Endangered Aussie bird bouncing back

By AG Staff Writer 14 June 2016
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Renewed hope for one of Australia’s most critically endangered birds after several spotted in Victoria.

RESEARCHERS HAVE SPOTTED the largest number of one of Australia’s most critically endangered birds to be detected during a single survey in several years.

A total of seven Plains-wanderers – a small, quail-like bird, listed as critically endangered – were spotted in Terrick Terrick National Park, north of Bendigo in Victoria.

“This is an incredibly exciting find and gives us some hope that the birds might be coming back. Bird watchers from around the globe come here to see this bird because it is so unique,” said Dr Mark Antos, a scientist at Parks Victoria.

Based on its evolutionary uniqueness and rarity, the Plains-wanderer has been listed as the world’s fourth most important endangered bird species by the Zoological Society of London, and is Australia’s number one bird species on the list.

Parks Victoria has been working with a group of volunteers surveying and monitoring Plains-wanderer populations. 

“After not seeing any Plains-wanderers for a few years, we started detecting two or three birds in our surveys in the second half of last year,” said Mark.

“We were delighted and hopeful on discovering a nest with four eggs in the park last December. This latest finding including a very young female bird is the best result we’ve had in five years. There is still a long way to go before we can be confident of a broader recovery and it’s critical that we carefully manage their habitat.”

The Plains-wanderer is a distant relative to coastal shorebirds, but lives in dry inland native grasslands. Unlike many birds, the females of the species are more brightly coloured than the males. After mating, males are left to do most of the child-rearing.