Spotted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma punctatum - fragmentation & decline in w

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Subject: Spotted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma punctatum - fragmentation & decline in western Victoria?
From: "Lawrie Conole" <>
Date: Tue, 16 Apr 2002 17:29:12 +1000

The Spotted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma punctatum occurs from near Adelaide in South Australia around coastal and near-coastal eastern Australia to south-east Queensland.  The isolated population in the Mount Lofty Ranges near Adelaide, C. punctatum anachoreta, is regarded as Critically Endangered and possibly now extinct (Garnett & Crowley 2000).  In contrast, the eastern Australian population C. punctatum punctatum, and eastern Tasmanian population, C. punctatum dovei, are both considered Least Concern.  For definitions of the IUCN Red List categories see IUCN (2001) or Garnett & Crowley (2000).

During March-April 2002 I took part in a process of reviewing the Victorian threatened avifauna against new IUCN Red List criteria (Gärdenfors et al. 2001; IUCN 2001), to update the previous published summary (DNRE 2000).  Amongst other sources we used recent output from the ‘Atlas of Victorian Wildlife’ (AVW) database maintained by the Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE), Arthur Rylah Institute, Melbourne.  The AVW includes data from the Birds Australia Atlas II project, and from a wide range of other sources.  Records from AVW for each of the species under consideration were broken up into ‘before and after 1990’ categories to aid in the detection of any recent trends (either increase/decrease in range, local extinctions, etc.).

The isolated nature of Spotted Quail-thrush populations in the Grampians and Lower GlenelgPortland areas is evident enough from Emison et al. (1986), but recent AVW data shows a decline in area of occupancy for both locations.  There were no records of Spotted Quail-thrush from the Grampians during the 1990s (last submitted record 1987), and the area of occupancy in the far south-west had contracted to the eastern end of Lower Glenelg National Park and adjacent Cobbobonee State Forest (last submitted record 2000).  Both of these locations are well separated from Spotted Quail-thrush strongholds in the Box-Ironbark, Central Highlands and Gippsland areas.

Recent records show that the population in the eastern Otway Ranges between Lorne and Torquay is also quite isolated (last submitted record 1995).

In addition there appears to have been up to a 50% decline in reporting rate for Spotted Quail-thrush across stronghold areas in the Box-Ironbark, Central Highlands and Gippsland.  Observer activity in these areas does not appear to be the critical factor, as records of some other cryptic species in these areas do not show a similar decline.

It would appear then that the Spotted Quail-thrush might be in minor decline across its range in Victoria, but in major decline in fragmented and isolated areas of south-west Victoria.  The populations in the Grampians and Lower GlenelgPortland areas may be going the way of C. punctatum anachoreta in South Australia, and local extinction is a distinct possibility.

What to do?

§         Include targeted searches for this species in your activities if you visit areas in western Victoria where it is or was known to occur.

§         Submit your Victorian records (including surveys which fail to locate SQT) to either the Bird Australia Atlas II or AVW databases.




DNRE (2000).  Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria – 2000.  A systematic list of vertebrate fauna considered extinct, at risk of extinction or in major decline in Victoria.  (Department of Natural Resources and Environment, East Melbourne).

Emison, W.B., Beardsell, C.M., Norman, F.I. & Loyn, R.H. (1987).  Atlas of Victorian Birds.  (Department of Conservation and Environment and the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, Melbourne).

Gärdenfors, U., Hilton-Taylor, C., Mace, G. & Rodríguez, J.P. (2001).  The application of IUCN Red List Criteria at regional levels.  Conservation Biology 15: 1206-1212.

Garnett, S.T. & Crowley, G.M. (2000).  The Action Plan for Australian Birds – 2000.  (Environment Australia: Canberra).

IUCN. (2001).  IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1.  (IUCN Species Survival Commission, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK).

Lawrie Conole
Senior Zoologist
Ecology Australia Pty. Ltd.
Flora and Fauna Consultants
88B Station Street
FAIRFIELD VIC 3078 Australia
ph: (03) 9489 4191;  mob: (0419) 588 993
fax: (03) 9481 7679
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