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Location Australia, Victoria
Central coordinates 146o 28.84' East  38o 44.35' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 72,006 ha
Altitude 0 - 10m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The Corner Inlet IBA contains the most extensive intertidal mudflats in Victoria which support >1% of the world populations of Red-necked Stint, Eastern Curlew, Chestnut Teal, Pied and Sooty Oystercatchers and the near threatened Hooded Plover. It may prove to regularly support the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot (two were seen in 2004).

Site description The Corner Inlet Ramsar site is the most southerly marine embayment and tidal mudflat system of mainland Australia. The site is of international zoological significance as habitat for migratory wading birds. The barrier islands are of national botanical significance due to their biogeographic importance, and national geomorphological significance as an example of barrier island formation. Corner Inlet is bounded to the west and north by the South Gippsland coastline, in the south-east by a series of barrier islands and sandy spits lying end to end and separated by narrow entrances, and to the south by the hills of Wilsons Promontory. The chain of barrier islands are a westward extension of the Ninety Mile Beach and are of complex form and origin. They provide an outstanding example of the processes involved in barrier island formation including the development of multiple beach ridges, lagoons and swamps, tidal creeks, tidal deltas, and tidal washovers. The main channels of the Inlet are continuous with the Franklin, Albert and Tarra Rivers which drain the catchment area of some 2300 km2 into the embayment and out into Bass Strait through the Main, Port Albert, Kate Kearney, Shoal and McLoughlins Beach Entrances (Ramsar Site Information Sheet 2006). Close to 90% of the site is designated marine and coastal park with Nooramunga Marine & Coastal Park to the east and Corner Inlet Marine & Coastal Park to the west. The Corner Inlet Marine National Park (covering part of the Bennison Channel) resides within the larger Corner Inlet designated area.

Key Biodiversity The site also supports large numbers of the following species but they do not 'regularly' exceed the thresholds: Bar-tailed Godwit, Red Knot, Double-banded Plover Grey Plover (AWSG database), Little Pied Cormorant, Black-faced Cormorant and White-faced Heron (P. Dann pers. comm 2007). Every year typically 100 non-breeding Little Tern from the northern hemisphere are present from November to March. Little Tern do not ordinarily breed but occasionally a pair does breed. Up to 100 Common Terns also occur from November to March. Satellite tracking has identified the inlet is an important feeding area for the Little Penguin colony at Rabbit Island. The site is important also for Black Swan; however count data is only available for the western section of the IBA, which supports 4000-7000 swans. Several thousand pairs of Short-tailed Shearwater used to nest on small granitic islands (Norman 1977). The near threatened Flame Robin and biome-restricted Striated Fieldwren are uncommon at Corner Inlet (Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Non-bird biodiversity: Three mammal species listed as threatened in Victoria have been recorded at Corner Inlet: Spot-tailed Quoll (vulnerable), New Holland Mouse (endangered) and Swamp Antechinus (rare).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Chestnut Teal Anas castanea resident  2001-2006  562-1,764 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris resident  2000-2005  531-914 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Sooty Oystercatcher Haematopus fuliginosus resident  2000-2005  160-400 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Hooded Plover Thinornis cucullatus resident  1986-1998  22-35 individuals  good  A1  Vulnerable 
Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis non-breeding  2001-2005  552-1,971 individuals  good  A4i  Endangered 
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis non-breeding  2001-2005  12,663-22,720 individuals  good  A4i  Near Threatened 
Pacific Gull Larus pacificus resident  2001-2006  204-543 individuals  good  A4i  Least Concern 
Fairy Tern Sternula nereis resident  1998-2008  20-50 breeding pairs  medium  A1, A4i  Vulnerable 
Orange-bellied Parrot Neophema chrysogaster non-breeding  2 individuals  A1  Critically Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2008 medium not assessed not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance recreational activities happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - type unknown/unrecorded happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) no or imperceptible deterioration low
Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now some of area/population (10-49%) no or imperceptible deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Corner Inlet Marine and Coastal Park 28,483 protected area contained by site 30,174  
Corner Inlet Marine National Park 1,550 protected area contained by site 1,550  
Corner Inlet Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar) 67,186 protected area contained by site 67,186  
Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Park 30,093 protected area overlaps with site 29,827  
Wilsons Promontory Marine and Coastal Park 6,193 protected area overlaps with site 59  
Wilsons Promontory National Park 49,049 protected area overlaps with site 730  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Coastline Estuarine waters; Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Mangrove wetlands; Sand cays, islets & bars  major
Shrubland Other shrublands  minor

Land ownership Victorian State Government - 58,670 hectares of parks and reserves including Corner Inlet and Nooramunga Marine and Coastal Parks (within the Corner Inlet Marine & Coastal Park is the Marine National Park of 1550 hectares); 6,473 hectares - other public land; 1,824 hectares - freehold land (Dog, Little Dog, Bullock, Hunter & Sunday Islands). The public lands are managed as follows:- the parks & reserves by Parks Victoria, foreshores at Port Welshpool & Port Albert by Committees of Management, port facilities by Gippsland Ports and the shipping channels by NRE.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
fisheries/aquaculture minor
Notes: commercial fishing, recreational fishing, intertidal collecting (for bait.
hunting minor
Notes: Sunday Island is a hunting reserve, owned by a hunting syndicate.
nature conservation and research major
rangeland/pastureland minor
Notes: Snake Island is grazed in summer.
tourism/recreation major
Notes: recreational fishing including impact of boat ramps, car parks, moorings etc.
urban/industrial/transport minor
Notes: ports with servicing facilities for off-shore oil and natural gas exploration

Protection status The IBA overlaps with six protected areas.

Access/Land-Owner requests The various parks are readily accessed but permission should be sought to access private holdings.

Acknowledgements Bird data was supplied by the AWSG Victorian Branch and Hooded Plover information obtained from 'Managing the Hooded Plover in Victoria' by M. Weston. Waterfowl data for western section of Corner Inlet was provided by P. Dann. The Ramsar Strategic Management Plan produced by Parks Victoria and the Department of Natural Resources & Environment was a valuable source of information. The following individuals contributed to the completion of the nomination:- Andrew Corrick and Ian Norman, Department of Conservation and Environment, Arthur Rylah Institute, Peter Dann, Research Biologist, Phillip Island Penguin Reserve and Clive Minton - AWSG.

References AWSG wader count database (accessed 2006).

Minton, C. (1997) Breeding season census of Pied Oystercatchers in Corner Inlet, Victoria. Stilt 30: 35-38.

Minton, C., Dann, P. and Ewing, A. (in prep) Twenty Seven Years of wader counts in Corner Inlet.

Murlis, M. (1988) Biennial Hooded Plover and Pied Oystercatcher survey, Victoria. Stilt 14: 33-36.

Norman, F.I (1977) Granite, Benison and Doughboy islands, Corner Inlet, Victoria. Corella 1: 54-59.

Ramsar Information Sheet and Strategic Management Plan for Corner Inlet (accessed 2006).

Taylor, S., Minton, C. (2005) Aerial Survey of Corner Inlet. Stilt 49: 41-43.

Weston, M. (2003) Managing the Hooded Plover in Victoria. Unpublished report to Parks Victoria, Melbourne.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Corner Inlet. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016

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