Australian Wetlands Database

Ramsar wetlands

   or go to Advanced search or A-Z Ramsar site list

Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps


Key facts and figures:

Date of listing:

21 October 2002

Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps, Photo: Bruce Gray

Australian Ramsar site number:



2, 3, 4, 5, 6


New South Wales


Total - 689hectares
(Fivebough Swamp - 400hectares; Tuckerbil Swamp - 289hectares)

Drainage Division or IMCRA  region:


Wetland type: 

  • Q - Permanent saline/brackish/alkaline lakes
  • Ss - Seasonal/intermittent saline/brackish/alkaline marshes/pools

Key features of the site:

The Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps Ramsar site is located in the Riverina region of New South Wales, near the township of Leeton, south-east of Griffith. Fivebough Swamp is situated less than 10 kilometres from the seasonal Tuckerbil Swamp.

Fivebough Swamp is a permanent, but fluctuating, fresh-brackish, shallow wetland and Tuckerbil Swamp is a seasonal, shallow, brackish-saline wetland. Surrounded by grazing and irrigated land, both wetlands operate as important biodiversity refuges within a landscape altered by human activity.

Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps are of national and international importance due to the presence, abundance and diversity of waterbirds recorded there, including migratory waterbirds and threatened species. Threatened species include the Australasian Bittern, Brolga and Painted Snipe.

The predominant vegetation of the Ramsar site consists of grasses and salt-tolerant succulents.

The swamps hold significant value to the local indigenous people, with the area around Fivebough Swamp considered likely to contain historical relics, while Tuckerbil Swamp is a traditional hunting and fishing area for the Wiradjuri peoples. The Koonadan Historic Site near Tuckerbil Swamp is of cultural heritage significance to the Wiradjuri, as an ancestral burial ground.

Fivebough Swamp is currently being managed for conservation, education and research, with part of the area leased for grazing purposes. Tuckerbil Swamp, while leased for grazing purposes, is also managed for the purposes of waterbird conservation.

Justification of the listing criteria:

The Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps Ramsar site meets five of the nine criteria:

Criterion 2: The Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps support more than 1% of the estimated south-eastern Australian population of the globally vulnerable Australasian Bittern. Bittern were recorded at only six other sites during the 1994-1997 Murray-Darling Waterbird Project

Criterion 3: The Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps are important for maintaining a high diversity of species of waterbirds within the Riverina bioregion, an area with few other non-riparian wetlands. The number of species listed under international treaties or as threatened species, and the abundances of some bird species are amongst the highest recorded in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Criterion 4: Fivebough Swamp is a significant drought refuge, as part of it retains water year-round. Furthermore, Fivebough Swamp is an important site for migratory waterbirds. Twenty-two species of waterbird have been recorded breeding at Fivebough, and the Ramsar site is an important feeding habitat for four species of egret during their breeding season. Tuckerbil Swamp is also a flocking area for the endangered Brolga.

Criterion 5: The swamps have regularly recorded populations of over 20,000 waterbirds, with Glossy Ibis and Whiskered Tern counts at Fivebough Swamp recording the highest numbers for Australia.

Criterion 6: The Fivebough and Tuckerbil Swamps site has recorded the Glossy Ibis, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Whiskered Tern, Australasian Bittern, and Brolga at numbers estimated to represent greater than 1% of their population.

Please see the More Information page for additional information on this Ramsar site and access to the Ramsar Information sheets and other associated site documents.