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Location Australia, Victoria
Central coordinates 144o 27.05' East  36o 7.44' South
IBA criteria A1
Area 79,403 ha
Altitude 80 - 186m
Year of IBA assessment 2008

BirdLife Australia



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.

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.

Populations of IBA trigger species

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  A1  Least Concern 

Protected areas

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  

Habitats

IUCN habitat Habitat detail Extent (% of site)
Artificial - terrestrial Improved grassland & pasture  major
Forest Callitris forests & woodlands; Eucalypt woodlands  minor
Grassland Tussock grasslands  major

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

Land-use Extent (% of site)
nature conservation and research major
rangeland/pastureland 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).

Protection status Numerous - see separate section.

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 (2014) Important Bird Areas factsheet: Patho Plains. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/08/2014

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