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 as Stipiturus mallee
Listing and Conservation Advices Listing Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008act) [Listing Advice].
 
Approved Conservation Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008acu) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, included on the Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Threat Abatement Plan for Reduction in Impacts of Tramp Ants on Biodiversity in Australia and its Territories (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006p) [Threat Abatement 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] as Stipiturus mallee.
 
Inclusion of species in the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (65) (01/09/2008) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2008o) [Legislative Instrument] as Stipiturus mallee.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
SA:Threatened Species of the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin. Mallee Emu-wren Stipiturus mallee. Vulnerable (South Australian Department for Environment and Heritage (SA DEH), 2006g) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
SA: Listed as Endangered (National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972 (South Australia): June 2011 list) as Stipiturus mallee
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Victoria): February 2014 list) as Stipiturus mallee
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
VIC: Listed as Endangered (Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria: 2013 list)
NGO: Listed as Endangered (The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010)
Scientific name Stipiturus mallee [59459]
Family Maluridae:Passeriformes:Aves:Chordata:Animalia
Species author A.J. Campbell, 1908
Infraspecies author  
Reference SA Dept for Envirnonment and Heritage (2006) Fact sheet at http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/pdfs/mallee_emuwren.pdf
Other names Stipiturus ruficeps mallee [26007]
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: Stipiturus mallee.

Common name: Mallee Emu-wren.

The Mallee Emu-wren is a conventionally accepted species of the genus Stipiturus (Christidis & Boles 1994; Schodde & Mason 1999). It was formerly considered to be conspecific with the Southern Emu-wren (Stipiturus malachurus) (Condon 1951; Keast 1961) or Rufous-crowned Emu-wren (Stipiturus ruficeps) (Ford 1974). Mitochondrial sequence data supports the evolutionary position of the Mallee Emu-wren as the sister lineage to the Rufous-crowned Emu-wren rather than the Southern Emu-wren (Donnellan et al. 2009).

The Mallee Emu-wren is about 10 to 15 cm in length and has a mass of 4 to 6.5 g. The adult male is mostly olive-brown above, with dark streaks and an unmarked rufous forehead and crown, orange-buff below, with a sky-blue face, throat and breast, and a white belly. The adult female is similar to the male but lacks the sky-blue colouring on the face, throat and breast, has white streaks over the ear-coverts, and is rufous only on the forehead. The adult male has a black bill and the adult female has a dark brown bill, but both sexes have dark-brown irides and pinkish-brown legs and feet. Juvenile birds are plainer than the adults with less bold streaking above, and no blue or rufous colouring about the head, and they are duller below with a whitish throat and breast (Higgins et al. 2001; Rowley & Russell 1997).

The Mallee Emu-wren occurs singly, in pairs, and in small groups (Rowley & Russell 1997; Schodde 1982).

The Mallee Emu-wren occurs in mallee regions south of the Murray River, in south-eastern South Australia and north-western Victoria.

In South Australia there is a small population at Ngarkat Conservation Park (Mustoe 2006; SA DEH 2006), and a very small population near Billiatt Conservation Park that is likely to become extinct in the very near future (Clarke 2005b; Mustoe 2006). It is possible that an additional small population could persist in Carcuma National Park, but the status of this population is unknown following a series of recent fires that have burnt out most suitable habitat in the Ninety-Mile Desert region (Mustoe 2006; SA DEH 2006).

In Victoria there is a sizeable population distributed across scattered sites in Murray-Sunset National Park, a sizeable population at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and on adjacent Crown land, and a small population in Wyperfeld National Park (Clarke 2005a, 2007; Mustoe & Clarke 2004; Smales et al. 2005). It is possible that a small population could also persist in Big Desert Wilderness Park and/or Big Desert State Forest, but no birds were recorded in the northern regions of Big Desert Wilderness Park or Big Desert State Forest during targeted surveys in 2006 (Clarke 2007).

The extent of occurrence is conservatively estimated at 3856 km² (Mustoe 2006). The extent of occurrence has declined extensively. The distribution of the Mallee Emu-wren formerly extended west to Carcuma Conservation Park (Carpenter & Matthew 1992) and Coombe (Eckert 1977), or possibly to Meningie and Salt Creek (Eckert 1977; Hanks 1930; Sutton 1930a, 1930b), in South Australia; east to Wathe Flora and Fauna Reserve, Bronzewing Flora and Fauna Reserve (Baker-Gabb in prep.; Clarke 2007; DSE 2007; Emison et al. 1987) and east of Hopetoun (Howe 1911) in Victoria (Howe 1911); and south to Yanac (Chisholm 1946) in Victoria.

The extent of occurrence is likely to decline further in the near future given that the very small population near Billiatt Conservation Park is on the verge of extinction, the extent of occurrence in Ngarkat National Park has declined by 95% since the early to mid 1990s (Mustoe 2006), and only a small and declining population persists at Wyperfeld National Park in Victoria (Clarke 2007).

The area of occupancy is estimated to be less 1000 km², and could possibly be as little as about 190 km² (Mustoe 2006). The area of occupancy has declined substantially. In South Australia there are accepted records of the Mallee Emu-wren from an area bounded by Nadda, Peebinga, Pinnaroo, Comet Bore, Coombe, Carcuma Conservation Park and Billiatt Conservation Park (Blakers et al. 1984; Carpenter & Matthew 1986, 1992; Carpenter et al. 2003; Eckert 1977; Hatch 1977; Rogers 2002), and it was probably once distributed at low density throughout much of the Ninety-Mile Desert (Carpenter & Matthew 1992; Close 1982b; Schodde 1982).

In Victoria it has disappeared from Wathe Flora and Fauna Reserve and Bronzewing Flora and Fauna Reserve (Baker-Gabb in prep.; Clarke 2007; DSE 2007), and has probably disappeared from Annuello Flora and Fauna Reserve (Mustoe 2006); and perhaps only one small population remains in the Big Desert region (Clarke 2007), where the species was formerly much more widespread (Chisholm 1946; Emison et al. 1987; Howe 1911).

The extent of occurrence is likely to decline further in the near future given that populations at Billiatt Conservation Park, Ngarkat Conservation Park, Big Desert Wilderness Park and Wyperfeld National Park are small and declining in size (Clarke 2007; Mustoe 2006).

The Mallee Emu-wren has been recorded in recent years at eight geographically separate locations: one location near Billiatt Conservation Park; one location at Ngarkat Conservation Park; four locations at Murray-Sunset National Park; one location around Hattah-Kulkyne and on adjacent Crown land; and one location at Wyperfeld National Park (Mustoe 2006). It is possible that Murray-Sunset National Park could represent a single location because the four sites from which recent records have been obtained are situated around access routes and separated by large of areas of suitable habitat in which there has been little or no survey effort (Clarke 2007b, pers. comm.).

The distribution of the Mallee Emu-wren is severely fragmented because past clearing and recent extensive wildfires and fuel reduction burns have combined to eliminate a large proportion of suitable habitat (Clarke 2007;Garnett & Crowley 2000; Mustoe 2006; SA DEH 2006; Schodde 1982).

The Mallee Emu-wren has been well surveyed in recent years: targeted surveys were conducted at Billiatt Conservation Park and Ngarkat Conservation Park in 2003 (Clarke 2004; Gates 2003); a targeted survey was conducted around Nowingi in north-western Victoria in 2005 (Smales et al. 2005); an intensive targeted survey was conducted in potential habitat at six reserves in Victoria in 2006 (Clarke 2007); and broad-scale surveys for the Mallee Emu-wren and other threatened birds were conducted throughout large areas of Murray-Sunset National Park, Bronzewing Flora and Fauna Reserve and Annuello Flora and Fauna Reserve between 2000 and 2005 (Clarke 2005a). The extent of survey effort in recent years suggests that the current known distribution is likely to be a reasonably accurate representation of the actual distribution. However, there is currently little information available on population densities or on local or regional population sizes, and the estimate of total population size is therefore likely to be less reliable than the assessment of distribution.

The total population size of the Mallee Emu-wren is estimated at 2131 to 4164 individuals, or 1440 to 2814 mature individuals. This estimate is based on known or predicted population densities (Mustoe 2006) and is therefore likely to be much more accurate than a previous speculative population estimate of 10 000 mature individuals (Garnett & Crowley 2000). Expert opinion suggests that the actual population size may presently be nearer to the larger of the two figures (Mustoe 2006).

The Mallee Emu-wren is considered to occur in three key populations: one at Ngarkat Conservation Park, one at Murray-Sunset National Park, and one at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and on adjacent Crown land (Mustoe 2006). There are additional isolated populations near Billiatt Conservation Park and at Wyperfeld National Park, and possibly at Big Desert Wilderness Park (Clarke 2005a, 2005b, 2007; Mustoe 2006), but each of these populations is considered to be small to very small and in decline, and, in the case of the population near Billiatt Conservation Park, on the verge of extinction (Mustoe 2006). The population at Ngarkat Conservation Park is estimated at about 100 birds (Mustoe 2006); no population estimates are available for the populations at Murray-Sunset National Park or Hattah-Kulkyne.

The evidence that is available suggests that the total population size of the Mallee Emu-wren has declined substantially in recent years. The Mallee Emu-wren was moderately common at Billiatt Conservation Park in the early 1980s (Carpenter & Matthew 1986) but the population was decimated by a fire in 1988 and is now on the verge of extinction (Clarke 2004; Gates 2003; Mustoe 2006). The population at Ngarkat Conservation Park declined from an estimated 400 to 7000 individuals (Paton 2000) to about 100 individuals following a series of fires since 2004 (Mustoe 2006). Populations in Murray-Sunset National Park, Big Desert Wilderness Park and Wyperfeld National Park have also declined in recent years (Clarke 2007; Mustoe 2006). The large declines in population sizes that have been recorded in recent years, and the current parlous state of the populations near Billiatt Conservation and at Wyperfeld National Park and Ngarkat Conservation Park (Clarke 2007; Mustoe 2006), suggest that the total population size could decline even further in the near future.

The most important populations for the long-term survival and recovery of the Mallee Emu-wren are those that occur at Ngarkat Conservation Park, Murray-Sunset National Park and Hattah-Kulkyne National Park/adjacent Crown land. There are additional isolated populations at Billiatt Conservation Park, Big Desert Wilderness Park and Wyperfeld National Park (Clarke 2005a, 2007; Mustoe 2006; SA DEH 2006), but these populations are considered to be small to very small and in decline, and are probably not viable in the long-term (Mustoe 2006).

The generation length of the Mallee Emu-wren is estimated to be three years, although no reliable life history data are available for this species (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

The Mallee Emu-wren is not known to cross-breed with any other species in the wild.

The five or six remaining extant subpopulations of the Mallee Emu-wren each occur partially or totally within conservation reserves (Clarke 2005a, 2007; Mustoe 2006; SA DEH 2006).

The Mallee Emu-wren mostly inhabits Triodia grasslands that grow up to 1 m in height on low sand dunes, with or without an overstorey of low woodland that is dominated by mallee eucalypts such as Eucalyptus incrassata or E. dumosa, usually 2–4 m in height, Callitris verrucosa, and low shrubs of the genera Acacia, Allocasuarina, Baekea, Banksia, Hakea, Leptospermum and Melaleuca (Carpenter & Matthew 1986; Clarke 2007b, pers. comm.; Cooper 1972; Howe & Ross 1933; Emison et al. 1987; Rowley & Russell 1997; Schodde 1982). In the Murray-Sunset region of Victoria it occurs mainly in Woorinen Sands Mallee and Red-swale Mallee communities (Clarke 2005a). At the southern extent of the distribution the Mallee Emu-wren inhabits mallee heathland and tall open heathland (Clarke 2005a) dominated by the genera Allocasuarina, Banksia and Leptospermum, with Baeckea behrii, Calytrix tetragona and Xanthorrhoea, and small to large patches of Triodia (Carpenter & Matthew 1992; Emison et al. 1987; Garnett 1993; Hatch 1977; Rowley & Russell 1997).

The Mallee Emu-wren has been recorded in habitats with an array of post-fire age-classes (Silveira 1993). It has been recorded in habitats that were last burnt as little as three years earlier (Clarke 2005a; Garnett & Crowley 2000); is said to occur at greatest densities in the first few years after fire (Emison et al. 1987); and has been recorded breeding at high density within five years of fire (Garnett 1993). However, other observations suggest that the Mallee Emu-wren does not recolonise burnt habitats until large tussocks of Triodia have reformed; that maximum population densities are not reached until at least eight to ten years after fire; that the species is most common or abundant in habitats that were last burnt about 10 to 30 years earlier; and that densities begin to decline once habitats obtain a post-fire age of about 30 years, although birds can persist in small numbers in habitats that were last burnt as much as 50 years earlier (Carpenter & Matthew 1986; Clarke 2005a; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Mustoe 2006; Silveira 1993). Similarly, early observers recorded the Mallee Emu-wren in areas with large and long-unburnt tussocks of Triodia (Howe 1933b; Howe & Burgess 1942; Schodde 1982).

The Mallee Emu-wren occurs in areas that are also inhabited by the Malleefowl Leipoa ocellata, Regent Parrot (eastern) (Polytelis anthopeplus monarchoides), Western Whipbird (eastern) (Psophodes nigrogularis leucogaster), Red-lored Whistler (Pachycephala rufogularis) and Black-eared Miner (Manorina melanotis) (Baker-Gabb in prep.), all of which are listed as threatened species under the EPBC Act 1999. It occurs within the distribution of the Buloke Woodlands ecological community of the Riverina and Murray-Darling Depression Bioregions, which is listed as a threatened ecological community under the EPBC Act 1999, but it is not known whether it actually frequents the community itself (Clarke 2007b, pers. comm.).

No information is available on the natural mortality of the Mallee Emu-wren. No specific information is available on the age of sexual maturity or life expectancy, but a study on the congeneric Southern Emu-wren Stipiturus malachurus suggests that the Mallee Emu-wren might be capable of breeding at less than one year of age, and have a life expectancy of four or more years of age (Maguire & Mulder 2004).

The Mallee Emu-wren has been recorded breeding from September to November (Higgins et al. 2001; Howe 1911, 1933; McGilp 1943), although the season possibly extends from August to December or January (Higgins et al. 2001; Howe 1933). It builds a domed nest, with a side entrance, from a combination of grass, bark, Triodia leaves and other finer materials. The nest is placed close to the ground in a clump of Triodia (Chisholm 1946; Higgins et al. 2001; Howe 1911, 1933; McGilp 1943; McGilp & Parsons 1937; Wilson 1912). The female lays a clutch of two (Schodde 1982) or more usually three (Howe 1911, 1933; Higgins et al. 2001; McGilp 1943) eggs that are white with reddish-brown spots and blotches (Howe 1911; Schodde 1982).

The eggs are said to be incubated by the female (Rowley & Russell 1997; Schodde 1982). The incubation period has not been recorded, but a study on the congeneric Southern Emu-wren suggests that it is likely to be about 19 days in length (Maguire & Mulder 2004). The young are probably fed by both parents (Higgins et al. 2001; Rowley & Russell 1997; Schodde 1982). The nestling period has not been recorded, but is probably about 14 or 15 days in length as in the Southern Emu-wren (Maguire & Mulder 2004). Likewise, the period of dependence has not been recorded, but is probably about 50 days in length as in the Southern Emu-wren (Maguire & Mulder 2004). It appears that fledged young may remain with their natal group after reaching independence (Rowley & Russell 1997).

Pairs usually produce only a single brood per breeding season (Schodde 1982), although it is possible that two broods may be reared if conditions are favourable (Howe 1933; Schodde 1982). No information is available on breeding success, although success rates may be broadly similar to those of the congeneric Southern Emu-wren, which produces an average of 1.8 fledglings per clutch of eggs (Maguire & Mulder 2004).

The Mallee Emu-wren is said to feed on beetles and other insects, seeds, and some other vegetable matter (Schodde 1982).

The Mallee Emu-wren forages by hop-searching. It gleans food items from the stems of Triodia tussocks and from the twigs of small (50 cm tall) shrubs, and also picks food items from the ground between clumps of vegetation during calm weather (Howe 1933; Schodde 1982; Wilson 1912). It mostly forages in the mid-morning and late afternoon (Schodde 1982). Its tendency to forage on or near the ground could make it vulnerable to introduced terrestrial predators (Baker-Gabb in prep.).

The Mallee Emu-wren is considered to be resident (Rowley & Russell 1997), or probably sedentary (Emison et al. 1987; Schodde 1982), and is able to colonise new habitats 6 km or more away when they become available after fire (Emison et al. 1987; Garnett & Crowley 2000). It is claimed that territories break down after the breeding season when the Mallee Emu-wrens assemble into groups that forage locally in autumn and winter (Emison et al. 1987; Schodde 1982), but there is currently little or no data available to confirm this claim.

The Mallee Emu-wren is probably territorial during the breeding season (Howe 1933; Schodde 1982); anecdotal reports suggest that it occupies breeding territories that may be only 0.1 to 0.15 ha in area (Schodde 1982). It is claimed that a home range of a couple of hectares is sufficient to sustain a pair or family group (DSE 2007).

The Mallee Emu-wren is unlikely to be mistaken for any other species that occur within its known distribution and habitat (Higgins et al. 2001), although its calls are similar to, and in some instances inseparable from, those of fairy-wrens (Higgins et al. 2001). However, the Mallee Emu-wren is difficult to detect as it is generally shy and elusive, and difficult to locate and observe within the dense vegetation that it inhabits; and it possesses a repertoire of calls that are weak, high-pitched and not easily heard by some observers (Campbell 1908; Clarke 2007b, pers. comm.; Howe 1933; Howe & Burgess 1942; McGilp & Parsons 1937; Schodde 1982; Wilson 1912). It is usually first detected, or only detected, by its calls (Higgins et al. 2001).

The recommended method to survey for the Mallee Emu-wren is to conduct area searches or transect-point surveys in suitable habitat. The broadcast (or playback) of recorded calls can be effective in soliciting responses from the target species, especially just prior to and during the breeding season, but the use of mist-nets is not recommended because typically only small numbers of birds are captured (Clarke 2007b, pers. comm.).

The decline of the Mallee Emu-wren has mainly been due to the extensive loss, degradation and fragmentation of its habitat caused by broad-scale clearing and fire (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Howe 1928; Mustoe 2006; Parsons & McGilp 1934; SA DEH 2006; Schodde 1982): more than half of the former range of the Mallee Emu-wren has been cleared of suitable habitat (Schodde 1982) and the species now survives only in small and isolated subpopulations, albeit within large areas of apparently suitable habitat (Clarke 2007; Emison et al. 1987; Mustoe 2006). Broad-scale clearing was the major threat to the Mallee Emu-wren in the past, but has now ceased (Garnett & Crowley 2000; SA DEH 2006). However, the small and isolated populations that remain are highly vulnerable to fire. Extensive fires have the potential to eliminate local populations of the Mallee Emu-wren, and to burn out large areas of habitat and thus render such areas unsuitable for inhabitation. The fragmentation of the habitat, and the limited dispersal ability of the Mallee Emu-wren, may prevent birds from finding refuge in nearby unburnt habitat even when confronted with more localised fires, and also reduce the probability that burnt areas will be recolonised once they recover (Baker-Gabb in prep.; Garnett & Crowley 2000; Mustoe 2006; Schodde 1982).

Fire has had a devastating impact on the Mallee Emu-wren in recent years, especially in South Australia. The Mallee Emu-wren was moderately common at Billiatt Conservation Park in the early 1980s (Carpenter & Matthew 1992) but the population was decimated by a major fire in 1988 and has failed to recover, and is now on the verge of extinction (Clarke 2004; Gates 2003; Mustoe 2006). Similarly, the Mallee Emu-wren population at Ngarkat Conservation Park was distributed across an area of about 2000 km² and possibly numbered in the thousands in the early to mid 1990s, but a series of large fires since 2004 have reduced this population to about 100 individuals distributed across an area of about 100 km (about 500 ha of which is considered suitable habitat) (Mustoe 2006). These fires also eliminated suitable habitat, and possibly the local Emu-wren population, from Carcuma Conservation Park (Mustoe 2006; SA DEH 2006). The impact of fire on Mallee Emu-wren populations in Victoria is less well documented, although recent extensive fires have probably eliminated most suitable habitat in the sparsely inhabited Big Desert region (Clarke 2007), and fuel reduction burns are planned to occur in the near future at several sites in close proximity to known Mallee Emu-wren populations, including one proposed burn near the recognised stronghold of the species around Nowingi. These burns could pose a major threat to nearby Emu-wren populations if they were to burn out of control (Mustoe 2006).

The Mallee Emu-wren could also be susceptible to other threats. The fragmentation of the habitat, and the limited dispersal ability of the species, probably renders the Mallee Emu-wren vulnerable to inbreeding depression, although this has not been identified as a threat in management documents (Baker-Gabb in prep.; Garnett & Crowley 2000). Its tendency to forage on or close to the ground could make it vulnerable to introduced terrestrial predators (Baker-Gabb in prep.) or tramp ants (DEH 2006p), but no data are available to show that either of these are having an adverse impact on the population. Grazing is a widespread source of habitat degradation in the mallee region, and has been linked to declines in other threatened mallee birds (Baker-Gabb in prep.), but has not been identified as a specific threat to the Mallee Emu-wren.

The Mallee Emu-wren is likely to have a limited ability to disperse (and therefore a limited ability to recolonise former areas or replenish populations in the event of a decline or crash). It also appears to have a low rate of recruitment (pairs usually produce a single brood per season from a clutch of two or three eggs) that could limit the ability of the species to maintain its population size in the presence or aftermath of a threatening process (Clarke 2007b, pers. comm.).

The following recovery actions have been implemented to address the threats faced by the Mallee Emu-wren:

  • Surveys have been conducted at Billiatt Conservation Park and Ngarkat Conservation Park in South Australia (Clarke 2004; Gates 2003), and at Murray-Sunset National Park, Big Desert Wilderness Park, Big Desert State Forest, Wyperfeld National Park, Wathe Flora and Fauna Reserve and Bronzewing Flora and Fauna Reserve (Clarke 2007), and around Nowingi (Smales et al. 2005), in Victoria.
  • The conservation status of the species has been re-assessed (Mustoe 2006).
  • The habitat of the species has been modeled (Clarke 2005a).
  • Information on the role and impact of fire in habitats occupied by Mallee Emu-wren has been summarised (Silveira 1993).
  • A national recovery plan (Baker-Gabb in prep.) is being prepared, and a regional recovery plan is already in place (Clarke 2005; SA DEH 2006).
  • An updated Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement has been drafted for the species in Victoria (DSE 2007).

The Mallee Emu-wren has also benefited from more generalised conservation actions such as the introduction of restrictions on the clearance of native vegetation, improved fire management and the expansion of the reserve systems in mallee regions of South Australia and Victoria (Baker-Gabb in prep.).

The following recovery actions have been recommended (Baker-Gabb in prep.):

  • Determine the distribution, habitat characteristics, habitat requirements and fire history of occupied habitat through targeted surveys, detailed studies and mapping.
  • Introduce long-term monitoring of subpopulations and use this data to develop landscape-scale estimates of population size and to assess the conservation status.
  • Investigate the need for a translocation program to re-establish populations at former sites, and develop and implement a translocation program if deemed necessary.
  • Examine the impact of fire frequency. Develop and implement multi-species fire management strategies, and ensure that strategies are included in relevant fire management plans.
  • Ensure that the habitat requirements of the Mallee Emu-wren are taken into account in relevant management plans, and that measures are taken to preserve existing suitable habitat located outside of conservation reserves.
  • Increase community awareness about the subspecies and encourage participation in the recovery program.
  • Take action, if necessary, to redress fragmentation and degradation of important habitat on private land.

No mitigation approaches have been developed specifically for the Mallee Emu-wren, but a threat abatement plan has been developed to reduce the impact of introduced invasive tramp ants on native species, including the Mallee Emu-wren, and the ecological communities that the ant occurs in (DEH 2006p).

There are no published major studies on the Mallee Emu-wren. There has, however, been a concentrated effort in recent years to improve information on the biology and ecology of mallee birds, including the Mallee Emu-wren. These studies, the results of which are largely unpublished, include studies on the habitat requirements of the Mallee Emu-wren and other mallee birds (Clarke 2005a; Mercer 1998), surveys for threatened birds at Billiatt Conservation Park and Ngarkat Conservation Park (Clarke 2004; Gates 2003), a survey for the Mallee Emu-wren around Nowingi (Smales et al. 2005) and at six reserves in Victoria (Clarke 2007), an assessment of the conservation status of the Mallee Emu-wren (Mustoe 2006), ongoing research on mallee communities by the University of Adelaide (Mustoe 2006) and a current research project on the ecology and conservation biology of the species by a Ph. D. student at Deakin University (Clarke 2007b, pers. comm.).

Key management documents for the Mallee Emu-wren include:

  • Draft National Recovery Plan for the Mallee Emu-Wren Stipiturus mallee, Red-lored Whistler Chycephala rufogularis, and Western Whipbird Psophodes nigrogularis leucogaster (Baker-Gabb in prep.)

  • Recovery Plan for the Mallee Emu-wren Stipiturus mallee, Striated Grasswren Amytornis striatus, Red-lored Whistler Pachycephala rufogularis and Western Whipbird Psophodes nigrogularis lecuogaster, South Australian Murray Darling Basin regional recovery plan for populations in South Australia (Clarke 2005b)

  • Draft Flora and Fauna Guarantee Action Statement for Mallee Emu-wren Stipiturus mallee (DSE 2007).

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 The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 (Garnett, S.T. & G.M. Crowley, 2000) [Cwlth Action Plan].
Agriculture and Aquaculture:Livestock Farming and Grazing:Grazing pressures and associated habitat changes Stipiturus mallee in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006uz) [Internet].
Listing Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008act) [Listing Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Droughts:Drought Listing Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008act) [Listing Advice].
Approved Conservation Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008acu) [Conservation Advice].
Climate Change and Severe Weather:Habitat Shifting and Alteration:Habitat loss, modification and/or degradation Listing Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008act) [Listing Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Loss and/or fragmentation of habitat and/or subpopulations Listing Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008act) [Listing Advice].
Approved Conservation Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008acu) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Vulpes vulpes (Red Fox, Fox) Listing Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008act) [Listing Advice].
Approved Conservation Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008acu) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Felis catus (Cat, House Cat, Domestic Cat) Listing Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008act) [Listing Advice].
Approved Conservation Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008acu) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Predation, competition, habitat degradation and/or spread of pathogens by introduced species Approved Conservation Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008acu) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Negative impact from animals Approved Conservation Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008acu) [Conservation Advice].
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Listing Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008act) [Listing Advice].
Natural System Modifications:Fire and Fire Suppression:Inappropriate fire regimes including natural wildfires Listing Advice for Stipiturus mallee (Mallee Emu-wren) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008act) [Listing Advice].

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Stipiturus mallee in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sat, 26 Jul 2014 05:33:45 +1000.