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Noisy Scrub-bird Atrichornis clamosus
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Despite several decades of intensive conservation work, which resulted in a population increase, large lightning-induced fires have since caused significant further declines in population size and habitat quality, from which any recovery is likely to be slow. Together with additional unexplained smaller-scale declines, a probable continuing decline in habitat quality and number of mature individuals is therefore inferred, and as it also has a very small range and is restricted to just five locations the species has consequently been uplisted to Endangered.

Taxonomic source(s)
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.

22-26 cm. Skulking passerine with short, rounded wings, long, rounded tail and characteristically triangular head profile. Adult dark brown above with faint dark barring and contrasting rufous wings. Grey-brown below merging to rufous on vent and undertail-coverts and cream on lower breast. Male has diagnostic blackish triangle on throat with bold whitish stripes at sides. Female has whitish throat. Juvenile unbarred above with rich, buff foreneck and breast. Similar spp. Western Bristlebird Dasyornis longirostris lacks dark barring and has pale scallops on back and breast. Voice Male calls powerful, penetrating and directional. Main territorial song highly variable within and between individuals; generally a sweet, descending crescendo, falling and accelerating into ear-splitting climax.

Distribution and population
Atrichornis clamosus is found on the south coast of Western Australia, Australia. Between 1961, when it was rediscovered, and 1976, it was largely confined to the Mt Gardner area of the Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, 40 km east of Albany. As a result of translocations, and recolonisation from the Mt Gardner population, the range has since increased (Comer 2002). Natural colo­nists and translocations have created one extensive subpop­ulation at a handful of locations from Two Peoples Bay to Cheyne Beach, as well as an introduced population at Bald Island (59 calling males in 2004 [A. Burbidge in litt. 2004], increasing to 99 territorial males in 2010 [Garnett et al. 2011]), and a reintroduced population near Drakesbrook, the type locality, south of Perth. However, breeding near Drakesbrook has not been confirmed, despite the reintroduction of 100 individuals (S. Garnett in litt. 2004, Garnett et al. 2011). In the Albany management area, the number of singing males increased from 569 in 1999 to 733 in 2001 (Comer 2002, Garnett et al. 2011). However, a series of fires in the Two Peoples Bay-Manypeaks area between December 2000 and December 2004 reduced the number of singing males to c.278 in 2005, with a small increase to 370 in 2006 (A. Burbidge in litt. 2007, Garnett et al. 2011).

Population justification
The population was estimated at c.1,500 breeding birds by Garnett and Crowley (2000), however a series of fires in the Two Peoples Bay-Mt Manypeaks area between December 2000 and December 2004 has severely impacted this, the species's largest, subpopulation (A. Burbidge in litt. 2007). Its population is now estimated to number 1,000-1,500 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 1,500-2,300 individuals in total.

Trend justification
A combination of translocation and habitat management efforts have resulted in local increases, but fire events have resulted in substantial declines in the largest subpopulation. The species may recover from such fires, although it may take ten years before the habitat is suitable (Danks and Comer 2006), and in combination with additional unexplained smaller-scale declines a probable continuing decline in the number of mature individuals at an unknown rate is inferred (Garnett et al. 2011).

Its preferred habitat contains dense clumps of sedges, shrubs or piles of debris for nesting cover, interspersed with small, open areas with a thick accumulation of leaf-litter and a well-developed litter fauna for feeding (Danks et al. 1996). It mainly eats terrestrial arthropods (Danks and Calver 1993). Most occupied sites have not been burnt for at least 10 years, the sites on Mt Gardner having a post-fire age of over 50 years, and on Bald Island of over 120 years (Garnett et al. 2011). Some sites on Mt Manypeaks that were burnt in 2004 had been recolonised by 2006, but only in areas where the fire was less severe and vegetation regeneration has been rapid (A. Burbidge in litt. 2007). Historically, the species may have occu­pied the ecotone between swamp vegetation and forest dominated by Jarrah Eucalyptus marginata and Marri E. calophylla (Smith 1985), although such habitat is rare within the species’s current range. It apparently disperses along corridors of closed vegetation. It crosses roads readily, although not cleared land.

The historical disappearance of the species from most of its former range has been attributed to changes in fire regime following the disruption of Aboriginal fire management before the 1880s. In 1976, the single, remnant population survived in an area protected from fire by the terrain. The frequent burning of swamps to make them more suitable for cattle-grazing, as well as their drainage and clearance for horticulture, would have had major impacts. Extensive high-intensity bushfire is the major current threat, s the species depends on long unburnt habitat and has limited dispersal abilities. In 1994, a fire at Mt Taylor destroyed most of a recently translocated population, with remaining birds disappearing within the subsequent year. The largest subpopulation was formerly on Mt Manypeaks, following a remarkable recovery since translocations began in 1983, however in summer 2004/2005, a fire there burnt a 4,500 ha block of habitat (Comer and Burbidge 2006), amounting to the loss of one third of the suitable habitat for the species in the Albany area (Danks and Comer 2006). Surveys in 2005 revealed a 55.6% reduction in the number of singing males in the Albany Management Zone compared to numbers in 2001, largely as a result of the loss of birds from within the burnt area at Mt Manypeaks (Danks and Comer 2006), with the loss of almost all of the birds (c.1,000) in the 427 territories counted in 2001 (Comer and Burbidge 2006). The species has the ability to recover there, but it could be up to 10 years before the habitat is suitable again (Danks and Comer 2006). The loss of 4,500 ha of optimal habitat during summer 2004/2005, and the loss of c.4,000 ha of habitat during fires since 2001, means that only c.4,500 ha of optimal habitat for the species remain in the Albany area (Comer and Burbidge 2006). Almost all birds are now on protected land, but habitat clearance on private land could cut corridors, fragmenting populations and preventing dispersal. Breeding success is relatively good, but various native and introduced mammals and reptiles may raid nests and kill adults (Danks et al. 1996). The reasons for the decline in the sub­population at Mt Gardner, and the disappearance of the self-established subpopulation around Lake Gardner, are unknown but could be related to the length of time since fire, increased predation by feral cats Felis catus or the removal of birds for translocation (Danks 1997).

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix I. The species has undergone 35 years of intense research, monitoring and management, including protection from fire and translocation. The population at Mt Manypeaks was established following translocations in 1983 and 1985 (Comer 2002, Comer and Burbidge 2006). Following a fire at Mt Manypeaks a project was started in March 2005 to begin long-term monitoring of the species's recovery, including studies on invertebrate food resources and the vegetation associated with its habitat, as well as increased fox control, cat trapping and improved fire management capabilities (Danks and Comer 2006). Between June and August 2006, eight males were translocated from the Mermaid-Waychinicup area to karri forest in Porongurup National Park, and fitted with radio transmitters during the process (Anon. 2007). Radio-tracking proved unsuccessful (Berryman 2007), but call monitoring was carried out (Anon. 2007, Berryman 2007), revealing that one male moved 1.2 km from the release site (Berryman 2007). In 2008 only one male from the translocation was still being heard (Tiller 2009). Similarly translocations took place in Gull Rock National Park in 2007 but only one bird could be located the following year (Tiller 2009). The search for potential translocation sites continues, and in 2009 Jane National Park was being considered as a possible site for future releases if suitable fire protection could be implemented (Tiller 2009). The recovery of this species is being managed by the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team (A. Burbidge in litt. 2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Establish populations where appropriate habitat persists throughout its former range. Maintain active fire protection and habitat management at all sites. Survey and monitor all known populations at five-year intervals. Continue to support coordination of management by the South Coast Threatened Birds Recovery Team.

Related state of the world's birds case studies

Anon. 2007. Porongurup Noisy Scrub-bird translocation. South Coast Threatened Bird News: 1.

Berryman, A. 2007. Noisy Scrub-bird vocalisations. South Coast Threatened Bird News 11: 11.

Comer, S. 2002. Noisy Scrub-birds in the Albany Management Area. South Coast Threatened Bird News 6: 3.

Comer, S.; Burbidge, A. 2006. Manypeaks rising from the ashes. Landscope 22(1): 51-55.

Danks, A. 1997. Conservation of the Noisy Scrub-bird: a review of 35 years of research and management. Pacific Conservation Biology: 341-349.

Danks, A.; Burbidge, A. A.; Burbidge, A. H.; Smith, G. T. 1996. Noisy Scrub-bird Recovery Plan. WA Dept Conservation & Land Management, Perth.

Danks, A.; Calver, M. C. 1993. Diet of the Noisy Scrub-bird Atrichornis clamosus at Two Peoples Bay, south-western Western Australia. Emu 93: 203-205.

Danks, M.; Comer, S. 2006. Mt Manypeaks update: Project Phoenix rises! South Coast Threatened Bird News: 10-11.

Garnett, S. T.; Crowley, G. M. 2000. The action plan for Australian birds 2000. Environment Australia, Canberra.

Garnett, S.T., Szabo, J.K. and Dutson, G. 2011. The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2010. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood.

Smith, G. T. 1985. Population and habitat selection of the Noisy Scrub-bird, Atrichornis clamosus, 1962-83. Australian Wildlife Research 12: 479-485.

Tiller, C. 2009. Noisy Scrub-bird translocation news. South Coast Threatened Bird News: 10.

Further web sources of information
Australian Govt - Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000 - Recovery Outline

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Garnett, S., Harding, M., McClellan, R., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Burbidge, A. & Garnett, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Atrichornis clamosus. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

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Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Atrichornithidae (Scrub-birds)
Species name author (Gould, 1844)
Population size 1000-1500 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 160 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species