Two Hooded Plovers on the shore

Kangaroo Island Shore Birds

Kangaroo Island is home or temporary home to a number of shorebird species which are also known as waders. 

There are seven species called ‘True Residents’ on KI because they are found more or less constantly in the same area and usually breed there.  

  • The Hooded Plover
  • Pied and Sooty Oystercatcher
  • The Red-capped Plover
  • Banded and Masked Lapwing
  • Bush Stone-curlew

 Nomad species are those that stay in the same place for some time if conditions are favourable but will search elsewhere if not. On KI these include: 

  • The Red-kneed Dotterel 
  • The Black-winged and Banded Stilt
  • Red-necked Avocet 

Kangaroo Island is also regularly visited by a number of species that migrate to Australia for their non-breeding season. Migratory shorebirds of which there are various plovers, sandpipers, stints and turnstones arrive each year after breeding in the northern hemisphere. The Double-banded Plover is the exception arriving in autumn, an east to west migrant from New Zealand.

The Kangaroo Island Shorebirds Group helps monitor these birds and supplies information to organisations such as Birdlife Australia. The group helps raise awareness among beach users about beach-nesting birds, monitors nests, identifies threats and improves management by protecting eggs and chicks through temporary fencing and signage. 

Sadly migratory shorebirds and their coastal habitats are under pressure in Australia and in their staging grounds in East Asia and the Arctic. The KI Shorebirds Group was formed in 2007 to help monitor these birds and for the last seven years has surveyed six significant shorebird sites on KI, three times a year. Data of an exceptional scientific quality has been contributed to national and state bodies including Birdlife Australia’s 2020 Shorebirds Project.

KI’s resident beach-nesting shorebirds are declining through disruption to habitat by vehicles, beach goers and dogs as well as predation and other unknown factors. In addition to providing invaluable scientific data to scientists and those seeking to manage our coastal environment and critical aquatic habitats, the group has been working with local government bodies to help them make decisions about the management of cars, dogs and people on the island’s beaches. The group has been very successful in winning a variety of grants which have been used to monitor and help the island’s beach-nesting birds.

Group members have benefited from workshops and field trips funded by state NRM Community Grants and Federal Caring for our Country, Community Action Grants. Funding from the Coastal Protection Board and Birdlife Australia has enabled the development and erection of relevant signage around KI. The group’s success has been largely due to a close liaison with and ongoing support from NRKI.

KI residents, off-island landholders and visitors to KI are all welcome to join in the group’s activities.