Uluru Quail Thrush Results

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Uluru Quail Thrush Results
From: "Sean Dooley" <>
Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2001 12:57:04 +1100
About a week ago I asked for information on Quail Thrush in the Uluru area for the purposes of ensuring the accuracy of an anecdote in my upcoming comedy festival show about birdwatching.
I had several replies which were very informative and I thought I would summarise them here.
Firstly from the atlas records submitted so far for the area, there have been no records of any species of Quail Thrush. A worrying result, but given the secretive nature of the genus, there is hope that they are still present in the region, and they haven't gone the way of Mallee Fowl in the Northern Territory.
Chestnut Quial Thrush is on the list and probably the most likely species to be encountered, particularly in the more scrubby, thickly vegeteated areas.
Both Cinnamon and Chestnut-breasted are on the list for the park, but this probably can be accounted for by the fact that the Park list was begun before the two species were split out. According to Hanzab and other sources, it is Chestnut-breasted that is likely to be here, although no-one that contcated me had seen it themselves. The nearest record of Cinnamon was in the general vicinity mentioned in the Thomas and Thomas book, ie the Erldunda region along the Stuart Highway which is approximately 250 km east of Uluru itself. I imagine that is quite a small distance for the species to intergrate, although perhaps it is similar to the gap between the range of the two Wedgebill species?
What this exercise clearly demonstrates is the need to identify where possible birds to the race level. Not only may they be split out at some future date, but more importantly different races of the same species may have different habitat preference, food sources, breeding requirements etc which may be crucial to their status. If we lump all races together when considering their conservation needs we may well be consigning one of the populations to extinction through complacency.
For instance, if we were to consider the conservation status of the Crested Shrike-tit as a whole species, we may come to the conclusion that it is reasonably secure. Yet it is quite possible that the northern race whitei may turn out to be one of our most critically endangered passerine species.
Food for thought. And all this just from my desire to write a joke.
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