Birdsong loss would echo silence in the forests

Birdsong loss would echo silence in the forests
Eastern bristlebird. Credit: University of Queensland

South-East Queensland is in danger of losing one of the last remaining populations of the Eastern bristlebird, one of Australia's most melodic songbirds, a study has shown.

University of Queensland researchers working to save the said the isolated northern-most population had declined to fewer than 40 .

UQ School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Ph.D. researcher Zoe Stone said most people were unaware the small brown birds were close to extinction.

"Only three Eastern bristlebird populations remain in eastern Australia, and the smallest by far is in the forests along the Border Ranges of south-east Queensland and adjacent northern New South Wales," Ms Stone said.

"These shy birds are threatened by inappropriate fire regimes and changes to habitat.

"They need grassy forest patches within the wet forest, but weeds and lack of burning mean those patches are disappearing."

Ms Stone said reintroducing threatened species was a critical tool for their conservation, but success depended on knowing how to restore the habitat the birds needed.

"Bristlebirds are more likely to occur in large patches of grassy, eucalypt , but they also care about grass structure," she said.

"For a largely ground-dwelling species, the presence of tall, thick grasses provides important shelter for foraging and nesting activities.

"Use of appropriate fire regimens is absolutely critical for the continued persistence and successful reintroduction of this extremely rare bird."


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More information: Zoë L. Stone et al. Grassy patch size and structure are important for northern Eastern Bristlebird persistence in a dynamic ecosystem, Emu - Austral Ornithology (2018). DOI: 10.1080/01584197.2018.1425628
Citation: Birdsong loss would echo silence in the forests (2018, March 9) retrieved 21 October 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-birdsong-loss-echo-silence-forests.html
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