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Location Australia, New South Wales (and ACT)
Central coordinates 149o 17.80' East  30o 45.59' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 490,908 ha
Altitude 20 - 1,200m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

BirdLife Australia

Summary This large block of woodland supports strong populations of the vulnerable Painted Honeyeater and near threatened Diamond Firetail, irregular numbers of the endangered Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater and the near-threatened Bush Thick-knee, and good numbers of other declining woodland birds.

Site description This IBA is defined as the conservation areas of the the Pilliga woodlands and scrub between the towns of Pilliga, Baradine, Coonabarabran and Narrabri in inland NSW. The IBA takes in the the Community Conservation Areas zones 1-4 (i.e. including Conservation Areas and much of the State Forests), all conservation areas managed by NSW NPWS and two private blocks, and includes the nearby Warrumbungle NP. Additional contiguous woodland on private land may be worthy of inclusion within the IBA but there is insufficient supporting bird survey data. The nearby Brigalow Belt Nature Reserve, which supports Painted Honeyeaters, is also included, however other suitable habitta around Narrabri, including network of smaller remnants surrounding Narrabri (including Yarrie Lake, Killarney, Bobbiwaa and Moema State Forests) need further survey work before inclusion. The whole Pilliga is important for woodland birds including Diamond Firetail and Painted Honeyeater, mainly along creeks, and the Bush Thick-knee along forest edges, and includes the Baradine/Yearinan Creek in central Pilliga (Regent Honeyeater), the eastern Pilliga (Swift Parrot), a large area of southern Namoi River catchment and Castlereagh River catchment. The area has a warm-temperate climate and is dominated by Ironbark, Red Gum, Callitris and Box woodlands and forests with areas of scrub and heath, and is the largest tract of dry sclerophyll forest in NSW. Much of the areas has been logged and logging continues in some areas with high densities of White Cypress Pine Callitris glaucophylla and Narrow-leaved Ironbark Eucalyptus crebra but the Pilliga Nature Reserve has been unlogged since 1931. Some fuel-reduction fires are undertaken in the eastern Pilliga, and fuel-reduction grazing in the western Pilliga, but the whole area suffers from wild-fires.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Painted Honeyeater Grantiella picta resident  1991-1997  uncommon  A1  Vulnerable 
Diamond Firetail Stagonopleura guttata resident  1991-2008  frequent  A1  Least Concern 

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Brigalow Park Nature Reserve 202 protected area contained by site 202  
Merriwindi CCA Zone 3 State Conservation Area 1,714 protected area contained by site 1,714  
Pilliga Nature Reserve 83,726 protected area contained by site 83,726  
Pilliga CCA Zone 1 National Park 10,603 protected area contained by site 10,603  
Pilliga CCA Zone 3 State Conservation Area 33,278 protected area contained by site 33,278  
Pilliga East CCA Zone 3 State Conservation Area 24,626 protected area contained by site 24,626  
Pilliga West CCA Zone 1 National Park 7,893 protected area contained by site 7,893  
Pilliga West CCA Zone 3 State Conservation Area 34,169 protected area contained by site 34,169  
Timallallie CCA Zone 1 National Park 39,287 protected area contained by site 39,287  
Warrumbungle National Park 23,575 protected area contained by site 23,198  
Yarragin CCA Zone 1 National Park 3,123 protected area contained by site 3,123  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Forest Eucalypt low open forests; Eucalypt woodlands  major
Rocky areas Scree & boulders  minor
Shrubland Heath; Mallee shrublands & woodlands  minor

Land ownership NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, Forests NSW, R. & M. Rickert (Barkala), R. & I. Hawley "Blue Valley".

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry major
nature conservation and research major
rangeland/pastureland minor
Notes: 1200 acres on "Barkala"

Other biodiversity At least 36 native mammal species (including 16 bat species), 9 introduced mammal species, 50 reptile species and at least 15 amphibian species have been recorded in the Nature Reserve, including at least 21 species listed as threatened in NSW, including the Pilliga Mouse.

Protection status Numerous - see separate section.

Access/Land-Owner requests All private land owners and managers require prior notification for access.

Acknowledgements Alan Morris, David Geering (DECC), Elizabeth Date, Stephen Naven (NPWS) and Carl Gosper contributed information. David Johnston (Pilliga Bird Watchers Group), Helen Stevens and Michael Murphy (DECC) have been monitoring birds. Owners of "Barkala" and "Blue Valley" have kindly granted access.

References Atlas of New South Wales Wildlife (2007) Species list for Pilliga Nature Reserve. Downloaded from on 1 October 2007.

Date, E.M., Ford, H.A. and Recher, H.F. (2002) Impacts of logging, fire and grazing regimes on bird species assemblages of the Pilliga woodlands of New South Wales. Pacific Conservation Biology 8: 177-195.

Cooney, S.J.N. and Watson, D.M. (2005) Diamond Firetails preferentially nest in Mistletoe. Emu 105: 317-322.

NSW NPWS (2000) Preliminary fauna survey (Stage 1). NSW Western Regional Assessments. RACAC.

NSW NPWS (2002) Vertebrate fauna survey, analysis and modelling projects. NSW Western Regional Assessments, RACD, Sydney.

Traill, B.J. and Duncan, S. (2000) Status of birds in the New South Wales Temperate woodlands region. Consultancy report to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. Australian Woodlands Conservancy: Chiltern, Victoria.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Pilliga. Downloaded from on 25/10/2014

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