Q. What is approximately the size of a chicken and creates a large mound nest?
A. Only one of most iconic bird species in Australia – the marvellous Malleefowl (Leipoa ocellata).
Back in 2016, NACC staff joined a team from Bush Heritage Australia and a group of dedicated volunteers to spend several days hiking across Charles Darwin Reserve – east of Perenjori. The aim of the expedition was to check the accuracy of the LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging remote sensing) data to identify the location of Malleefowl nesting mounds. Thanks to their hard work, more than 100 mounds were recorded on the property.
Fast forward a year later – to October 2017 – when once again NACC staff, the Badimaya Aboriginal Ranger team, and community volunteers “went mad for Malleefowl”, helping our conservation partners at Bush Heritage and the National Malleefowl Recovery Team to check on the status of those mounds.
The 100 known mounds were monitored for signs of malleefowl activity, but unfortunately, positive signs were few and far between.
— Jessica Stingemore (@J_Stingemore) October 16, 2017
NACC Biodiversity Program Coordinator Jessica Stingemore said the dry winter and recent, late rains were likely to have contributed to the low numbers.
“The presence of cat tracks in some areas, and the presumed impact of feral cats, is also a real concern,” she said.
“Despite this disappointing result, it is still important to know the trends in local Malleefowl populations. It leads us to wonder why Malleefowl might be thriving better in some areas, but not others.”
“Answering this particular question will help us determine what conditions are required for Malleefowl to survive, which in turn will allow us to focus on the most effective management actions.”
If you would like to know more about Malleefowl in the NACC NRM Region or to volunteer to help monitor their activities, please contact NACC Biodiversity Program Coordinator Jessica Stingemore at [email protected] or 9938 0106.
About the National Malleefowl Recovery Team
The role of the National Malleefowl Recovery Team is to implement actions from the National Malleefowl Recovery Plan.
The Malleefowl is listed nationally as Vulnerable and for every threatened species in Australia (listed in the EPBC Act) there is a Recovery Plan. The Recovery Plan sets out all of the actions necessary to stop the decline of, and support the recovery of Malleefowl and aims to maximise the long term survival in the wild of the species.
The National Malleefowl Recovery Team has members representing a wide range of interests. This includes farmers, scientists, community groups and government agencies. There are members from ACT, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.