Understanding and managing the threats to night parrots in south-western Gueensland

Stephen A. Murphy, Rachel Paltridge, Jennifer Silcock, Rachel Murphy, Alex S. Kutt, John Read

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    South-western Queensland supports a suite of threatened native species, including Night Parrots. We investigated why this species has persisted in the region and discovered low prevalence of the typical factors that are thought to explain fauna attrition elsewhere in central Australia. Foxes appear to be completely absent. Feral cats were recorded relatively infrequently and showed a significant preference for habitats less commonly used by Night Parrots, a partition that may be driven by the presence of dogs that were detected twice as frequently as cats. Our study area has had a long history of moderate grazing pressure, which is concentrated mostly in productive alluvial habitats. We detected very few herbivores, and dog scat analyses suggest that macropod populations are regulated by predation. Archival imagery shows that large fires are not a feature of this landscape, resulting in the long-term, stable availability of patchy Triodia habitats separated by natural no-fuel areas. Based on these empirical data, we postulate that low non-native predator pressure, long-term stable availability of Triodia cover and a productive landscape that has had only moderate grazing pressure are the interacting factors that may explain why Night Parrots have persisted in south-western Queensland. We present practical management actions that could enhance the suitability of this landscape for Night Parrots.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)135-145
    Number of pages11
    JournalEmu
    Volume118
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2018

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