Barmah-Millewa This is an IBA in danger! 


Country/territory: Australia

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

Area: 263,485 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2020 very high very unfavourable medium
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here


Site description
The IBA is defined by the River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camadulensis) forests of Barmah-Millewa and all land within 10km which may be used by Superb Parrots for foraging whilst nesting in the forest. Barmah-Millewa Forest on the upper Murray River is the largest River Red Gum forest in Australia. It includes the Barmah forest in Victoria and the Millewa and Moira forests in NSW, all of which are listed Ramsar sites. The forests are fed by anabranch systems originating from the Murray River, including the Edward River and Gulpa Creek, but all inflowing rivers are subject to water regulation. Under unmodified flow conditions, floods of 3-6 months duration occurred about 6-8 times each decade. Floods determine vegetation patterns, with rushes and sedges (Juncus spp., Eleocharis acutus) growing in the most frequently flooded areas, moira grass (Pseudoraphis spinescens) plains and red gums growing in the less frequently flooded areas, and black box (Eucalyptus largiflorens) communities existing in the least frequently flooded areas. With less flooding in recent years, common reed (Phragmites australis), cumbungi and moira grass have declined in abundance, red gums are replacing the moira grass plains, and black box is replacing red gums on the margins. Declining health of large red gums may affect the Superb Parrot, which breeds in large mature red gums. However, some environmental flows have been released in recent years, enabling successful waterbird nesting (e.g. 340 gigalitres in 2000/01). The climate is semi-arid with mean temperatures ranging from about 3-16 Celsius in winter and 14-32 Celsius in summer and mean annual rainfall of 408 mm at nearby Deniliquin.

Key biodiversity
The IBA supports large numbers of breeding waterbirds when it is flooded (e.g. 50,000 birds reported in 2006). These congregations do not regularly meet 1% of the world population of any species but are of regional significance. In 2000/01, there were 5508 pairs of 13 species of waterbirds in Millewa Forest and more than 10,000 pairs of ibis (two species) in Barmah Forest. The floodplain was estimated to support 83,000 birds during 1983-1994 (Kingsford et al. 1997). Brolgas are locally extinct and Glossy Ibis, Little Egrets and Whiskered Terns regularly bred in the forest before the 1970s, but no longer do so (Leslie 1995). Great, Little Black and Little Pied Cormorants, Great Egrets, Intermediate Egrets and Nankeen Night-Herons still breed in the forest but their numbers are declining (Leslie 1995). The vulnerable Painted Honeyeater and near threatened Bush Stone-curlew are occasionally encountered in the IBA (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Non-bird biodiversity: The IBA supports the globally threatened Trout Cod (Maccullochella macquariensis), Silver Perch (Bidyanus bidyanus), Murray Hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis) and Flathead Galaxias (Galaxias rostrata).


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Barmah-Millewa. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/04/2021.