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Location Australia, New South Wales (and ACT)
Central coordinates 151o 19.78' East  32o 51.65' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 55,964 ha
Altitude 100 - 300m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The IBA regularly supports significant numbers of the endangered Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater.

Site description The IBA is located around Cessnock in central-eastern New South Wales. It is defined by Spotted Gum and Box-Ironbark woodlands and remnants used by Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters. The IBA includes Aberdare State Forest, Pelton SF, Broke Common, Singleton Army Base (where few records of Regent Honeyeaters reflect infrequent access by birdwatchers), Pokolbin, Quorrobolong, Abermain, Tomalpin, patches of bush around the towns of Paxton and Ellalong and private bush land owned by mining companies. The IBA extends north of Cessnock to include all of Werakata National Park (multiple records of Swift Parrots), west as far as Broke, and south to the edge of the Pokolbin, Corrabare and Heaton State Forests and Watagans National Park, as the key birds do not use these hilly forests. An arbitrary eastern boundary is taken as Highway 82 north to Mulbring, then minor roads north to Maitland. The boundary could be extended south-west to include Laguna and Wollombi where 12 Regent Honeyeaters nested in 1999. Extensive areas are used for underground and open-cut coal mining, and other areas are are used for vineyards, residential development, industrial development and military training.

Key Biodiversity The IBA provides habitat for a variety of birds. For example, 132 species of bird, including 12 species listed as threatened at state level or above, have been recorded in Werakata National Park (NSW NPWS 2007). The near threatened Diamond Firetail is locally uncommon around Broke (A. Morris pers. comm. 2008).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor non-breeding  1996-2007  120 individuals  medium  A1  Critically Endangered 
Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia resident  1996-2007  72 individuals  medium  A1  Critically Endangered 

IBA Monitoring

2014 very high not assessed not assessed
Medium - based upon reliable but incomplete / partially representative data

Residential and commercial development commercial and industrial development happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) very rapid to severe deterioration very high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Watagans National Park 7,767 protected area overlaps with site 36  
Werakata National Park 3,348 protected area contained by site 2,140  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Improved grassland & pasture  major
Forest Eucalypt woodlands  major
Savanna Eucalypt open woodlands  major

Land ownership Commonwealth/Federal (Department of Defence); state government (Department of Environment and Climate Change); private leasehold.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
forestry major
rangeland/pastureland major
military major
nature conservation and research major
urban/industrial/transport major

Protection status Werakata National Park

Acknowledgements Thanks to Alan Morris as compiler of the nomination.

References NSW NPWS (2007) Atlas of New South Wales Wildlife. accessed on 7 November 2007.

Saunders, D. (2002) Assessment of Swift Parrot sites near Cessnock, Lower Hunter Valley region, NSW. Hurstville: National Parks and Wildlife Service.

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

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