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Atrichornis clamosus

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PASSERIFORMES ATRICHORNITHIDAE

Scientific Name: Atrichornis clamosus
Species Authority: (Gould, 1844)
Common Name(s):
English Noisy Scrub-bird, Western Scrubird, Noisy Scrubbird
Spanish Corredor Chillón

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Taylor, J.
Contributor(s): Burbidge, A. & Garnett, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Garnett, S., Harding, M., McClellan, R., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
Justification:
Despite several decades of intensive conservation work, which resulted in a population increase, large lightning-induced fires have since caused significant further declines in population size and habitat quality, from which any recovery is likely to be slow. Together with additional unexplained smaller-scale declines, a probable continuing decline in habitat quality and number of mature individuals is therefore inferred, and as it also has a very small range and is restricted to just five locations the species has consequently been uplisted to Endangered.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Atrichornis clamosus is found on the south coast of Western Australia, Australia. Between 1961, when it was rediscovered, and 1976, it was largely confined to the Mt Gardner area of the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, 40 km east of Albany. As a result of translocations, and recolonisation from the Mt Gardner population, the range has since increased (Comer 2002). Natural colo­nists and translocations have created one extensive subpop­ulation at a handful of locations from Two Peoples Bay to Cheyne Beach, as well as an introduced population at Bald Island (59 calling males in 2004 [A. Burbidge in litt. 2004], increasing to 99 territorial males in 2010 [Garnett et al. 2011]), and a reintroduced population near Drakesbrook, the type locality, south of Perth. However, breeding near Drakesbrook has not been confirmed, despite the reintroduction of 100 individuals (S. Garnett in litt. 2004, Garnett et al. 2011). In the Albany management area, the number of singing males increased from 569 in 1999 to 733 in 2001 (Comer 2002, Garnett et al. 2011). However, a series of fires in the Two Peoples Bay-Manypeaks area between December 2000 and December 2004 reduced the number of singing males to c.278 in 2005, with a small increase to 370 in 2006 (A. Burbidge in litt. 2007, Garnett et al. 2011).

Countries:
Native:
Australia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population was estimated at c.1,500 breeding birds by Garnett and Crowley (2000), however a series of fires in the Two Peoples Bay-Mt Manypeaks area between December 2000 and December 2004 has severely impacted this, the species's largest, subpopulation (A. Burbidge in litt. 2007). Its population is now estimated to number 1,000-1,500 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 1,500-2,300 individuals in total.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Its preferred habitat contains dense clumps of sedges, shrubs or piles of debris for nesting cover, interspersed with small, open areas with a thick accumulation of leaf-litter and a well-developed litter fauna for feeding (Danks et al. 1996). It mainly eats terrestrial arthropods (Danks and Calver 1993). Most occupied sites have not been burnt for at least 10 years, the sites on Mt Gardner having a post-fire age of over 50 years, and on Bald Island of over 120 years (Garnett et al. 2011). Some sites on Mt Manypeaks that were burnt in 2004 had been recolonised by 2006, but only in areas where the fire was less severe and vegetation regeneration has been rapid (A. Burbidge in litt. 2007). Historically, the species may have occu­pied the ecotone between swamp vegetation and forest dominated by Jarrah Eucalyptus marginata and Marri E. calophylla (Smith 1985), although such habitat is rare within the species’s current range. It apparently disperses along corridors of closed vegetation. It crosses roads readily, although not cleared land.

Systems: Terrestrial; Freshwater

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The historical disappearance of the species from most of its former range has been attributed to changes in fire regime following the disruption of Aboriginal fire management before the 1880s. In 1976, the single, remnant population survived in an area protected from fire by the terrain. The frequent burning of swamps to make them more suitable for cattle-grazing, as well as their drainage and clearance for horticulture, would have had major impacts. Extensive high-intensity bushfire is the major current threat, s the species depends on long unburnt habitat and has limited dispersal abilities. In 1994, a fire at Mt Taylor destroyed most of a recently translocated population, with remaining birds disappearing within the subsequent year. The largest subpopulation was formerly on Mt Manypeaks, following a remarkable recovery since translocations began in 1983, however in summer 2004/2005, a fire there burnt a 4,500 ha block of habitat (Comer and Burbidge 2006), amounting to the loss of one third of the suitable habitat for the species in the Albany area (Danks and Comer 2006). Surveys in 2005 revealed a 55.6% reduction in the number of singing males in the Albany Management Zone compared to numbers in 2001, largely as a result of the loss of birds from within the burnt area at Mt Manypeaks (Danks and Comer 2006), with the loss of almost all of the birds (c.1,000) in the 427 territories counted in 2001 (Comer and Burbidge 2006). The species has the ability to recover there, but it could be up to 10 years before the habitat is suitable again (Danks and Comer 2006). The loss of 4,500 ha of optimal habitat during summer 2004/2005, and the loss of c.4,000 ha of habitat during fires since 2001, means that only c.4,500 ha of optimal habitat for the species remain in the Albany area (Comer and Burbidge 2006). Almost all birds are now on protected land, but habitat clearance on private land could cut corridors, fragmenting populations and preventing dispersal. Breeding success is relatively good, but various native and introduced mammals and reptiles may raid nests and kill adults (Danks et al. 1996). The reasons for the decline in the sub­population at Mt Gardner, and the disappearance of the self-established subpopulation around Lake Gardner, are unknown but could be related to the length of time since fire, increased predation by feral cats Felis catus or the removal of birds for translocation (Danks 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. The species has undergone 35 years of intense research, monitoring and management, including protection from fire and translocation. The population at Mt Manypeaks was established following translocations in 1983 and 1985 (Comer 2002, Comer and Burbidge 2006). Following a fire at Mt Manypeaks a project was started in March 2005 to begin long-term monitoring of the species's recovery, including studies on invertebrate food resources and the vegetation associated with its habitat, as well as increased fox control, cat trapping and improved fire management capabilities (Danks and Comer 2006). Between June and August 2006, eight males were translocated from the Mermaid-Waychinicup area to karri forest in Porongurup National Park, and fitted with radio transmitters during the process (Anon. 2007). Radio-tracking proved unsuccessful (Berryman 2007), but call monitoring was carried out (Anon. 2007, Berryman 2007), revealing that one male moved 1.2 km from the release site (Berryman 2007). In 2008 only one male from the translocation was still being heard (Tiller 2009). Similarly translocations took place in Gull Rock National Park in 2007 but only one bird could be located the following year (Tiller 2009). The search for potential translocation sites continues, and in 2009 Jane National Park was being considered as a possible site for future releases if suitable fire protection could be implemented (Tiller 2009). The recovery of this species is being managed by the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team (A. Burbidge in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Establish populations where appropriate habitat persists throughout its former range. Maintain active fire protection and habitat management at all sites. Survey and monitor all known populations at five-year intervals. Continue to support coordination of management by the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team.


Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Atrichornis clamosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 30 October 2014.
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