, Volume 716, Issue 1, pp 131–146 | Cite as

Waterbird use of artificial wetlands in an Australian urban landscape

  • Christopher G. Murray
  • Sabine Kasel
  • Richard H. Loyn
  • Graham Hepworth
  • Andrew J. Hamilton
Primary Research Paper


With the loss of natural wetlands, artificial wetlands are becoming increasingly important as habitat for waterbirds. We investigated the relationships between waterbirds and various biophysical parameters on artificial wetlands in an Australian urban valley. The densities (birds per hectare) of several species were correlated (mostly positively) with wetland area, and correlations were observed between certain species and other physical and water chemistry variables. Waterbird community structure, based on both abundance (birds per wetland) and density data, was most consistently positively correlated with the relative amount of wetland perimeter that was vegetated, surface area, distance to nearest wetland, public accessibility and shoreline irregularity. We also compared the relative use of the two types of urban wetlands, namely urban lakes and stormwater treatment wetlands, and found for both abundance and density that the number of individuals and species did not vary significantly between wetland types but that significant differences were observed for particular species and feeding guilds, with no species or guild being more abundant or found in greater density on an urban lake than a stormwater treatment wetland. Designing wetlands to provide a diversity of habitat will benefit most species.


Artificial wetlands Waterbirds Waterfowl Zooplankton 



William Steele’s initial suggestions for locating the wetlands used in this study and his instigation of the funding by Melbourne Water for the water chemistry analysis are gratefully acknowledged. We also thank Brad Snibson (Ecowise Australia) for his assistance with the water chemistry analyses and Kumar Eliezer (Principal Biologist, Ecowise Australia) for identifying all of the algae to genus level. Anne Michelson and John Ride provided invaluable support during the field work. We thank David Johns for making the Infomap system available and thank Chandra Jayasuriya for assistance with Fig. 1. We thank two anonymous reviewers for comments that improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

10750_2013_1558_MOESM1_ESM.docx (54 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 54 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher G. Murray
    • 1
  • Sabine Kasel
    • 2
  • Richard H. Loyn
    • 3
  • Graham Hepworth
    • 4
  • Andrew J. Hamilton
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Resource Management and Geography, Melbourne School of Land and EnvironmentThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, Melbourne School of Land and EnvironmentThe University of MelbourneRichmondAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Sustainability and EnvironmentArthur Rylah Institute for Environmental ResearchHeidelbergAustralia
  4. 4.Department of Mathematics and StatisticsThe University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  5. 5.Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, Melbourne School of Land and EnvironmentThe University of Melbourne, Dookie Campus Dookie CollegeAustralia

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