|Location||Australia, New South Wales (and ACT)|
|Central coordinates||151o 19.78' East 32o 51.65' South|
|Altitude||100 - 300m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2009|
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).
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor||non-breeding||1996-2007||120 individuals||medium||A1||Endangered|
|Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia||resident||1996-2007||72 individuals||medium||A1||Critically Endangered|
|2014||very high||not assessed||not assessed|
|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 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|
|Savanna||Eucalypt open woodlands||major|
Land ownership Commonwealth/Federal (Department of Defence); state government (Department of Environment and Climate Change); private leasehold.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||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. http://wildlifeatlas.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/wildlifeatlas/watlas.jsp 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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Lower Hunter Valley. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/12/2014
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