Biodiversity

Species Profile and Threats Database


For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
 
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].
 
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey Guidelines for Australia's Threatened Birds. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.2 (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2010l) [Admin Guideline].
 
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
 
List of Migratory Species (13/07/2000) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000b) [Legislative Instrument].
 
List of Migratory Species - Amendment to the list of migratory species under section 209 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (26/11/2013) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2013af) [Legislative Instrument].
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
TAS:Forty-spotted Pardalote (Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (TAS DIPWE), 2009s) [Internet].
TAS:Pardalotus quadragintus (Forty-spotted Pardalote): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014tb) [State Action Plan].
TAS:Listing Statement: Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus (Threatened Species Unit (TSU), 1998f) [Report].
State Listing Status
TAS: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania): September 2012 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
NGO: Listed as Endangered (The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010)
Scientific name Pardalotus quadragintus [418]
Family Pardalotidae:Passeriformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Gould,1838
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

Scientific name: Pardalotus quadragintus

Common name: Forty-spotted Pardalote

Other names: Forty-spotted Diamondbird, Many-spotted Pardalote, Many-spotted Diamondbird, Tasmanian Pardalote, Tasmanian Diamondbird, Diamondbird.

The Forty-spotted Pardalote is considered to be a conventionally accepted species (Christidis & Boles 1994; Schodde & Mason 1999; Sibley & Monroe 1990).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote has a length of about 10 cm, a wingspan of about 18 cm, and a weight of about 9 to 13 g (Bulman 1981; Higgins & Peter 2002; Woinarski & Bulman 1985). It is mostly olive-green above, and greyish-white below, with a brighter greenish-yellow face and undertail, a grey-black bill, brown irides, black wings with prominent white spots, a black uppertail, and pinkish-brown legs and feet. Juvenile birds are duller than the adults and have a cream face, a blackish stripe behind each eye, an olive-grey cap on the head and neck, a brown patch over the upper back and shoulders, and a white or flesh-coloured gape (Higgins & Peter 2002).

During the breeding season (August to December), the Forty-spotted Pardalote forages in pairs or in small, loose flocks. During the non-breeding period, it occurs in monospecific flocks (i.e. flocks comprised entirely of Forty-spotted Pardalote) and sometimes in mixed-species flocks (Higgins & Peter 2002; M. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm.; Rounsevell & Woinarski 1983; Woinarski & Rounsevell 1983). The species occasionally also occurs singly (Rounsevell & Woinarski 1983; Wakefield & Wakefield 1996; Wall 1965), with solitary individuals usually observed during the non-breeding season in suboptimal habitat. Such observations likely represent dispersal by juvenile birds (M. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm.).

The distribution of the Forty-spotted Pardalote is confined to south-eastern Tasmania, including Flinders Island and some offshore islands. In south-eastern Tasmania, the species occurs at Mount Nelson, Coffee Creek (Howden) and Tinderbox Peninsula, and offshore on Maria, Bruny and Partridge Islands (Bryant 1997, 1998; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; M. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm.).

On Flinders Island in Bass Strait, the species is reliant on stands of White Gum (Eucalyptus viminalis), and was most recently recorded at East Sugarloaf, Broughams Sugarloaf and the Darling Range (Bryant 1997). However, the status of the species at these sites is currently unknown as severe wildfires occurred in the area in 2002–2003 (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l). A survey of the Flinders Island population is scheduled to occur in 2010 (Bryant 2010).

The extent of occurrence is estimated, with high reliability, to be 330 km². This is currently considered stable (Garnett & Crowley 2000), but it has declined significantly over the past century. Based on records made prior to 1925, the distribution of the Forty-spotted Pardalote on mainland Tasmania once extended from the eastern coast north to Bridport, west to Wynyard and south to Southport, and possibly included sites in the central highlands (Blakers et al. 1984; Bulman 1981; Bulman et al. 1986; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Fletcher 1915b; North 1906–1907, 1909). The species was also present on King Island in Bass Strait in the late 1880s (Campbell 1900; North 1906–1907, 1909).

The area of occupancy is estimated to be 4107 ha (Bryant 1997) or about 40 km² (Garnett & Crowley 2000). The area of occupancy has declined significantly over the past century (Bulman 1981; Bulman et al. 1986; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Fletcher 1915b; North 1906–1907, 1909), and is continuing to decline today (Garnett & Crowley 2000). Surveys conducted since the 1980s have failed to re-locate the Forty-spotted Pardalote at Mount Faulkner, where it was present in 1981; Lime Bay, where it was present in 1986; on Coningham Peninsula, where it was present in 1986; and Bob Smith's Gully on Flinders Island, where it was present in 1970 (Brown 1986; Bryant 1991, 1997; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote occurs at five discrete locations: Mount Nelson and Tinderbox Peninsula (including Coffee Creek/Howden) on mainland Tasmania; and Maria, Bruny (including Partridge and Snake Islands) and Flinders Islands (Bryant 1997, 1998; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l).

The distribution of the Forty-spotted Pardalote is considered to be severely fragmented (Garnett & Crowley 2000). This is because its preferred habitat (Eucalyptus viminalis woodland and forest) has been greatly reduced in area by clearing for agriculture, forestry and residential development and now occurs as fragmented remnants (Bryant 1992; Department of Primary Industries and Water 2006 l).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote has been well surveyed. Since the late 1960s, targeted searches have been conducted on multiple occasions at many current and former colony sites (Brown & Rounsevell 1986; Brown 1986, 1989b; Bryant 1997, 2010; Rounsevell & Woinarski 1983).

The following detailed survey summaries are provided in Bryant (2010).

Flinders Island
Forty-spotted Pardalote were first studied in detail on Flinders Island at Bob Smith's Gully in 1970 (Milledge 1980). Searches in the 1980s failed to locate the species at this site but in 1985, approximately 10 to 15 pairs of Forty-spotted Pardalotes were identified in a 20 ha White Gum woodland gully (Brown 1986). This colony was reconfirmed in 1991 and surveys in 1994 found two more extensive colonies near Broughams Sugarloaf, significantly extending the range and area occupied by the species (Bryant 2010).

Bryant (1997) estimated the population on Flinders Island at about 70 birds in three colonies covering 300 ha. Some doubt exists about the status of the population on Flinders Island, which was subject to major bushfires in 2002–2003 (Department of Primary Industries and Water 2006 l; M. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm.) though a survey is scheduled for 2010.

Maria Island
Surveys were first undertaken on Maria Island National Park in 1968 and surveys in 1980 estimated the Island's population to be approximately 500 birds (Bryant 2010). A comprehensive survey of all primary and secondary habitat on Maria Island was undertaken in 1987 and the species was found in forest and woodland wherever White Gum occurred (Brown 1989). Brown estimated the species population on Maria Island at approximately 1687 adult birds (843 pairs) distributed in 23 colonies covering 2030 ha of habitat (Bryant 2010). Partial surveys from Darlington to Four Mile Creek were undertaken during 1993 and 1995 and in 1996 surveys were undertaken around Bernacchis Creek and from Darlington to Robey's Creek (Brereton et al. 1997).

Bruny Island
The species was first observed on Bruny Island during the late 1800s but not surveyed in detail until the 1960s (Milledge 1980 in Bryant 2010). In 1978, Partridge Island (part of Labillardiere Peninsula) became a research site to record demographics and other ecological aspects (S. Bryant pers. com. in Bryant 2010). In 1986, the total population size on Bruny Island was estimated at 1716 adult birds within 72 distinct colonies over habitat of 1628 ha. Brown concluded that this location clearly represented the stronghold for the species on private land (Bryant 2010). A second survey of Bruny Island was conducted between 1993 and 1995 to replicate the work of Brown (Bryant 1997). Bryant resurveyed all of Brown's colonies and subsequently identified three new colonies on the south island. Except in a few cases, Brown's colonies remained relatively intact and contained a similar number of birds. A small colony of Forty-spotted Pardalote was identified on Snake Island (TBR 1995 in Bryant 2010). In 1997 the population for Bruny Island was estimated at 1920 birds in 76 colonies covering 1622 ha (TSU 1998f).

Tinderbox Peninsula
Historically, the Forty-spotted Pardalote is well known from the Tinderbox area, south of Hobart, particularly around Mount Louis and at McGowan's Gully above Tinderbox Bay (Bulman et al. 1986 in Bryant 2010; Milledge 1980; Wall 1982). Brown (1986) identified six discrete breeding colonies on the lower Tinderbox headland with an estimated total number of 75 birds in 73 ha. Bryant (1997) found a total of 27 pockets of White Gum containing 12 small colonies evenly scattered across the Peninsula including around the coast and over the spine. Most colonies were small with no more than four to six birds, except for McGowan's Gully containing an estimated 86 birds and Magazine Reserve with 12 birds. In 1994, the total population on Tinderbox Peninsula was estimated to be 137 birds in 12 colonies occupying 108 ha of woodland (Bryant 1997).

Taroona
Two small colonies of Forty-spotted Pardalote on the lower slopes and gullies of Mount Nelson at Taroona, have been difficult to locate and monitor on a regular basis. When the location was comprehensively surveyed in 1995 it was found to have declined to one colony containing just six birds or three pairs (Bryant 1997). Ongoing interest by the landowners has suggested that over time the species may have become locally extinct on their property but may still occur in the general area (J. Paxton, pers. comm. in Bryant 2010).

Coningham
A colony at the old Camp Coningham facility near Snug Point was identified in 1972 and reconfirmed in 1981 and in 1986 was estimated to contain about 10 birds (Brown 1986 in Bryant 2010). A second colony south of Coningham Peninsula on Simmonds Point was identified in 1981 and when surveyed in 1986 was estimated to contain about 25 birds (Brown 1986 in Bryant 2010). Searches in 1992, 1994, 1996 and 1997 by Brown, Bryant, and others, have consistently failed to detect the species in either of these two areas or the general Coningham vicinity (Bryant 1997, Threatened Species Section 2006). Consistent firing of the Coningham State Reserve was identified as a potential cause for the decline of the species in this area (Bryant 2010).

Howden
In 1994 a new colony for the species within the Peter Murrell Nature Reserve and Conservation Area was identified (Bryant 2010). A survey conducted in late 1995 estimated a population size of 20 birds in 10 ha of suitable habitat along Coffee Creek, especially around Penrhyn Pond and Heron Pond (Bryant 1998). The species was prominent and relatively east to count. In 2005, a winter flock of between 6 to 12 birds was reported in an area adjacent to the Northwest Bay Golf Club (P. Brown, pers. comm. in Bryant 2010). This area covers 15 to 20 ha and, as it forms a natural corridor, is a potential addition to the Coffee Creek colonies.

Lime Bay
The Forty-spotted Pardalote was first reported on the Tasman Peninsula in 1955 around the Lime Bay Nature Reserve and Coal Mines Historic Site (Bryant 2010). Four small colonies were originally identified but by the 1980s were difficult to locate on a regular basis (Rounsevell & Woinarski 1983; Brown 1986). By 1986, only 12 birds could be found at Green Head (Brown 1986). Follow up surveys extending into the mid 1990s failed to locate any breeding colonies (TSU 1998f). Brown speculated that over-firing of the Reserve had made the habitat unsuitable and led to the species becoming displaced by the more aggressive Noisy Miner, Manorina melanocephala.

In 2009–2010, Bryant (2010) conducted surveys for the Forty-spotted Pardalote in seven locations though Flinders Island was not included. Field work was conducted from September 2009 to February 2010 which in some sites included fledged juveniles. Repeat surveys were undertaken on Maria Island to compare densities of birds with those reported by Brown (1989) during the post-fledging period. Forty-spotted Pardalote were positively detected at five locations but not at Taroona or at Lime Bay State Reserve. A total of 102 of the 119 previously known colonies were resurveyed by a combination of area searching and transects and 303 individual birds were detected across the species' southeast range (Bryant 2010).

Counts conducted from 1994 to 1997 estimated the total population size of the Forty-spotted Pardalote at 3840 (Bryant 1997) or, based on a predicted margin of error of 20%, 3072 to 4608 breeding birds (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l). Surveys in 2009 by Bryant (2010) suggest a decline in population size to 1486 birds with a possible total population estimate being in the order of 1500 ±300 birds.

Comparison in population estimate of the Forty-spotted Pardalote across all surveys (Bryant 2010).

Location1986–1987 Population Estimate Birds (colonies -total area)1993–97 Population Estimate Birds (colonies -total area)2009–2010 Population Estimate Birds (colonies -total area)
Flinders Island 20 (1 col-20 ha) 70 (3 col-300 ha) Not assessed
Maria Island 1687 (23 col-2030 ha) 1687 (23 col-2030 ha) 974 (23 col-2030 ha)
Bruny Island 1716 (72 col-1628 ha) 1920 (76 col-1622 ha) 450 (76 col-1622 ha)
Taroona 0 (2 col-3 ha) 6 (1 col-2 ha) 0 (1 col-2 ha)
Howden 0 unknown site 20 (1 col-10 ha) 10 (1 col-12 ha)
Tinderbox 75 (6 col-73 ha) 137 (12 col-108 ha) 46 (12 col-111 ha)
Coningham 10 (2 col-8 ha) 0 (2 col-8 ha) 6 (2 col-8 ha)
Lime Bay 12 (4 col-27 ha) 0 (4 col-27 ha) 0 (4 col-27 ha)
Total 3520 birds (110 col-3789 ha)3840 birds (122 col-4107 ha) 1486 birds (119 col-3812 ha)

Based on the geographical separation of locations occupied during the surveys conducted from 1994 to 1997, the Forty-spotted Pardalote is considered to occur in three distinct subpopulations: (1) Bruny Island-Tinderbox Peninsula-Mount Nelson-Howden, (2) Maria Island and (3) Flinders Island. The four sites included within the mainland subpopulation are all present within the same geographic region, and there is a continuum of suitable, interconnecting (albeit suboptimal) habitat in this region. There is no evidence to suggest that the Pardalote is incapable of crossing the water that separates Bruny Island from the mainland - indeed, the Tinderbox Peninsula site is one of the closest points to Bruny Island and as such the population at this site may be regularly supplemented by birds from the island (M. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm.).

Population Trends
The total population size of the Forty-spotted Pardalote has declined since colonial times. Although no reliable estimates of total population size were made until the 1960s (Rounsevell & Woinarski 1983), historical records show that the distribution of the Forty-spotted Pardalote has contracted substantially (Bulman 1981; Bulman et al. 1986; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Fletcher 1915b; North 1906–1907, 1909) and that the species is now absent from some sites where it was formerly common, such as Launceston, the Steppes and Wellington Range (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Fletcher 1924; Gould 1865; Littler 1903). The total population size was reported to have remained stable since the mid 1980s (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Garnett & Crowley 2000), but no data exists to support this conclusion. The presumption of stability is based on an extrapolation from estimates made in 1986, when the population was estimated to consist of 3520 breeding birds (Brown 1986); and 1997, when the population was estimated, based on surveys conducted between 1994 and 1997, to consist of 3840 breeding birds (Bryant 1997). Holdsworth (pers. comm. 2007) warned that there was insufficient evidence to conclude population stability and in her surveys in 2009–2010, Bryant (2010) found that bird numbers had declined seriously and that the decline was evident in all locations (though Flinders Island has yet to be re-surveyed).

Maria Island
Following surveys in 2009–2010, Bryant (2010) estimates the total population for Maria Island as 974 adult birds or 487 breeding pairs.

Bruny Island
The population estimate for Bruny Island colonies surveyed during 2009–2010 is 296 to 360 birds (Bryant 2010). Bryant (2010) does detail reports of some new colonies on Bruny Island, which may lift the population figure to 450±90 birds.

Tinderbox Peninsula
Bryant (2010) estimates a total population of 46 birds for Tinderbox Peninsula contained in 111 ha with the McGowan's colony (no 12) the most extensive and significant.

Taroona
Bryant (2010) failed to locate the Forty-spotted Pardalote in any of its previous known locations, despite the presence of sufficient White Gum habitat. Bryant (2010) suggests that the species may be present in low densities in the extensive White Gum habitat that lines the roadsides and gullies along the Taroona Highway toward Kingston.

Howden
While around 20 birds were estimated to previously inhabit this area, Bryant (2010) concludes that the number of birds is unlikely to occur in the area, given the difficulty of detecting the species. Bryant (2010) estimates that there are 10 birds, foraging over a large area of White Gum habitat across Howden Road on private proterty to the Northwest Bay coast. The colony size is estimated at 12 ha.

Coningham
Two independent and credible reports were received by Bryant (2010) that a small number of Forty-spotted Pardalote were at two locations in the Coningham area during the 2009– 2010 breeding season. The two reports suggest the species has regained a foothold in its previously known locations near the Old Camp Coningham and in the Coningham State Reserve. Extensive good quality White Gum habitat is present; Bryant estimates there may be six birds in this area.

Lime Bay
Despite the presence of suitable habitat in this area, no birds were located during the 2009–2010 survey.

Bryant (2010) concludes that the long term survival of the Forty-spotted Pardalote is under threat, with the species facing imminent extinction within the next 10–15 years.

The Forty-spotted Pardalote is not known to undergo extreme natural fluctuations in population size, extent of occurrence or area of occupancy.

Based purely on size, the most important subpopulations for the long-term survival and recovery of the species are those that occur on Bruny Island and Maria Island. These islands were estimated to support 3607 (or 94%) of the estimated total population of 3840 breeding birds (Bryant 1997) and 1424 of the 1486 birds in 2009 (Bryant 2010).


No cross-breeding has been recorded between the Forty-spotted Pardalote and any other species.

Previous population studies suggested that approximately 60% of the Forty-spotted Pardalote population occurs within formal or informal reserves. The remaining approximately 40% of the population occurs on privately owned or unprotected Crown land (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 lM. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm; TSU 1998f). Bryant's 2009–2010 survey results (Bryant 2010) may affect the relative proportion of the population in reserves. The proportion of the population that occurs within the reserve system may increase substantially in near future with 17 occupied sites on Bruny Island and one occupied site on mainland Tasmania nominated for inclusion in Tasmania's Private Comprehensive, Adequate and Representative (CAR) Reserve System (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l). Informal reserves may not necessarily provide long-term security for the species or its optimal habitat (M. Webb 2007, pers. comm.).

The key component of habitat used by the Forty-spotted Pardalote is the presence of White Gum, Eucalyptus viminalis, which provides a major source of food (invertebrates, manna and psyllid insects/lerp) for the species (Woinarski & Bulman 1985). Although some authors have described the preferred habitat of the Forty-spotted Pardalote as dry, grassy White Gum forests and woodlands (Brereton et al. 1997; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l), within its core range the species can occur in any habitat that supports White Gum. For example, there are stands of wet vegetation on Maria and Bruny Islands (and particularly south Bruny Island) that are comprised of as little as 5% White Gum but nonetheless support significant numbers of the Forty-spotted Pardalote (M. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm.).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote inhabits sclerophyll forests and open woodlands where White Gum is present in the tree canopy layer at a projected cover of 5% or more. These communities typically also support other species of Eucalyptus such as E. amygdalina, E. globulus, E. obliqua, E. ovata, E. pulchella and E. tenuiramis, with a low to moderate layer of shrubs and a dense, species-rich ground layer of grasses and herbs that is sometimes interspersed with patches of cleared or open ground (Brereton et al. 1997; Bryant 1991; Bulman 1981; Bulman et al. 1986; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Dorr 1999; M. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm.; Woinarski & Bulman 1985; Woinarski & Rounsevell 1983). In eastern Tasmania, these communities occur at low altitude and usually within 5 km of the coastline, on shallow but fertile soils in areas of low annual rainfall and (comparatively) high annual mean temperature (Brereton et al. 1997). Within these communities, the Forty-spotted Pardalote is most common in areas that contain mature, hollow-bearing trees (Woinarski & Rounsevell 1983).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote does not occur in any of the ecological communities that are listed as threatened under the EPBC Act. It is not known to associate with any other species that is listed as being threatened under the EPBC Act.

No information is available on the age of sexual maturity in the Forty-spotted Pardalote. The life expectancy is also unknown, but banding records indicate that it is capable of surviving for more than three years (Higgins & Peter 2002) and, based on records for other species of Pardalotus in Australia, it is probably capable of surviving for more than six years (ABBBS 1971, 1988).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote breeds from August to January (Higgins & Peter 2002; TSU 1998; Woinarski & Bulman 1985). It builds a dome or cup-shaped nest that is composed mainly of Eucalyptus bark and grass (Campbell 1900; Higgins & Peter 2002; North 1906-1907, 1909; Wall 1967). The nest is usually built in a hollow in a trunk or limb of a Eucalyptus tree, but it may also be placed in a hollow stump, log or fence-post, or, occasionally, in a hole in the ground (Brown & Rounsevell 1986; Higgins & Peter 2002; Woinarski & Bulman 1985).

Clutches of the Forty-spotted Pardalote consist of four or five, or sometimes three, white eggs (Campbell 1900; Higgins & Peter 2002; North 1906-1907, 1909; Woinarski & Bulman 1985). The eggs are incubated by both parents for a period of 18 to 23 days. The young are fed by both parents and remain in the nest for a period of 23 to 25 days (Higgins & Peter 2002; Woinarski & Bulman 1985).

Breeding success has been quantified only on Bruny Island, where 32 clutches of eggs were observed between September and December 1983. Of the nine clutches for which the fate of the clutch was known, six (67%) produced fledglings (Woinarski & Bulman 1985). Pairs that bred successfully reared a minimum of two fledglings during the breeding season (Woinarski & Bulman 1985).

Breeding attempts can fail when nests are flooded or depredated (Milledge 1978; Woinarski & Bulman 1985), or when nests are neglected by their owners because of frequent territorial disputes with other birds (Blakers et al. 1984). It is possible that a reduction in the amount of manna produced by White Gum during unsuitable conditions could also cause breeding attempts to fail. This is because the manna of White Gum is a key component (comprising approximately 70%) of the diet of young birds (Woinarski & Bulman 1985). In some breeding areas, a lack of suitable nesting sites may force birds to nest in suboptimal sites that are more prone to disturbance and, consequently, are less likely to fledge young successfully (Bulman et al. 1986; Milledge 1978).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote feeds on invertebrates, manna from Eucalyptus trees (including E. dalrympleana and White Gum) and lerps (sugary secretions produced by psyllid insects). Its invertebrate prey consists mainly of insects such as beetles, flies, bugs, wasps and caterpillars, although it is also known to feed on millipedes and spiders (Brown 1986; Bulman et al. 1986; Gould 1865; Higgins & Peter 2002; Woinarski & Bulman 1985). In the warmer months of the year, coinciding with the breeding season, manna may be the major source of food (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote is mostly arboreal. It mainly forages in the upper strata of Eucalyptus trees (especially White Gum), although it will occasionally pick food items from shrubs or pluck invertebrates from the air or, very rarely, pick food items from the ground (Bulman 1981; Dorr 1999; Woinarski & Bulman 1985; Woinarski & Rounsevell 1983).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote is sedentary (Brown 1986; Higgins & Peter 2002), although some birds (especially juveniles) disperse from core sites in winter during the non-breeding season (Blakers et al. 1984; Bryant 1991; Bulman et al. 1986; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Woinarski & Rounsevell 1983). Such dispersal is possibly in response to a decline in the availability of food (Brown 1986; Dorr 1999; Woinarski & Bulman 1985).

The Forty-spotted Pardalote is territorial (Bryant 1991; Higgins & Peter 2002; Woinarski & Bulman 1985). Territory sizes have only been quantified on Bruny Island where, in one high-density population, territories ranged from 0.3 to 1.6 ha in size (Woinarski & Bulman 1985).

Of the 102 previously recorded colonies surveyed by Bryant (2010) in 2009–2010, only 54 colonies were confimed with Forty-spotted Pardalote. Bryant (2010) suggests that this is either because a large number of colonies are now extinct or that bird numbers have declined to such low levels that detection is difficult and increased survey effort is required.

While loss, degradation and fragmentation of its preferred habitat has been identified as the primary reason for the species' historical decline, Bryant (2010) suggests that the more recent documented decline may also be due to a number of complex and interrelated factors and notes that even relatively small changes in land use, such as seen on Bruny Island, Howden and Tinderbox Peninsula, may have contributed to population fragmentation and the subsequent population decline documented in 2009–2010 surveys. In particular, Bryant (2010) concludes that human activity, noise and other habitat disturbances are likely to be contributing to the decline of this sensitive bird.

Loss of suitable habitat for the Forty-spotted Pardalote has been identified as the key threat to this species, with the grassy White Gum forest in the south-west bioregion of Tasmania reduced to less than 50% of its former extent through agriculture, forestry and residential development (Bryant 1991, 1992; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Rounsevell & Woinarski 1983). The historical reduction in suitable habitat has now been compounded by loss in quality of habitat through drought, tree decline and probably a range of other factors including displacement by other competitive species of birds (Bryant 2010).

Severe fragmentation of the Pardalote population in some areas, most notably on Bruny Island, is likely to continue as the quality of suitable habitat is reduced. Bryant's habitat assesment during the 2009–2010 surveys (Bryant 2010) showed that 68% of all habitat plots contained inadequate levels of recruitment of White Gum and 49% of plots had canopy projections indicative of a declining tree health. White Gum is particularly sensitive and intolerant to drought in Tasmania (Neyland 1996) and its deterioration has subsequently reduced its capacity to provide key resources for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Bryant 2010). On Bruny Island 29 colonies were noted as `being in decline' including six of those colonies no longer containing any living White Gum. The fragmentation of the population is of concern because it may limit the potential for the species to disperse between areas of suitable habitat (Brown 1986; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Woinarski & Bulman 1985).

Although approximately 60% of the Forty-spotted Pardalote population is now protected within formal or informal reserves (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; TSU 1998), suitable habitat continues to be lost or degraded on privately owned land (Bryant 1991; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l). Prescriptions to conserve Forty-spotted Pardalote habitat have been integrated into urban planning and forestry management procedures. However, the incorrect application of these prescriptions, combined with the failure of these prescriptions to provide adequate protection of hollow-bearing trees, has in some areas resulted in the retention of stands of young non-hollow bearing White Gum and the removal of adjacent stands of hollow-bearing trees used for nesting, an outcome that has rendered such areas unsuitable for the Forty-spotted Pardalote. The impact of habitat loss may have been mitigated to some degree by the planting of substantial numbers of White Gum seedlings as part of revegetation programs, especially on Bruny Island. However, at the present time, most of these plants are young and therefore incapable of replacing the mature trees that have been and continue to be lost (M. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm.).

The decline of the Forty-spotted Pardalote may also be due in part to competition for food resources and/or breeding sites with other native birds including the Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus), Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala) and Black-headed Honeyeater (Melithreptus affinis) (Brown 1986; Bryant 1991; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Woinarski & Bulman 1985; Woinarski & Rounsevell 1983). The Noisy Miner in particular is an aggressive and opportunistic species that has the potential to displace the Forty-spotted Pardalote when habitats are degraded. The Noisy Miner has expanded its distribution in Tasmania in the wake of clearing and other disturbances which have opened up otherwise unsuitable forest and woodland habitats and it now occupies much of the former range of the Forty-spotted Pardalote. The Noisy Miner is absent from all sites currently known or thought to be occupied by the Forty-spotted Pardalote and all recent local extinctions of the Forty-spotted Pardalote have been associated with incursions by the Noisy Miner. This evidence strongly implicates the Noisy Miner in the decline of the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Bryant 1991; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l). Bryant (2010) notes that in times of environmental stress caused by habitat disturbance, the Striated Pardalote has the advantage over the Forty-spotted Pardalote, due to its relative insensitivity to disturbance.

Extensive bushfires on Flinders Island in 2002–2003 could have had severe impact on the local population of the Forty-spotted Pardalote. Surveys conducted in 2004 at known, previously occupied sites on Flinders Island failed to locate any birds. However, at the time of the surveys, most of these sites did not support sufficient foraging habitat to be considered suitable for the species. A comprehensive survey will be undertaken during 2010 to determine the status of the species on Flinders Island (Bryant 2010).

Recovery actions that have been implemented include:

  • An important colony site at Dennes Hill on Bruny Island has been acquired and proclaimed as Dennes Hill Nature Reserve. The reserve is managed for the conservation of the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • Colony sites on Flinders Island have been incorporated into Darling Range Conservation Area and Brougham Sugarloaf Conservation Area (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • On Bruny Island, three colonies in State Forest have been designated for protection from logging by Forestry Tasmania, and a small area (5.5 ha) of habitat has been covenanted under a lease agreement (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l).
  • Several other colonies on privately-owned and publicly-owned land have been protected through reservation, formal management agreements and/or by perpetual covenant, and a further 18 colonies are currently proposed for inclusion in Tasmania's CAR Reserve System (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l).
  • Surveys have been conducted throughout the known range of the species (Brown 1986, 1989; Brown & Rounsevell 1986; Bryant 1997; Rounsevell & Woinarski 1983).
  • Prescriptions to benefit the species have been produced for inclusion into forest management plans and local government planning schemes (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Garnett & Crowley 2000; TSU 1998).
  • Prescriptions to benefit the species have been integrated into the Maria Island National Park management plan (Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • Important sites have been surveyed and, since the introduction of original recovery plan in 1991, 11 new colonies have been discovered (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l;Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • The habitat of the species has been modelled (Brereton et al. 1997).
  • Planting of E. viminalis has occurred on Bruny Island and the mainland (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l).
  • A major campaign has been conducted to increase public awareness of the species and its status (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l; Garnett & Crowley 2000).
  • Two recovery plans have been produced (Bryant 1991; Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l).

Recovery actions recommended to be implemented under the most recent recovery plan (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l) include:

  • Increase the number of colonies that are protected by management plans or management agreements.
  • Finalise and implement a management plan for Dennes Hill Nature Reserve.
  • Conduct annual surveys to monitor population size and area of occupancy, and determine the total population size and extent of habitat from surveys of all known colonies in the final year of the plan.
  • Determine the role of interspecific competition, interference behaviour and/or predation by other species of birds in the decline, and develop management plans to counter these threats.
  • Determine the impact of Eucalyptus dieback, grazing by stock and browsing by the Brush-tailed Possum, Trichosurus vulpecula, on the quality of habitat, and determine the structural requirements of forest habitat that are necessary to support the Forty-spotted Pardalote.
  • Determine the potential for nest-boxes to aid the recovery of the species.
  • Determine the extent of potential habitat from recent maps of White Gum forest communities and/or habitat modelling.
  • Conduct field surveys to determine the distribution of the species in potential habitat that is yet to be surveyed or that has not been surveyed in recent years.
  • Undertake tree-planting programs to increase the area of habitat and to restore corridors of habitat between known colonies.
  • Liaise with and provide information to community groups to maintain awareness of the species and involvement in recovery actions.

Recovery actions that have been proposed since publication of the most recent recovery plan include (M. Holdsworth 2007, pers. comm.):

  • Review management prescriptions for areas subject to production forestry. This action was proposed after inconsistency in the identification of Forty-spotted Pardalote habitat resulted in the logging of some occupied sites on Bruny Island.
  • Revise management approaches and survey methods to better reflect the need for hollow-bearing trees for nesting. This action was proposed because low numbers of the Pardalote at several sites may be largely due to a lack of suitable nesting sites.

There have been a number of major studies on the Forty-spotted Pardalote:

  • Ecological studies have been conducted on Maria Island, Bruny Island and mainland Tasmania (Bulman 1981; Dorr 1999; Woinarski & Bulman 1985; Woinarski & Rounsevell 1983).
  • Population surveys have been conducted throughout most of the known range (Brown 1986; Bryant 1997; Rounsevell & Woinarski 1983).
  • One study evaluated the behaviour of the species in captivity (Bulman 1981).
  • Another study modelled the extent of suitable habitat (Brereton et al. 1997).

The key management documents for the Forty-spotted Pardalote consist of the current Fauna Recovery Plan: Forty-spotted Pardalote 2006-2010 (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania 2006 l) and the Listing Statement: Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus (TSU 1998f). In addition, a brief outline of recommended methods is provided in The Action Plan for Australian Birds (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Agriculture and Aquaculture:Land clearing, habitat fragmentation and/or habitat degradation National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].
The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 2000) [Cwlth Action Plan].
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Land clearance (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2001w) [Listing Advice].
Listing Statement: Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus (Threatened Species Unit (TSU), 1998f) [Report].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 6. Pardalotes to Spangled Drongo (Higgins, P.J. & J.M. Peter (Eds), 2002) [Book].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Habitat loss and modification due to clearance of native vegetation and pasture improvements The Impact of Global Warming on the Distribution of Threatened Vertebrates (ANZECC 1991) (Dexter, E.M., A.D. Chapman & J.R. Busby, 1995) [Report].
Biological Resource Use:Logging and Wood Harvesting:Habitat loss, modification and degradation due to timber harvesting National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Habitat loss/conversion/quality decline/degradation National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 6. Pardalotes to Spangled Drongo (Higgins, P.J. & J.M. Peter (Eds), 2002) [Book].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Sturnus vulgaris (Common Starling) National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition Colluricincla harmonica (Grey Shrike-thrush) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 6. Pardalotes to Spangled Drongo (Higgins, P.J. & J.M. Peter (Eds), 2002) [Book].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition Dacelo novaeguineae (Laughing Kookaburra) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 6. Pardalotes to Spangled Drongo (Higgins, P.J. & J.M. Peter (Eds), 2002) [Book].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition and/or predation by birds National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation Melithreptus affinis (Black-headed Honeyeater) The Forty-Spotted Pardalote - an RAOU Conservation Statement. RAOU Report Series. 17. (Bulman, C., D.E. Rounsevell & J.C.Z. Woinarski, 1986) [Journal].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation Manorina melanocephala (Noisy Miner) Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds. Volume 6. Pardalotes to Spangled Drongo (Higgins, P.J. & J.M. Peter (Eds), 2002) [Book].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Predation by reptiles Ecology and breeding biology of the Forty-spotted Pardalote and other pardalotes on North Bruny Island. Emu. 85:106-120. (Woinarski, J.C.Z. & C.M. Bulman, 1985) [Journal].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate and/or changed fire regimes (frequency, timing, intensity) National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate prescribed regimes and/or vegetation management to control fire regimes Listing Statement: Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus (Threatened Species Unit (TSU), 1998f) [Report].
Natural System Modifications:Other Ecosystem Modifications:Vegetation and habitat mortality caused by dieback National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].
Residential and Commercial Development:Housing and Urban Areas:Habitat loss, modification and fragmentation due to urban development Listing Statement: Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus (Threatened Species Unit (TSU), 1998f) [Report].
Residential and Commercial Development:Residential and Commercial Development:Habitat modification (clearance and degradation) due to urban development National Recovery Plan for the Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) (Department of Primary Industries and Water, Tasmania, 2006 l) [Recovery Plan].

Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS) (1971). Recovery round-up. Australian Bird Bander. 9:41-43.

Australian Bird and Bat Banding Scheme (ABBBS) (1988). Recovery round-up. Corella. 12:127-129.

Blakers, M., S.J.J.F. Davies & P.N. Reilly (1984). The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne, Victoria: Melbourne University Press.

Brereton, R., S.L. Bryant & M. Rowell (1997). Habitat modelling of the Forty-spotted Pardalote and recommendations for management. Hobart: Tasmanian Department of Environment & Land Management.

Brown, P.B. (1986). The Forty-spotted Pardalote in Tasmania. Hobart:Tasmanian National Parks & Wildlife Service.

Brown, P.B. (1989b). The Forty-spotted Pardalote on Maria Island. Tasmanian Bird Report. 18:4-13.

Brown, P.B. & D.E. Rounsevell (1986). The Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) on Bruny Island. Tasmanian Bird Report. 15:25-31.

Bryant, S.L (2010). Conservation assessment of the endangered forty-spotted pardalote 2009-2010. Report to Threatened Species Section, DPIPWE and NRM South. Hobart, Tasmania.

Bryant, S.L. (1991). The Forty-spotted Pardalote Recovery Plan: Management Phase. Hobart: Tasmanian Department of Parks, Wildlife & Heritage.

Bryant, S.L. (1992). Long Term Survival of the Forty-spotted Pardalote on Bruny Island. Tasmania: Parks, Wildlife and Heritage.

Bryant, S.L. (1997). Status of Forty-spotted Pardalote colonies. Tasmanian Bird Report. 26:45-50.

Bryant, S.L. (1998). Big bird in a little package. Wingspan. 8(3):12-15.

Bulman, C., D.E. Rounsevell & J.C.Z. Woinarski (1986). The Forty-Spotted Pardalote - an RAOU Conservation Statement. RAOU Report Series. 17.

Bulman, C.M. (1981). The Ecology and Behaviour of the Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus Gould (1838. Hons. Thesis. Honours Thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Dorr, T.L. (1999). Foraging Behaviour and Habitat Selection of the Forty-spotted Pardalote, Pardalotus quadragintus. Hons. Thesis. University of Tasmania.

Fletcher, J.A. (1915b). Nesting of the Black Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo) in Tasmania. Emu. 15:114-118.

Fletcher, J.A. (1924). Birds of the Steppes. Emu. 24:107-117.

Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley (2000). The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000. [Online]. Canberra, ACT: Environment Australia and Birds Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/action/birds2000/index.html.

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Higgins, P.J. & J.M. Peter, eds. (2002). Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds Volume 6: Pardalotes to Shrike-thrushes. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Holdsworth, M. (2007). Personal communication. Biodiversity and Conservation Branch, Department of Primary Industries and Water. August 2007.

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Milledge, D. R. (1980). The distribution, status, ecology and evolutionary position of the forty-spotted pardalote. Proc. 78th Annu. Congr. R.A.O.U., Hobart. In: Proceedings of the 78th Annual Congress Royal Australian Ornithological Union, Hobart.

Milledge, D.R. (1978). A nest box used by the Striated Pardalote. Corella. 2:10-11.

North, A.J. (1906-1907). Nests and Eggs of Birds Found Breeding in Australia and Tasmania. In: Volume 2.

North, A.J. (1909). Nest and Eggs of Birds Found Breeding in Australian and Tasmania. In: Special Catalogue 1, Australian Museum Sydney.

Rounsevell, D.E. & J.C.Z. Woinarski (1983). Status and conservation of the Forty-spotted Pardalote, Pardalotus quadragintus (Aves: Pardalotidae). Australian Wildlife Research. 10:343-349.

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Sibley, C.G. & B.L. Monroe (1990). Distribution and Taxonomy of the Birds of the World. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press.

Threatened Species Unit (TSU) (1998f). Listing Statement: Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus. [Online]. Hobart: Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service. Available from: http://www.dpiwe.tas.gov.au/inter.nsf/Attachments/RLIG-5428A4/$FILE/fortyspot.pdf.

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Webb, M. (2007). Personal communication. Biodiversity Conservation Branch, Department of Primary Industries and Water. August 2007.

Woinarski, J.C.Z. & C.M. Bulman (1985). Ecology and breeding biology of the Forty-spotted Pardalote and other pardalotes on North Bruny Island. Emu. 85:106-120.

Woinarski, J.C.Z. & D.E. Rounsevell (1983). Comparative ecology of pardalotes, including the Forty-Spotted Pardalote, Pardalotus quadragintus (Aves: Pardalotidae) in south-eastern Tasmania. Australian Wildlife Research. 10:351-361.

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Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Pardalotus quadragintus in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Mon, 28 Jul 2014 23:34:52 +1000.