email a friend
printable version
Location Australia, New South Wales (and ACT)
Central coordinates 151o 31.20' East  33o 16.14' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 12,985 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary This coastal shallow lake system has extensive sea-grass beds which attract large numbers of waterbirds, including more than 1% of the world population of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers and Chestnut Teal. The adjacent forests support the endangered Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater in the non-breeding season.

Site description Tuggerah Lakes is a coastal lagoon system comprising of three main lakes, Tuggerah, Budgewoi and Munmorah, and some smaller adjacent wetlands including Colongra Lake and Swamp. The IBA includes adjacent floodplain forests, which are suitable for Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters, and extensive sea-grass beds within the lakes. Forest types around the lakes includes Coastal Sand Mahogany, Alluvial Robusta-Paperbark Sedge Swamp Forest, Coastal Sand Littoral Rainforest, Paperbark Swamp Forests, Alluvial Riparian Blackbutt Forest, Melaleuca swamps, Spotted Gum/Ironbark, Scribbly Gum and Bloodwood/Black Oak woodlands.

Key Biodiversity Occasional records of single Australasian Bitterns and 3-5 pairs of Black Bitterns (Vulnerable in NSW). Up to 20 pairs of breeding Little Egrets on Curly Island. Maximum counts of 3515 Black Swans, 1723 Curlew Sandpipers and 998 Red-necked Stints at 9 counting sites around the lake. A pair of Ospreys are close to their southern range limit in NSW.

Non-bird biodiversity: Most of the forests along the streams and foreshores are categorised as Endangered Ecological Communities under the NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. Melaleuca biconvexa, a threatened species, is relatively common.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Chestnut Teal Anas castanea resident  1991-2005  176-2,573 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata non-breeding  1989-2005  52-4,708 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor non-breeding  2002-2005  40-650 individuals  good  A1  Critically Endangered 
Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia non-breeding  2002-2005  3-72 individuals  good  A1  Critically Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Pollution domestic & urban waste water - sewage happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Munmorah State Conservation Area 1,519 protected area contained by site 1,519  
Wyrrabalong National Park 586 protected area overlaps with site 445  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Improved grassland & pasture  minor
Coastline Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Lagoons; Salt marshes; Sea cliffs, rocky shores & rocky islets  major
Forest Casuarina forests & woodlands; Eucalypt open forests; Eucalypt woodlands; Melaleuca forests & woodlands  minor
Shrubland Heath  minor
Wetlands (inland) Freshwater lakes & pools  minor

Land ownership Wyong Shire Council Open Space and Foreshore Reserve, National Park Service, Tuggerah Reserve Trust, Delta Electricity and freehold residential properties.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry minor
nature conservation and research major
tourism/recreation major
urban/industrial/transport major

Protection status The IBA contains the Munmorah State Conservation Area and overlaps the Wyrrabalong National Park.

Acknowledgements The nomination was prepared by Alan Morris. Bird data supplied by Birding NSW Central Coast group. Protected Area data supplied by Glenn Gifford of NSW Parks. Wyong Council commissioned a report which includes bird conservation (Roberts & Dickinson 2005).

References Morris, A. (ed.) (1995-2004) Central Coast Annual Bird Reports. Central Coast of Birding NSW.

Morris, A. (2006) The conservation status of threatened bird species in Wyong Shire. Unpublished report.

Keating, J. and Jarman, M.R. (2004) Little Terns in New South Wales. A six year review; breeding seasons 1998/9 to 2003/4. Dept Environment and Conservation, NSW.

Roberts, D.E. and Dickinson, T.G. (2005) Tuggerah Lakes Estuary Management Study for Wyong Council & Dept. Infrastructure, Planning & Natural Resources. BIO-Analysis: Marine, Estuarine and Freshwater Ecology, Narara.

Contribute  Please click here to help BirdLife conserve the world's birds - your data for this IBA and others are vital for helping protect the environment.

Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Tuggerah. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife