Western Port


Country/territory: Australia

IBA Criteria met: A1, A4i (2009)
For more information about IBA criteria please click here

Area: 62,301 ha

Protection status:

BirdLife Australia
Most recent IBA monitoring assessment
Year of assessment Threat score (pressure) Condition score (state) Action score (response)
2008 medium not assessed not assessed
For more information about IBA monitoring please click here


Site description
Western Port is a large bay of the coast of central Victoria. The boundaries of the IBA are those of the Ramsar site, with the inclusion of some additional salt marsh on French Island, which supports Orange-bellied Parrots. Other paddocks on French Island occasionally support Orange-bellied Parrots but these are irregular. Western Port is a large bay with extensive intertidal flats, mangroves, salt marsh, seagrass beds, several small islands and the two large islands of French and Phillip. Only the north-east coast of Phillip island is included in this IBA, whereas the south coast is included in the Phillip Island IBA. Western Port is a tidal bay with numerous inlet streams including Merricks Creek, Yallock Creek and Bass River and several major drains such as Bunyip River. It is a very good example of a saltmarsh-mangrove-seagrass wetland system. The plains to the north of the bay used to be extensive swamps that are now agricultural land draining to Western Port.

Key biodiversity
Western Port regularly supports more than 20,000 waterbirds (DSE 2003); it is believed that these numbers have been maintained through the 2000s. The bay hosts significant below-threshold numbers of Black Swan and Chestnut Teal although both species have declined over time. This can be seen from a comparison of the average counts for 14 years to 2006 with those for the five years to 2006: Black Swan 4015/3008 and Chestnut Teal 991/689. Significant numbers of Short-tailed Shearwater feed in the channels of the bay during summer. One pair of the near-threatened Hooded Plover has nested in 2006 and 2007 (R. Jessop in litt. 2007). The near threatened Flame Robin was recorded in eight of 215 (8%) Atlas of Australian Birds surveys from 1998 to 2008 (Atlas of Australian Birds database); and the biome-restricted Striated Fieldwren was recorded in 17 of 215 (8%) Atlas of Australian Birds surveys from 1998 to 2008 (Atlas of Australian Birds database).


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Western Port. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 11/11/2019.