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Pachycephala rufogularis

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA AVES PASSERIFORMES PACHYCEPHALIDAE

Scientific Name: Pachycephala rufogularis
Species Authority: Gould, 1841
Common Name(s):
English Red-lored Whistler

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v);C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Garnett, S., Symes, A., Taylor, J.
Justification:
This species has been uplisted to Vulnerable because it has a small, declining population within which all subpopulations are very small, occurring at few locations within a very small Area of Occupancy.  Historically large parts of its range have been lost to habitat conversion, however recent declines have been primarily driven by fires, as the species prefers mallee heath habitat which has not been recently burnt.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Pachycephala rufogularis is restricted to eastern South Australia and adjacent north-western Victoria, Australia, with outlying populations in mallee isolates in New South Wales. The largest remaining population, in the Riverland Biosphere Reserve is estimated to contain c1,000 mature individuals, with 100-200 pairs in the Ngarkat / Big Desert / Wyperfield complex and 100 pairs in the Murray-Sunset / Hattah complex. Given that there are thought to be only small numbers in Scotia and central New South Wales, the total population is estimated to be no greater than 2,000 mature individuals (Garnett et al. 2011). Fires have driven ongoing population declines in much of the former range.

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

Population [top]

Population: The population in the Riverland Biosphere Reserve is estimated to contain c1,000 mature individuals, with 100-200 pairs in the Ngarkat / Big Desert / Wyperfield complex and 100 pairs in the Murray-Sunset / Hattah complex. Given that there are thought to be only small numbers in Scotia and central New South Wales, the total population is estimated to be no greater than 2,000 mature individuals (Garnett et al. 2011).
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: The species breeds in mallee eucalypts 5-8 m tall that form an open canopy over a moderately dense and diverse shrub layer, and is usually found in habitats with spinifex Triodia hummock grassland or tall open heath, especially mallee unburned for 21-44 years or heath-dominated mallee unburned for 10-24 years (Garnett et al. 2011). Other woodland habitats are occupied outside the breeding season. It feeds on insects and other invertebrates and forages on or close to the ground.

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Clearance of mallee in the 19th and 20th centuries caused the loss of over half the historic range of the species. In remaining habitat, fires represent the primary current threat as the species prefers a vegetation age of at least five years after fire. Fires made 90% of Billiate Conservation Park unsuitable in 1988, as well as large tracts of Ngarkat Conservation Park and the Big Desert in 1986-1988, and a large fire burnt a substantial proportion of Taylorville Station, Riverland Biosphere Reserve in the 1990s. Over a period of 20 years, the species has been replaced by Gilbert's Whistler P. inornata at Chapman's Bore and parts of the western Murray Mallee, probably as a result of changes in habitat, however competition between the two species is thought to be secondary compared to other threats (Garnett et al. 2011). Grazing by mammalian herbivores including livestock, feral goats Hircus capra and rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus may cause habitat degradation in some areas and predation by Red Fox Vulpes vulpes is a further potential threat (Garnett et al. 2011). Harvesting of broombush Melaleuca uncinata continues at some sites and may have negative local effects on whistler habitat (Garnett et al. 2011). Most sub-populations are now in areas managed for conservation.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation action is known for this species, but the majority of remaining populations are in protected areas.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor trends in major sub-populations, and rates of recovery from fire. Minimise the frequency and scale of fire in occupied sites. Monitor populations at key sites, especially where management is taking place, and study the distribution and numbers outside protected areas. Research the extent of genetic isolation of geographically separated populations and the potential need for active translocations, and develop a reintroduction programme if necessary. Study the efficacy of herbivore and fox control, and the impact of broombush harvesting operations, amending harvesting protocols if necessary. Manage total grazing pressure, especially from introduced herbivores. Work with landholders outside protected areas to manage their land appropriately (Garnett et al. 2011).


Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Pachycephala rufogularis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 23 October 2014.
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