Nationally threatened birds of the Western wheatbelt
The Western wheatbelt of south-western Western Australia is characterised by a rich and diverse biological community. The vegetation types range from saltbush shrublands to heath, and mallee woodlands to eucalypt forests. The diverse vegetation is host to a rich abundance of bird species.
Much of this region already has been cleared for agriculture. What remains of the natural ecosystems are heavily fragmented and disturbed and, therefore, in very poor condition. The communities continue to be subjected to further degradation through increasing salinity and invasion from weeds.
The Australian Action Plan for Birds 2000 identifies three birds that are already threatened in this region and another 11 birds on the brink of being nationally threatened.
The most significant loss has been that of kwongan heath close to the breeding sites of Carnaby's Black Cockatoo. Active regeneration and breeding programs are in place to help the cockatoos. The priority for revegetation, however, is to reduce rising water tables which lead to increased salinity, rather than to recreate habitat for the birds.
There also has been a selective loss of large eucalypts, which provide nesting trees for numerous species of birds. Despite the decline in tree numbers, a shortage of hollows has not yet become evident.
Nest-robbing by feral animals is a problem, especially for Carnaby's Black Cockatoo. Foxes prey on Bush Stone-curlew, Hooded Plovers and Malleefowl. Both fox control programs and management of bird nests help to avert some of the predation.
Core species and subspecies and their recommended conservation status
Thick-billed Grasswren (western)
Carnaby's Black Cockatoo
Hooded Plover (western)
Western Rosella (wheatbelt)
Barking Owl (southern)
Shy Heathwren (western)
Rufous Fieldwren (western wheatbelt)
White-browed Babbler (western wheatbelt)
Crested Shrike-tit (western)
Western Whipbird (western mallee)
Crested Bellbird (southern)
You can also find out more information about Australia's threatened species by calling the department's Community Information Unit on free call 1800 803 772