Australian Wetlands Database

Ramsar wetlands

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Lake Albacutya


Key facts and figures:

Date of listing:

15 December 1982

Lake Albacutya and the surrounding area (2003), Photo: Eleanor Hearder

Australian Ramsar site number:



1, 2, 3, 5, 6




5659 hectares

Drainage Division or IMCRA  region:


Wetland type: 

  • P - Seasonal/intermittent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha); includes floodplain lakes

Key features of the site:

Lake Albacutya Ramsar wetland is located in north-west Victoria, adjacent to the Wyperfield National Park. Lake Albacutya receives water only in exceptionally wet years, on average every twenty years. In wet years Lake Hindmarsh, which lies on the Wimmera River, overflows into Outlet Creek, which then carries water on to Lake Albacutya. Once full, the lake takes about three to four years to dry out again.

The lake is surrounded by River Red Gum woodlands, with Black Box and Cypress pine woodlands on higher ground. There are also small areas of Buloke woodland. When the lake is empty grasslands occupy the lake-bed.

The site supports a rich diversity of wildlife, covering more than 21 native plants and 124 species of native fauna. When full of water, Lake Albacutya supports large numbers of ducks, swans and coots.

Lake Albacutya Ramsar wetland is part of Lake Albacutya Park. When dry the site is used for bushwalking, camping, four-wheel driving, trail bike raiding and birdwatching. When full the site is also used for water activities such as swimming, boating, fishing and hunting.

The Jakelbalek people occupied Lake Albacutya, and parts of the wetland contain fireplaces, hearths, freshwater mussels, middens and other aboriginal cultural material. The lake features in local aboriginal legend as Nalbagadja, the place where Purra the kangaroo fed on bitter quandongs while fleeing from Wembulin the spider. Albacutya is derived from the word Nalbagadja and means 'place of bitter quandongs'.

Justification of the listing criteria:

The Lake Albacutya wetland Ramsar site meets five of the nine criteria:

Criterion 1: Lake Albacutya is a good example of a seasonal intermittent freshwater lake over 8 ha in the Murray-Darling Drainage Division.

Criterion 2: Lake Albacutya supports the Regent Parrot which is nationally listed as vulnerable

Criterion 3: When flooded, Lake Albacutya is particularly important for supporting large numbers of Banded Stilt and ducks. The Lake has supported more than 10 000 Banded Stilts, up to 20 000 Grey Teal, 3000 Pacific Black Duck, 3000 Australian Shelduck and 3000 Eurasian Coot.

Criterion 5: When flooded, Lake Albacutya has supported up to 20 000 Grey Teal.

Criterion 6: When flooded, Lake Albacutya has been recorded as supporting up to 5% of the national Freckled Duck 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.