Migratory birds

Australia provides critical habitat for millions of migratory birds each year.

To ensure their conservation the Australian Government has fostered international cooperation through a range of important agreements, including bilateral migratory bird agreements with Japan (JAMBA), China (CAMBA) and the Republic of Korea (ROKAMBA), the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention), the Ramsar Convention on Welands, the Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels (ACAP), and through the East Asian - Australasian Flyway Partnership.

A range of important activities are also undertaken within Australia to conserve migratory bird populations and their habitats. These activities have largely focused on waterbirds, mostly shorebirds and seabirds; because their tendancy to aggregate in flocks in coastal areas makes them particularly vulnerable to disturbance and predation.


Wetland habitat loss and degradation is a significant threat to migratory waterbirds, and the conservation of important sites both within Australia and along their migration routes is essential to their survival. Many pressures are contributing to this degradation, of which population growth and associated coastal development are of particular concern.

International cooperation

Bilateral migratory bird agreements

For over 30 years, Australia has played an important role in international cooperation to conserve migratory birds in the East Asian - Australasian Flyway (the Flyway), entering into bilateral migratory bird agreements with Japan in 1974, China in 1986 and most recently the Republic of Korea in 2007. Each of these agreements provides for the protection and conservation of migratory birds and their important habitats, protection from take or trade except under limited circumstances, the exchange of information, and building cooperative relationships.

Birds listed on the annexes to these three agreements, together with those on Appendices I or II of the Bonn Convention, must also be placed on the migratory species list under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

JAMBA, CAMBA and ROKAMBA provide an important mechanism for pursuing conservation outcomes for migratory birds, including migratory waterbirds.

Other international agreements

Australia has further international commitments to protect migratory birds under the Ramsar Convention and the Bonn Convention.

East Asian - Australasian Flyway Partnership

Australia encourages multilateral cooperation for migratory waterbird conservation.

The Partnership was launched in 2006. Its main purpose is to focus international efforts on conserving migratory waterbirds and their habitats in the Flyway.

Conservation activities in Australia

In Australia the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) provides for protection of migratory species as a matter of national environmental significance. The EPBC Act prohibits a person taking an action that has, will have, or is likely to have, a significant impact on a listed migratory species unless the Minister for the Environment has given approval.

The EPBC Act also provides for the development of plans to conserve listed migratory species:

Bird and bat banding

The Australian Government under the auspices of the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS) manages the collection and collation of mark/recapture information on threatened and migratory bird and bat species.