Riverina Plains

Country/territory: Australia

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

Area: 1,066,752 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2016 high unfavourable low
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
This IBA is defined as the known and projected core distribution of Plains-wanderers, including known localities and nearby areas mapped as 'primary habitat'. Plains-wanderers may also use lower-quality paddocks at times (e.g. paddocks which have been ploughed) and move between paddocks, depending on the amount of grass. The IBA is therefore mapped as two simple polygons covering the known areas of global importance for Plains-wanderers and large areas of primary habitat (which have been mapped accurately by Roberts and Roberts 2001) but not surveyed adequately (the species is difficult to survey and requires a high survey effort to ascertain an area's importance for this species), but also including large areas of intervening agricultural land which is currently of little or no value for this species. It includes the known areas with many Plains-wanderer records at Wanganella/Booroorban, north-east of Conargo and at Oolambeyan. The importance of identifying such a large area is underlined by the NSW NPWS habitat mapping, which classified only 2.3% of 2.28 million ha as primary Plains-wanderer habitat and a further 4.3% as secondary habitat. Within this IBA, the Plains-wanderer Recovery Team has identified seven Core Areas which support around 72% of the population and cover 340,278 ha (NSW NPWS 2002). Primary habitat is the sparse winter-growing native Austrodanthonia / Austrostipa grasslands on the Riverina plains. Ideal habitat is 50% bare ground and 10% fallen litter, with the remaining 40% made up of herbs and grasses, with grass tussocks spaced 10-20 cm apart. Most of the vegetation is below 5 cm high, with some vegetation up to a maximum of 30 cm, which is important for concealment. The Plains-wanderer has become a 'flagship' species for these native grasslands.

Key biodiversity
The Riverina Plains support good populations of other grassland birds (NSW NPWS 2002), including Brown Songlark, Richard's Pipit, Banded Lapwing and Singing Bushlark. There have been infrequent sightings of the endangered Australasian Bittern and the arid biome-restricted Inland Dotterel. For example, a count of 40 Inland Dotterel was made south of Oolambeyan National Park in 2006, with breeding observed near Jerilderie; and the same species was categorized as uncommon north of Conargo by D. Parker (pers. comm. 2007). Superb Parrot, Painted Honeyeater and Diamond Firetail have been recorded in non-grassland elements of the IBA.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2018) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Riverina Plains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/12/2018.