Woodland Birds for Biodiversity
Since European settlement one-third of Australia’s woodlands, and 80% of temperate woodlands, have been cleared. Over one-third of Australia’s land birds are woodland dependent and as a consequence of this clearing (and a multitude of other reasons) at least one in five of these species is now threatened.
The greatest bird declines have been felt in the temperate south-eastern regions of the continent and two species, the Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater, have suffered more than many and are nationally listed as Endangered.
Both species are primarily highly mobile nectar feeders that preferentially use fertile lowland woodlands that support the richest sources of food, and both have the subject of long-term intensive recovery efforts. They are high profile species that have for many years acted as effective flagships for the broad scale conservation of woodlands, thus benefiting a multitude of additional threatened and declining birds and ecological communities. Our Woodland Birds for Biodiversity (WBfB) project, funded by the Federal Government’s Caring for our Country program, aims to build on these recovery efforts.
The project aims to enhance the conservation of threatened and declining woodland birds in the temperate region of south-eastern Australia. The high profile Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater will be used as flagships to achieve outcomes that will also benefit at least 38 other threatened woodland birds, 18 endangered ecological communities, and numerous threatened flora species.
Threatened Woodland Birds
The threatened bird species include the Speckled Warbler, Hooded Robin, Diamond Firetail, Turquoise Parrot, Little Lorikeet, Painted Honeyeater, Brown Treecreeper, Jacky Winter, Bush Stone-curlew and Superb Parrot.
This project will benefit woodland species and communities through facilitating:
Improved on-ground management and protection of woodland habitat on both public and private land
Improved habitat connectivity and extent through restoration and revegetation initiatives
Monitoring of the effectiveness of habitat restoration activities on both private and public land
Ongoing monitoring to determine population trends and priority sites for woodland birds across south eastern Australia
Increased community survey effort for a greater diversity of species
Identification and monitoring of the potential impacts of climate change on woodland birds and their habitats
The project will capitalise on the existing recovery actions on the Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater. There are substantial synergies between recovery actions for these species, and we will be working to develop these further and maximise the efficacy of recovery actions. In conjunction with the recovery teams for both species we will also be working on key aspects of the recovery of each species, such as captive-release of Regent Honeyeaters and improving monitoring of Swift Parrot breeding areas.
Effective woodland bird conservation requires action on private land. We have embarked on a collaborative approach with conservation organisations in NSW Nature Conservation Trust, Victoria Trust for Nature and Tasmania Tasmanian Land Conservancy to protect key parcels of habitat under perpetual conservation covenant. The project partners have negotiated covenants with a number of landholders in critical woodland bird priority areas, resulting in the protection and improved management of over 1,100 hectares of significant habitat so far.
Together with our project partners, we will also draw upon the skills and expertise of the amazing volunteers who work to assist the recovery of these charismatic species to achieve the best outcomes for our threatened temperate woodland birds.
Swift Parrot and Regent Honeyeater survey update - May 2012
Regent Honeyeater and Swift Parrot survey form
Find out more about the Swift Parrot, Regent Honeyeater and other woodland birds in this PowerPoint presentation
Read this Wingspan article about a weekend in Kelly Country chasing threatened woodland birds
Read this Wingspan article by Biodiversity project officers Dean Ingwersen and Chris Tzaros on how the Woodland Birds for Biodiversity project is working towards recoveringsome of our woodland gems.