Tuggerah IBA Special Birds

"IBA birds" are birds that are vulnerable to decline or extinction. They may be vulnerable because they are already threatened. These are birds internationally listed on the world’s Red List of threatened species (http://www.iucnredlist.org/).Some birds are vulnerable because they congregate in huge numbers at single sites. For sites to become IBAs for these species, regardless of where they are in the world, the site has to regularly support at least one per cent of the world’s population of waterbirds, shorebirds (wading birds) or seabirds. Lastly, some species of birds are vulnerable because they are restricted to relatively small areas.

Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater are both nectar-feeding birds that follow the flowering of trees such as gum trees that provide lots of nectar. They move from place to place over parts of south eastern Australia. Because the eucalypts that support them have been heavily cleared for agriculture and urban and coastal development in many areas, these birds are under great threat. The flowering trees in the forests adjacent to the Tuggerah Lakes are a very important stop over resource for these birds and it is critical that the trees and the forest are protected and managed to conserve them. Look for them in the forests around the Tuggerah Lakes when the trees are heavily in flower. Finding one or more of these birds is very special.

The chestnut and green colouring of the male Chestnut Teal is not matched by the more sombre tones of the female but the Tuggerah IBA provides excellent habitat for large numbers of these handsome ducks. Look for them along the water’s edge where they may dabble for seeds, insects and vegetation, or on the water where they dabble for food while swimming in the water, up-end to bottom feed or take food from the surface.

In the southern summer, the Tuggerah IBA is home to large numbers of small birds that regularly fly thousands of kilometres from Australia to breed in the Arctic tundra. A number of species of these tiny migrants regularly visit the Tuggerah IBA, but more than one per cent of the world’s population of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper feeds in the shallow waters of the lakes. Like other wading birds, they feed on water-living insects and their larvae, as well as worms, molluscs, crustaceans and sometimes seeds. Look for them in mixed flocks of wading birds, or shorebirds as they are also known.