Distribution and abundance of migratory shorebirds in Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia

Date: 20, Jul, 2018
Author(s):   Amanda Lilleyman, Anthony Alley, Donna Jackson, Gavin O'Brien, Stephen T. Garnett
Publisher: NT Field Naturalist's Club

Here we report the results of an aerial survey of migratory shorebirds in Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia, as part of a new project on strategic planning for the Far Eastern Curlew (Numenius madagascarensis). On one day in January 2017 we surveyed the intertidal zone of a large part of upper and middle Darwin Harbour at low tide and counted all shorebirds and waterbirds present, and then we also surveyed all saltpans and potential roosting areas at high tide. There were 724 birds of 19 species recorded during the low tidal survey and 789 birds from 13 species recorded during the high tidal survey (i.e. a total of 24 species for the day). We found a total of 329 Far Eastern Curlews during the high tide survey, an increase in the Darwin Harbour maximum previously recorded. We will use these results to guide future monitoring work on the Far Eastern Curlew in Darwin Harbour, and to help mitigate the effects of coastal developments on shorebirds.