Houston, W. and Melzer, A. -
Queensland Government, Environmental Protection Agency
Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts 2008
About the plan
The Capricorn subspecies of yellow chat Epthianura crocea macgregori is found in Capricornia, a coastal area in central Queensland.
Current species status
The Capricorn yellow chat is currently listed as 'Critically Endangered' under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) and as 'Endangered' under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992 (NCA).
Habitat and distribution summary
The Capricorn yellow chat is known to occur at three localities - Curtis Island, Torilla Plain and the Fitzroy Delta and is most abundant at Torilla Plain. Recent surveys indicate that the total adult population is approximately 300 (Houston et al. 2004b, unpub. data). Based on current knowledge, habitat critical to the survival of the Capricorn yellow chat is wetlands and associated grasslands on seasonally inundated marine plains. These wetlands have shallow braided channels and depressions with a mosaic of dense sedge-beds, grasslands, tall samphire and areas of mud and/or shallow water (Houston et al. 2004a, Jaensch et al. 2004a, Houston et al. unpub. data). Further studies are required to better understand habitat requirements of the Capricorn yellow chat.
Habitat occupied by the Capricorn yellow chat is threatened by modifications to hydrological regimes through flow reductions (by dams or ponded pastures) into catchments and construction of barriers (i.e. extensive levee banks for ponded pasture development) within tidal areas where the subspecies occurs. High densities of feral pigs and cattle grazing and trampling threatens important breeding and shelter sites on Curtis Island. The potential for industrial expansion may also lead to further habitat loss in the Fitzroy Delta.
The overall objective of the recovery plan is to improve the conservation status of the Capricorn yellow chat and manage its habitat.
Summary of actions
Actions for the recovery of the Capricorn yellow chat aim to secure existing populations, locate additional populations and increase the area of habitat being managed for recovery. Research into aspects of the subspecies' ecology and habitat, mapping of habitat critical to the survival and monitoring the condition of habitat and population abundance trends will inform and guide management and provide early warning of threats. Government agencies responsible for water management will be informed of the threats posed by reduced surface water in-flows into breeding areas and actions to be taken to reduce the degree of known threats at Curtis Island (pig and cattle damage). The dissemination of information relevant to Capricorn yellow chat conservation issues will increase public awareness and inform land managers of the requirements of Capricorn yellow chats and their habitat.