 600.

Blue Mud Bay

This large bay on the western Gulf of Carpentaria, Northern Territory, supports some 3,000 Brolgas and significant populations of Magpie Geese and Whistling-Ducks. The aerial National Waterbird Survey 2008 recorded 3,331 Brolgas.

Arafura Swamp

This large inland floodplain in the Northern Territory Top End, and nearby coastal saline flats, support up to 7,000 resident Brolgas as well as significant populations of other waterbirds. The aerial National Waterbird Survey 2008 recorded 2,211 Brolgas.

Alligator Rivers Floodplains

This extensive floodplain complex, plus smaller wetlands and saline swamps, have been estimated to support over 1 million waterbirds including up to 24,000 Brolgas. See Morton et al 1993, ‘Distribution and abundance of Brolgas and Black-necked Storks in the Alligator Rivers region, Northern Territory.’ Emu 93, no. 2 (1993): 88-92, the abstract can be viewed at Emu. Much of the area is protected in the renowned Kakadu National Park. The Plan for Kakadu National Park including the significant wetlands can be downloaded from Environment Australia. The aerial National Waterbird Survey in 2008 reoorded 4,760 Brolgas.

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Ozcranes Conservation Home» has links to all other pages covering Brolga and Sarus Crane conservation in Australia.

For full information on any KBA visit BirdLife Datazone. In the Simple Search form, enter the name of the KBA: this gives a brief note on the formal criteria. Click on the NAME of the KBA (it is a link, though it looks like text) to see Tabs with detailed information and maps. A map tool is available at BirdLife Australia KBA page and the original establishment report for KBAs in Australia can be downloaded here, scroll down to ‘Australia's Important Bird Areas: Key sites for bird conservation’, December 2009, by G Dutson, S Garnett and C Gole.

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