Australian Bustard and the Atlas

Subject: Australian Bustard and the Atlas
From: "Peter Ewin" <>
Date: Tue, 13 Mar 2001 10:11:00 +1100
Hi all

Just a quick comment on the decline of Bustards and Emu in the Atlas. Is this really the case, or has the change in methodology had an effect? Both these species are large and obvious, and would be easily recorded in a 10 minute grid square, particularly from a moving vehicle (most of the records I have heard of in NSW are from people driving on remote roads). However, I would think they are less likely to be recorded in a smaller search. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

I also thought it strange that in the 4 weeks I spent in the NT last winter, no bustards were seen. A pair were seen in Witjirra NP just south of the border on the western edge of the Simpson Desert, and quite a few were on the mitchell grass around Boulia but none in between. We may have been in the wrong areas, but I would have thought that you should see at least one on a roadside somehwere.


The current Atlas results are showing a strong decline of the Australian
Bustard and the Emu since the first Atlas of 1977-1981.
In the first Atlas there were 3,300 reports for the Australian Bustard and
in the current Atlas there are 1,000 reports. For the Emu the first Atlas
had 11,000 reports and the current Atlas has 4,500 reports. The current
Atlas is about at equivalence point with the first Atlas and these figures
represent a significant decline in these two species.
By state the change in reporting rate for the Australian Bustard over its
main range is as:

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