Monitoring migratory shorebirds

Millions of migratory shorebirds visit Australia each year from their breeding grounds in the Arctic. But these amazing travellers are declining rapidly, according to research at UQ in collaboration with community groups that monitor the birds. For example, the eastern curlew has declined by 80 per cent in 30 years.

Using the UQ work, the Australian Government recently listed seven species of migratory shorebird as nationally threatened, significantly adding to the protections for these declining species and influencing development decisions across the country.

Our research showed the birds are declining mainly because their migration pathway takes them through the highly degraded Yellow Sea of East Asia, where the birds stop to feed and rest.

We're working with Queensland Government, the Burnett Mary Regional Group and four councils in Moreton Bay to implement evidence-based conservation. Internationally, the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership uses the research to inform conservation action plans for the eastern curlew, and to plan conservation actions with 22 governments around the migratory flyway.

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Photo: Dean Ingwersen