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Location Australia, Victoria
Central coordinates 143o 27.58' East  38o 9.82' South
IBA criteria A1, A4i
Area 38,444 ha
Altitude 40 - 90m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The Lake Corangamite complex regularly supports more than 1% of the world's Australian Shelduck, Chestnut Teal and Banded Stilt (with one count of about 50% world population of the last species), and irregularly supports more than 1% of the world's Freckled Duck, Musk Duck, Blue-billed Duck, Black Swan, Australasian Shoveler, Pink-eared Duck, Hoary-headed Grebe, Straw-necked Ibis, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper and Black-winged Stilt.

Site description This IBA includes Lake Corangamite and associated lakes extending as far west as Murdeduke, in western Victoria. This IBA includes all the lakes in the Western District Lakes Ramsar site: Lake Beeac (662 ha, hypersaline), Lake Bookar 500 ha, Lake Colongulac (saline), Lake Corangamite (23,300 ha, hypersaline), Lake Cundare (395 ha, hypersaline), Lake Gnarpurt (2350 ha, saline), Lake Milangil (125 ha, saline), Lake Murdeduke (1550 ha, saline, a distinctly formed playa to the east of the other wetlands) and Lake Terangpom (208 ha, fresh), but also includes the following additional neighbouring lakes that have supported high numbers of waterbirds: Cundare Pool/Lake Martin (3730 ha, saline) and Lough Calvert (=Upper, Middle and Lower Lough Calvert and Lake Thurrumbong). Additional lakes could be added (such as Lake Rosine, Cemetery Lake, Lake Koreetnung and Lake on Elwood Road, which have had single high counts of birds) but no others appear to regularly support large numbers of waterbirds. The lakes vary widely in depth and salinity, depending upon their method of formation, their catchment area, their outlet and rainfall, so at any time the various lakes range from fresh to hypersaline. Most are terminal lakes but with some freshwater inflow and flow between the lakes. There has been some hydrological modification eg Cundare Pool was formed by the damming the Woady Yaloak River - the large wetland formed also flooded the saline Lake Martin; the outlet from Lake Gnarpurt to Lake Corangamite is much lower than the natural floodway; and Lake Corangamite is used as a basin for drainage of agricultural land. They are set in basaltic grassland landscape. Mean annual rainfall at Beeac is 617 mm.

Key Biodiversity A single high count of Double-banded Plovers has been recorded: 3700 at Lough Calvert; the next highest count may be 420 at Lake Corangamite (DEWHA 2008). Other high counts of waterbirds are mostly from the 1980s and 1990s, and include 3000 Red-necked Avocet at Lake Martin in 1999 (Geelong Bird Report 1999); 19,670 Eurasian Coot on Lake Murdeduke; 10,900 Eurasian Coot at Lake Bookar; 7413 Eurasian Coot, 2000 Great Crested Grebe at Lake Colongulac; 1400 Great Crested Grebe, 1167 Australian Pelican, 5000 Great Cormorant, 1500 Little Pied Cormorant, 1289 Musk Duck, 10,015 Eurasian Coot, 420 Double-banded Plover at Lake Corangamite; 3000 Grey Teal and 1000 Whiskered Terns at Lake Terangpom; 400 Great Crested Grebe at Lake Bookar; 2000 Red-necked Avocets at Lake Beeac; 6550 Grey Teal, 2000 Hardhead, 24,500 Eurasian Coot, 2500 Red-necked Stints, 1300 Whiskered Tern at Cundare Pool/Lake Martin (NRE 1995a; DEWHA 2008); 3200 Red-necked Stint in 1983 at Lake Murdeduke (AWSG database). Depending on water levels, islands on Lake Corangamite e.g. Wool Wool and Vaughan Island have held breeding colonies of pelicans and Straw-necked Ibis.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Black Swan Cygnus atratus unknown  14,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa unknown  730 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides unknown  14,705 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus unknown  18,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Australian Shoveler Spatula rhynchotis unknown  7,060 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Chestnut Teal Anas castanea unknown  5,580 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Blue-billed Duck Oxyura australis unknown  1,560 individuals  A1, A4i  Near Threatened 
Musk Duck Biziura lobata unknown  1,289 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Hoary-headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus unknown  6,597 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis unknown  90,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Himantopus leucocephalus unknown  12,000 individuals  A4i  Not Recognised 
Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus non-breeding  112,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata non-breeding  10,000 individuals  A4i  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

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

Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases invasive non-native/alien species/diseases - unspecified species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - dams (size unknown) happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high
Pollution agricultural & forestry effluents - nutrient loads happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Lake Beeac Nature Conservation Reserve - Wildlife Reserve (no hunting) 672 protected area contained by site 672  
Lake Bookar Natural Features Reserve - Wildlife Reserve (hunting) 473 protected area contained by site 473  
Lake Cundare Nature Conservation Reserve - Wildlife Reserve (no hunting) 290 protected area contained by site 290  
Lake Murdeduke Natural Features Reserve - Wildlife Reserve (hunting) 1,500 protected area contained by site 1,500  
Lake Terangpom Nature Conservation Reserve - Wildlife Reserve (no hunting) 213 protected area contained by site 213  
Milangil Lake Nature Conservation Reserve - Wildlife Reserve (no hunting) 240 protected area contained by site 240  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral; Freshwater lakes & pools; Saline lakes; Salt marshes  major

Land ownership Most managed by Parks Victoria. Lakes Beeac, Bookaar, Cundare, Milangil, Murdeduke and Terangpom are State Wildlife Reserves. Lakes Colongulac, Corangamite and Gnarpurt are Lake Reserves. Lake Thurrumbong is a State Game Reserve. Cundare Pool/Lake Martin and Lough Calvert are public land managed by Southern Rural Water.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
fisheries/aquaculture minor
Notes: Lake Gnarpurt is used for eel fishing; Lake Murdeduke is used by a commercial eel fishery, and is stocked with trout for recreational angling.
hunting minor
water management major
Notes: Waste water disposal; saline water dump

Protection status Numerous - see separate section.

Acknowledgements Marilyn Hewish provided data on many lakes.

References DEWHA (2008) Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia. accessed 2008. Geelong Field Naturalists Club (1997-2007) Geelong Bird Reports 1996-2006. Minton, C. and Hollands, D. (2006) Banded Stilts at Lake Corangamite. Wingspan 16(4): 26-27.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Lake Corangamite Complex. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016

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