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Shorebirds

Moreton Bay Marine Park is internationally listed as a Ramsar wetland. This means that the Park provides vitally important feeding and roosting sites for migratory and resident shorebirds.

Moreton Bay Marine Park is home to over 50,000 migratory shorebirds. These include species such as the eastern curlew (Numenius madagascariensis), the grey-tailed tattler (Tringa brevipes) and sooty oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus).

          The migratory Sooty oystercatcher visits the shores of Moreton Bay every year. Photo courtesy of David Kleinert.

Many migratory waders, some no larger than a mouse, travel here from as far as Siberia and the Artic circle along the East Asian - Australasian Flyway. The name flyway is given to the invisible highways these birds travel when migrating.

Over one quarter of the world’s shorebirds regularly visit the Park each year. Many shorebirds breed in the Park. Others are simply passing through. Many also spend the summer here where they feed up on the critters that live in Moreton Bay’s extensive mudflats (such as small crabs, worms and molluscs) and rest before making the long migration back north to their breeding grounds.

The largest migratory bird in the world is the eastern curlew. At certain times of the year, over one third of the world’s population of eastern curlews lives in Moreton Bay Marine Park!

Twenty per cent of shorebird species that regularly migrate along the East Asian - Australasian Flyway have been officially classified as globally threatened due to substantial declines in their populations.

Threats

Shorebirds in Moreton Bay Marine Park are subject to numerous threats, individually difficult to detect however collectively result in a serious ‘cumulative impact’.

These impacts include:

  • Habitat loss through loss of coastal and inland wetlands
  • Introduced predators and domestic animals
  • Human-related disturbance (eg people and cars on beaches and mudflats where the shorebirds roost and feed)
  • Climate change
  • Invasive weeds
  • Marine pollution 

Solutions

  • Keep domestic animals under control and well away from shorebirds.
  • When walking your dog in areas adjoining Moreton Bay keep your dogs on their leash.
  • Avoid driving or operating all forms of vehicles, vessels and recreational devices near shorebirds.
  • Don't drive along the beach at high tide or above the high-water mark - you'll destroy shorebird nests without even knowing you’re doing it.
  • If fishing from a sandbar, choose the opposite end to where the birds are gathered.
  • Consider how your actions may disturb shorebirds. This can include where you set up camp or a simple stroll through a roost site at high tide!
  • Prevent pollution - remember that almost all rubbish and pollutants discarded on the land end up in the bay.

 

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