Hooded Plover Project

The Hooded Plover Project aims to increase the breeding success of hooded plover populations in northern Tasmania and to prevent further decline of these populations at sites where management actions have been implemented, compared with baseline data.

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Volunteers installing protective fencing around a hooded plover nest site at Blanche Beach. Bird Life Australia research has shown that protective fencing improves nesting success of hooded plover.


The project will establish baseline data on hooded plover breeding population size and distribution, with a focus on Flinders Island and the east coast of Tasmania, to support planning of future on-ground actions. Safeguarding nesting sites by installing protective fencing in areas known to be vulnerable to human disturbance, engaging with the community to increase awareness of these vulnerable birds and managing coastal weeds in known breeding areas will improve nesting habitat and breeding attempts.


Hooded plover are a small, beach-nesting bird with a remaining estimated population size of only 3,000 individuals in the wild. There has been a continuous decline in their habitat, as well as in the number of mature hooded plover (eastern) individuals, particularly of mainland Australian populations.

Tasmania is believed to be home to approximately half of the remaining population of hooded plover (eastern), with approximately 20% of known individuals occurring in north-eastern Tasmania and up to half of these occurring in the Furneaux Islands.

Key feeding and nesting habitat consist mainly of ocean beaches backed by dunes, however, hooded plover also feed in saltmarshes, estuaries, coastal lagoons, and mudflats. Nesting occurs predominantly on flat sandy beaches above the high tide mark, or sparsely vegetated dunes. Marine debris, invasive weeds, rising sea levels, and extreme weather threaten this nesting habitat – however, the larger threat to the nests is disturbance or destruction by people, dogs, stock, and vehicles on the beach.

Research conducted by Birdlife Australia has shown that installing protective fencing around nest sites of hooded plovers is effective in mitigating the risk of disturbance or destruction by human activities on beaches. This protection has been observed to improve the nesting success of those areas that are protected, resulting in more chicks successfully fledging.

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Hooded plovers have distinctive black and red markings as adults.  Image: Kim Wormald lirralirra.com

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Camouflaged juvenile hooded plovers. Image: Kim Wormald lirralirra.com

'Hooded plover can be very hard to spot – especially chicks and fledglings! Keeping off the dry sand to avoid disturbing these vulnerable birds is crucial throughout the breeding season (September – April).'


The Hooded Plover Project will survey beaches of eastern Tasmania and Flinders Island for hooded plover breeding pairs and install temporary fencing, signage and monitor nesting locations, where nesting hooded plover are likely to be at high risk of disturbance. Control of coastal weeds will be facilitated through the engagement of community volunteers and contractors.

Delivery of the project will:

  • support community volunteers in the larapuna/Bay of Fires area to keep the area free of sea spurge;
  • map and control weed locations, engaging weed management contractor/s where necessary;
  • employ work crews, including an Aboriginal Ranger team, to map and control sea spurge and Cape Beach Daisy (Arctotheca populifolia) along the coastline of Flinders Island;
  • educate the community and raise awareness of threats to hooded plover and protection strategies through temporary beach signage, one-on-one consultation, school programs, events, and digital communications; and
  • conduct social surveys of knowledge and attitudes towards beach use to provide baseline data for current and future work.

Hooded Plover Project focus area

Data and monitoring will be undertaken on Flinders Island and along Tasmania's east coast.


It is best to stay off the dry sand where hooded plovers are more likely to be nesting when recreating at the beach.

How Can You Help?

There are plenty of ways that you can help to protect and enhance the breeding population of hooded plover in north-eastern Tasmania!

Hooded plovers are most vulnerable during the breeding season, which occurs from September to April each year. During this time, both adults and chicks can become disturbed and distressed by beach activities – especially those occurring on the dry sand.

During summer, it is essential that all beachgoers follow the golden rules for protecting beach-nesting birds, including hooded plovers:

  1. Walk, run, and relax on the harder sand below the high-tide mark – stay off the dry sand where hooded plovers are more likely to be nesting.
  2. Keep dogs on a leash to prevent them from disturbing or crushing nests underfoot in the dry sand.
  3. Keep vehicles off the beach – it’s almost impossible to spot a hooded plover egg while walking on the beach, and even harder from a vehicle! The safest option is to keep vehicles off the beach during the crucial breeding season.

Get Involved

Please feel free to share your hooded plover sightings details or express your interest in participating with the Hooded Plover Project at admin@nrmnorth.org.au.

Invasive weeds such as sea spurge also pose a threat to hooded plover by reducing suitable nesting habitat. In the off-season, local volunteer groups roll up their sleeves to tackle the weeds with community weed management days. Email us at admin@nrmnorth.org.au for information on any upcoming weeding days or join your local Landcare program.

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Sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias) is one of the most prolific coastal weeds in Tasmania which impacts shorebird habitats.


This project is supported by NRM North, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. It is delivered in partnership with Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service and Birdlife Australia.


This project is supported by NRM North, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. It is delivered in partnership with Tasmania Parks & Wildlife Service and Birdlife Australia.