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Location Australia, Victoria
Central coordinates 144o 57.28' East  36o 55.95' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 43,452 ha
Altitude 50 - 413m
Year of IBA assessment 2009

BirdLife Australia

Summary The IBA supports the largest known population of the near threatened Bush Stone-curlew in Victoria. The endangered Swift Parrot is a regular visitor, often in large numbers. The near threatened Diamond Firetail is a relatively common resident.

Site description The IBA comprises the Puckapunyal Military Area (PMA) and two areas at Managlore, about 100 km north of Melbourne in the Box-Ironbark ecosystem in central Victoria. The PMA is managed by the Department of Defence as an active training ground. The box-ironbark woodland at Puckapunyal is one of the largest discrete fragments of this ecosystem remaining in Victoria and lies south of the Rushworth Box-Ironbark Region IBA. Puckapunyal has cool to cold winters, during which most rainfall occurs, and warm to hot summers. It has an average annual rainfall of 596 mm. Winter droughts occur and summer and autumn droughts are frequent. The terrain is highest around Mount Puckapunyal (413 m) and Mount Kappe (384 m), with a series of rocky ridges and low hills (about 150 to 250 m) extending north to south. Soils are mostly of the duplex variety (relatively low natural fertility and water holding capacity) with smaller areas of deep, silty or sandy alluvium, and gravely to rocky ridges with skeletal soils. Most soils have high to extreme potential for accelerated erosion following disturbance. Surface drainage lines are oriented mostly north to north east with all systems flowing into the Goulburn River. All creeks on Puckapunyal are annual. The IBA also includes Mangalore, a 525 ha munitions storage site about about 15 km to the east, which is about half box-ironbark and half open grassland. Mangalore comes under some of the same management plans as Puckpunyl and supports regionally important numbers of Bush Stone-curlews. Furthermore, the IBA also includes a small box-ironbark remnant on public land at Mangalore, which has often supported Swift Parrots.

Key Biodiversity Two hundred and seven species of bird (of which 198 are endemic and nine are introduced) have been recorded in PMA including two nationally threatened species, 19 species with formal conservation status at state level, and about 16 species of regional conservation value. Small numbers of Regent Honeyeater (one or two birds) and Painted Honeyeater (up to eight birds) are seen irregularly and could qualify as IBA species. Flame and Pink Robins are non-breeding visitors to PMA in most seasons, with numbers estimated at 12-50 individuals and 6-12 individuals respectively (B. Anderson in litt. 2008). Other species recorded at PMA include Australasian Bittern, Australian Little Bittern, Peregrine Falcon, Black Falcon, Square-tailed Kite, Brown Quail, Painted Button-quail, Turquoise Parrot, Black-eared Cuckoo, Powerful Owl, Barking Owl, White-throated Nightjar, Spotted Nightjar, Azure Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, Dollarbird, White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike, Hooded Robin, Crested Shrike-tit, Gilbert's Whistler, Crested Bellbird, Pink Robin, Spotted Quail-thrush, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Speckled Warbler, White-throated Treecreeper and Zebra Finch (Australian Army 1996; Anderson, pers. comm.).

Non-bird biodiversity: About 706 species of vascular plant (comprising 481 endemic and 225 introduced species) and 170 species of non-vascular plant (i.e. lichens, mosses and fungi) have been recorded at PMA. The on-site flora includes two species, Clover Glycine (Glycine latrobeana) and Trailing Hop-bush (Dodonaea procumbens), which are nationally threatened; 11 species of conservation significance at state level; and about 116 species of conservation significance at regional level. The non-avian fauna of PMA consists of 44 species of mammal (29 endemic and 15 introduced species; five species of conservation significance at state level), 18 species of reptile and 12 species of amphibian (one species of conservation significance at national level and three species of conservation significance at state level), 11 species of fish (seven endemic and four introduced species; four species of conservation significance at national or state level); and more than 140 species of invertebrate (one species of conservation significance at state level; Anderson et al. 2007).

Populations of IBA trigger species

Species Season Period Population estimate Quality of estimate IBA Criteria IUCN Category
Bush Thick-knee Burhinus grallarius resident  1994-2008  11-47 individuals  good  A1  Least Concern 
Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor non-breeding  1992-2008  17-400 individuals  good  A1  Critically Endangered 
Diamond Firetail Stagonopleura guttata resident  1992-2008  40-200 individuals  good  A1  Least Concern 

IBA Monitoring

2008 high not assessed not assessed
Good - based on reliable and complete / representative data

Human intrusions and disturbance war, civil unrest and military exercises happening now small area/few individuals (<10%) slow but significant 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
Invasive & other problematic species, genes & diseases problematic native species/diseases - named species happening now some of area/population (10-49%) slow but significant deterioration medium
Natural system modifications fire & fire suppression - trend unknown/unrecorded happening now majority/most of area/population (50-90%) slow but significant deterioration high

Protected areas

Protected area Designation Area (ha) Relationship with IBA Overlap with IBA (ha)  
Mangalore Nature Conservation Reserve 79 protected area contained by site 64  
Puckapunyal Natural Features Reserve - Streamside Reserve 24 protected area contained by site 26  


IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Improved grassland & pasture  30%
Forest Eucalypt woodlands  55%
Wetlands (inland) Ephemeral  10%
Artificial - aquatic Other artificial wetlands  5%

Land ownership Federal Government with management by the Department of Defence.

Land use

Land-use Extent (% of site)
military 100%

Protection status Two small reserves are within the IBA - see separate section.

Access/Land-Owner requests Access to PMA is strictly regulated by the Department of Defence. Access is controlled due to a number of issues, including security requirements and its use as a Defence Practice Area involving ADF personnel, vehicles and use of live ammunition. All access requests must be directed to Narelle Liepa (

Acknowledgements Narelle Liepa (Environmental Officer; Department of Defence) wrote the nomination with input from Dr Bob Anderson (ecologist). Ian Davidson supplied details of Swift Parrots at Mangalore.

References Australian Army (1996) Flora and fauna survey of Puckapunyal Military Area.

Anderson, B., Bryce, M., Theobald, J., Oakley, J., Wilkes, T. and Harte, C. (2007) Habitat management for tanks and Tuans: evolving approaches at Puckapunyal Military Area. Ecological Management & Resoration 8(1): 11-25.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (2008) Puckapunyal Military Area: Seymour-Tooborac Rd., Puckapunyal, Vic. Australian Heritage Database, 2/06/099/0014. 2004 citation.

Environment Conservation Council (2000) Box-Ironbark Forest and Woodlands Investigation: Draft Report for Public Comment. DNRE, Melbourne.

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

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