Port Stephens Is Home To The Australian Pied Oystercatcher

An Australian Pied Oystercatcher. Photo: Marian Sampson.


PORT Stephens is home to many different species.

One is a very rare bird, the Australian Pied Oystercatcher.

The Port Stephens estuary is an important shorebird habitat with 3,000 birds across 31 different species surveyed in recent years.

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The endangered pied oystercatcher is a local shorebird that breeds in the estuary.

In Summer, many locations like Karuah and Swan Bay become feeding and roosting spots for pied oystercatchers and other migratory shorebirds including bar-tailed godwits and grey-tailed tattlers.

These migratory shorebirds travel up to 25,000 kilometres each year between their breeding grounds in the Arctic to join our local species in the Port.

Port Stephens Council is a member of the Port Stephens Estuary Working Group with Hunter Local Land Services, BirdLife and the NSW Department of Environment.

The aim of the working group is to protect important shorebird habitats and limit threats to shorebirds like dogs and 4WDs.

The NSW Department Planning Industry and Environment tells us to “Look out for bird nesting signs or roped-off nesting areas on the beach and follow the advice.

“Walk your dogs on dog-friendly beaches only and always keep them on a leash, unless you’re on a designated off-leash beach.

“Drive only on designated beaches and keep below the high-tide mark.

“When you’re near a nesting area, stick to the wet sand and give the birds plenty of space.”

The Hunter Bird Observers Club have noted that The Endangered Australian Pied Oystercatcher occurs near undisturbed sandy and shelly shorelines throughout all of Australia and southern New Guinea, where it feeds on small bivalves and worms.

Port Stephens is the main area in NSW in which Australian Pied Oystercatchers accumulate.

In regular summer and winter surveys of Port Stephens, conducted by members of HBOC, Australian Pied Oystercatchers are found to congregate (feeding and roosting) around Dowardee Island.




A pair of Australian Pied Oystercatchers. Photo: Marian Sampson.

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