Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Vulnerable
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice for Stipiturus malachurus parimeda (Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula)) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2013fv) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat Abatement Plan for Reduction in Impacts of Tramp Ants on Biodiversity in Australia and its Territories (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006p) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Threat Abatement Plan for predation by feral cats (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2008zzp) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by the European Red Fox (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2008zzq) [Threat Abatement Plan].
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey Guidelines for Australia's Threatened Birds. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.2 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2010l) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Listing Status
SA: Listed as Endangered (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): June 2011 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
NGO: Listed as Endangered (The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010)
Scientific name Stipiturus malachurus parimeda [26006]
Family Maluridae:Passeriformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author  
Infraspecies author Schodde and Weatherley,1981
Reference  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name Stipiturus malachurus parimeda.

Common name: Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula).

The taxonomy of this subspecies is conventionally accepted (Higgins et al. 2001; Schodde & Mason 1999; Schodde & Weatherley 1981). One study has suggested that the boundaries of Stipiturus malachurus subspecies should be regarded as uncertain and are not concordantly defined by mtDNA and plumage (Donnellan et al. 2009). Analysis by Donnellan and colleagues (2009) shows that the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) and the Kangaroo Island Emu-wren share an interior haplotype.

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is a small bird that has an overall length of 17–19 cm and a mass of up to 9 g (Higgins et al. 2001; Pickett 2002a). The tail is long (over 10 cm in length and can exceed 13 cm in males), stick-like and comprised of only six emu-like feathers (Higgins et al. 2001; Pickett 2002a; SA DEH n.d.; Schodde & Mason 1999; Schodde & Weatherly 1981).

The plumage of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is very pale in comparison to most other subspecies of Southern Emu-wren. The upperparts of adult birds are pale olive-grey or brown-grey, with brown to dark brown streaking across the head, neck and back, and dull white streaks on the ear-coverts. The underparts are a pallid light-yellowish brown or tawny colour, except for the white belly. The bill is black, the iris dark brown, and the legs and feet are a brownish colour. The adult male differs from the adult female in having a uniform rufous forehead and forecrown (olive-grey or brown-grey in the female), a large patch of light grey-blue or pale sky-blue on the chin, throat and upper breast (yellow-brown or tawny in the female), and a sky-blue stripe above the the eye (yellow-brown or tawny in the female). The plumages of juvenile and immature birds have not yet been described (Higgins et al. 2001; Pickett 2002a; Schodde & Mason 1999; Schodde & Weatherly 1981).

The subspecies is a poor flier and tends to hop and scramble, mouse-like, through its habitat. Short bursts of sustained flight between cover are often little more than a few metres. It has high-pitched calls, is secretive and cryptic in habit, and can be difficult to detect and observe (Pickett 2006b). The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) usually occurs singly or in pairs, or occasionally in small groups of up to five birds (Pickett 2002a).

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) only occurs in South Australia where it is confined to the extreme south of the Eyre Peninsula (Pickett 2006b; Schodde & Mason 1999). Its range extends broadly from Marble Range, South Block and Edillilie in the north-west and north, to Point Avoid in the west, Cape Wiles and West Point in the south and south-east, to MacLaren Point-Carcase Rock and the central Koppio Hills (Charlton Gully, Gawler Pond) in the east and north-east (Eckert 1977; Morgan 1982; Pickett 2002a, 2004a, 2006b; Possingham 1993; Reid 1976; Storr 1947; Terrill & Rix 1950). The largest populations occur in the Kellidie Bay, Whalers Way, MacLaren Point-Point Haselgrove and West Point areas (Pickett 2002a; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

The extent of occurrence is estimated at 2545 km² (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.). The extent of occurrence appears to be stable at approximately 2500 km²: it was estimated at 2490 km² in 2002 (Pickett 2002a), 2615 km² in 2004 and 2545 km² in 2005 (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.). However, shortfalls in the minimum convex polygon method prevent the loss of outlying sites in the Koppio Hills during 2005 from being properly assessed. This means that the estimated extent of occurrence for 2005 would be lower if an alternative method of calculation (e.g. concave polygon) was used (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

The range of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) has almost certainly contracted since the arrival of Europeans (Garnett 1993; Garnett & Crowley 2000) due to the clearance and degradation of suitable habitat and (probably) the impact of fire (Pickett 2004b). There are insufficient historical records to illustrate a decline (Garnett 1993). For example, the subspecies was first recorded on the Eyre Peninsula in 1946 (Storr 1947) and there have been only occasional reports until recently. However, the present distribution of the subspecies and its habitat (including degraded and unoccupied remnants) indicates that suitable habitat was formerly much more extensive, and probably continuous (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Pickett 2002a, 2004b, 2006b). It seems reasonable to assume that these now non-existent areas of suitable habitat were once occupied by the subspecies, given that most habitat remnants judged suitable for the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) have been surveyed and have been found to be occupied by the subspecies (Pickett 2002a, 2004a, 2004b, 2006b).

There is some possibility of future declines in the extent of occurrence given that other areas inhabited by the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) are susceptible to catastrophic disturbance by fire, and that there is little or no chance that an area affected by fire will be recolonised, due to the fragmented nature of the habitat and the subsequent inability of the birds to disperse effectively (Pickett 2002a).

The area of occupancy is estimated at 50–75 km² (Pickett 2002a). This estimate, which was calculated from the number of 1 km² grid squares that the subspecies was known or projected to occur in, is considered to be of low accuracy (Pickett 2002a).

The area of occupancy of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) has almost certainly declined since the arrival of Europeans (Garnett 1993; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Pickett 2004b). The decline in the area of occupancy appears to be ongoing: based on the number of 1 km² grid squares that the subspecies has been recorded in, the area of occupancy was estimated at 59 km². However, a number of sites were burnt out and suffered local extinctions during 2005. When these sites are excluded from the dataset, the estimated area of occupancy becomes 54 km² (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.)

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) occurs in 11 locations. These locations are separated by cleared land, or by relatively large areas of native vegetation that are not considered to be suitable habitat (Pickett 2002a; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

There are no captive populations of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.). An action plan for the subspecies, published in 2002, recommended that population translocations be investigated and undertaken (Pickett 2002a), but no population translocations have occurred and none have been proposed (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

The distribution of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is severely fragmented. The population is spread across 11 relatively separate local populations, none of which are believed to contain more than 250 individuals (Pickett 2002a; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.). The fragmentation of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) population is due to the fragmented nature of their habitat, which is a result of past clearing and degradation (Pickett 2002a, 2004b, 2006b).

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) has only become a target for survey since 2002. From January to November 2002, 77 known or potential sites were surveyed throughout the range of the subspecies. The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) was located at 36 of the sites surveyed and, based on the data collected, the total population size was estimated at less than 1000 birds (Pickett 2002a).

Further surveys were undertaken from May to July in 2004 and the subspecies was recorded at 11 of the 39 sites that were surveyed. The observations, which involved a total of 33 birds, confirmed the presence of the bird at three historical sites that were lacking recent records (i.e. South Block, Wanna-Cape Tournefort and Carcase Rock), and also located five new sites in the Marble Range (Pickett 2004a).

In January and April of 2005, two major wildfires burnt out an area of Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) habitat. A survey was conducted during August 2005 to assess the impact of these fires on the population. Twenty former sites were identified. Of these, 17 had been completely burnt out, and two had been partially burnt out. Overall, the fires totally destroyed habitat for the subspecies at five or six sites, comprising three or four small populations (from a total of 25 recognised small populations). This included the entire local population in the Koppio Hills, which was formerly comprised of three small populations. This habitat destruction represented a substantial reduction in the distribution of the subspecies (Pickett 2005a).

In July 2008 a survey for the subspecies was conducted to determine the status of a representative sample of sites, including fire-affected (2005) Merintha Creek-Kellidie Bay populations, sites at Whalers Way, West Point and MacLaren Point (all previously considered stongholds for the subspecies) where population monitoring in 2006 and 2007 indicated declines, and to examine previously unsurveyed habitat on Horse Peninsula. A total of 29 sites were surveyed: 25 originally surveyed in 2002, including the two that were burnt out in 2005, three originally surveyed in 2004, and one new site. Twelve of the subspecies were recorded at nine sites (around one third of the 28 sites at which it had previously been recorded during at least one survey between 2002 and 2007). Apart from noticeable die-back of habitat at West Point, possibly due to recent relatively dry seasonal conditions, habitat suitability at apparently unoccupied sites appeared comparable to previous surveys and there were no obvious likely reasons for the subspecies' absence (Pickett 2008).

There have also been a series of surveys at the site of the Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm. In February 2003, a survey at the then proposed wind farm site found that the subspecies was locally uncommon (Pickett 2003). The site was then listed as a heritage agreement area and a five-year monitoring program for the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) was established. Surveys have since been conducted: in the spring of 2004, a total of 21 of the birds were recorded at 12 of the 20 areas that were searched (Pickett 2004c) and; in the spring of 2005, a total of 13 birds were recorded at nine of the 20 areas that were searched (Pickett 2005c).

The total population of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is estimated to be less than 1000 birds (Pickett 2002a; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.; Pickett 2006b). Past estimates had ranged from approximately 100 birds (SAOA 1991) to 2000 breeding birds (Garnett & Crowley 2000), or numbers in the 'low thousands' (Garnett 1993). However, even the most recent estimates are considered to be of low reliability due to a lack of information (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Pickett 2002a). It is unlikely that any significant populations remain undiscovered, but there are probably unrecorded minor occurrences (Pickett 2006b).

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is estimated to occur in 11 local populations. This estimate is based on an assessment of the separation of known sites by cleared land or by relatively large distances of vegetation that is not considered to be suitable habitat. The 11 populations are located in the following areas (land tenure is shown in brackets) (Pickett 2002a; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.):

1. Shoal Point - D'Anville Bay - Whalers Way - Fishery Bay (water supply department reserve, heritage agreement area, private land)
2. Sleaford Bay West - Tulka (Lincoln National Park, road reserve, private land)
3. West Point - Jussieu Bay (Lincoln National Park)
4. Carcase Point - MacLaren Point - Point Haselgrove - Taylors Landing (Lincoln National Park)
5. Point Avoid (Coffin Bay National Park)
6. Yangie Bay (Coffin Bay National Park)
7. Kellidie Bay - Wanilla (Kellidie Bay Conservation Park, Murrunatta Conservation Reserve, road reserve, private land)
8. Edillilie - Salt Creek - Duck Lake (road reserve)
9. Wanna - Cape Tournefort (Lincoln National Park)
10. South Block (private land)
11. Marble Range (heritage agreement area, private land).

The Charlton Gully population that was identified by Pickett (2002a) was rendered extinct by fire during 2005 (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.). The Shoal Point and D'Anville Bay - Whalers Bay - Fishery Bay populations (Pickett 2000) were combined after intervening sites were found between these two populations. The population in the Marble Range was discovered in 2004 (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

None of the 11 local populations are thought to contain more than 100 pairs. The four largest populations occur in the Shoal Point - D'Anville Bay - Whalers Way - Fishery Bay area, the West Point - Jussieu Bay area, the Carcase Point - MacLaren Point - Point Haselgrove - Taylors Landing area, and the Kellidie Bay - Wanilla area. These four subpopulations are believed to contain most of the total population (Pickett 2002a; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

The population size of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is thought to be stable, but a lack of data prevents population trends from being assessed with any accuracy (Garnett & Crowley 2000). The population appears to have suffered a recent decline with the apparent destruction of known subpopulations at Charlton Gully (at Ducks Lake Road and in the Koppio Hills) by bushfire in January 2005 (Pickett 2005b, 2006b). Future declines in population size are also likely given that other areas inhabited by the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) are susceptible to catastrophic disturbance by fire, and that there is little or no chance that an area affected by fire will be recolonised, due to the fragmented nature of the habitat and the subsequent inability of the birds to disperse effectively (Pickett 2002a).

There are five populations that are considered to be important for the long-term survival and recovery of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula). These populations occur in the Marble Range, Merintha Creek-Kellidie Bay, the MacLaren Point-Point Haselgrove area, at West Point and the Whalers Way area (Pickett 2004b). The Merintha Creek-Kellidie Bay population is almost certainly the largest, and probably the most important Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) population (Pickett 2006b).

The generation length of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is estimated at two years, but this estimate is considered to be of low reliability due to poor knowledge of the subspecies' life history (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) occurs in three formally recognised conservation reserves: Lincoln National Park, Coffin Bay National Park and Kellidie Bay Conservation Park (Pickett 2002a, 2004b). Seven of the 11 known local populations of the subspecies occur (at least partially) within one or more of these reserves.

The Kellidie Bay - Wanilla population also formerly occurred in Murrunatta Conservation Reserve (Pickett 2002a). This component of the Kellidie Bay - Wanilla population was eliminated by wildfire during 2005. However, Murrunatta Conservation Reserve may be reoccupied by the subspecies via natural dispersal through adjacent tracts of unburnt and well-connected habitat (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) also occurs at several sites that are managed as heritage agreement areas (Pickett 2002a; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.). One of these sites, the Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm Heritage Agreement Area, is managed according to a plan (Hydro Tasmania 2003) that contains recommendations for the management of the resident population (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) occurs in three types of habitat: shrubland or heathland, mallee and sedgeland (Pickett 2002a). These habitats are characterised by one or two layers of dense vegetation up to 3 m in height (Morgan 1982; Pickett 2002a).

Shrubland or heathland
The shrubland or heathland habitats of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) include wet and dry heathlands, and low or tall shrublands that can be closed or, in the case of tall shrublands, open. These habitats are typically dominated by one or two major plant species (Pickett 2002a). The most common dominant species include Myrtle spp. (Melaleuca) such as Mallee Honey-myrtle (M. brevifolia and, less frequently, Totem Poles (M. decussata) and Rottnest Teatree (M. lanceolata). Other prominent species are Samphire (Gahnia spp.), Coast Beard-heath (Leucopogon parviflorus), Dysentery Bush (Alyxia buxifolia) and Lasiopetalum discolor. Shrubland and heathland habitats can also contain a variety of other shrubs and trees such as Umbrella Bush (Acacia ligulata), Casuarina spp. (Allocasuarina), Eucalyptus spp., Pultenaea acerosa and Tate's Grasstree (Xanthorrhoea semiplana). The understorey vegetation in these habitats is comprised mainly of low sedges and rushes, and can include species such as Samphire and Rushes (Juncus spp.) (Pickett 2002a, 2004a; Possingham 1993).

Mallee
The mallee habitats of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) can be open or closed, and can include low mallee. They are typically dominated by Eucalyptus diversifolia and Ridge-fruited Mallee (E. incrassata) in association with a variety of shrubs including Myrtle spp. and Coast Beard Heath (Leucopogon parviflorus), and a lower layer (often dense) of heathy shrubs and sedges. In a few locations, mallee habitats include areas of more typical inland mallee that are dominated by Ridge-fruited Mallee and that have a dense understory of heathy shrubs such as Banksia spp., Green Tea-tree (Leptospermum coriaceum) and Triodia spp. (Pickett 2002a, 2004a). Southern Emu-wrens (Eyre Peninsula) have also been recorded in regenerating mallee (i.e. regenerating after fire), consisting of Eucalyptus diversifolia and Narrow-leaved Red Mallee (Eucalyptus foecunda) (up to 3 m in height) above a layer of shrubs including species of Myrtle, Grasstrees and Wattle spp. (Acacia), and a patchy ground cover of smaller shrubs (e.g. Astroloma) and grasses. The subspecies is also known in roadside mallee habitat, consisting of Ridge-fruited Mallee (up to 5 m in height) and clumps of Desert Banksia (Banksia ornata) and Leptospermum spp., with an understorey comprised of species including Casuarina spp., Native cherry (Exocarpos cupressiformis) and Wattle, and an extensive ground cover of grasses and small shrubs (Morgan 1982).

Sedgeland
The sedgeland habitats of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) can be open or closed. They are dominated by Coast Saw-sedge (Gahnia trifida) and usually have a dense understorey of Bare Twigrush (Baumea juncea) or other sedges and rushes. These habitats are located around seasonal swamps in coastal regions of the Southern Emu-wren's (Eyre Peninsula) range (Pickett 2002a, 2004a).

No specific information is available on the ages of sexual maturity, life expectancy or natural mortality. Based on data derived from studies on the Southern Emu-wren (Fleurieu Peninsula) (S. m. intermedius) (Pickett 2000), it is likely that the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) can live for more than three years and can breed within its first year.

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) breeds during spring. Clutches of eggs have been observed in September and juveniles have been recorded in October. The nest and eggs are said to be similar to those of other subspecies of the Southern Emu-wren (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

At the species level, Southern Emu-wrens breed in solitary, monogamous pairs (Higgins et al. 2001; Pickett 2000). Their breeding season extends from late winter to summer. Eggs have been recorded from August to January, but most clutches are laid in October and November. They construct a domed nest, composed primarily of grasses, sedges and rushes, close to the ground (i.e. usually within 1 m) in dense shrubs and in tussocks of grass, sedge or rushes. Females usually lay three eggs to a clutch. The eggs are white or cream in colour and have reddish-brown markings. They are incubated by the female only (although males have been observed to do short stints in captivity), for a period of 10–14 days (Pickett 2000).

 

Southern Emu-wren nestlings are brooded by the female and fed by both parents. They usually remain in the nest for 12–14 days, but can depart as little as eight days after hatching. Having left the nest, the fledged young continue to be fed by both adults, but the period to independence is unknown. Pairs typically produce one or two broods per season (Pickett 2000).

Southern Emu-wren nests are parasitised by Horsfield's Bronze-Cuckoos (Chrysococcyx basalis), Shining Bronze-Cuckoos (C. lucidus), Pallid Cuckoos (Cuculus pallidus), Brush Cuckoos (Cacomantis variolosus) and Fan-tailed Cuckoos (C. flabelliformis). All except the Brush Cuckoo are known to occur within the range of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) (Higgins et al. 2001).

No information is available on the diet of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula), but it is likely to be similar to that recorded for other subspecies of the Southern Emu-wren (Pickett 2006b).

At the species level, Southern Emu-wrens feed almost entirely upon insects, including beetles, flies, bugs, ants, caterpillars, grasshoppers, mantids and lacewings. They also take spiders, and some vegetable material, including seeds (Higgins et al. 2001).

At the species level, Southern Emu-wrens forage on, or close to, the ground amongst dense vegetation. They forage actively, hopping through vegetation and taking food from reeds, foliage, twigs and other surfaces of shrubs. They also capture insects in flight, and split open reed stems to obtain insects. They are thought to spend more time foraging in shrubs than they do foraging on the ground (Higgins et al. 2001).

Little is known of the movements of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula). There is likely to be little movement between subpopulations as the subspecies is incapable of making long flights, and instead relies on corridors of vegetation to move between sites. The fragmented nature of the Southern Emu-wrens' habitat is therefore likely to inhibit dispersal at many sites throughout the range (Pickett 2002a).

At the species level, the Southern Emu-wren is considered to be resident or sedentary. At some sites, groups are said to wander during the non-breeding season, when birds may be observed in modified or artificial habitats such as thickets of blackberry, clearings, paddocks and gardens. The extent of such movement is unknown, but it possibly accounts for reported seasonal changes in density, numbers and reporting indices, although such fluctuations could also be due to seasonal changes in the conspicuousness of the birds. Young birds disperse after they become independent but the timing of this dispersal probably varies throughout the range (Higgins et al. 2001).

At the species level, the Southern Emu-wren is capable of colonising or recolonising ephemeral habitats (e.g. regrowth in logged areas or vegetation regenerating after fire) (Higgins et al. 2001), and there are two recent examples of burnt out areas being reoccupied by the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) (Pickett 2002a, 2004a).

In good quality habitat, breeding pairs of Southern Emu-wrens require around 1 ha with home ranges of pair members highly overlapped, but with little overlap between the ranges of neighbouring pairs, which often abut. Home ranges in poor quality habitat may be several hectares and/or more separated. Mate and site fidelity is high within breeding seasons but low between seasons, the latter apparently due to high mortality (more than 50%) rather than divorce (Pickett 2006b).

Provided that observers have at least reasonable recognition of the key diagnostic features (e.g. plumage pattern, tail form), the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is unlikely to be mistaken for any other species within its known range (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) can be detected by sight or call. Initial detection is usually by call, although calls are described as feeble and are said to require good hearing and calm conditions to be detected. Detection by sight can also be challenging as the subspecies is shy and secretive, and can be difficult to flush from cover. Detection is more difficult during and immediately after the breeding season, when birds are less likely to respond to played calls and are more difficult to locate (i.e. fledged juveniles remain well hidden and relatively quiet in undergrowth) (Pickett 2002a).

The use of broadcast calls to solicit responses from birds is considered essential to limit the potential for birds to be overlooked (i.e. emu-wrens are difficult to sight, and are more likely to be detected by call, which can be solicited by broadcast survey) (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.). Mist-netting could also be used but this method is not recommended unless site-specific data is required (e.g. information for banding and monitoring studies, morphological measurements, genetic material) (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

It is recommended that surveys be conducted during daylight hours in 'good' conditions (e.g. calm winds and mild weather) (Magrath et al. 2004; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.). Surveys should not be conducted during the mid-afternoon on warm to hot days, or during the post-breeding period (i.e. late summer to autumn) when birds appear to be less responsive to broadcast calls and, therefore, more difficult to detect (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

The major threats to the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) are further loss or degradation of habitat, wildfire, habitat fragmentation/isolation (Pickett 2002a, 2004b, 2006b) and climate change (Pickett 2006b). Additional potential threats include, Phytophthora, roadworks, (Pickett 2002a, 2004b; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.), predators (Pickett 2006b) and Tramp Ants (DEH 2006p).

Major threats

Loss or degradation of habitat
The loss or degradation of habitat is a major threat to the long-term recovery, especially in terms of persistence, of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) population (Pickett 2004b, 2006b). The loss or degradation of habitat is mainly due to grazing by livestock and the extraction or salinisation of freshwater wetlands. For example, many areas of potential habitat are located in agricultural areas and are being degraded by the grazing of livestock, and changes in the availability or salinity of water have occurred, or are occurring, at both occupied and potential sites (Pickett 2002a, 2004b).

Wildfire
Wildfire is considered a major potential threat at most sites occupied by the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) (Pickett 2002a, 2004b, 2006b). It can cause catastrophic loss of habitat and death of trapped individuals. It can result in long-term loss of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) from specific areas (Pickett 2006b). There have been several incidences of wildfire in the subspecies' habitat with the most serious of these, in terms of its impact on the subspecies, in 2005 when an isolated subpopulation at Charlton Gully was apparently destroyed (Pickett 2005a). Wildfires also occurred at, or near, occupied sites in the Tulka-Sleaford Mere area in early 2001, and at Kellidie Bay in November 2002, but these appeared to have little impact on the populations as some areas of suitable habitat at the sites remained unburnt. However, if these fires had been more extensive, and had burnt out much or all of the suitable habitat, the impact on the subspecies would have been much more severe, especially at Kellidie Bay which is thought to contain a relatively large and dense population of Southern Emu-wrens (Eyre Peninsula) (Pickett 2002a).

Habitat fragmentation/isolation
The subspecies' habitats are fragmented and/or isolated due to past habitat loss, current land use and naturally occurring barriers. Because of the Southern Emu-wren's (Eyre Peninsula) restricted dispersal capabilities, habitat fragmentation and isolation are major threats to long-term persistence and recovery, especially in terms of population viability (e.g. reoccupation of local extinction sites and genetic exchange) and potential for population growth (Pickett 2006b).

Climate change
Climate change is potentially a major threat to the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula). Climate change is expected to lead to increased risks, frequencies and intensities of extreme weather events, and could increase the risk of abrupt and non-linear changes in numerous ecosystems, which would affect their function, biodiversity and productivity (IPCC 2001, cited in Pickett 2006b). For the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) climate change may potentially exacerbate the impact of catastrophes such as wildfire, land-use threats such as stock grazing and site drainage, and affect area and quality of swampy habitat through increased temperature and reduced rainfall (Pickett 2006b).

Additional threats

Phytophthora
The habitat of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is also at risk from other potential threats. Root fungus (Phytophthora cinnamomi), which degrades the quality of habitat and (potentially) prevents native vegetation from regenerating, is a potential threat at some sites in the higher rainfall areas of the range (e.g. the Koppio Hills area, Charlton Gully) (Pickett 2002a, 2004b; M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).

Roadworks
Roadworks, or more specifically potential future roadworks such as road widening, could pose a threat to Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) populations that occur in roadside vegetation (Pickett 2002a). One occupied site, at D'Anville Bay, is located within the boundaries of a wind farm (Pickett 2003).

Predators/parasitism
Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) nests are vulnerable to terrestrial predators and Cuckoos (known brood-parasites), but the impacts of predation/parasitism are poorly known. At some sites, Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) reproductive performance has been reasonable despite the presence of feral Cats (Felis catus) and European Foxes (Vulpes vulpes) (Pickett 2000a), and it appears that these relatively large, introduced predators may have difficulty in accessing nests in relatively pristine habitats where dense vegetation layers are intact. Thinning and division of habitat due to grazing or dieback may make the subspecies more conspicuous and vulnerable to predators. Native predators such as snakes (and possibly Cuckoos) probably have a greater influence on mortality/reproduction than Cats and Foxes (Pickett 2006b).

Tramp ants
The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is considered to be potentially, adversely affected by the Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta) or the Yellow Crazy Ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) (DEH 2006p).

The Status Review and Action Plan for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren Stipiturus malachurus parimeda (Pickett 2002a) recommends the following recovery actions. The current status of these actions, where known, is also provided:

  • Establish a recovery team and prepare a recovery plan. A draft recovery plan (Pickett 2004b) has been completed.
  • Secure funding for the recovery program. Some funding has been provided, but the amount of funding allocated thus far is not sufficient to establish and maintain a recovery program (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).
  • Monitor populations to determine changes in distribution or population size, and undertake further surveys to improve knowledge of the distribution, demography and habitat. Surveys were conducted yearly between 2003 and 2008 (Pickett 2004a, 2005a, 2008), including several surveys at the site of the Cathedral Rocks Windfarm (Pickett 2003, 2004c, 2005c) as per the conditions of approval for the clearance of native vegetation at the wind farm site (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).
  • Educate the community and landholders, and increase public interest and awareness. There have been general efforts to increase public awareness of the subspecies (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).
  • Re-establish links (i.e. corridors of vegetation) between suitable sites to facilitate dispersal.
  • Erect fencing around suitable habitat to prevent grazing by large herbivores.
  • Liaise with local government to maintain the quality of known or potential sites or corridors in roadside reserves.
  • Inform the development of fire management plans for reserves by National Parks and Wildlife South Australia. Specific information and advice about the requirements of the subspecies has been provided to National Parks and Wildlife South Australia in relation to fire management planning in reserves managed by the Department for Environment and Heritage, South Australia (M. Pickett 2006, pers. comm.).
  • Submit a nomination for the subspecies to be listed as Endangered at the national level. The current listing is Vulnerable under the EPBC Act 1999.
  • Investigate and undertake a population translocation.

The Lower Eyre Peninsula Bushfire Re-establishment Program: Scientific Program (SA DEH 2009l) has determined the following recovery actions to assist the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula):

  • Assess post-fire population and habitat. Pickett (2005a, 2005b) assessed the population and habitat in 2005.
  • identification of known and potential habitat areas for protection from grazing and create habitat linkages. Pickett (2005b, 2006b) surveyed for known and potential habitat in 2005 and 2006.
  • Control weeds at revegetation sites and known habitat areas.
  • Monitor and evaluate the success of recovery actions.

In addition, a planning exercise was conducted to establish guidelines for the management of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) habitat after the 2005 wildfire (Pickett 2005b) and a similar strategic planning exercise was undertaken in 2006 for regions outside the fire-affected area (Pickett 2006a).

The following projects have received Government funding grants for conservation and recovery work benefiting the Southern Emu-Wren (Eyre Peninsula):

The Conservation Council of SA received $6390 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2001–02, part of which was for identification of declining species of birds (including the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula)), critical habitat and significant impacts, gaps in management knowledge, and recommendation of priorities for better management.

Southern Eyre Birds Inc (SA) received $10 000 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2001–02 to search for this subspecies at known and potential locations, to assess habitat requirements and threats, for the preparation a draft recovery plan, to establish a monitoring program for this subspecies, and to assess the possible re-colonisation of recently burnt sites.

Southern Eyre Birds Inc received $8257 through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2007–08. The project implements two priority recovery objectives from the draft Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-Wren Recovery Plan: population monitoring and increasing community and stakeholder awareness. The project will continue long term population monitoring and provide for a community field day and on ground works (Pickett 2008).

The following documents provide a biological overview and management recommendations for the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula):

  • Status Review and Action Plan for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren Stipiturus malachurus parameda (Pickett 2002a)
  • Recovery Planning for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren - 2004 Survey (Pickett 2004a)
  • Draft Recovery Plan for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren (Stipiturus malachurus parameda) 2005-2009 (Pickett 2004b)
  • Habitat Management Planning for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren in the 2005 Bushfire Area (Pickett 2005b)
  • Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren Habitat Re-establishment Strategy for Areas Outside the 2005 Bushfire Area (Pickett 2006a)
  • Habitat Management Guidelines for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren (Pickett 2006b).

In addition the following documents are also available:

  • Threat Abatement Plan to Reduce the Impacts of Tramp Ants on Biodiversity in Australia and its Territories (DEH 2006p)
  • Threat Abatement Plan for Dieback Caused by the Root-rot Fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi (EA 2001m)
  • Threat Abatement Plan for predation by the European red fox (DEWHA 2008adf)
  • Threat Abatement Plan for predation by feral cats (DEWHA 2008adg).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 2000) [Cwlth Action Plan].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Land clearance (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001w) [Listing Advice].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Stipiturus malachurus parimedain Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ye) [Internet].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Ecosystem Degradation:Decline in habitat quality Stipiturus malachurus parimedain Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ye) [Internet].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Stipiturus malachurus parimedain Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ye) [Internet].
Energy Production and Mining:Renewable Energy:Habitat modification due to wind farm development and operation Stipiturus malachurus parimedain Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ye) [Internet].
Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Human Intrusions and Disturbance:Mechanical disturbance during construction, maintanance or recreational activities Stipiturus malachurus parimedain Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ye) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Vegetation and habitat loss caused by dieback Phytophthora cinnamomi Stipiturus malachurus parimedain Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ye) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Changes in hydrology including habitat drainage Stipiturus malachurus parimedain Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ye) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Salinity Stipiturus malachurus parimedain Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ye) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Stipiturus malachurus parimedain Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage, 2006ye) [Internet].

Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH) (2006p). Threat Abatement Plan for Reduction in Impacts of Tramp Ants on Biodiversity in Australia and its Territories. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/trampants.html.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2008zzp). Threat Abatement Plan for predation by feral cats. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/cats08.html.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2008zzq). Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by the European Red Fox. [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/foxes08.html.

Donnellan, S.C., J. Armstrong, M. Pickett, T. Milne, J. Baulderstone, T. Hollfelder & T. Bertozzi (2009). Systematic and conservation implications of mitochondrial DNA diversity in emu-wren, Stipiturus (Aves : Maluridae). Emu. 109:143-152.

Eckert, J. (1977). The distribution of the Emu-wrens Stipiturus malachurus and S. ruficeps mallee in South Australia. South Australian Ornithologist. 27:186-187.

Environment Australia (EA) (2001m). Threat Abatement Plan for Dieback Caused by the Root-rot Fungus Phytophthora cinnamomi. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/phytophthora.html.

Garnett, S., ed. (1993). Threatened and Extinct Birds of Australia. RAOU Report 82. Melbourne: Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, and Canberra: Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley (2000). The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Environment Australia and Birds Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/action/birds2000/index.html.

Higgins, P.J., J.M. Peter & W.K. Steele, eds. (2001). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 5: Tyrant-flycatchers to Chats. Melbourne, Victoria: Oxford University Press.

Hydro Tasmania (2003). Management Plan for the Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm (Section 12, Hundred of Sleaford). Unpublished report prepared by Hydro Tasmania, Hobart.

Magrath, M.J.L., M.A. Weston, P. Olsen & M. Antos (2004). Draft Survey Standards for Birds: Species Accounts. Melbourne, Victoria: Report for the Department of the Environment and Heritage by Birds Australia.

Morgan, T.D. (1982). Further sightings of the Southern Emu-wren from Eyre Peninsula. South Australian Ornithologist. 29:22.

Pickett, M. (2000). The Mount Lofty Ranges Southern Emu-wren Stipiturus malachurus intermedius recovery program: banding and monitoring 1994-1999. Unpublished report prepared for the Conservation Council of South Australia. Adelaide, South Australia: Conservation Council of South Australia.

Pickett, M. (2002a). Status Review and Action Plan for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren Stipiturus malachurus parimeda. [Online]. Port Lincoln, South Australia: Southern Eyre Birds Inc. and Adelaide, South Australia: National Parks and Wildlife South Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/west_bcp/pdfs/epsew_report.pdf.

Pickett, M. (2003). Status and Distribution of the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren at the Proposed Cathedral Rocks Windfarm Site. Unpublished report prepared for Hydro Tasmania, Hobart.

Pickett, M. (2004a). Recovery Planning for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren - 2004 Survey. Unpublished report prepared for the Department for Environment and Heritage, South Australia.

Pickett, M. (2004b). Draft Recovery Plan for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren (Stipiturus malachurus parimeda) 2005 - 2009. Unpublished draft prepared for the Department for Environment and Heritage, South Australia.

Pickett, M. (2004c). Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren and Western Whipbird Monitoring at the Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm Heritage Agreement Area - Spring 2004. Unpublished report prepared for Hydro Tasmania, Hobart.

Pickett, M. (2005a). Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren 2005 Post-Fire Survey. [Online]. Adelaide, South Australia: Department for Environment and Heritage. Available from: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/west_bcp/pdfs/epsew_pf_survey_report.pdf.

Pickett, M. (2005b). Habitat Management Planning for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren in the 2005 Bushfire Area. [Online]. Adelaide, South Australia: Department for Environment and Heritage. Available from: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/west_bcp/pdfs/epsew_hab_plan_report.pdf.

Pickett, M. (2005c). Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren and Western Whipbird Monitoring at the Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm Heritage Agreement Area - Spring 2005. Unpublished report prepared for Hydro Tasmania, Hobart.

Pickett, M. (2006). Personal communication, February 2006.

Pickett, M. (2006a). Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren habitat re-establishment strategy for areas outside the 2005 bushfire area. [Online]. Port Lincoln, South Australia: Department for Environment and Heritage. Available from: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/west_bcp/pdfs/epsew_2006_habstrat.pdf.

Pickett, M. (2006b). Habitat Management Guidelines for the Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren. [Online]. Port Lincoln, South Australia: Department for Environment and Heritage. Available from: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/west_bcp/pdfs/epsew_2006_habguide.pdf.

Pickett, M. (2008). Eyre Peninsula Southern Emu-wren 2008 Survey. [Online]. Port Lincoln, South Australia: Department for Environment and Heritage. Available from: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/west_bcp/pdfs/epsew_2008_survey_report.pdf.

Possingham, H.P. (1993). Southern Emu-wrens in the Koppio Hills and near Edillilie, Eyre Peninsula. South Australian Ornithologist. 31:143.

Reid, N. (1976). Bird Report, 1975. South Australian Ornithologist. 27:147-158.

Schodde, R. & I.J. Mason (1999). The Directory of Australian Birds: Passerines. Melbourne, Victoria: CSIRO.

Schodde, R. & R.G. Weatherley (1981). A new subspecies of the Southern Emu-wren Stipiturus malachurus from South Australia, with notes on its affinities. South Australian Ornithologist. 28:169-170.

South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage (SA DEH) (2009l). Lower Peninsula Bushfire Re-establishment Program: Scientific Program. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/west_bcp/lep_brp.html.

South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage (SA DEH) (undated). Southern Emu-Wren (Eyre Peninsula sub-species). Port Lincoln, South Australia: Department for Environment and Heritage.

South Australian Ornithological Assocation (SAOA) (1991). Endangered Birds in South Australia. Submission to the Advisory Committee on Threatened Species in South Australia for the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia. Adelaide, South Australia: South Australian Ornithological Association.

Storr, G.M. (1947). Some birds observed on southern Eyre Peninsula. South Australian Ornithologist. 18:31-36.

Terrill, S.E. & C.E. Rix (1950). The birds of South Australia: their distribution and habitat. South Australian Ornithologist. 19:53-100.

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Stipiturus malachurus parimeda in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Fri, 29 Aug 2014 10:57:10 +1000.