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Long-distance Aussie travellers under threat

Eastern Curlew with crab prey
Catastrophic recent declines in populations of the curlew sandpiper and eastern curlew (pictured) have resulted in their nomination for threatened status, based on work led by researchers at the NERP Environmental Decisions Hub.

“The curlew sandpiper and eastern curlew both migrate from Australia each year to Arctic Russia where they breed, stopping off in China, Korea and other East Asian countries to refuel along the way.

“These amazing migrations are among the most awe-inspiring journeys of the natural world, with birds covering tens of thousands of kilometres each year,” says Dr Richard Fuller. One bird, banded in Victoria, was next reported from Yakutyia in Siberia, 11,812 kms distant.

EasternCurlew MigrationRoute v6-01

“However populations of these great travellers have crashed, with drops in numbers over the past 20 years of more than 75% for the curlew sandpiper, and 68% for the eastern curlew”, says Dr Fuller.

“This is a devastating loss for species that were once quite common.” ...read more

 

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Figures for habitat loss in the Yellow Sea are published at http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/130260

Visit the Fuller Lab: http://www.fullerlab.org

Download full-resolution photos: 

Eastern Curlew (Photo by Dean Ingwersen)
2.6MB, 3540 x 2360 px

Eastern Curlew migration route
1.1MB, 1148 x 2123 px