Murrakool area Painted Snipe & Bittern Survey Project

Partnership between farming & community groups.

Murrakool area Painted Snipe & Bittern Survey Project

Partnership between farming & community groups.

Taking Action -


The issue

The Australasian Bittern and Australian Panted Snipe are both globally and nationally listed endangered wetland birds. Both species move between habitats in a range of distant locations and are difficult to identify. With the number of skilled bird watchers limited and their ability to survey all potential habitats limited by time and cost there is a need to raise awareness and improve the skills of community members to monitor these species. This will assist in understanding their populations and their habitat requirements and ultimately recovery of their populations.

The solution

The solution was to hold a field day with Wetland Ecologist Matt Herring, on a Tullakool property that provides both rice and irrigation habitat suitable for both Australian Painted Snipe and Australasian Bitterns. The property had previously recorded Snipe Breeding as well.

Participants were shown how to identify these birds and then taken for a field walk where they were shown binocular skills and assisted to view Bitterns and a range of water bird species.

In addition to the field day 2 rounds of random surveys of rice crops were completed providing new population data for Australasian Bitterns in this area.

The impact

The information gathered on the Australasian Bittern and Australian Panted Snipe was used to assist in their population recovery by building on the findings of the Bitterns in Rice project and the Birdlife Australia’s Painted Snipe Project. In addition the community awareness and education is providing ongoing reports of sightings to these projects.

A highlight of the event included hearing a Bittern booming and seeing an Australasian Bittern. Viewing and assisting Matt Herring in sampling invertebrates. Species sampled included "Spotted Marsh Frog, Barking Marsh Frog and Plains Froglets, which are common species found in the region". Matt noted that “that rice crops provide significant habitat”.

The event was considered by some as a great demonstration of habitat provision in the productive-farming landscape.

Key facts

  • 50 participants.
  • Bird watching Session.
  • The primary and secondary school aged children enjoyed the practical portion of the event.
  • Supported by Murray Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Project Partners