Can you imagine flying 11 days straight and losing half of your body weight? What about drinking saltwater and not having to worry about the effects of excess salt in your body? Shorebirds and seabirds are some of the most extreme birds on the planet, but some of these bird species are facing tremendous threats. From the introduction of invasive weeds smothering core breeding habitat, overfishing and warming sea temperatures due to climate change, there are many threats that will impact their populations now and in the future.
A bar tailed godwit stands on the beach in grey plumage.


Australia is home to more than 50 different species of shorebird. While some of these birds take marathon flights of endurance to and from the sub-arctic regions, others opt for shorter stopovers to and from New Zealand. Some species will stay in Australia for their entire lives. Most migratory shorebirds, such as the Bar-tailed Godwit, arrive in Australia in their non-breeding plumage. Image credit: Kerry Vickers.

A Shy albatross has a drip of saltwater falling from the tip of its beak.


There is no single definition for a seabird, but all are highly dependent on the marine environment. Most will spend their entire life at sea. Webbed feet are a core characteristic of these birds and they have significantly more feathers for insulation and waterproofing. Their ability to excrete excess salt from ingesting saltwater means that they do not need to find fresh water to survive. This Shy Albatross is shown with a small water droplet coming from its beak. The droplet is highly concentrated in salt and was excreted from an internal desalination gland in their head. Image credit: Mark Lethlean

Some of the most important roosting, breeding and feeding sites for these birds are found throughout Victoria. There are 12 wetlands listed as internationally significant across the state under the Ramsar convention and Parks Victoria manages or partially manages 11 of these wetlands. In addition to this, a system of fully protected 13 large marine national parks and 11 smaller marine sanctuaries exist within Victoria, each chosen as the best samples of the states marine biodiversity. Parks Victoria has a tremendous responsibility to ensure that these areas of habitat will always remain for generations to come. To learn more about what we're doing for shorebirds and seabirds, click on the web articles below for more information.

Two bar tailed godwits stand next to each other on the sand.

Six spectacular shorebirds and where to find them in Victoria, Australia

By the age of 15, the endangered Bar-tailed Godwit will have flown more than 380,000 kilometres from areas such as Alaska to southern Australia numerous times. It's the same distance as flying to the moon! Numerous species of migratory shorebirds will fly halfway across the world to reach feeding grounds in Victoria. In this article, you'll learn about the habits of six different shorebirds in Victoria and the threats that make them one of the most endangered groups of birds.

Hooded Plover: Credit Mark Lethlean.

How people power is helping the humble Hooded Plover

There are few birds which have created as much outpouring of community support as the determined, yet vulnerable, Hooded Plover. These plucky little beach birds have the survival odds stacked against them from the very beginning, but with the help of dedicated volunteer groups along Victoria’s coastline, there’s hope for the Hooded Plover yet. Read on to find how people power is helping the Hooded Plover bounce back.

A small bird with black and white countershading flies above the enormity of the southern ocean, pondering life.

Shifting tides: safeguarding Wilsons Promontory Marine National Park from a changing climate

Wilsons Promontory National Park is one of the most important conservation areas in Victoria, with the long term “Signs of Healthy Parks” program showcasing positive trends. Despite this, research undertaken by Deakin University show that future heatwaves in the region will challenge some seabird populations, including the Fairy Prion (Pachyptila turtur) and Common Diving Petrel (Pelecanoides urinatrix).
A flock of banded stilt stand in the shallow margin of a lake.


“While the Victorian Ramsar wetlands provide some of the most important conservation areas for shorebirds, every little wetland is important and plays a role. Any place where the water meets a muddy or sandy shore with a good supply of invertebrate food is potentially important for shorebirds and seabirds. The least we can do is offer them a soft landing and safe place to forage and rest.”

Dr. Mark Antos, Manager of Biodiversity Science at Parks Victoria

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