|Scientific Name:||Grantiella picta|
|Species Authority:||(Gould, 1838)|
|Red List Category & Criteria:||Vulnerable C1 ver 3.1|
|Reviewer/s:||Butchart, S. & Taylor, J.|
|Contributor/s:||Baker, B., Baria, L., Burbidge, A., Dutson, G., Ford, H., Garnett, S., Holmes, T., Loyn, R., Menkhorst, P., O'Connor, J., Watson, D. & Woinarski, J.|
This species is classified as Vulnerable because declines, driven by habitat conversion, have not ceased and have continued to the point that the remaining global population is now small.
Grantiella picta is sparsely distributed from southern Victoria and south-eastern South Australia to far northern Queensland and eastern Northern Territory, Australia. The species is a vagrant to Western Australia, with the first published record of one in 2002 at West Kimberley (Schoenjahn 2003). The greatest concentrations, and almost all records of breeding, occur south of 26°S, on the inland slopes of the Great Dividing Range between the Grampians, Victoria, and Roma, Queensland (Higgins et al. 2001, Barrett et al. 2003). After April, birds migrate to semi-arid regions, including north-eastern South Australia, central and western Queensland and central Northern Territory. The only recent records from South Australia are from Gluepot station in 2000 (J. O'Connor in litt. 2008), and the species has also declined in abundance in western New South Wales, central Victoria and probably from north-central Queensland. The New South Wales population is estimated to be fewer than 2,000 pairs. Numbers in Queensland may be similar, but are poorly known. Much smaller numbers nest in Victoria (Garnett et al. 2011). The total population is unlikely to exceed 10,000 mature individuals (Garnett et al. 2011). The maximum documented count was 74 birds in 4 days of surveys in Culgoa floodplain, New South Wales (Oliver et al. 2003). During atlas surveys the reporting rate of this species has actually increased, but this is a result of more targeted searching for the species. The number of 10 minute grid cells from which it was reported has decreased from 164 in 1977-1981 to 142 in 1998-2003 and 90 in 2003-2008 (J. O'Connor in litt. 2008). In Queensland much suitable habitat was cleared historically (only 11% of the Acacia harpophylla/cambagei woodland remained in 1999), but annual rates of forest loss remained high at an estimated 5% in the late 1990s and early 2000s (Wilson et al. 2002). A similar trend is likely in New South Wales, but in Victoria forest has not been cleared as rapidly (P. Menkhorst in litt. 2008); therefore it is difficult to estimate an overall rate of decline.
|Range Map:||Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.|
|Population:||Garnett et al. (2011) estimate a declining population of between 2,500 and 10,000 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 3,750-15,000 individuals in total.|
|Habitat and Ecology:||
The most specialised of Australia’s honeyeaters, being largely dependent on mistletoe fruits. The species lives in dry forests and woodlands dominated by Acacias. During breeding it requires berries from just two species, needle-leaved mistletoe Amyema cambagei and grey mistletoe A. quandang, which grow on nitrogen-fixing hosts such as Acacias and Casuarinas (D. Watson in litt. 2007, Barea 2008). It also feeds on nectar and arthropods (the main type of arthropods fed to nestlings have been observed to be orb-weaving spiders) (D. Watson in litt. 2007). Recent evidence suggests that mistletoe nectar is an important food resource in the breeding season or when the birds are moving through sub-optimal habitat (D. Watson in litt. 2007, Barea 2008), especially when fruit is scarce, and may influence habitat choice (Oliver et al. 2003). Thus, its breeding distribution is influenced by the presence of mistletoes and the seasonality of mistletoe fruiting; positive relationship has been observed between the abundance of mistletoes per tree and per unit area and the presence of this species (Oliver et al. 2003). It prefers woodland areas that contain a higher number of mature trees, as these host more mistletoes (Oliver et al. 2003). They also prefer wider blocks rather than strips of woodland, although they breed in quite narrow roadside strips if ample mistletoe fruit is available (D. Watson in litt. 2007). They have been recorded in Brigalow Acacia harpophylla and other woodlands on parts of the northern floodplains region of New South Wales, possibly using this area because the habitat there has been less cleared and fragmented than other parts of the species's range (Oliver et al. 2003).
Much of its breeding habitat has been cleared altogether or has been reduced to ageing, widely-spaced trees, particularly box-ironbark and boree woodlands. Its non-breeding habitat is still being cleared for agriculture and habitat remnants in both the breeding and non-breeding ranges continue to be degraded by grazing (Barea 2008). Despite legislation to stop the large-scale clearing of woodlands in New South Wales, 640,000 ha was approved for clearing in that state between 1998 and 2005, and although not all of this was cleared, an estimated 30,000 ha was illegally cleared in 2005 alone (H. Ford in litt. 2007). The regeneration of semi-arid woodlands dominated by Gidgee Acacia oswaldii and Rosewood Alectryon oleofolium is threatened by overgrazing by exotic herbivores in parts of western New South Wales (Oliver et al. 2003). The main woodlands which the species is associated with in New South Wales are dominated by Yarran Acasia homalophylla and Boree Acacia pendula, both of which are also frequently favoured by graziers (D. Watson in litt. 2007). The protection of these woodland types may have a greater impact than conservation efforts focused on temperate box-ironbark and box-gum woodlands at the southern edge of its range that are already degraded (Oliver et al. 2003).
Conservation Actions Underway
Legislation to prevent the large-scale clearing of woodlands in New South Wales was introduced in 1997 (H. Ford in litt. 2007). The ecology of the species has been well studied during a PhD thesis. Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out studies into site fidelity and patterns of movement, and acquire a better understanding of its ecology during the non-breeding season. Carry out long-term monitoring. Protect occupied woodland from clearing and monitor compliance biennially. Secure all sub-populations found on public land through conservation management, and use incentives to encourage private land owners to carry out beneficial management. Within the species's range manage woodlands on public or private land maintaining a diverse woodland community with mature trees and adequate mistletoe populations (Barea 2008). Control firewood collection from occupied areas and reduce grazing densities. Research the importance of Brigalow and other semi-arid woodlands, and protect as appropriate (Oliver et al. 2003).
|Citation:||BirdLife International 2012. Grantiella picta. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 24 May 2013.|
|Feedback:||If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please fill in the feedback form so that we can correct or extend the information provided|