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Waders, Waterfowl, Rails, Gulls and their Allies Photographed in Wetland and Coastal Habitat

This the second grouping of wetland and coastal habitat birds and feature images of waders, gulls, terns, waterfowl, rails and coots. Many of the species are widely distributed while other species and subspecies are native to one region or are country endemic. Waders are known as shorebirds in North America where waders refer to long legged wading birds such herons.


Eight highlight images from five wader families from the Charadriiformes order are shown in the galley. These are small to large sized birds, for more images of these and other species see the waders' sub-webpage. Featured families:

(a) Jacana (Jacanidae family) are found in tropical regions, the species was photographed at La Vaga lakes in Trinidad where it was feeding on insects in the vegetation.

(b) Two New Zealand endemic species of Oystercatcher (Haematopodidae family); the variable (Himantopus himantopus) and South Island pied (Haematopus finschi) are featured, the latter is not recognised as a species by Birdlife International (Ref 2). They are found on coasts where they feed on molluscs, bivalves and crustaceans and inland on worms.

(c) I photographed the crab plover (Charadriidae family) on the beach in the Seychelles where it eats its preferred food - crabs.

(d) Sandpipers and snipes (Scolopacidae family) with nearly one-hundred species is the larger family of waders. Images of three species photographed in New Zealand, Seychelles and Trinidad. This family of birds mainly eat invertebrate from the mud and sand.

(e) Black-winged stilt (Recurvirostridae family) photographed in New Zealand where it was feeding on aquatic insects at Papanui Inlet.

Image Highlights of Waders, Charadriiformes order

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers) family

South Island Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus finschi)

Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor)

Jacanidae (Jacanas) family

Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana)

Charadriidae (Plover) family

Crab Plover (Dromas ardeola)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers, Snipes) family

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius)

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

Recurvirostridae (Stilts) family

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Gulls and their Allies

Gulls, terns and skimmers (Laridae) family are part of the Charadriiformes order of birds. The gallery features two Australian and two New World species; red-billed gull, kelp gull, arctic herring gull and laughing gull. The diet of these medium to larger birds includes fish and invertebrates and most gull species habitat is coastal with some found in inland wetlands and arable areas. A few species like the European Herring Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull also inhabit urban areas.

The red-billed gull (Chroicocephalus scopulinus) is not recognised as a species by Bird Life International (Ref 2).

Image Highlights of Gulls and Terns, Charadriiformes order

Laridae (Gulls and Terns) family

Aortic Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus)

Kelp Gull (Larus dominicanus)

Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla)

Red-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus scopulinus)


The gallery features four Australasian species of waterfowl; New Zealand scaup or black teal, brown teal, Australian shoveler and paradise shelduck. Waterfowl are medium to large birds that includes ducks, geese and swans (Anatidae) family from the Anseriformes order of birds. Most, if not all, species inhabit inland wetlands and depending on species can be found in coastal, pasture, arable, urban areas and even in forest and savanna. They feed on a very wide range of foods including fish, aquatic and terrestrial; plants, insects, amphibians, worms, molluscs, seeds and grain. More species are featured in the waterfowl, rails and coots' webpage.

Image Highlights of Waterfowl, Anseriformes order

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, Swans) family

Australian Shoveler (Spatula rhynchotis)

New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae)

Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegate)

Brown Teal (Anas chlorotis) [NT] recovering from [EN 2012]

Rails and Coots

Rails and coots (Rallidae family) are small to medium sized birds from the Gruiformes order. The gallery features four images, three photographed in Australasian region and one in Singapore. This species feed on invertebrates, seeds and fruit and like waterfowl most inhabit inland wetlands and depending on species can be found in coastal, arable, pastureland, grassland, with some in forest and shrubland environments.

The Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio) was split into six species (Sibley and Monroe) but the split has not been adopted by Birdlife International (Ref 2), therefore the Australasian Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus) is not recognised by them.  More species of rails and coot species are featured in the waterfowl, rails and coot webpage.

Image Highlights of Rails and Coots, Gruiformes order

Rallidae (Rails and Coots) family

Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus)

Tasmanian Native-hen (Tribonyx mortierii)

White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Weka (Gallirallus australis) [VU]

Bird taxonomy

Seems to be a moving feast and a coherent approach to identification and classification is difficult. The resources I use for include several authoritative websites and databases; these as referenced in taxonomic classification section on my wildlife web page.


IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature

IUCN Red List Category: [EN] Endangered, [VU] Vulnerable, [NT] Near Threatened.

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus), Papanui Inlet, Otago Peninsula, New Zealand, 2015 Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus), Anse Bazarca Beach, Seychelles, 2011 South Island Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus finschi), Stewart Island, Southland, New Zealand, 2015 Variable Oystercatcher (Haematopus unicolor), Surat Bay Scenic Reserve, Otago, New Zeeland, 2015 Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), Anse Bazarca Beach, Seychelles, 2012 Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius), Grande Riviere, Trinidad, 2015 Crab Plover (Dromas ardeola), Anse Bazarca Beach, Seychelles, 2012 Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana), La Vaga Lakes, Trinidad, 2015 Arctic Herring Gull (Larus smithsonianus), Vancouver, Canada, 2009 Red-billed Gull (Chroicocephalus scopulinus), Surat Bay Scenic Reserve, Otago, New Zealand, 2015 Laughing Gull (Larus atricilla), Waterloo Orange Valley Mud Flats, Trinidad, 2015 Southern Black-backed Gull (Larus dominicanus), Bay of Islands, Northland, New Zealand, 2012 New Zealand Scaup (Aythya novaeseelandiae), Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2015 Brown Teal (Anas chlorotis), Travis Wetland, Christchurch, New Zealand, 2015 Australian Shoveler (Spatula rhynchotis), Stewart Island, Southland, New Zealand, 2015 Paradise Shelduck (Tadorna variegate), Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Canterbury, New Zealand, 2012 Weka (Gallirallus australis), with worm, Bellbird walk, Lake Mahinapua, West Coast, New Zealand, 2015 White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus), Sundial Garden, Botanic Gardens, Singapore, 2015 Tasmanian Native-hen (Tribonyx mortierii), Ronny Creek, Cradle Mountain National Park, Tasmania Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus), Farewell Spit, Tasman, New Zealand, 2015


Red Knot (Calidris canutus), Breeding and Non-breeding plumage, beach at Kawakawa Bay, South Auckland, New Zealand, 2012 Gulls and Dusky Dolphins, Kaikoura Pelagic, New Zealand, 2015 Waterfowl & Rails