Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed marine
Listed migratory - Bonn, CAMBA, JAMBA, ROKAMBA
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Background Paper to the Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2005c) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
 
Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Marine bioregional plan for the North-west Marine Region (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2012y) [Admin Guideline].
 
Draft Significant impact guidelines for 36 migratory shorebirds Draft EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.21 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2009aj) [Admin Guideline].
 
Draft background paper to EPBC Act policy statement 3.21 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2009bc) [Admin Guideline].
 
Shorebirds - A Vulnerability Assessment for the Great Barrier Reef (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), 2011i) [Admin Guideline].
 
Seagrass - A Vulnerability Assessment for the Great Barrier Reef (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), 2011k) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
List of Migratory Species (13/07/2000) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000b) [Legislative Instrument].
 
Declaration under section 248 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of Marine Species (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000c) [Legislative Instrument].
 
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - Listed Migratory Species - Approval of an International Agreement (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007h) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NT:Threatened Species of the Northern Territory - Bar-tailed Godwit, Limosa lapponica (Ward, S., 2012g) [Information Sheet].
QLD:Shorebirds (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP), 2013bi) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NT: Listed as Vulnerable (Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000 (Northern Territory): 2012 list)
SA: Listed as Rare (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): Rare species: June 2011 list)
WA: Listed as Vulnerable* (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (Western Australia): September 2013 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Least Concern (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
NGO: Listed as Vulnerable (The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010)
Scientific name Limosa lapponica [844]
Family Scolopacidae:Charadriiformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Linnaeus,1758)
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Western Australia: At the subspecies level, Limosa lapponica baueri is listed as Vulnerable and Limosa lapponica menzbieri is listed as Vulnerable under the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.

Scientific name: Limosa lapponica

Common name: Bar-tailed Godwit

Other names: Barred-rumped Godwit, Pacific Ocean Godwit, Southern or Small Godwit

The Bar-tailed Godwit is polytypic, meaning more than one subspecies exists (Marchant & Higgins 1993):

  • The nominate species, lapponica, breeds in north Eurasia from Taymyr to Lappland.
  • The subspecies baueri breeds in north-east Siberia from around the Kolyma River to east of the Chukotski Peninsula. The species also breeds in west Alaska, from Wales to Barrow.
  • The subspecies menzbieri also breeds in northern Siberia, between the Khatanga River and the delta of the Kolyma River.

The Bar-tailed Godwit is a large wader and member of the Tringinae family. The bird has a length around 37–39 cm, a wingspan of 62–75 cm and a weight between 250–450 g. The bird has a long neck with a very long upturned bill. The bill is characterized by a dark tip and pinkish base. The Bar-tailed Godwit is slightly larger and stockier than the Black-tailed Godwit, Limosa limosa, with a shorter neck and legs, steeper forehead, and a more upturned and pointed bill. All plumages have a uniform upper pattern, with a dark back and upper rump. It is distinguishable from other Godwits by the dark barring on the lower white rump, uppertail and lining of the underwing. The sexes differ, with females being larger with longer bills than males and a duller breeding plumage. Both sexes exhibit marked variation in plumages, with juveniles also having distinct plumages (Marchant & Higgins 1993).

The Bar-tailed Godwit has been recorded in the coastal areas of all Australian states. It is widespread in the Torres Strait and along the east and south-east coasts of Queensland, NSW and Victoria, including the offshore islands. It is found south from Cooktown to Port Phillip Bay, but is less common west of the Bellarine Peninsula. There are a few inland records from NSW and Victoria. The species is occasionally recorded at King Island and the Furneaux Group, with scattered records on the north and east coasts of Tasmania. The Bar-tailed Godwit is most abundant in south-east Tasmania between Orford and Southport Lagoon. There are a few records from the west coast of Tasmania and inland at Oatlands. In South Australia it is rarely recorded in the south-east and mostly recorded around coasts from Lake Alexandrina to Denial Bay. In Western Australia it is widespread around the coast, from Eyre to Derby, with a few scattered records elsewhere in the Kimberley Division. Populations have also been recorded in the Top End, from Darwin and Melville Island, east to the Alligator River and Croker Island. It is also found in the Gulf of Carpentaria, around Gove Peninsula, Groote Eylandt, Numbulwar and the Sir Edward Pellew Group. Populations have also been sighted in Alice Springs. It is widespread along some parts of the New Zealand coast and is also a regular migrant to Christmas Island, Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island, Kermadec Island and Chatham Island. Populations have been recorded on Macquarie Island, Snares Island, Auckland Island and Campbell Island (Marchant & Higgins 1993).

Australian sites of international importance and their populations include (Bamford et al. 2008):

  • Eighty Mile Beach, Western Australia (110 290)
  • Roebuck Bay, Western Australia (65 000)
  • Corner Inlet, Victoria (13 139)
  • Great Sandy Strait, Queensland (12 986)
  • Moreton Bay, Queensland (11 751)
  • Milingimbi coast, Northern Territory (7000)
  • Shoalwater Bay and Broad Sound, Queensland (5151)
  • Elcho Island, Northern Territory (5000)
  • Hunter Estuary, NSW (4000).

Breeding distribution
The Bar-tailed Godwit breeds in the north of Scandinavia, Russia and north-west Alaska. In northern Sweden it breeds between the Konkama and Lanio Rivers. In north-east Norway and north Finland, it breeds between 69º and 70º N, from south Fennmarksvidda, east through Lake Inarijarvi through to the Pasvikelv River. In Russia the Bar-tailed Godwit breeds in several isolated areas. These range from the central and south Kola Peninsula, south Kanin Peninsula, south Yamal Peninsula and the central Taymyr Peninsula. The breeding area then goes east to the Khatanga River area, the Yana River and then east to the delta of the Kolyma River and around the Chaun Gulf. In Alaska they breed from the west Seward Peninsula, around Wales and north and east to Point Barrow. The breeding area extends south to the Yukon River (Marchant & Higgins 1993).

Non-breeding distribution
In western Europe the Bar-tailed Godwit spends most of the non-breeding season in Germany, the Netherlands, the British Isles and a few populations located along the Atlantic coasts of France and the Iberian Peninsula. They are rarely located inland. In Africa they are found along the Atlantic coasts between south-west Morocco and Guinea-Bissau. They are especially located around Mauritania with smaller numbers around the Gulf of Guinea and Namibia. There are also rare inland records between Nigeria and Sudan, and also from Kenya to South Africa. They are mainly passage migrants around the coasts of the Indian Ocean; however, small numbers have been seen in Somalia and around the Red Sea. In Asia they are found in Pakistan and India. They migrate north-east to east China, the Korean Peninsula, and Japan. They are also located in south-east China, south to Indonesia, west to Thailand, east to the Pacific Islands through to Micronesia and Fiji (Marchant & Higgins 1993).

The most recent estimate of the Bar-tailed Godwit population was between 1 060 000 and 1 110 000. An estimated 325 000 Bar-tailed Godwits occupy the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. During the non-breeding season 88% of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway population occurs in Australia and New Zealand (Bamford et al. 2008). The two subspecies that make up the Flyway population are L. l. baueri (155 000) and L. l. menzbieri (170 000).

The Bar-tailed Godwit occurs in many smaller populations. During the non-breeding season seven important sites have been identified in Australia. A further nine are located in New Zealand and one smaller population in Indonesia. Note that an important site is calculated using the 1% criterion (i.e. a site is considered important if it is occupied by more then 1% of the bird's total population). Important international sites in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (excluding Australian sites) include (Bamford et al. 2008):


Site Country Max Count Site Country Max Count
Yalu Jiang National Nature Reserve China 66 134 Shuangtaizihekou N. N. Reserve China 3738
Moroshechnaya River Estuary Russia 50 000 Asan Bay South Korea 3500
Laizhouwan China 25 961 Yong Jong Island South Korea 3500
Manukau Harbour New Zealand 22 571 Mankyung Estuary South Korea 3350
Farewell Spit New Zealand 17 181 Shi Jiu Tuo/Daqing He China 3000
Kaipara Harbour New Zealand 14 507 Yancheng National Nature Reserve China 2984
Firth of Thames New Zealand 12 264 North-west Bo Hai Wan China 2321
Huang He National Nature Reserve China 10 678 Kanghwa Island South Korea 2200
Port Moller/Nelson Lagoon/Mud Bay United States 10 000 Aphae Island South Korea 2157
Port Heiden United States 10 000 Kum Estuary South Korea 2145
Cinder Lagoon United States 10 000 Linghekou China 2045
Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta United States 9000 Bagan Percut - Sungai Ular Indonesia 2000
Dongjin Estuary South Korea 8430 Suncheon Bay South Korea 1868
Han River South Korea 8000 Cheonsu Bay South Korea 1752
Rangaunu Harbour New Zealand 7850 Seosan South Korea 1732
Whangarei Harbour New Zealand 7245 Dongsha Islands China 1668
Banyuasin Delta Indonesia 7000 South Bo Hai Wan China 1499
Tauranga Harbour New Zealand 6900 Haenam Hwangsan South Korea 1272
Namyang Bay South Korea 5800 Daqing He China 1000
Kawhia Harbour New Zealand 5350 Schastiya Bay Russia 953
Parengarenga Harbour New Zealand 5200 Arao Kaigan Japan 900
Ohope/Ohiwa Harbour New Zealand 5000




Typical habitat
The Bar-tailed Godwit is found mainly in coastal habitats such as large intertidal sandflats, banks, mudflats, estuaries, inlets, harbours, coastal lagoons and bays. It is found often around beds of seagrass and, sometimes, in nearby saltmarsh. It has been sighted in coastal sewage farms and saltworks, saltlakes and brackish wetlands near coasts, sandy ocean beaches, rock platforms, and coral reef-flats. It is rarely found on inland wetlands or in areas of short grass, such as farmland, paddocks and airstrips, although it is commonly recorded in paddocks at some locations overseas (Marchant & Higgins 1993).

Habitat for feeding
The Bar-tailed Godwit usually forages near the edge of water or in shallow water, mainly in tidal estuaries and harbours. They appear not to forage at high tide and prefer exposed sandy substrates on intertidal flats, banks and beaches. The also prefer soft mud; often with beds of eelgrass Zostera or other seagrasses. Occasionally they have been known to forage among mangroves, or on coral reefs or rock platforms among rubble, crevices and holes. They rarely forage in grassy or vegetated areas. On Heron Island they have been seen feeding on insect larvae among the roots of Casuarina (Marchant & Higgins 1993).

Habitat for roosting
The Bar-tailed Godwit usually roosts on sandy beaches, sandbars, spits and also in near-coastal saltmarsh. In New Zealand, a few have been recorded roosting in wet grasslands and farmlands. They have been observed roosting at high tide on a claypan 2 km inland of Roebuck Bay, Western Australia (Collins et al. 2001). In some conditions, waders may choose roost sites where a damp substrate lowers the local temperature. In Moreton Bay, inspection of major roosts on opposite sides of the bay during northward migration revealed a marked difference in the proportion of birds in breeding plumage; also, a significantly higher number of moulting males (perhaps breeding adults) were found on islands, as opposed to mainland sites (Thompson 1990b).

During periods of cyclonic activity waders moved to sheltered areas to avoid high winds and heavy rain, and only a few casualties (including one Bar-tailed Godwit) were observed (Jessop & Collins 2000).

The Bar-tailed Godwit does not breed in Australia; instead it nests in the Northern Hemisphere summer. Egg laying occurs from late May through June (del Hoyo et al. 1996). They nest on the ground, usually on dry elevated sites, often between clumps of grass. They are known to nest in a depression lined with bits of vegetation and lichens. The Bar-tailed Godwit is solitary nester, but nests may be grouped together due to polyandrous behaviour. They lay two to five eggs, incubate for 20–21 days, and have a nestling period of 28 days. They may breed from two years of age and the annual mortality is said to be 40% (del Hoyo et al. 1996).

Summary of food items or sources
The Bar-tailed Godwit is mainly carnivorous with a diet consisting of worms, molluscs, crustaceans, insects and some plant material. It has also been recorded eating fruits, fish and tadpoles. While it is in breeding grounds it eats mainly ground dwelling insects (Marchant & Higgins 1993). On the estuary of the Parramatta River, NSW, polychaetes represented at least 86.7% of their diet and were the only prey identified (Taylor et al. 1996).

Feeding behaviours
The Bar-tailed Godwit generally feeds during the day, but sometimes by moonlight (Marchant & Higgins 1993). In Westernport Bay, Victoria, the stealing of food by Silver Gulls, Larus novaehollandiae, significantly reduces the feeding rate of Bar-tailed Godwits (Dann 1979). A survey on the estuary of the Parramatta River revealed the Bar-tailed Godwits lost between 0.1–1% of their prey to gulls (Taylor et al. 1996). Human disturbance can interrupt feeding and may restrict the area of feeding habitat available. Bar-tailed Godwits are known to take off when humans approached within 10–70 m (Taylor & Bester 1999). Sexual differences in the length of the bill lead to corresponding differences in diet and behaviour. At Moreton Bay, Queensland, males were predominantly found in areas with seagrass cover (65%), while females were more common on sandy flats (83%). Seagrass supported about twice the density of Godwits, and it is not known why females used the apparently inferior habitat (sand) so extensively (Zharikov & Skilleter 2000). At the Parramatta estuary in NSW, females spent most of their time in water while males spent 50% of their time in the water, 30% on dry ridges and 20% in wet hollows. Both sexes fed entirely on polychaete worms, and females were dominant over males, possibly forcing them to feed in less profitable habitats. The prey capture rates of females feeding in water were 41% higher than those of males (Taylor et al. 1999). On Heron Island, on wet sand, males were found to be more successful feeders than females (Marchant & Higgins 1993). In Roebuck Bay, north-west Western Australia, the Godwits show a strong tendency to follow the tide edge with 80% of individuals mapped on receding tides being found in sea-edge flocks, with the longer-billed females tending to feed closer to the sea edge than males (Rogers 1999a). Bar-tailed Godwits were observed feeding on bivalves which had been exposed by a cyclone (Jessop & Collins 2000).

Migration patterns
The Bar-tailed Godwit breeds in the Northern Hemisphere and moves south for the Northern Hemisphere winter. Populations of Bar-tailed Godwits move to non-breeding areas on the North Sea and coasts of Europe and Africa. Smaller numbers have been recorded moving to the coast of the Arabian Sea as far east as Bombay, India. Populations of Limosa lapponica baueri and Limosa lapponica menzbieri (both subspecies of the Bar-tailed Godwit, and migrants to Australia) move to non-breeding areas from south-east Asia to Australia and New Zealand. Morphometrics and band-recoveries suggest that birds in north-west Australia breed mostly in central north Siberia (Limosa lapponica menzbieri); and that birds in New Zealand and south-east Australia breed mostly farther east, in Siberia and Alaska (Limosa lapponica baueri). They may undertake long non-stop flights (Marchant & Higgins 1993) but there may be an intermediate staging site in north Australia or Irian Jaya (Wilson & Minton 2000). A nine day, 11 700 km flight betwee Alaska and New Zealand has been observed (Anonymous 2014).

Departure from breeding grounds
Bar-tailed Godwit leave Alaska and east Siberia during July–September. It moves rapidly south, migrating on a broad front. Some birds from central north Siberia may move south along the east Asian coast. They have been sighted in east China from August–September, and pass through Hong Kong mostly around mid-September. They are uncommon to scarce in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia; however they pass through the Philippines between August–October. They have been recorded in July in Indonesia. They also pass through Wallacea from October and begin to arrive in north-west Australia from August with numbers increasing until mid-November. Small numbers move south from north-west Australia, apparently down the west coast, arriving in south-west Australia from late August. Most however arrive from mid-October to mid-December. Breeders from far east Siberia and Alaska may generally migrate south via the trans-Pacific route. Many pass through Ussuriland early July to early October, and Japan from September-October, before crossing the Pacific (Marchant & Higgins 1993). Bar-tailed Godwits are a common passage migrant in Korea, during September-October with one internationally important site documented (Dongjin Gang Hagu) (Barter 2002). In the Pacific, they regularly pass through the Hawaiian Islands, Kure and Midway Atolls. They are common in Micronesia and Fiji from August-September and pass through Torres Strait but apparently not through Gulf of Carpentaria. Many stay in north-east Australia, but large numbers reach Victoria. They arrive in east Queensland by early August and probably move south down the coast; numbers at most sites in south-east Australia increase in late September. Inland records for October–December suggest some passage overland. The Bar-tailed Godwit is a regular to Tasmania, usually arriving around August–November, although timing and numbers vary. They arrive at Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island from September, and from August to December in New Zealand (Marchant & Higgins 1993). The birds do not seem to move between south-east and north-west Australia, with high fidelity to non-breeding sites apparent in both areas. The birds are known to move from east Australia to New Zealand between seasons.

Return
The Bar-tailed Godwit leaves some sites in New Zealand from February, but most depart from March–April. The largest flocks occur on Lord Howe Island in March. In east Australia, numbers decline slowly at most sites, generally from early February to mid-April (Marchant & Higgins 1993). Temporary influxes occur at some sites on the east coast in March and early April (Alcorn 1988; Lane 1987). Lack of band-recoveries and sightings of colour-marked birds south of Korea and Japan suggest at least some birds from south-east Australia and New Zealand cross the Pacific to Korea and Japan. Birds from north-west Australia probably use different routes to reach the Asian mainland than those used by birds from south-east Australia and New Zealand. Godwits from north-west Australia typically depart early to mid-April and may fly non-stop to China (Marchant & Higgins 1993). In the Yellow Sea, numbers peak in the second half of April and early May. Leg flag sightings and plumage differences suggest that Limosa lapponica menzbieri, from north-west Australia, has a more westerly migration route than Limosa lapponica baueri(Barter 2002).

Non-breeding
Many Bar-tailed Godwits remain in the non-breeding range all year and probably don't move about much (Alcorn 1988). Most if not all birds may spend their second Austral winter here, and some their third winter as well (Wilson 2000a).

Important sites on migration
The Yellow Sea supports approximately 80% of Flyway population during north migration. Eight sites of international importance have been identified in the region and all are important during north migration, but only one (Dongjin Gang Hagu) during south migration. Yalu Jiang Nature Reserve is of particular importance, supporting 10% of the combined estimated Flyway population during north migration (Barter 2002).

Global threats
There are a number of threats that affect migratory shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. The greatest threat is indirect and direct habitat loss (Melville 1997). Staging areas used during migration through eastern Asia are being lost and degraded by activities which are reclaiming the mudflats for development or developing them for aquaculture (Barter 2002, 2005c; Ge et al. 2007; Round 2006). This is especially evident in the Yellow Sea, where at least 40% of intertidal areas have been reclaimed. This process is continuing at a rapid rate and may accelerate in the near future (Barter 2002, 2005c). For example, in South Korea, the Mangyeung and Dongjin River estuaries each supported 5% of the combined estimated Flyway populations (and are the most important sites for this species on both northern and southern migration) but they are currently being reclaimed as part of the Saemangeum Reclamation Project (Barter 2002, 2005c). The 33 km sea-wall across these two estuaries was completed in April 2006, resulting in significant change in the 40 100 ha area.

Reclamation is also a threat in other areas of the Flyway, such as in Malaysia (Wei et al. 2006). In addition, water regulation and diversion infrastructure in the major tributaries have resulted in the reduction of water and sediment flows (Barter 2002; Barter et al. 1998).

Migratory shorebirds are also adversely affected by pollution, both on passage and in non-breeding areas (Harding et al. 2007; Melville 1997; Round 2006; Wei et al. 2006). Disturbance from human activities, including recreation, shellfish harvesting, fishing and aquaculture is likely to increase significantly in the future (Davidson & Rothwell 1993).

It is predicted that the rate of decrease in the intertidal area in the Yellow Sea will accelerate (Barter 2002). In addition, intensive oil exploration and extraction and reduction in river flows due to upstream water diversion are other potentially significant threats in parts of China where this species is present in internationally significant numbers (Barter 2005c; Barter et al. 1998).

Global warming and associated changes in sea level are likely to have a long-term impact on the breeding, staging and non-breeding grounds of migratory waders (Harding et al. 2007). Iwamura and colleagues (2013) found that rises in sea level could cause a dramatic collapse of population flow of this species caused by intertidal habitat loss. Taking into account upshore movements of intertidal habitat, their modelling indicates that this species population flow could reduce by 15% with a 150 cm sea level rise (Iwamura et al. 2013).

Hunting is still a very serious problem for waders in China, and this species is sometimes caught (Ming et al. 1998).

Australia
Within Australia, there are a number of threats common to most migratory shorebirds, including the Bar-tailed Godwit.

Habitat loss
The loss of important habitat reduces the availability of foraging and roosting sites. This affects the ability of the birds to build up the energy stores required for successful migration and breeding. Some sites are important all year round for juveniles who may stay in Australia throughout the breeding season until they reach maturity. A variety of activities may cause habitat loss. These include direct losses through land clearing, inundation, infilling or draining. Indirect loss may occur due to changes in water quality, hydrology or structural changes near roosting sites (DEWHA 2009aj).

Habitat degradation
As most migratory shorebirds have specialized feeding techniques, they are particularly susceptible to slight changes in prey sources and foraging environments. Activities that cause habitat degradation include (but are not restricted to): (1) loss of marine or estuarine vegetation, which is likely to alter the dynamic equilibrium of sediment banks and mudflats; (2) invasion of intertidal mudflats by weeds such as cord grass; (3) water pollution and changes to the water regime; (4) changes to the hydrological regime and (5) exposure of acid sulphate soils, hence changing the chemical balance at the site (DEWHA 2009aj).

Disturbance
Disturbance can result from residential and recreational activities including; fishing, power boating, four-wheel driving, walking dogs, noise and night lighting. While some disturbances may have only a low impact it is important to consider the combined effect of disturbances with other threats. Roosting and foraging birds are sensitive to discrete, unpredictable disturbances such as loud noises (i.e. construction sites) and approaching objects (i.e. boats). Sustained disturbances can prevent shorebirds from using parts of the habitat (DEWHA 2009aj).

Direct mortality
Direct mortality is a result of human activities around the migration pathways of shorebirds and at roosting and foraging sites. Examples include the construction of wind farms in migration or movement pathways, bird strike due to aircraft, hunting, chemical and oil spills (DEWHA 2009aj).

Governments and conservation groups have undertaken a wide range of activities relating to migratory shorebird conservation (DEH 2005c) both in Australia and in cooperation with other countries associated with the East Asian-Australasian Flyway.

Australia
The Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds(AGDEH 2006f) outlines national activities to support flyway shorebird conservation initiatives and provides a strategic framework to ensure these activities and future research and management actions are integrated and remain focused on the long-term survival of migratory shorebird populations and their habitats.

Since 1996–97, the Australian Government has invested approximately $5 000 000 of Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) funding in projects contributing to migratory shorebird conservation (DEWHA 2007e). This funding has been distributed across a range of important projects, including the implementation of a nationally coordinated monitoring programme that will produce robust, long-term population data able to support the conservation and effective management of shorebirds and their habitat; migration studies using colour bands and leg flags; and development of a shorebird conservation toolkit to assist users to develop and implement shorebird conservation projects.

Birds Australia is currently co-ordinating the Shorebirds 2020 project, which aims to monitor shorebird populations at important sites throughout Australia; and Birdlife International is identifying sites and regions which are important to various species of birds, including shorebirds, and the processes that are affecting them. The aim is to inform decisions on the management of shorebird habitat. It may be possible to rehabilitate some degraded wetlands or to create artificial wader feeding or roosting sites to replace those destroyed by development, such as by creating artificial sandflats and sand islands from dredge spoil and by building breakwaters (Dening 2005; Straw 1992a, 1999).

The Significant impact guidelines for 36 migratory shorebirds Draft EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.21(DEWHA 2009aj) provides guidelines for determining the impacts of proposed actions on migratory shorebirds. The policy statement also provides mitigation strategies to reduce the level and extent of those impacts. The policy aims to promote ecologically sustainable development that allows for the continued ecological function of important habitat for migratory shorebirds (DEWHA 2009aj).

A 10 ha Waterbird Refuge was created in the 1950s in the Homebush Bay area which became a significant waterbird habitat with a high abundance and diversity of birdlife (Paul 2014). The site became degraded and bird visitation declined. The installation of a solar-powered, automated tidal gate in 2007 has led to an improvement in habitat condition. Since this work, saltmarsh cover has increased and habitat attributes have improved. Up to 250 Bar-tailed Godwits are regularly spotted at the site (Paul 2014).

International
Australia has played an important role in building international cooperation to conserve migratory birds. In addition to being party to international agreements on migratory species, Australia is also a member of the Partnership for the Conservation of Migratory Waterbirds and the Sustainable Use of their Habitats in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (Flyway Partnership), which was launched in Bogor, Indonesia on 6 November 2006. Prior to this agreement, Australia was party to the Asia-Pacific Migratory Waterbird Conservation Strategy and the Action Plan for the Conservation of Migratory Shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway and the East Asian-Australasian Shorebird Site Network.

The East Asian-Australasian Flyway Site Network, which is part of the broader Flyway Partnership, promotes the identification and protection of key sites for migratory shorebirds. Australia has 17 sites in the network (Partnership EAAF 2008):

  • Kakadu National Park, Northern Territory (1 375 940 ha)
  • Parry Lagoons, Western Australia (36 111 ha)
  • Thomsons Lake, Western Australia (213 ha)
  • Moreton Bay, Queensland (113 314 ha)
  • Hunter Estuary, NSW (2916 ha)
  • Corner Inlet, Victoria (51 500 ha)
  • The Coorong, Lake Alexandrina & Lake Albert, South Australia (140 500 ha)
  • Orielton Lagoon, Tasmania (2920 ha)
  • Logan Lagoon, Tasmania (2320 ha)
  • Western Port, Victoria (59 297 ha)
  • Port Phillip Bay (Western Shoreline) and Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria (16 540 ha)
  • Shallow Inlet Marine and Coastal Park, Victoria
  • Discovery Bay Coastal Park, Victoria
  • Bowling Green Bay, Queensland
  • Shoalwater Bay, Queensland
  • Great Sandy Strait, Queensland
  • Currawinya National Park, Queensland

There have been no mitigation measures developed specifically for this species. However the Significant impact guidelines for 36 migratory shorebirds Draft EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.21 (DEWHA 2009aj) provide guidelines for mitigation strategies for migratory shorebirds in general.

Marine bioregional plans have been developed for four of Australia's marine regions - South-west, North-west, North and Temperate East. Marine Bioregional Plans will help improve the way decisions are made under the EPBC Act, particularly in relation to the protection of marine biodiversity and the sustainable use of our oceans and their resources by our marine-based industries. Marine Bioregional Plans improve our understanding of Australia's oceans by presenting a consolidated picture of the biophysical characteristics and diversity of marine life. They describe the marine environment and conservation values of each marine region, set out broad biodiversity objectives, identify regional priorities and outline strategies and actions to address these priorities. Click here for more information about marine bioregional plans.

The Bar-tailed Godwit has been identified as a conservation value in the North-west (DSEWPaC 2012y) Marine Region. See Schedule 2 of the North-west Marine Bioregional Plan (DSEWPaC 2012y) for regional advice. Maps of Biologically Important Areas have been developed for Bar-tailed Godwit in the North-west (DSEWPaC 2012y) Marine Region and may provide additional relevant information. Go to the conservation values atlas to view the locations of these Biologically Important Areas. The "species group report card - seabirds & migratory shorebirds" for the North-west (DSEWPaC 2012y) Marine Region provides additional information.

The Department's Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (AGDEH 2006f), the Background Paper to the Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (AGDEH 2005c) and The Action Plan for Australian Birds (Garnett & Crowley 2000) also contain actions aimed at the conservation of migratory birds within Australia.

The Significant impact guidelines for 36 migratory shorebirds Draft EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.21 (DEWHA 2009aj) provides guidelines for determining the impacts of proposed actions on migratory shorebirds. The policy statement also provides mitigation strategies to reduce the level and extent of those impacts.

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Biological Resource Use:Hunting and Collecting Terrestrial Animals:Direct exploitation by humans including hunting Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Global warming and associated sea level changes Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Temperature Extremes:climate change Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Energy Production and Mining:Oil and Gas Drilling:Exploration drilling Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Energy Production and Mining:Oil and Gas Drilling:Production of oil and gas resources Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human induced disturbance due to unspecified activities Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Recreational Activities:Disturbance, especially from human recreational activities and development Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or habitat degradation Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition and/or predation by birds Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes to hydrology due to water diversion Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Salinity Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Other Ecosystem Modifications:Loss and damage of intertidal areas due to land reclamation Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Pollution:Industrial and Military Effluents:Habitat degradation due to industrial discharge Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Pollution:Pollution:Deterioration of water and soil quality (contamination and pollution) Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Pollution:Pollution:Habitat degradation and loss of water quality due to salinity, siltaton, nutrification and/or pollution Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Pollution:Pollution:Pollution due to oil spills and other chemical pollutants Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].
Protected status:Protected status:Lack of secure conservation land tenure Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].

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Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH) (2006f). Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment and Heritage. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/migratory/publications/shorebird-plan.html.

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Barter, M.A. (2005c). Yellow Sea-driven priorities for Australian shorebird researchers. In: Straw, P., ed. Status and Conservation of Shorebirds in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. Proceedings of the Australasian Shorebirds Conference 13-15 December 2003, Canberra, Australia. Sydney, NSW: Wetlands International Global Series 18, International Wader Studies 17.

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EPBC Act email updates can be received via the Communities for Communities newsletter and the EPBC Act newsletter.

This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Limosa lapponica in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:59:19 +1000.