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 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
NSW:Taren Point Shorebirds - profile (NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC), 2005d) [Internet].
NT:Threatened Species of the Northern Territory - Curlew Sandpiper, Calidris feruginea (Ward, S., 2012b) [Information Sheet].
QLD:Shorebirds (Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP), 2013bi) [Internet].
State Listing Status
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (New South Wales): December 2013 list)
NT: Listed as Vulnerable (Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 2000 (Northern Territory): 2012 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)
VIC: Listed as Endangered (Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria: 2013 list)
NGO: Listed as Vulnerable (The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010)
Scientific name Calidris ferruginea [856]
Family Scolopacidae:Charadriiformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author (Pontoppidan,1763)
Infraspecies author  
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

Scientific name: Calidris ferruginea

Common name: Curlew Sandpiper

Other common names: Pygmy Curlew, Curlew Stint, Redcrop

This species is conventionally accepted. No subspecies are recognised (Bamford et al. 2008).

The Curlew Sandpiper is a small, slim sandpiper 18–23 cm long and weighing 57 g, with a wingspan of 38–41 cm. The legs and neck are long. The bill is also long, and is decurved with a slender tip. The bill is black, sometimes with a brown or green tinge at the base. The head is small and round, and the iris is dark brown. The legs and feet are black or black-grey. When at rest, the wing-tips project beyond the tip of the tail. The sexes are similar, but females have a slightly larger and longer bill and a slightly paler underbelly in breeding plumage (Higgins & Davies 1996).

In breeding plumage, the head, neck and underbody to rear belly are a rich chestnut-red with narrow black bars on the belly and flanks. There are black streaks on the crown, a dusky loral stripe, and white around the base of the bill. The head, neck and underbody have a pale-streaked appearance due to white tips on the feathers. The feathers on the mantle and scapulars are black with large chestnut spots and grayish-white tips. The back and upper rump are dark brown, with a prominent square white patch across the lower rump and uppertail-covert (Higgins & Davies 1996).

The non-breeding plumage is similar to the breeding plumage. Differences are that the cap, ear-coverts, hindneck and sides of neck are pale brownish-grey with fine dark streaks, grading to off-white on the lower face, with white on the chin and throat. There is a narrow dark loral stripe and white supercilium from the bill to above the rear ear-coverts. The mantle, back, scapulars, tertials and innerwing-covert are pale brownish-grey with fine dark streaks. The underbody is white with a brownish-grey wash and fine dark streaks on the foreneck and breast (Higgins & Davies 1996).

In Australia, Curlew Sandpipers occur around the coasts and are also quite widespread inland, though in smaller numbers. Records occur in all states during the non-breeding period, and also during the breeding season when many non-breeding one year old birds remain in Australia rather than migrating north.

In Queensland, scattered records occur in the Gulf of Carpentaria, with widespread records along the coast south of Cairns. There are sparsely scattered records inland. In NSW, they are widespread east of the Great Divide, especially in coastal regions. They are occasionally recorded in the Tablelands and are widespread in the Riverina and south-west NSW, with scattered records elsewhere. In Victoria, they are widespread and common in coastal bays and inlets and are widespread in near-coastal wetlands, and inland in suitable habitats such as the Kerang area, Mildura, and western districts. In Tasmania, they are recorded on King Island and the Furneaux Group. They mostly occur in eastern Tasmania, but also at several sites in north-west Tasmania, with occasional records on the west coast. In South Australia, Curlew Sandpipers occur in widespread coastal and subcoastal areas east of Streaky Bay. Important sites include ICI and Price Saltfields, and The Coorong. Occasionally they occur in inland areas south of the Murray River and elsewhere. In Western Australia, they are widespread around coastal and subcoastal plains from Cape Arid to south-west Kimberley Division, but are more sparsely distributed between Carnarvon and Dampier Archipelago. They occur in large numbers, in thousands to tens of thousands, at Port Hedland Saltworks, 80 Mile Beach, Roebuck Bay and Lake Macleod. They are rarely recorded in the north-west Kimberley, around Wyndham and Lake Argyle, and occasionally they occur inland, in areas south of 26° S. In the Northern Territory, they mostly occur around Darwin, north to Melville Island and Cobourg Peninsula, and east and south-east to Gove Peninsula, Groote Eylandt and Sir Edward Pellew Island. They are recorded inland from Victoria River Downs and around Alice Springs (Higgins & Davies 1996).

The breeding range of the Curlew Sandpiper is mainly restricted to the Arctic of northern Siberia, including Yamal Peninsula east to Kolyuchiskaya Gulf, Chokotka Peninisula, and also New Siberian Island. They are a passage migrant through Europe, north Africa, Kazakhstan, west and south-central Siberia, Ussuriland, China, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, west Melanesia, Wallacea and New Guinea.

During the non-breeding period, they occur throughout Africa, south of southern Mauritania and Ethiopia, along the valley of the Nile River and in Madagascar. They also occur in Asia, from the coastal Arabian Peninsula to Pakistan and India, through Indomalaya, South-East Asia and Indochina to south China and Australasia (Higgins & Davies 1996).

The global population size of the Curlew Sandpiper is 1 350 000 (Delany & Scott 2002 as cited in Bamford et al. 2008). The global extent of occurrence is estimated at 100 000–1 000 000 km² (BirdLife International 2008).

Approximately 13% of the global population occurs in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway (Bamford et al. 2008).

The Australasian Wader Studies Group (AWSG) has been monitoring wader populations at a number of important areas around Australia since the early 1980s (Gosbell & Clemens 2006) and fluctuations in numbers of the Curlew Sandpiper have been well documented through the AWSG Population Monitoring Program.

The total population size of Curlew Sandpipers in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway is 180 000. This population estimate has decreased from previous population counts of 250 000 (Bamford et al. 2008). The estimated population size of this species in Australia during the non-breeding season is 118 000 (maximum count of 182 899) (Bamford et al. 2008).

Curlew Sandpipers have shown significant difference in reporting rates in surveys for the Australian Atlas for 1998–2001 compared with those for the 1977–81 Atlas, being less likely to be recorded in surveys during 1998–2001 (Barrett et al. 2002). There has been a very widespread and large population decline in southern Australia since the 1980s. Curlew Sandpiper populations are at their lowest level in 20 years in large areas of Australia, with a decline of over 50%. The main factors causing the decline occur outside Australia (Gosbell et al. 2002), mainly due to a succession of very poor breeding seasons in the Arctic in the decade preceding 2002 (C. Minton 2002, pers. comm.).

There has been a continuous decline in Victoria, with numbers in 2001 being the lowest on record. The population estimate for coastal and inland areas was 10 328 in 2001 compared with an estimate of 30 036 in 1993. This decrease was apparent at most sites, except for Westernport where there appeared to be a slight increase (Wilson 2001d). Declines in numbers have also occurred in South Australia since 1981; during 2000, in the Spencer Gulf numbers were down by 67%, and in The Coorong numbers were down 67% to 13 124 individuals. On the west Eyre Peninsula, estimates increased by 61%, but this was probably due to better survey coverage (Wilson 2000a). On The Coorong, there was a further decline in 2001 to 4309 individuals. In 2002, there was an increase to 9177, a doubling of the previous years' count but still remaining at significantly lower levels than in the 1980s (Gosbell et al. 2002). The drop in numbers may be due to birds moving into west Queensland and northern South Australia which were flooded during 2000 and 2001 (Gosbell et al. 2002). Large declines since the 1980s have also occurred in south-western Australia and in south-east Tasmania (Wilson 2000a). Survey counts in 80 Mile Beach, Western Australia, were 2859 in October 1998 and 7984 during November 2001 (C. Minton 2002, pers. comm.), compared with counts of 60 000 birds pre-1987 (Lane 1987).

Cox's Sandpiper (Calidris paramelanotos) was described as a new species in 1982, but is now known to be a hybrid between a female Curlew Sandpiper and a Pectoral Sandpiper (C. melanotos) (Christidis & Boles 2008; McCarthy 2006). Sighting of Cox's Sandpipers in Australia are said to be numerous but have not been verified (Higgins & Davies 1996). Curlew Sandpipers have also been reported to hybridise with White-rumped Sandpipers (Calidris fuscicollis) (McCarthy 2006).

Populations of international importance are found in Coorong National Park, Thomsons Lake Nature Reserve and Forrestdale Lake Nature Reserve (Bamford et al. 2008).

Curlew Sandpipers mainly occur on intertidal mudflats in sheltered coastal areas, such as estuaries, bays, inlets and lagoons, and also around non-tidal swamps, lakes and lagoons near the coast, and ponds in saltworks and sewage farms. They are also recorded inland, though less often, including around ephemeral and permanent lakes, dams, waterholes and bore drains, usually with bare edges of mud or sand. They occur in both fresh and brackish waters. Occasionally they are recorded around floodwaters (Higgins & Davies 1996).

Curlew Sandpipers forage on mudflats and nearby shallow water. In non-tidal wetlands, they usually wade, mostly in water 15–30 mm, but up to 60 mm, deep. They forage at the edges of shallow pools and drains of intertidal mudflats and sandy shores. At high tide, they forage among low sparse emergent vegetation, such as saltmarsh, and sometimes forage in flooded paddocks or inundated saltflats. Occasionally they forage on wet mats of algae or waterweed, or on banks of beachcast seagrass or seaweed. They rarely forage on exposed reefs (Higgins & Davies 1996). In Roebuck Bay, northern Western Australia, they are also said to feed on part of the mudflats that have been exposed for a longer period, foraging in small groups (Tulp & de Goeij 1994).

Curlew Sandpipers generally roost on bare dry shingle, shell or sand beaches, sandspits and islets in or around coastal or near-coastal lagoons and other wetlands, occasionally roosting in dunes during very high tides and sometimes in saltmarsh (Higgins & Davies 1996). They have also been recorded roosting in mangroves in Inverloch, Victoria (Minton & Whitelaw 2000).
"The Shorebird Community occurring on the relict tidal delta sands at Taren Point" has been listed as an Endangered Ecological Community in NSW (NSW DECC 2005d). The Curlew Sandpiper is one of 20 wader species that make up this community.

This species is gregarious, often occurring in large flocks. They mix freely with other small waders when feeding and roosting (Higgins & Davies 1996).

This species does not breed in Australia. In Siberia, nesting occurs during June and July (Hayman et al. 1986). The nest is a cup positioned on the margins of marshes or pools, on the slopes of hummock tundra, or on dry patches in Polygonum tundra (BirdLife International 2008). Curlew Sandpipers usually have a clutch size of four eggs (Johnsgard 1981).

The oldest recorded bird was over 19 years old (Leishman 2008). Other records of longevity include a bird banded at Werribee Sewerage Farm, Victoria, which was recaptured at this site over 18 years and one month after being banded (EA 1999e) and three birds recaptured in Victoria which were at least 16 years old (Minton et al. 2001a).

This species forages mainly on invertebrates, including worms, molluscs, crustaceans, and insects, as well as seeds. Outside Australia, they also forage on shrimp, crabs and small fish. Curlew Sandpipers usually forage in water, near the shore or on bare wet mud at the edge of wetlands. On wet mud they forage by pecking and probing. They probe in shallow water, and jab at the edge of the water where a film of water remains on the sand. They glean from mud, from the surface of water, or in drier areas above the edge of the water. For a 'jab' less than half the length of the bill is inserted into the substrate; a probe is performed with a slightly open bill inserted to its full length. Curlew Sandpipers may wade up to the belly, often with their heads submerged while probing. They often forage in mixed flocks (Dann 1999b), including with Red-necked Stints (Calidris ruficollis).

The diet of the Curlew Sandpiper includes (Barker & Vestjens 1989; Higgins & Davies 1996; Dann 1999b):

  • Plants (Ruppia seeds)
  • Annelid worms: Ceratonereis eurythraeensis, Nereis caudata
  • Molluscs: Kelliidae
  • Gastropods: Rissoidae, Cerithiidae, Fossaridae, Polinices sp., Salinator fragilis, Hydrococcidae, Hydrobiidae, Assiminea brazieri, A. tasmanica
  • Crustaceans: Cymadusa sp., Paracorophium sp., Brachyurans; Sentinel Crab (Macrophthalamus latifrons)
  • Insects: Diptera (Stratiomyidae, Chironomidae), adults, larvae and pupae
  • Larvae (of Coleoptera, Dytiscidae and Scarabaeidae)
  • Lepidoptera
The Curlew Sandpiper has also been recorded consuming grit.
In tidal waters, on the outgoing tide, the birds move onto the most recently exposed parts of the tidal flats until low tide when they disperse widely. On the rising tide, the flocks remain in areas close to the water's edge until these areas are covered and then retreat in stages rather than moving continuously as they do on the outgoing tide. Occasionally, individuals feed at high tide near the roost, along stretches of sandy beach where piles of decomposing vegetation are scattered in the high-tide zone. Supratidal feeding mainly occurs during the pre-migratory fattening periods (February-April) (Dann 1999a).

Migration patterns
This species is migratory. Overlapping breeding grounds occur in Siberia, and populations move south to widely different non-breeding areas which generally occur south of 35° N. Most birds migrate south via the western route, probably overland across Siberia and China, and south Asia. The northern migration occurs much further east, mainly along the south-east and east coasts of China, where staging occurs, then continue overland to breeding areas (Higgins & Davies 1996).

Timing of migration
Males depart breeding grounds during early July, followed by females in July and early August, then juveniles in August, with juveniles usually then arriving in non-breeding range later than adults. The main south passage overland includes the Aleutian Islands, west Alaska and along Pacific coast of North America, and south to California, with fewer birds occurring in the Pacific Ocean, far-eastern Siberia, Japan, Korea or east and south coasts of China. They cross Russia during July till late October, and pass through Mongolia, with a few records from inland Asia. They reach the Asian coast on a broad front between India and China in August. Small numbers pass through Burma and Hong Kong during August-October. Adults pass through the Inner Gulf of Thailand during August, with a second influx, probably mainly juveniles, in late October and early November. Thousands pass over the west coast of Malaysia and arrive in Singapore in July and August. They also pass through, though may be irregular or uncommon in, the Philippines, south Sulawesi, Sumatra, Java, Bali, and western Micronesia, during August-September. They are regular in small numbers on passage through southern New Guinea, and in the Port Moresby district they arrive as early as late August. Adults are capable of flying non-stop to Australia from Hong Kong and Singapore. They reach the northern shores of Australia in late August and early September (Higgins & Davies 1996; Minton 1996).

After a stopover in northern Australia migration continues on a direct route to south-east Australia, the first birds arriving in late August, but the majority not until September. Some birds are also thought to move through the Gulf of Carpentaria to east and south-east Australia, with records from coastal Queensland and NSW. Some, occasionally hundreds, pass through north-east South Australia during late August to early December, and small numbers occur regularly in south-west NSW from early August. Some birds also move from north-west Australia, south to southern Western Australia, sometimes arriving in coastal south-western Western Australia as early as August, with small numbers also passing through Eyre, south-eastern Western Australia, mainly during August-November. Birds may return to the same non-breeding sites each year (Higgins & Davies 1996; Minton 1996).

The return north begins in March, the northern route being further to the east than the southern route. Sightings of colour-marked birds, and influx at inland sites in south-eastern. Australia in April, suggest some passage occurs through inland areas, and at least some birds from south-eastern Australia move to north-west Australia before leaving the mainland. Curlew Sandpipers leave coastal sites in east Queensland between mid-January and mid-April, with a possible passage along the north-east coast. They migrate north on a broad front, with fewer occurring in north-west Australia than on the southern migration. Many, mostly young birds, stay in non-breeding areas during breeding season (Higgins & Davies 1996). Birds pass through New Guinea in early April to mid-May, and Bali and Sumatra during March-April. Small numbers pass through Brunei, Borneo, during mid-February to May, with large numbers passing through the Philippines during March-April. The birds depart Singapore during early March, passing through Malaysia during March-April. They move through the Inner Gulf of Thailand during late March-May and depart Burma during May. They occur along coastal China mainly during mid-April to mid-May and occur in Hong Kong between early April and mid-May. Few pass through Korea, Japan and Sakhalin during April-May. They first arrive in Chukotka region, Russia, during late in May or early June (Higgins & Davies 1996; Minton 1996). There are many recoveries and sightings of banded birds that show these migration routes and stopovers (C. Minton 2002, pers. comm.).

Birds banded in Australia have been recovered in upper Yenisey River and Daursky Nature Reserve, Russia, south India, Tanggu near Tianjin, many in Hong Kong, in China, Pu-tai, Chiayi and Cheng-his-li, Tainan City, Taiwan, south Vietnam, Gulf of Thailand and Java (Higgins & Davies 1996; Minton & Jessop 1999a, b). Long distance recoveries include birds banded in Victoria being recovered in Russia, at Yakutia, Verkhoyanskiy District, 11 812 km north of the banding site (EA 1999e), on the northern extremity of the breeding range and well to the west, on the Taimyr Peninsula, over 13 000 km from its banding location (Minton 1996), and in China and Hong Kong (Minton 1991).

This species is distinct, with its combination of small size, slim build, long decurved black bill, and long black legs. However, it may be confused with the Dunlin (Calidris alpina) as they are very similar in size and shape. They may also be confused, but less so, with the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (Calidris acuminata) as they are also similar in size, and breeding plumage, and the adult is similar to the breeding Red Knot (Calidris canutus). In non-breeding and juvenile plumages, they can also be confused with non-breeding and juvenile White-rumped Sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis), and in non-breeding plumages can be confused with non-breeding Dunlin (Higgins & Davies 1996).

There has been a very widespread and large population decline in southern Australia since the 1980s, probably due to threats in breeding areas that are outside Australia. In non-breeding grounds in Australia, this species mostly occurs in highly populated areas and is therefore vulnerable to possible habitat alteration. It is necessary to maintain undisturbed feeding and roosting habitat along the south-east coast and at sites on the north-west coasts used during migration for the species to survive at current population levels (Lane 1987; Gosbell et al. 2002).

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 200 cm sea level rise (Iwamura et al. 2013).

"The Shorebird Community occurring on the relict tidal delta sands at Taren Point", listed as an endangered ecological community in NSW (NSW DECC 2005d), is threatened by the following processes:

  • Loss of feeding and roosting habitat
  • Fragmentation or isolation of sites within feeding areas resulting in decreasing abundance
  • Human disturbance at roost and feeding sites
  • Disturbance by dogs at roost and feeding sites
  • Pollution.

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

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; Harding et al. 1999; Straw 1992a, 1999).

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 East Asian-Australasian Shorebird Site Network (DEWHA 2007e).

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:

  • 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.

    The NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change (2005d) lists recovery actions recommend for the conservation of the NSW listed Ecological Community "The Shorebird Community occurring on the relict tidal delta sands at Taren Point".

  • 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 Curlew Sandpiper 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 Curlew Sandpiper 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 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
    Residential and Commercial Development:Residential and Commercial Development:Habitat modification (clearance and degradation) due to urban development Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds (Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH), 2006f) [Wildlife Conservation Plan].

    Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (AGDEH) (2005c). Background Paper to the Wildlife Conservation Plan for Migratory Shorebirds. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment and Heritage. Available from:

    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:

    Bamford M., D. Watkins, W. Bancroft, G. Tischler & J. Wahl (2008). Migratory Shorebirds of the East Asian - Australasian Flyway: Population estimates and internationally important sites. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Wetlands International-Oceania. Available from:

    Barker, R.D. & W.J.M. Vestjens (1989). The Food of Australian Birds. 1 Non-Passerines. Lyneham, ACT: CSIRO.

    Barrett, G., A. Silcocks, R. Cunningham & R. Poulter (2002). Comparison of Atlas 1 (1977-1981) and Atlas 2 (1998-2001): Supplementary Report No. 1. Melbourne: Birds Australia, report for Natural Heritage Trust.

    BirdLife International (2008). Curlew Sandpiper - species factsheet. [Online]. BirdLife International. Available from:

    Christidis, L. & W.E. Boles (2008). Systematics and Taxonomy of Australian Birds. Collingwood, Victoria: CSIRO Publishing.

    Dann, P. (1999a). Feeding periods and supratidal feeding of Red-necked Stints and Curlew Sandpipers in Western Port, Victoria. Emu. 99:218-222.

    Dann, P. (1999b). Foraging behaviour and diets of Red-necked Stints and Curlew Sandpipers in south-eastern Australia. Wildlife Research. 27:61-68.

    Dening, J. (2005). Roost management in south-East Queensland: building partnerships to replace lost habitat. 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. Page(s) 94-96. Sydney, NSW. Wetlands International Global Series 18, International Wader Studies 17.

    Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2007e). Migratory Waterbirds Information Page, Departmental Website. [Online]. Available from:

    Environment Australia (EA) (1999e). Australia's national report for the tenth JAMBA and fourth CAMBA consultative meetings, 1999. [Online]. Environment Australia. Available from:

    Gosbell, K, P. Collins & M. Christie (2002). Wader Surveys in the Coorong & S.E. Coastal Lakes February 2002. Australasian Wader Studies Group.

    Gosbell, K. & R. Clemens (2006). Population monitoring in Australia: some insights after 25 years and future directions. Stilt. 50:162-175.

    Harding, J., S. Harding & P. Driscoll (1999). Empire Point Roost: a purpose built roost site for waders. Stilt. 34:46-50.

    Hayman, P., J. Marchant & T. Prater (1986). Shorebirds. An identification guide to the waders of the world. London & Sydney: Croom Helm.

    Higgins, P.J. & S.J.J.F. Davies, eds (1996). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume Three - Snipe to Pigeons. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

    Iwamura, T., H.P. Possingham, I. Chades, C. Minton, N.J. Murray, D.I. Rogers, E.A. Treml & R.A. Fuller (2013). Migratory connectivity magnifies the consequences of habitat loss from sea-level rise for shorebird populations. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

    Johnsgard, P.A. (1981). The Plovers, Sandpipers and Snipes of the World. Lincoln: Nebraska Press.

    Lane, B.A. (1987). Shorebirds in Australia. Sydney, NSW: Reed.

    Leishman, A. (2008). Elapsed Time and Distance Records. [Online]. Australian Bird Study Association. Available from:

    McCarthy, E.M. (2006). Handbook of Avian Hybrids of the World. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Minton, C. (1991). Victorian Wader Study Group Highlights. Stilt. 18:10.

    Minton, C. (1996). Analysis of overseas movements of Red-necked Stints and Curlew Sandpipers. Victorian Wader Study Group Bulletin. 20:39-43.

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    Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Calidris ferruginea in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Wed, 3 Sep 2014 07:55:36 +1000.