Usually the most noticeable fauna of an Australian wetland, birds often present the quintessential images of this habitat, e.g. large flocks of magpie geese grubbing for bulbs in a sedgeland or the chaotic nature of colonies where egrets, ibis and cormorants squabble over nest sites in melaleuca swamp wetlands. Some shorebirds visit Australian wetlands for part of the year to take advantage of food resources on intertidal mudflats before undertaking a long migration to the northern hemisphere to breed. However, there are many rarely seen birds that are just as dependent on wetlands for food, shelter and breeding resources. Birds such as crakes, rails, kingfishers and reed-warblers are often hidden within dense reed beds or mangrove lined channels.
For the full Ramsar Convention definition of waterbirds see this page.
Additional bird species, but typically not the entire families of such species, may be dependent on or closely associated with wetland habitats. These may be referred to as 'other wetland-associated birds' and in Queensland they include certain kingfishers, warblers and finches and a suite of birds that primarily occur in mangrove wetlands. Some waterbirds are also called shorebirds.
Shorebirds, also known as waders, are species within the order Charadriiformes, which typically wade in water in search of food. Shorebird species occurring in Queensland are listed here.
Protection of waterbirds
The Queensland Government shares responsibility for the management of waterbirds. Several of the other waterbirds occurring in Queensland are significant because they are listed under State or National legislation as threatened or migratory species, or under global agreements. It is important for managers of wetland sites and wildlife to be aware of the lists of such species in order to inform management actions.
The Department of the Environment, Australian Government participates in a range of agreements, conventions, partnerships and activities contributing the conservation of shorebirds and these are outlined on the Department's Migratory birds page
The Department of the Environment, Australian Government also has species profiles on its SPRAT online database that provides information about a range of waterbird species
The Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing, Queensland Government undertakes a range of initiatives contributing to the conservation and management of shorebirds including strategies, guides, regulation, protected area management, education and monitoring and these are outlined on the Department's Shorebirds page