Coastal Birds in South Carolina
Erin Weeks/ SCDNR
South Carolina is home to many coastal bird species, including seabirds and shorebirds. Our state plays a vital role in the lives of these species from providing nesting and feeding habitat, to migration stopover and wintering grounds. South Carolina DNR protects areas where these birds roost, nest, feed, and raise their young. At the SCDNR coastal bird program, we monitor population trends, protect nesting and feeding areas, manage and enhance habitat, and conduct research to help coastal bird populations in South Carolina.
Seabirds nest together in large groups on coastal islands and barrier beaches and feed on schooling fish. By nesting in large colonies, seabirds can keep an eye out for predators and can actively defend their nests from unwanted intruders.
Shorebirds appear in many sizes and shapes with bills and legs that vary in length depending on how the shorebird feeds. They prefer to inhabit mudflats or inter-tidal areas, and feed on invertebrates found in the soil. Most shorebirds are migratory, traveling long distances from their breeding grounds to their wintering areas. They are solitary nesters and have camouflaged eggs.
Pelicans, Terns, Gulls, Skimmers, etc.
Diet of Fishes
Defend Nests (dive bomb, call loudly, etc.)
Sandpipers, Plovers, Oystercatchers, etc.
Diet of Invertebrates
Use camouflage and distraction to protect nest
Recent News Releases regarding Coastal Birds in South Carolina
May 10, 2023 - Recent research shows importance of SC islands in migration of threatened red knots
March 30, 2023 - Nesting season has begun for coastal birds on South Carolina islands, beaches
October 11, 2022 - Successful shorebird nesting season on a newly restored Crab Bank
December 1, 2021- Ecosystem restoration project at SCDNR-managed Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary complete
September 13, 2021 - Corps of Engineers, SCDNR announce start of construction for the Crab Bank Restoration Project
February 7, 2020 - Corps awards option for Crab Bank Seabird Sanctuary renourishment
October 29, 2019 - Seabird nesting season update for 2019