Image: Andrew Reding
Community type

Tidal flats

Habitat type

Saltmarsh and tidal flats

Whimbrel belongs to a group of birds known as shorebirds, or waders. There are over 30 species of wader in the Derwent estuary during summer, but most are migratory leaving in late summer to return to their breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere. Whimbrels are an example of a migratory wader. They undertake enormous flights from their breeding grounds in eastern Russia and Iceland. Many thousands of whimbrel arrive in Australia each summer following the East Asia-Australian Flyway. Because Tasmania and the Derwent estuary is so far south we only a small proportion of the population visit each summer. Whimbrels are found mainly on the coast, on tidal and estuarine mudflats, and sometimes on beaches and rocky coastline. They are a fairly large wader with long legs and neck. They feed on intertidal mudflats by day and night, and eat worms (polycheates), crustaceans and occasionally fish.

Much of the text within the species area of our website was written by Veronica Thorpe, as part of the Derwent River Wildlife Guide (2000).

The DEP has developed a variety of classroom and outdoor activities focused around the key estuary habitats of tidal wetlands, salt marshes and rocky reefs. These include classroom materials, online resources, interpretive walks, games and sensory experiences.