Over 700 native animals have been recorded on the Sunshine Coast. This includes a large range of:
- monotremes (mammals that lay eggs)
- whales and dolphins.
The following table shows the numbers of species in each classification found on the coast.
|Classification of species||No. recorded on the Coast|
(Source: Wildlife Online, Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, 2012).
Some of these species are only found on the Sunshine Coast. The region has many plants and habitats that attract native animals. They use them to feed, shelter and breed.
Over 300 native birds have been recorded here. This is around one third of Australia's bird species. Some of these are shorebirds. They migrate from their winter breeding grounds in arctic Asia, Alaska and the North Pacific to the foreshores of the Maroochy River and Pumicestone Passage.
Council has made a list of significant animals on the Sunshine Coast (PDF, 551KB). In total, 198 native animals have been classified 'significant' because they:
- are threatened by extinction
- are not found anywhere else in the world
- are not found either north or south of the Coast
- have a specific cultural heritage.
Threats to native animals
Despite the range of native animals, the coast’s biodiversity is declining. The biggest threats are:
- vegetation clearing, habitat loss and divided habitats
- urbanisation, for example, housing development and roads
- pest species, such as cane toads, foxes, wild dogs and feral cats.
Vegetation clearing and habitat loss
All land clearing causes habitat loss, but large developments can destroy natural ecosystems. For example, possums, reptiles and birds rely on tree hollows for shelter and nesting. A tree must be around 100 years old before it can form hollows. This makes remaining native bushland critical for the survival of hollow-dependent animals.
To construct roads, fences and power lines, trees and plants must be cleared. This creates smaller, more divided patches of habitat dotted across the land. As a result, car strikes and dog attacks are major causes of death and injury as native animals are forced to cross roads and backyards.
Introduced pest animals make it much more difficult for native animals to survive. They spread diseases and prey on native wildlife. They often out-compete native animals for food and shelter. Domestic animals kill native animals such as koalas, possums and reptiles.
How you can help
Get involved in native animal conservation. A great way to learn about the coast's native animals is to identify the species that you spot, and observe their behaviour. You can join a wildlife conservation group or find out which organisations care for injured wildlife.
Go bird watching in your backyard, or further:
- backyard birds of the Sunshine Coast fact sheet (PDF, 937KB)
- selection of Sunshine Coast birds fact sheet part 1 (PDF, 4466KB)
- selection of Sunshine Coast birds fact sheet part 2 (PDF, 3615KB)
- shorebirds, gulls and terns of SEQ identification guide (PDF, 5027KB)
- waterbirds and raptors of coastal SEQ identification guide pages 1–41 (PDF, 3720KB)
- waterbirds and raptors of coastal SEQ identification guide pages 42–70 (PDF, 3559KB).
Learn about your backyard biodiversity:
The Birds in Backyards website has clips of bird calls.
Join a wildlife conservation group:
- Turtle Care Sunshine Coast
- Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland
- Fauna Watch
- Wildlife QLD
- Queensland Frog Society
- Glossy Black-Cockatoo Conservancy
- Richmond Birdwing Butterfly.
The Wildlife QLD website will help manage suburban wildlife.
Organisations who care for:
For more information, contact council.