Shorebirds are a varied group of wading birds distributed virtually worldwide.
There are 55 species that occur regularly in Australia, many of them long-distance migrants. They range in size from the tiny Red-necked Stint to the very large Eastern Curlew.
Shorebirds generally live in inter-tidal areas or freshwater wetlands and spend most of their time close to water, although some species, such as Masked Lapwings, prefer fields and grasslands.
Approximately one million shorebirds are resident in Australia, with about another two million migrating each year between Australia and their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere.
This is an impressive 20,000-25,000 km round trip. Some birds fly for several days without stopping, covering up to 11,000 km. The sight of shorebirds migrating in their characteristic ‘V’ flight formation is a magnificent spectacle.
Pumicestone Passage is home to about 1,500 resident shorebirds across11 species, and nearly 20,000 migratory shorebirds across 24 species. About 15% of our migratory shorebirds stay for the whole year, being either too young to breed, past breeding age, or not strong enough to make the journey.
Most migratory shorebirds that choose Pumicestone Passage as their non-breeding grounds are summer visitors and come from breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere. The exception is the Double-banded Plover - a winter visitor from New Zealand.
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