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Population trend and conservation status of the Capricorn Yellow Chat Epthianura crocea macgregori

journal contribution
posted on 26.03.2019, 00:00 by Wayne HoustonWayne Houston, R Elder, R Black
Copyright © BirdLife International 2017. Summary The average population size of Capricorn Yellow Chat Epthianura crocea macgregori was estimated at 251 +/-31 (SE) by repeated surveys over seven years (2004-2010) using consistent search effort at known occupied sites. Because the survey period coincided with a mixture of dry and wet years (drought from 2004 to 2007 followed by flood rainfall in early 2008 and 2010), it is particularly valuable as a preliminary benchmark upon which to base management decisions. Most of the population (74.5%) was in the Broad Sound area in the north, with lower numbers in the Fitzroy River delta area in the south (22%) and at Curtis Island (3.5%). Sites on Torilla Plain in Broad Sound accounted for two-thirds of the estimated population, making it a priority for conservation efforts. Depending on habitat configuration, some Capricorn Yellow Chats showed a seasonal pattern of habitat use, moving from flooded breeding habitats as they dried to refuge sites such as salt fields or upper marine plains in the dry season; distances moved being < 10 km. Standard surveys from Torilla Plain showed that the chat count during a sequence of above-average rainfall years was almost double that of the average for drought years: 162 +/-28 (2008-2015) compared with 85 +/-15 (2004-2007) respectively. Low population size, large annual fluctuations in population with prior rainfall, rapid declines in low rainfall years, a fragmented distribution and almost half the population concentrated at one site point to a subspecies vulnerable to chance events. Increased climatic extremes predicted by climate change such as higher temperatures, evaporation rates, extended droughts and more intense rainfall events add to its vulnerability.

Funding

Category 2 - Other Public Sector Grants Category

History

Volume

28

Issue

1

Start Page

100

End Page

115

Number of Pages

16

eISSN

1474-0001

ISSN

0959-2709

Publisher

Cambridge University Press, UK

Peer Reviewed

Yes

Open Access

No

Acceptance Date

25/10/2016

Era Eligible

Yes

Journal

Bird Conservation International