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
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans National Multi-species Recovery Plan for the Partridge Pigeon Geophaps smithii smithii, Crested Shrike-tit, Falcunculus frontatus whitei, Masked Owl Tyto novaehollandiae kimberli and Masked Owl Tiwi Islands Tyto novaehollandiae melvillensis 2004-2009 (Woinarski, J.C.Z, 2004) [Recovery 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].
 
List of Migratory Species (13/07/2000) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000b) [Legislative Instrument].
 
List of Migratory Species - Amendment to the list of migratory species under section 209 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (26/11/2013) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2013af) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
NT:Survey protocol for the northern shrike-tit Falcunculus frontatus whitei (Northern Territory Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts and Sport (NT NRETAS), 2009b) [Information Sheet].
NT:Threatened Species of the Northern Territory-Northern (Crested) Shrike-tit Falcunculus (frontatus) whitei (Woinarski, J. & S. Ward, 2012e) [Information Sheet].
Non-statutory Listing Status
WA: Listed as P4 (Priority Flora and Priority Fauna List (Western Australia): April 2014 list)
Scientific name Falcunculus frontatus whitei [26013]
Family Pachycephalidae:Passeriformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author  
Infraspecies author Campbell, 1910
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

Western Australia: Removed from the Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 in November 2012.

Scientific name: Falcunculus frontatus whitei

Common name: Crested Shrike-tit (northern)

Other names: Northern Shrike-tit, Yellow Shrike-tit

The Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit is sometimes considered to be a distinct species, the Northern Shrike-tit (Schodde & Mason 1999), but it is more commonly thought to form one of three allopatric subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit. The other two subspecies are F. f. frontatus of eastern Australia, and F. f. leucogaster of southwestern Western Australia (Christidis & Boles 1994; Higgins & Peter 2002; Peters 1986; Sibley & Monroe 1990).

The Crested Shrike-tit (northern) has a bold black and white head/crest and bright yellow breast. The male has a black throat, while the female has an olive-green throat. The northern subspecies is smaller than the full species, with yellow washed wings and tail, yellow-green rump, and bright yellow underparts (Pizzey & Knight 1999).

The Crested Shrike-tit is often seen in pairs or family groups (Pizzey & Knight 1999).

The Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit is endemic to northwestern Australia. It occurs in the Kimberley Division of Western Australia and in the north of the Northern Territory (Higgins & Peter 2002). Historically, it was distributed from Wotjulum Mission and Beverley Springs Station in the Kimberley Division of Western Australia, east in a narrow band between latitudes of 14°S and 17°S to Borroloola in the Northern Territory. There are also some isolated records of the Crested Shrike-tit in Arnhem Land, north to Kapalga (12°15''S) (Robinson & Woinarski 1992).

There have been few published location records of the Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit since the mid 1970s. It occurred in the Drysdale River area of Western Australia between 1976 and 2000 (Higgins & Peter 2002). A single bird was recorded at Beverley Springs Station in May 1979 (Sedgwick 1988b). Two birds were recorded at Kalumburu in May 1999 (Vigilante 1999). In the Northern Territory, there were isolated records of it near the South Alligator River (Kapalga) in 1976 (Keast 1985) and 50 km south of Ramingining in August 1990 (Robinson & Woinarski 1992; Robinson et al. 1992). Most records of the Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit in the Northern Territory are further south, in the area from Mt Todd and Edith River, south of the Montejinni Station, and from Timber Creek east to Old Elsey Station and Mataranka (Higgins & Peter 2002).

Clusters of records of the Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit occur around the Drysdale River in Western Australia, and between Pine Creek and Larrimah in the Northern Territory (Robinson & Woinarski 1992; Robinson et al. 1992).

The Crested Shrike-tit (northern) is not known for certain to have disappeared from any area where it was recorded historically. It has not been recorded in the McArthur River-Borroloola area for over 80 years, but it is possible that it still occurs there (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit appears to have a fragmented distribution. It occurs in very low densities in many isolated subpopulations (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The only available estimate of the Crested Shrike-tit (northern) put the population at around 2500 birds. However, this estimate is considered to be of low reliability (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit inhabits eucalypt open woodlands, such as those dominated by Bloodwood, Eucalyptus opaca, Darwin Box E. tectifica and Roughleaf Cabbage Gum E. confertiflora, and less often in woodland dominated by Darwin Woollybutt Eucalyptus miniata, Darwin Stringybark E. tetrodonta or Smooth-stemmed Bloodwood Corymbia bleeseri (D.C. Franklin, as cited in Higgins & Peter 2002; Franklin et al. 1997; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Robinson & Woinarski 1992; Robinson et al. 1992; Sedgwick 1988b; Ward 2008).

The Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit has also been recorded in areas that have a grassy understorey, for example of Sorghum sp., but it may also inhabit areas with a shrubby understorey (Robinson & Woinarski 1992, Ward 2008). It has occasionally been recorded in woodlands dominated by paperbarks Melaleuca spp. or Nutwood Terminalia arostrata (Robinson & Woinarski 1992). At Maranboy in the Northern Territory, it occurs in mixed woodland of Round-leaved Bloodwood Corymbia latifolia, Darwin Box E. tectifica and Broad-leafed Paperbark Melaleuca viridiflora (Holmes & Noske 1990).

Factors that may increase the chances of the species inhabiting suitable areas include the presence of flaky-barked Bloodwood species and/or ironwood trees, areas not dominated by a thick shrub-layer, and areas that are prone to being waterlogged seasonally (though the species has also been recorded from hilly areas such as Yinberrie Hills and Borroloola (Ward 2008).

The subspecies builds its nest in a vertical fork in the uppermost leaves and branchlets of a sapling or a tree, usually a eucalypt (White 1914).

In the Kimberley Division of Western Australia, eggs of the Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit have been recorded in March (Storr 1980). Near Borroloola in the Northern Territory, one clutch has been found in late January (White 1914).

Prey eaten by the Northern Shrike-tit includes insect larvae (probably beetle), beetles, katydids, tree crickets, spiders and cicadas. Whilst, these are relatively large invertebrates, smaller invertebrates are likely to also be eaten (Ward 2008). Only one type of prey has been identified (bark crickets in the Order Orthoptera, Family Gryllidae) (Barnard 1914).

The Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit forages in trees, especially in eucalypts. It feeds from or under the bark, mostly by tearing or probing loose or peeling bark from trunks and branches of trees with its bill. It sometimes also forages among the dead stems of live trees (Barnard 1914; Higgins & Peter 2002; Robinson & Woinarski 1992).

Ward (2008) identified Northern Shrike-tits as foraging mainly on 'finer' dead branches, gleaning on leaves and foraging on terminal branches at heights of 5 m or more, with some 'attacking' of galls and flowers buds in the search for insects.

The Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit is resident or present throughout year in the Kimberley Division of Western Australia (Slater 1959) and in the Top End of the Northern Territory (H.A.F. Thompson & D.K. Goodfellow, as cited in Higgins & Peter 2002), including in the lower reaches of the McArthur River (Schodde 1976).

The Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit apparently lives in widely-spaced groups, possibly up to 20 km apart (Hill 1911; Robinson & Woinarski 1992).The species is considered to defend a territory area of approximately 20 ha in the Katherine Region and remain resident in the area throughout the year (Ward 2008).

Distinctiveness
The Crested Shrike-tit is unlikely to be mistaken for any other species within its range (Higgins & Peter 2002).

The Northern subspecies of the Crested Shrike-tit is probably adversely affected by frequent hot fires in the late dry season which prevent invertebrates from becoming established beneath bark (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Robinson & Woinarski 1992).

The Jawoyn Association Aboriginal Corporation (NT) received $24 910 of funding through the Threatened Species Network Community Grants in 2006-07 for the building of scientific bird identification skills and recording techniques with Jawoyn people, as well as contributing to knowledge of the effects of fire regime on top-end bird species.

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
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) Falcunculus frontatus whitei in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006jo) [Internet].

Barnard, H.G. (1914). Northern Territory birds. Emu. 14:39-57.

Christidis, L. & W.E. Boles (1994). The Taxonomy and Species of Birds of Australia and its Territories. Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union Monograph 2. Melbourne, Victoria: Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union.

Franklin, D., C. Johnson & P.L. Dostine (1997). A capture record of the Northern Shrike-tit. Northern Territory Naturalist. 15:41-42.

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 (Eds) (2002). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 6. Pardalotes to Spangled Drongo. Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

Hill, G.F. (1911). Field notes on birds of Kimberley, north-west Australia. Emu. 10:258-290.

Holmes, G., & R.A. Noske (1990). New locality records of birds in Arnhem Land and southern Gulf of Carpentaria. Northern Territory Naturalist. 12:13-19.

Keast, A. (1985). Bird community structure in southern forests and northern woodlands: a comparison. In: Keast, A., H.F. Recher, H. Ford & D. Saunders, eds. Birds of Eucalypt Forests and Woodlands: Ecology, Conservation, Management. Page(s) 97-116. Surrey Beatty & Sons, Chipping Norton, NSW.

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.

Masters, E (2009). Twitcher's delight: rare bird spotted. 13 July 2009. ABC News. [Online]. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Available from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/07/13/2624225.html.

Peters, J.L. (1986). Check-list of the Birds of the World. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Pizzey, G. & F. Knight (1999). The Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Pymble, Sydney: Angus and Robertson.

Robinson, D., & J.C.Z. Woinarski (1992). A review of records of the Northern Shrike-tit Falcunculus frontatus whitei in northwestern Australia. South Australian Ornithologist. 31:111-17.

Robinson, D., N. Gambold, K. Menkhorst, S. Mann & M. Fleming (1992). Further interesting bird records from the Gulf of Carpentaria and Arnhem Land. Northern Territory Naturalist. 13:16-24.

Schodde, R. (1976). A Survey of the Fauna of the Lower McArthur River Region, Northern Territory. CSIRO Division of Wildlife Research for Mimets Development Pty Ltd.

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

Sedgwick, E.H. (1988b). Crested Shrike-tit in the Kimberley, Western Australia. Australian Bird Watcher. 12:240.

Sibley, C.G. & B.L. Monroe (1990). Distribution and Taxonomy of the Birds of the World. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

Slater, P. (1959). Breeding periods of birds in the Kimberley Division, Western Australia. Western Australian Naturalist. 7:35-41.

Storr, G.M. (1980). Birds of the Kimberley Division, Western Australia. Special Publications of the Western Australian Museum, No. 11. 11:1-117. Perth, Western Australia: Western Australian Museum.

Vigilante, T. (1999). Crested Shrike-tit at Kalumburu, Western Australia. Western Australian Bird Notes. 92:13.

Ward, S.J (2008). Habitat-use, foraging and breeding ecology of the northern shrike-tit Falcunculus frontatus whitei. Darwin, N.T: Department of Natural Resources, Environment, The Arts & Sport.

White, H.L. (1914). Description of new Australian birds' eggs. Emu. 14:57-59.

Woinarski, J.C.Z (2004). National Multi-species Recovery Plan for the Partridge Pigeon Geophaps smithii smithii, Crested Shrike-tit, Falcunculus frontatus whitei, Masked Owl Tyto novaehollandiae kimberli and Masked Owl Tiwi Islands Tyto novaehollandiae melvillensis 2004-2009. [Online]. Darwin: Northern Territory Department of Infrastructure Planning and Environment. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/smithii-whitei-kimberli-melvillensis/index.html.

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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). Falcunculus frontatus whitei in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sun, 31 Aug 2014 14:37:49 +1000.