The Eastern Hooded Plover only inhabits ocean beaches, but these sites are also favoured by people for recreation, which threatens Hoodies, especially their camouflaged eggs and chicks. BirdLife Australia is improving Hooded Plover breeding success through research, education and habitat protection
There are about 3000 Hooded Plovers on Australia’s ocean beaches
Hooded Plovers were in severe decline until BirdLife Australia began monitoring and investing in conservation actions at breeding sites
Breeding success is improving: fledging rates at some sites rose from 2% up to 50%
Hooded Plovers nest on the beach or dunes in spring and summer, when they’re impacted by beach recreation: people or their dogs, horses or 4WDs may accidentally crush the camouflaged eggs or chicks, while disturbance of adults leads to eggs overheating, chicks starving and both left vulnerable to predation.
BirdLife Australia has tested and refined different techniques to protect Hoodie nests. The best results come from a combination of regular monitoring, educating the public, appropriate recreational zoning (with signs and regulations) and, on popular beaches, fencing off their nesting sites to give them space to breed.
And the result? Improved hatching rates and chick survival at many sites.
As Hoodies are dispersed along the coast, we can’t reach recovery targets without many helpers, and hundreds of citizen scientists are needed to adopt a pair or a beach, to find and monitor nests.
Our Beach-nesting Birds team recruits, trains, supports and coordinates citizen scientists and site managers to protect at least 250 nesting pairs along the Victorian and South Australian coastline. Interested in becoming a volunteer? Find out more here
More than 600 BirdLife Australia volunteers, plus a dedicated Beach-nesting Birds team, monitor nearly 800 beach sites in south-eastern Australia. Volunteers are part of 13 regional ‘Friends of the Hooded Plover’ groups which assist with delivering Hooded Plover recovery actions. Together they made over 13,000 observations of nesting Hoodies in the 2021–22 breeding season.
Every two years we conduct a simultaneous survey of over 2,400 kilometres of coast – the Hooded Plover Biennial Count – allowing us to track population change. Although early results showed a steep decline in numbers – which led to the Eastern Hooded Plover being listed as threatened under the EPBC Act – more recently, there’s been a genuine halt in their decline. In some areas, particularly in parts of Victoria, their trajectory is trending upward.
The Eastern Hooded Plover projects partners: National Landcare Program, Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority, Green Adelaide, Victorian State Government, Northern and Yorke Landscape Board, West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, Coastcare Victoria, Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board, Parks Victoria, Deakin University, Hills and Fleurieu Landscape Board, Kangaroo Island Landscape Board, Limestone Coast Landscape Board, Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, Barwon Coast Committee of Management, Barwon Water, City of Greater Geelong, Great Ocean Road Coast & Parks Authority, Bass Coast Shire, Phillip Island Nature Parks,Moyne Shire, Alexandrina Council, City of Victor Harbor, District Council of Yankalilla, City of Onkaparinga, City of Marion, City of Holdfast Bay, Yorke Peninsula Council, Kangaroo Island Council, National Parks and Wildlife Service South Australia, National Parks and Wildlife Service New South Wales, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Point Pearce Aboriginal Corporation, Gunditjmara Aboriginal Cooperative Ltd, Cradle Coast Authority, NRM North
Small changes in behaviour can help people and beach-nesting birds live together in harmony. Follow these 6 simple steps to become a bird-friendly beachgoer.
Five Australian shorebirds, and many species of seabirds, rely on coastal habitats for nesting. Loss of coastal habitats and recreational pressures are taking a devastating toll.