Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary

About the Sanctuary

The Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary is being created to help protect resident and migratory shorebirds that gather along the coast of Gulf St Vincent in the north-west of Adelaide. Meet the birds and find out more in this brochure. Our brochure is also available in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

The proposed Bird Sanctuary will cover a 60 kilometre stretch of coast, from the Barker Inlet to the township of Port Parham. This includes sections of the Adelaide Dolphin Sanctuary and Upper Gulf St Vincent Marine Park.

As well as creating a safe haven for migratory and local shorebirds, the Bird Sanctuary will help improve the quality of the water entering the gulf, protect the coastline from the impacts of climate change and provide opportunities for local and international tourism.

Bird watching is a popular hobby around the world and the Bird Sanctuary presents significant economic opportunities for South Australia through sustainable nature-based tourism.

The State Government has committed $1.7 million over four years (2014-18) for the establishment and ongoing maintenance of the Bird Sanctuary. This investment includes establishing a national park for the sanctuary, revegetation works, signage and tourism infrastructure.

Download the Sanctuary attractions map.

The birds

Up to 27,000 migratory and resident shorebirds visit the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary area each year.

The resident shorebirds that visit across Australia include Black swan, Red Capped Plover, Sooty Oystercatcher, Banded Stilt and the Royal Spoonbill

The migratory shorebirds that visit from across the globe include Grey PloverSharp-tailed SandpiperRuddy TurnstoneRed KnotGreat Knot, Curlew SandpiperCommon GreenshankEastern CurlewBar-tailed Godwit and the Red-necked Stint.

Many of these migratory shorebirds travel from as far away as Siberia and Alaska, passing through up to 22 countries as they travel the East Asian-Australasian Flyway to reach the coast of Gulf St Vincent.

Some of these shorebirds are listed as threatened species such as the Curlew Sandpiper, Ruddy Turnstone, Red Knot and Great Knot.  

The creation of the national park for the Bird Sanctuary will ensure these birds have a safe haven for the future.

Where are we at?

Through a new model of community engagement called Collective Impact a management plan is being developed to detail the use of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary. View the Collective’s latest meeting minutes.

The management plan will detail the use of the Bird Sanctuary and national park whilst mitigating activities that may be damaging to the birds and their habitat. The management plan is expected to be released in mid-2017.

Late in 2016, the first section of the new national park for the Bird Sanctuary will be established. This will ensure recreational use of shorebird sensitive areas are monitored to protect native flora and fauna.

The full creation of the national park for the Bird Sanctuary is expected to be complete by late 2017.

Download the Bird Sanctuary project milestones achieved since announced in March 2014 up until January 2016.


Expert workshops

The Bird Sanctuary project team are calling on people with expertise in shorebirds conservation, local economy, global conservation of shorebirds, wellbeing and cultural wellbeing to take part four upcoming workshops.

The four workshops will be held between June and December 2016 to explore what it will take to create a sanctuary for shorebirds. The workshops will aim to define key elements in creating a sanctuary for shorebirds and identify data available plus more.

The first workshop will be held on Thursday, 9 June. Further workshops dates to be confirmed.

To register your interest email with you name, best contact details and area of expertise. Places are limited.

Annual Adelaide Shorebirds Festival

The 2016 Annual Adelaide Shorebirds Festival will be held in the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary on Sunday 30 October. Click here for more details.

The festival celebrates the annual arrival of thousands of migratory birds from around the world to the shores of Gulf St Vincent.

Registrations of interest are open to volunteers, food trucks and stall holders to take part in the event.

Preference will be given to local businesses and people to the Bird Sanctuary area.

To register your interest contact

Have your say

Community meetings

In early 2016 the first round of community consultation was carried out on the northern section of the Bird Sanctuary, between Port Gawler and Port Parham. More than 145 people attended the community meetings and completed an online survey to share their views on the Bird Sanctuary’s northern section.

The southern section of the Bird Sanctuary, between St Kilda and Dry Creek community meetings will be held later in 2016 to discuss usage of Bird Sanctuary. 

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