Understanding habitat use of the Endangered Alligator Rivers Yellow Chat Epthianura crocea tunneyi to inform monitoring and management

Robin Leppitt, Luke Einoder, Peter M. Kyne, John C.Z. Woinarski, Stephen Garnett

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Knowledge of where a threatened species occurs in a landscape is crucial for determining its habitat requirements and informing its conservation planning and management. We conducted the first broad-scale survey of the Endangered Alligator Rivers Yellow Chat Epthianura crocea tunneyi across much of its known range on drying coastal floodplains in northern Australia. Presence-absence records from 257 sites surveyed in the late dry season (August-December) of 2018 and 2019 were modelled using occupancy/detectability models. Occupancy was estimated to be 0.10 ± 0.04 with a high detection probability (0.89 ± 0.07). Modelling of 13 site-level environmental covariates found that chats were more likely to be detected at sites where the native shrub Sesbania sesban was present, were close to hydrogeological features such as depressions or channels, were long unburnt (5+ years) and/or with topsoil damage caused by feral pigs. Our estimates of chat occupancy, detectability, and the covariates that influence their occupancy, have improved our understanding of the role that fire and feral animals have on chat distribution and habitat selection, and can be used as a baseline for future monitoring. We also provide recommendations on how to design and implement future monitoring of this subspecies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-16
    Number of pages16
    JournalBird Conservation International
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Feb 2022

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