|Central coordinates||144o 27.05' East 36o 7.44' South|
|Altitude||80 - 186m|
|Year of IBA assessment||2008|
Summary The IBA supports most of the Victorian population of the endangered Plains-wanderer. The IBA includes large areas of currently unsuitable pastoral and agricultural land which has the potential to be restored to suitable habitat for Plains-wanderers. It also includes an area of woodland which supports the largest regional population of the near threatened Diamond Firetail.
Ornithological information Several raptors breed in the area including Black Falcon (endangered in Victoria) and Spotted Harrier. Small numbers of Bush Stone-curlew have been recorded within the IBA. Painted Honeyeaters are rare visitors. The woodland is a particularly important site for birds of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act listed Victorian Temperate-woodland Bird Community including Victorian near threatened subspecies: Brown Treecreeper, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Grey-crowned Babbler and Hooded Robin. A number of inland species are at the south-eastern limit of their range in this area including Australian Ringneck, Chestnut-crowned Babbler and White-winged Fairy-wren (Atlas of Australian Birds database; Antos and Bennett 2005; Parks Victoria 2004). Six sightings of the biome-restricted Black Honeyeater and one sighting of the near threatened Grey Falcon in 543 Atlas surveys from 1998 to 2008 (Atlas of Australian Birds database).
Site description The Patho Plains IBA contains a large area in north-central Victoria with remnants of natural grassland inhabited by the endangered Plains-wanderer. The IBA also includes the intervening agricultural land of little or no current value to this species as many of these areas have paddocks which have not been cropped, with the potential to be restored to suitability for Plains-wanderers. The boundary of the IBA has been taken to include all large remnants of suitable habitat within the area known to (occasionally) support Plains-wanderers. Further surveys would be needed to make the boundary more accurate, but Plains-wanderers are difficult to survey and move between paddocks, depending on the structure and species composition of the grasslands, so negative records of this species does not mean that a paddock would not be important in another season. The area has a Mediterranean climate with hot dry summers and cool, damp winters, supporting native tussock grassland dominated by Austrodanthonia and Australostipa spp. Much of the IBA has been over-grazed or cultivated. Parks Victoria managed 12 grassland reserves (The Meadows W.R, Terrick Terrick SP (Davies addition), Terrick Terrick East NCR, Pine Grove NCR, Roslynmead NCR (northern block), Roslynmead NCR (southern block), Wanurp NCR, Kotta NCR, Tomara Gilgai's NCR, Roslynmead East NCR, Hildebrandt and Wellers), totalling over 3000 ha by 2008 as well as the 1277 ha Terrick Terrick National Park grasslands but continue to acquire more land. The Trust for Nature has acquired one property (170 ha), covenanted another (174 ha), and is seeking to covenanted more land. The IBA also includes the wooded portion of Terrick Terrick National Park, which is the largest, best-quality remnant of this woodland type in the region. The main vegetation types consist of temperate grassy woodlands dominated by Callitris glaucophylla, Eucalyptus melliodora and Eucalyptus microcarpa. Small areas of granite outcrop shrubland and riparian E. largiflorens are also present.
|Species||Season||Period||Population estimate||Quality of estimate||IBA Criteria||IUCN Category|
|Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus||resident||1998||120-500 individuals||-||A1||Endangered|
|Diamond Firetail Stagonopleura guttata||resident||1990-2000||520 [units unknown]||-||A1||Least Concern|
|Protected area||Designation||Area (ha)||Relationship with IBA||Overlap with IBA (ha)|
|Kotta||Nature Conservation Reserve||224||protected area contained by site||224|
|Millewa||Nature Conservation Reserve||30||protected area contained by site||30|
|Murphy Swamp||Natural Features Reserve - Wildlife Reserve (hunting)||86||protected area overlaps with site||39|
|Pine Grove||Nature Conservation Reserve||36||protected area contained by site||36|
|Roslynmead||Natural Features Reserve||28||protected area contained by site||28|
|Roslynmead||Nature Conservation Reserve||575||protected area contained by site||575|
|Terrick Terrick||National Park||3,880||protected area contained by site||3,770|
|Terrick Terrick East||Nature Conservation Reserve||214||protected area contained by site||214|
|The Meadows||Natural Features Reserve - Wildlife Reserve (hunting)||48||protected area contained by site||48|
|Tomara Gilgais||Nature Conservation Reserve||332||protected area contained by site||332|
|Turrumberry||Natural Features Reserve - Bushland Reserve||18||protected area contained by site||17|
|Wanurp||Nature Conservation Reserve||121||protected area contained by site||121|
|Wharparilla||Natural Features Reserve - Bushland Reserve||2||protected area contained by site||2|
|IUCN habitat||Habitat detail||Extent (% of site)|
|Artificial landscapes (terrestrial)||Improved grassland & pasture||major|
|Forest||Callitris forests & woodlands; Eucalypt woodlands||minor|
Land ownership Parks Victoria and Trust for Nature manage 4335 ha in more than 15 blocks (not all listed under protected areas); but most land is private farmland.
|Land-use||Extent (% of site)|
|nature conservation and research||major|
Other biodiversity The National Park (including the woodlands) contains an important herpetofauna including the *Delma impar, Diplodactylus tessellatus, *Pygopus schraderi, Suta suta, Morelia spilota metcalfei, Pogona barbata, Varanus varius and *Litoria raniformis all of which are threatened in Victoria, and those marked with an asterisk are nationally threatened. Threatened mammals include Sminthopsis crassicaudata and *Nyctophilus timoriensis. The area also contains 28 flora species which are threatened in Victoria: Acacia oswaldii, Allocasuarina leuhmannii, Amyema linophyllum, Austrostipa gibbosa, Austrostipa tenuifolia, Callitris glaucophylla, Cheilanthes lasiophylla, Eleocharis pallens, Eryngium paludosum, Hakea tephrosperma, Hakea leucoptera ssp.leucoptera, Haloragis glauca forma glauca, Ixiolaena sp.(Leptorhynchos panaetioides), Leptorhynchos scabrous, Maireana rohrlachii, Minuria intergerrima, Muehlenbeckia horrida, Myriophyllum porcatum, Panicum laevinode, Prasophyllum suaveolens, Ptilotus erubescens, Santalum acuminatum, Sporobolus caroli, Swainsona murrayana, Swainsona plagiotropis, Swainsona swainsonoides, Tripogon loliiformis (Parks Victoria Terrick Terrick national park draft management plan).
Management considerations Manage reserves for Plains-wanderer alongside other threatened biodiversity. Offer financial incentives to farmers to enable restoration of other land back to native grassland. Investigate the impact of over-grazing on woodland birds.
Protection status Numerous - see separate section.
Conservation response Sheep are grazed over most reserved land to maintain an appropriate habitat structure for the Plains-wanderer. The Northern Plains Conservation Management Network helps to advise and facilitate land management across the region. Government is increasingly buying reserves and raising awareness amongst land-holders (Marshall and Fitzsimons 2008).
Access/Land-Owner requests The only land with open access is the north-eastern section of Terrick Terrick National Park.
Acknowledgements Mark Anderson, Mark Antos, Euan Fothergill, John Barkla, Laurie Conole, Chris Coleborn; Mark Scharke kindly provided population estimates and other background detail.
References Antos, M.J. and Bennett, A.F. (2005) How important are different temperate woodland types for ground-foraging birds? Wildlife Research 32: 557-572.
Baker-Gabb, D (1998) Birds Australia Conservation Statement No. 1 - Native grasslands and Plains Wanderer. Wingspan 8(1) Supplement.
Baker-Gabb, D. (2005) Management of Terrick Terrick grassland reserves for Plains-wanderers. Unpublished report.
Marshall, D. and Fitzsimons, J.A. (2008) Challenges for native grassland conservation on Victoria’s Northern Plains. Australian Plant Conservation 16: 24-25.
Parks Victoria (2004) Terrick Terrick National Park Management Plan. Melbourne: Parks Victoria.
Tscharke, M. (2005) Grassland park protects rare species. Parkwatch 222: 7-8.
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Recommended citation BirdLife International (2013) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Patho Plains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/05/2013
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