Hooded plovers (Thinornis rubicollis), or ‘hoodies’ as they are affectionately known, are a small beach nesting shorebird, with a distinctive black hood and throat. Despite hooded plovers being widespread around the entire KI coastline the species is listed nationally as vulnerable, with less than 800 of these birds in South Australia and only 7000 in Australia.
NRKI has worked with the KI Shorebirds Group for several years to undertake a biennial census of the hooded plover population on KI. The last census was completed in November 2016 when 207 hoodies were counted across 73 beaches on the Island – a quarter of the state population. The census data indicate that KI supports a stable population of hooded plovers and future research will focus on how the island population interacts with those on the mainland and in particular the Fleurieu peninsula.
Data collected during the population census is provided to BirdLife Australia, Australia’s largest independent, not-for-profit bird conservation organisation.
Why are hooded plovers under threat?
The beaches which hooded plovers prefer often expose these birds to a multitude of threats including repeated human disturbance, coastal development leading to habitat loss and increased predation from feral, native and domesticated animals. These threats can have detrimental impacts particularly during the spring/summer when increased coastal visitation can result in failed breeding success of these beach nesting birds.
How you can help a hoodie
Everyone can help the plight of the hooded plover by learning to share the beach with these little birds. When enjoying a walk along the beach, walk along the water’s edge avoiding the area above the high tide line, and if walking your dog, please keep it on a leash. If you have to drive on a beach, drive very slowly and not on the soft sand. If you are lucky enough to see a hooded plover do not approach them, instead move away slowly and observe from a distance to minimise disturbance.
How can I get involved?
If you would like to be involved in the hooded plover census, or would like to know how you can help protect this and other beach nesting birds please contact NRKI on 8553 4444, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.