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Lake Wollumboola is renowned for the diversity of birdlife it supports, with over 100 species, as well as large numbers with up to 20,000 individual birds counted on occasions when lake levels are low. The diversity of habitats for feeding, breeding, roosting and shelter is extraordinary.

All year round you are likely to see tiny Red-capped Plovers on the sandbar, water birds including Black Swan, and Chestnut Teal, Eurasian Coot, Egrets, fish-eating birds such as Cormorants and Raptors including the White-bellied Sea Eagle.

During spring and summer, migratory shorebirds such as the Little Tern and waders, including Bar-tailed Godwits and Curlew Sandpipers visit, especially when Lake water levels are low.

The Gallery includes photos of bird species including, Shorebirds, Coastal and Seabirds, Water birds and Raptors. View our “Birds of Lake Wollumboola” brochure-also ”Birds of Lake Wollumboola” at http:/

Species listed as “Threatened” under Australian Government or NSW Government legislation are indicated by “T.”


Little Tern courtship (T)

The migratory Little Terns often nest during summer on the sand bar in large colonies. Each pair lays 1-3 perfectly camouflaged eggs in a shallow scrape in the sand and shell grit. The eggs take three weeks to hatch, with chicks taking three weeks before flying.

Little Tern chick

Pied Oyster Catcher (T)

Pied Oyster Catchers are a native shorebird present at Lake Wollumboola year-round with 1-2 pairs nesting on the sand bar area during summer. They are easily identified with their distinctive black and white plumage, red bill and legs as they feed and roost.

Fairy Tern (T)

Red-capped Plover

The Red-capped Plover a native species is the smallest of the lake’s nesting shorebirds. It is present all year. The adults and chicks feed on insects and other organisms they find in the sand. The chicks can run and feed themselves as soon as they hatch.

Red Cap Plover chicks – seaweed flies

Migratory wading shorebirds

34 species of migratory shorebirds depend on Lake Wollumboola. Bring your binoculars to see these extraordinary birds that fly approximately 20,000 kilometres in a round trip each year from the Arctic to the lake and other Australian wetlands and return. The East Asian Australasian Flyway indicates their routes and feeding stopovers.

Red Knots in flight

Bar-tailed Godwit flock

Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

White-rumped Sandpiper

Lake Wollumboola has also provided temporary homes for rare bird species that would usually migrate from Canada to South America. In summers of 2014-15 the White-rumped Sandpiper and in 2015-16 the Hudsonian Godwit enthralled bird observers from all over Australia.

Double-banded Plover

Bar-tailed Godwit. (T)

The migratory Bar-tailed Godwit is an amazing species. They gather in large flocks in the lake shallows, probing with their long pink bills to find small crustaceans and worms, or roost on mudflats while they fatten up for their journey north to breed. One female was recorded as making an eight-day non-stop migration flight from Alaska to New Zealand! Younger birds spend their first two years along Australia’s south east coast, including at Lake Wollumboola before migrating north.

Black-tailed Godwit (T)

Eastern Curlew (T)

Terek Sandpiper (T)

Lesser Sand Plover (T)

Curlew Sandpiper (T)

Red-necked Stints

The Red-necked Stints are the smallest of the migratory birds, yet flocks of these tiny birds fly huge distances from Siberia to Australia and return. See them snoozing on the sand bar during summer and frantically feeding along the Lake shore, often with Red-capped Plovers.

You can find more information about migratory birds in Australia here:

Satellite tracking of 16 Bar-tailed Godwit: East Asian Australasian Flyway  (

Coastal and Seabirds

Pelican gathering

Great, Little Pied, Little Back Cormorants

Crested Tern

Crested Tern in conversation

Caspian Tern

Water birds

Water birds enjoy a range of wetland habitats at the lake. Their presence is influenced by lake water levels and lake conditions as well as by wetland conditions across eastern Australia.

Swans drinking fresh water

Chestnut Teal family

Teal flock

Royal Spoonbill

Red-necked Avocet

Hoary Headed Grebes

Great Egret

Black-winged Stilts

Eurasian Coot


Whistling Kite

Juvenile White-bellied Sea Eagle

Black-shouldered Kite


  • Keating J. and Pegler J. “Patterns of Waterbird Assemblages in Lake Wollumboola” NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service South Coast Region July 2003
  • Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act including Protected Matters under JAMBA, CAMBA and ROKAMBA
  • NSW Threatened Species Conservation Act.
  • South Coast Regional Conservation Plan 2010 (DECCW)