State: Queensland | Hectares: 14,000 | IUCN Category: IV | Partners: Australia Wildlife Conservancy
Top to bottom: pink cockatoo, Hall's babbler, grey falcon. Photography: Dean Portelli Images courtesy the Australian Wildlife Conservancy
Bowra Sanctuary is internationally renowned as one of Australia's most rewarding bird watching destinations.
The sanctuary lies near Cunnamulla in southern Queensland, and is owned and managed by not-for-profit group the Australian Wildlife Conservancy (AWC).
AWC purchased Bowra for conservation with $1.2 million help from the Australian Government through Caring for our Country, and support from Birds Australia, Birds Queensland, the Bird Observers Club and generous private donors.
Bowra is now protected forever as part of Australia's National Reserve System - our nation's most secure way of protecting native habitat.
Located in the heart of the Mulga Lands, on the Warrego River plains, Bowra Sanctuary lies in one of the most under-protected bioregions in the country. Less than three per cent of the Mulga Lands bioregion is protected in parks and reserves.
The 14,000 hectare reserve is home to more than 200 species of bird including the iconic Hall's babbler, the chestnut-breasted quail, Bourke's parrot and chirruping wedgebill. Top predators, including the grey falcon, breed at Bowra, and it is one of the few places in Australia where the black falcon is regularly seen.
The sanctuary is a stronghold for many threatened and declining birds. The stunning pink Major Mitchell's cockatoo, painted honeyeater, brown treecreeper, squatter pigeon, crested bellbird and diamond firetail are all found here. Around 50 species of waterbirds have been spotted at Bowra, including the threatened painted snipe.
Bowra's location and diverse habitat are the secret to its rich bird life. It lies at the junction of two major inland ecosystems and is on the fl ight path of a number of migratory bird species, many of them internationally protected. Its permanent deep waterholes provide water year-round - a welcome respite for birds and wildlife in the dry summer months.
In addition to its abundant birdlife, Bowra provides refuge for a large number of mammals. It is home to the threatened Kultarr and the enigmatic narrownosed planigale, as well as more than 80 species of frogs and reptiles including the nationally vulnerable yakka skink.
A complex mosaic of habitats has been maintained across the property. Mulga communities dominate the elevated ridges in the north of the property, often mixed with poplar box and bloodwoods. The southern section of Bowra is made up of mainly alluvial plains decorated by gidgee and coolabah open woodlands.
Majestic river red gums guard the length of Gumholes Creek, the property's major watercourse. Bowra's numerous wetlands range from bluebush swamps to gilgais.
Bowra's native habitat is in very good condition - testament to a century of prudent management by its former owners. For five generations, the McLaren family carefully managed Bowra as a pastoral property, ensuring its birdlife and other fauna were secure. When they decided to sell, the McLarens approached AWC about protecting Bowra as a reserve, and AWC continues to draw on their local knowledge and experience.
As part of its management program, AWC is planning a number of projects to care for Bowra's landscapes and wildlife. A baseline scientific survey of Bowra's biodiversity is planned and AWC will use the results in its work to tackle feral animals, weeds and fire.