Australian Alps

Country/territory: Australia

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

Area: 1,428,122 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2019 high favourable medium
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here

Site description
The IBA consists of Kosciuszko and Namadgi National Parks in south-eastern New South Wales and Alpine National Park in eastern Victoria. Situated within the Great Dividing Range, these three parks encompass a sizeable and representative proportion of Australia’s alpine and sub-alpine regions, which support large breeding populations of the near threatened Flame Robin and restricted-range Pilotbird. A number of contiguous protected areas such as Brindibella National Park, Bimberi Nature Reserve, Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and Scabby Range Nature Reserve in New South Wales and Avon Wilderness Park and Snowy River National Park are currently omitted from the IBA, but could qualify for inclusion pending further investigation. The mountainous terrain of the IBA is dominated by eucalypt woodlands and forests, with various types of woodland and dry sclerophyll forest on lower slopes, tall wet sclerophyll or montane forest of Alpine Ash and other species at intermediate elevations and open Snow Gum woodlands in the subalpine zone. At the highest altitudes, the terrain is exposed and devoid of trees, with the forests and woodlands of the lower zones replaced by a mixture of alpine herbfields, grasslands, heathlands and moss communities. Other vegetation communities occur in the IBA but are limited in extent, e.g. pockets of cool temperate rainforest grow in some mountain gullies. Climatic conditions vary throughout the IBA, with precipitation increasing and temperature decreasing with altitude. Severe weather can occur in alpine regions, which are prone to sub-zero temperatures, frosts, rain, snowfall and high winds. Snow is typically present in high-altitude areas for several months of the year.

Key biodiversity
A total of 202 bird species, or approximately 40% of all bird species known to occur in New South Wales, have been recorded in Kosciuszko National Park (Department of Environment and Conservation NSW 2006). More than 50% of Victoria's terrestrial bird species have been recorded in the IBA. The IBA provides habitat for the Glossy Black-Cockatoo and Powerful Owl, both of which are listed as threatened species in Victoria under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Parks Victoria 2000). The biome-restricted Pink Robin is uncommon in the IBA (Atlas of Australian Birds database); this species is scarce in subalpine areas of the Snowy Mountains (Osborne & Green 1992) with four records in Canberra Ornithologists Group (COG) database (C. Davey / COG in litt. 2008) and eight records records out of 6212 total bird records from 1980 to June 2008 at Kosciuszko National Park in the NSW Wildlife Atlas. The near threatened Diamond Firetail is rare in the IBA (Atlas of Australian Birds database); at the northern end of the IBA, it is mostly recorded in open grassy valleys (e.g. Boboyan, Glendale, Orroral, Naas etc.), but there are more records of this species outside Namadgi (C. Davey, COG in litt. 2008). The Atlas of New South Wales Wildlife contains two records of Diamond Firetail out of 6212 total bird records at Kosciuszko NP for the period 1980 to June 2008.

Non-bird biodiversity: The IBA supports a wide variety of native plants and animals. Kosciuszko National Park has records for more than 1070 plant species (including 11 species threatened at national level, 17 species threatened at state level and 36 species endemic to the park) and supports about 300 native terrestrial vertebrate species (including 11 species threatened at national level and 34 species threatened at state level) (Department of Environment and Conservation NSW 2006). Alpine National Park supports at least 1189 plant species and 339 animal species. Of these species, 298 are threatened in Victoria and 69 are threatened at national level. The park also contains five ecological communities threatened at state level (Parks Victoria 2000). More than 220 vertebrate species have been recorded in Namadgi National Park, including 13 threatened species.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Australian Alps. Downloaded from on 14/08/2020.