Migratory bird display flies into South Australian Museum

Date posted: 24 January 2018

Hon Ian Hunter MLC
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation 

A new bird display at the South Australian Museum celebrates the monumental voyage that migratory shorebirds take to reach the safety of the coastline of South Australia each year.

A Global Journey: Migratory Shorebirds on the Adelaide Plains includes an array of bird specimens, imagery and interactive materials.

Narration by Kaurna leader Jeffrey Newchurch explains the connection that the Kaurna people – the First Nation owners of the Adelaide Plains – have continued to hold with the lands and waters of South Australia’s unique environment for thousands of years.

The free display is located on the ground floor of South Australian Museum and is open until Sunday 15 April 2018.


Each year thousands of migratory shorebirds travel record-breaking distances from breeding grounds in the Arctic to reach the safe haven of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary National Park – Winaityinaityi Pangkara (pronounced Wee-nay-chi-nay-chi Pang-ka-ra).

This area provides refuge for both local and migratory birds, and stretches along 50 kilometres of the South Australian coastline from St Kilda to Parham.

The display has been developed through a partnership between the South Australian Museum and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

Quotes attributable to Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter

This display raises awareness about the arduous expedition thousands of migratory shorebirds take each year to reach the safety of the Bird Sanctuary in South Australia.

Winaityinaityi Pangkara is a globally significant site, as it is part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, which as the biggest migratory bird route is used by over five million shorebirds annually.

Visitors to the South Australian Museum can now learn more about this amazing migratory shorebird journey, the vital role of the Bird Sanctuary in global shorebird conservation, and the spiritual and cultural connection of the Kaurna People with the site’s land, waters, plants and animals.

It’s now peak season at the Bird Sanctuary, and I hope that the display will motivate locals and tourists alike to visit and explore the area. People can enjoy bird watching with binoculars, float on a kayak around the mangroves, snorkel underwater or just take a leisurely walk along the shoreline and enjoy this special and protected landscape. 

Quotes attributable to South Australian Museum Director Brian Oldman

The South Australian Museum’s Ornithology Collection is highly prized and includes over 62,000 bird specimens of significant historic and scientific value.

It has the biggest and best global collection of the birds of South Australia, comprising bird skins, whole preserved animals, eggs, nests and samples for DNA and isotope analyses.

This makes the South Australian Museum the perfect location to raise awareness of the vital conservation efforts taking place to protect migratory shorebirds, and highlight the fascinating trek they make across the globe to reach safety on our South Australian shores.