Conservation assessment of the Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris


116 – 128

26 August 14

Iain R. Taylor, Mike Newman, Pricilla Park, Birgita Hansen, Clive D.T. Minton, Annette Harrison, Rosalind Jessop

Iain Taylor
Institute for Land, Water and Society, School of Environmental Sciences, Charles Sturt University, PO Box 789, Albury, NSW 2640, Australia


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The Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris is restricted to Australia, Southern New Guinea and the Aru Islands. Within Australia the highest densities are in the southern, temperate climate states of  Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia; significant populations also occur in subtropical and tropical areas of Queensland, Northern Territory and northern Western Australia. The coasts of New South Wales and most of Western Australia support low densities. Population sizes in New Guinea and Aru Islands are unknown. In the first decade of the 21st century, population size in Australia is probably in the order of 12,000–14,000 individuals and 4,000–5,000 breeding pairs. A thorough, comprehensive, nationwide assessment of population size is needed to confirm this. There is no evidence of recent declines in the most important parts of the range in Tasmania or Victoria but the northern New South Wales population is in decline. The IUCN conservation status of the species is Least Concern. The main current and potential threats include coastal development, habitat loss, human recreation disturbance, fox predation, clam harvesting, kelp harvesting from sandy shores and rising sea levels with an increased incidence of storm surges associated with global climate change. The species has been much less well studied than the Eurasian Oystercatcher with many aspects of its ecology poorly understood. More detailed research is needed into almost all aspects of the species’ population ecology, but in particular, into survival and the factors that affect it.