Mt Lofty Spotted Quail-thrush

By Rebecca Nadge | May 29, 2015

With limited records since 1977, the spotted quail-thrush (Mt Lofty Ranges sub-species) is now presumed extinct

IUCN status
Not assessed

AUSTRALIAN CONSERVATION STATUS (EPBC Act)
Critically endangered

RANGE
The Mt Lofty Ranges spotted quail-thrush is limited to the Mount Lofty area in South Australia.

COMMON NAMES
At the species level, common names include: spotted ground-thrush, spotted babbling-thrush, spotted groundbird, ground dove, ground thrush

HABITAT
Previous sightings of the Mt Lofty Ranges spotted quail-thrush suggest the bird inhabits heathlands and sclerophyll woodlands of South Australia, consisting of eucalyptus trees with limited understorey vegetation. Along with other sub-species of spotted quail thrush, it is believed the bird prefers woodlands based on stony ridges and slopes.

CLASSIFICATION
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Passeriformes
Family Cinclosomatidae
Genus Cinclosoma
Species punctatum anachoreta

Accepted as a sub-species to the spotted quail-thrush that inhabits the Mt Lofty Ranges, just east of Adelaide, the Mt Lofty thrush has been poorly surveyed. With limited records on the sub-species since 1977, it is probable that the Mount Lofty thrush is now extinct.

The sub-species grows from 24-30cm in length, with a wingspan up to 40cm and an average weight of between 85-145g. It is presumed the bird nests on the ground, based on behaviour patterns of other sub-species, and its diet consists of insects and seeds.

The spotted quail-thrush (Mt Lofty Ranges) is olive-brown in colour and white underneath, with a grey breast and yellow-brown flanks. Black streaks and spots colour the bird’s body; the plumage of adult males is more complex, with intense colouring.

Surveys of the Mt Lofty thrush have been very limited; any surviving sub-species are likely to exist in a single population which is estimated to inhabit only 1sq.km. Based on observations of other spotted quail-thrush sub-species, the bird is likely to be resident or sedentary.

Threats to the Mt Lofty Rangers spotted quail-thrush

Habit degradation is the main culprit in the decline of the Mount Lofty spotted quail-thrush. As well as the extensive clearing of native vegetation in the Mount Lofty Ranges, bushfires, such as the 1983 Ash Wednesday fires, have also contributed to the loss of habitat. Invasion of the area by harmful weeds is also likely to have contributed to the sub-species’ downfall, along with introduced predators such as feral cats and foxes- a direct result of human activity near the area.

Recovery plans for the spotted quail-thrush

Although several steps have been suggested, as yet no recovery plan has been implemented for this spotted quail-thrush. Recommendations for a recovery plan include surveying the sub-species’ habitat, and in the event that the species is rediscovered, developing a contingency plan and capturing individuals to begin a captive breeding program.

Further Information

Australian conservation status