Shorebirds are a varied group of wading birds distributed worldwide, with up to 55 species of shorebird visiting seasonally in Australia.

The diverse landscapes of the Moreton Bay region, provide a wide range of habitat that is suitable for both residential and migratory birds to rest, and forage, and for our residential shorebirds, a safe breeding location.  These habitats include sandy beaches, mudflats, rocky foreshores, and some freshwater wetlands.

Pumicestone Passage is home to about 1,500 resident shorebirds, across 11 species and nearly 40,000 migratory shorebirds across 24 species. Migratory shorebirds are seen in the region between mid-August to mid-April. 

About 15 per cent of migratory shorebirds visiting our region stay for the whole year because they are either too young to breed, past breeding age, or not strong enough to make the 20,000 to 25,000 kilometres round journey. Shorebirds can lose up to 40 per cent of their body weight throughout their journey. Moreton Bay is the crucial endpoint for several migratory species, providing shorebirds with a chance to recover before returning for the next breeding season.

Identifying shorebirds

Shorebirds often roost in large, mixed species flocks. They are highly diverse and specialised. They have a range of unique physical and behavioural characteristics.

The types of shorebirds often identified in the region include:

  • Red-necked Stint
  • Eastern Curlew
  • Ruddy Turnstone
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Pied Oystercatcher

An observant eye is required to identify the different species and the best way to improve your identification skills is to observe shorebirds within the environment.

Shorebirds on the beach
Many little shorebirds on the beach

What is Council doing?


‘Sharing the Shores’ is Council’s shorebird educational message to help create awareness about how we can all work together to protect and conserve our shorebirds.

Piper, the Pied Oystercatcher is an Agent of Discovery for the Moreton Bay region helping to educate kids about shorebirds and their habitat.

Artificial high tide roosts

Council actively manages two artificial high tide shorebird roosts at Kakadu (Banksia Beach) and Toorbul (Ned Bishop Park). Both artificial roost sites were created in substitution and are managed for the specific purpose of providing long-term roosting shorebird habitat. Access to the artificial roosts at Kakadu and Toorbul is prohibited to prevent disturbance to shorebirds. 

View the Kakadu Beach maintenance plan(PDF, 2MB).

Natural roosts

Throughout the region, there are several known natural shorebird roosts. These occur predominately along the Pumicestone Passage and the shorelines from Godwin Beach through to Woody Point. In addition, there are some areas slightly inland such as saltmarshes, claypans and some freshwater wetlands that are also known roosts for shorebirds. These sites are predominately natural environments and management is kept to a minimum. 

What can you do?

Disturbances to shorebirds can cause them to use energy unnecessarily. Which can prevent them from gaining the necessary weight for migration.

  • Give shorebirds space. Swimming, boating, kayaking and fishing within 100 metres of shorebirds may make them take flight, burning vital energy.
  • Avoid areas where shorebirds are feeding and roosting especially where large flocks are present.
  • When walking dogs, they should be kept on a leash and only permitted off-leash in designated areas. Refer to Dog parks and beaches in Moreton region.
  • Keep areas clean by binning rubbish, taking all fishing equipment with you and minimising single-use plastics.
  • View shorebirds from a distance, use binoculars, viewing scopes, cameras and bird hides where available.