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Location Australia, New South Wales (and ACT)
Central coordinates 152o 54.47' East  31o 13.08' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 114,818 ha
Altitude 0 - 669m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary This IBA regularly supports significant numbers of the endangered Australasian Bittern, Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater and probably more than 1% of the world population of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper.

Site description This IBA combines ephemerally flooded lower floodplain wetlands with swamp forests used by Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters. It is bounded to the south by the Camden Haven River, west to the Pacific Highway, then north along the Pacific Highway north of Kempsey to Barraganyatti and across to the coast at Stuart's Point. This includes the lower floodplain of the Belmore and Macleay Rivers between Kempsey and Gladstone, a series of wetlands along the Belmore River including the Seals Road swamp, Rainbow beach, Jerseyville wetlands and the Swan Pool at Kinchela, the coastal forests of Maria River, Laurieton, Lake Cathie and trees in the towns of Port Macquarie, Kempsey and South West Rocks. Wetlands that appear suitable for Australasian Bittern include Limeburners Creek NR (extensive reed swamps, lake and wet heathlands), Pelican Island (reed swamp), Belmore Swamp (extensive wetlands, reed & paperbark swamps), Swan Pool HHNP (extensive reed and paperbark swamps) and the Maria River wetlands (reed and paperbark swamps). In wet years, the reedbeds and wetlands extend from the Hastings River north along the Maria River, behind Crescent head north to Ryans Cut and into Belmore Swamp, then along the Belmore River into Kinchela Creek and the Swan Pool, and north to the Macleay River wetlands and South West Rocks. The forests used by Swift Parrots are those dominated by Swamp Mahogany in wetlands and adjacent Forest Red Gums. Otherwise, the area is mostly cattle-grazed with large blocks of native hardwoods State Forest, protected areas and areas of tea-tree plantation.

Key Biodiversity Also supports thousands of Black Swans (including 1000 at Belmore Swamp alone on 30/6/05 and 5/3-12/4/2007 and at Camden Haven and Lake Cathy/Innes), up to 1000 Black-winged Stilt, possibly thousands of Sharp-tailed Sandpipers (counts of 780 on Lower Macleay wetlands 28/10-6/11/03; 1250 at Pelican Island (Jerseyville) 9-12/12/06, 800 at Pelican Island (Jerseyville) and 300 at Rainbow Reach 1/1-14/4/2007), up to 3000 Grey Teal (at Seale Rd Swamp, part of Belmore Swamp 25/8-2/12/2006), up to 1000 Chestnut Teal (Camden Haven estuary), small numbers of nesting Black-necked Storks, Brolgas, Bush Stone-curlews, Little Terns, Glossy Black-Cockatoos and Grass Owls, high densities, perhaps 10 pairs, of Square-tailed Kites, and small or infrequent numbers of Australian Painted Snipe, Australian Little Bittern, Paradise Riflebird, Regent Bowerbird, Green Catbird, Logrunner and Pale-yellow Robin (A. Morris pers. comm. 2007; Atlas of Australian Birds database).

Non-bird biodiversity: Important population of koalas for NSW.

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus resident  1997-2008  12-20 breeding pairs  poor  A1  Endangered 
Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor non-breeding  1997-2007  150 individuals  A1  Critically Endangered 
Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia non-breeding  2000-2007  1-6 individuals  A1  Critically Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

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

Natural system modifications dams & water management/use - abstraction of ground water (unknown use) likely in long term (beyond 4 years) small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low
Residential and commercial development housing and urban areas happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) moderate to rapid deterioration low

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Arakoon State Conservation Area 145 protected area contained by site 145  
Fishermans Bend Nature Reserve 161 protected area contained by site 160  
Fishermans Bend State Conservation Area 39 protected area contained by site 39  
Hat Head National Park 7,421 protected area contained by site 7,363  
Kattang Nature Reserve 69 protected area contained by site 58  
Lake Innes Nature Reserve 3,376 protected area contained by site 3,526  
Lake Innes State Conservation Area 323 protected area contained by site 323  
Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve 9,256 protected area contained by site 9,224  
Macquarie Nature Reserve 12 protected area contained by site 12  
Maria National Park 2,320 protected area contained by site 2,335  
Queens Lake Nature Reserve 1,374 protected area contained by site 991  
Queens Lake State Conservation Area 1,014 protected area contained by site 1,014  
Sea Acres Nature Reserve 71 protected area contained by site 76  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Improved grassland & pasture; Other urban & industrial areas  major
Forest Eucalypt tall open forests; Melaleuca forests & woodlands; Rainforest & vine thickets  major
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral; Freshwater lakes & pools  major
Coastline Estuarine waters; Intertidal mud, sand & salt flats; Lagoons; Mangrove wetlands  minor

Land ownership State Forest, State protected areas, freehold and leasehold properties.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
agriculture minor
forestry major
Notes: State forests and tea tree plantations.
nature conservation and research major
rangeland/pastureland major
urban/industrial/transport major

Protection status Numerous - see separate section for details.

Acknowledgements Thanks to Alan Morris for compiling the nomination and to the following for their assistance:- Ken Shingleton, South West Rocks; Hastings Bird Observers Club; Macleay Valley Bird Observers; and Tim Morris, Clive Meadows and Tony Bischoff, resident birders in Port Macquarie.

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Recommended citation  BirdLife International (2016) Important Bird and Biodiversity Area factsheet: Hastings-Macleay. Downloaded from on 20/10/2016

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