Australia's wetland birds in critical decline

A recent study of Australia’s wetlands has revealed that 81% of resident wading birds have disappeared in just a quarter of a century throughout the mostly inland habitats of eastern Australia. The paper, published in Biological Conservation, reported that agricultural extraction, lack of rainfall, and inadequate water allocation may have caused the steep declines. Scientists from the University of New South Wales undertook aerial surveys of wetlands in eastern Australia between 1983 and 2006. During the monitoring period all resident wading birds declined.

The steepest drop was observed in Banded Lapwing Vanellus tricolor whose population plummeted by 98%. Further significant falls were detected in Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae (-85%), Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus (-80%), and Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles (-69%) more.

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