This species has experienced a moderately rapid population decline, and is therefore classified as Near Threatened.
Distribution and populationPetroica phoenicea
Christidis, L.; Boles, W. E. 2008. Systematics and taxonomy of Australian birds. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
occurs in upland areas of south-east continental Australia
and in Tasmania. It breeds throughout Tasmania, on Bass Strait islands and the high country of southern and north-eastern Victoria and along the Great Dividing Range in eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queenland, as far north as 30o
S. In winter some birds migrate from Tasmania to the mainland and from upland areas to lowland plains. Although still numerous, with a population likely to exceed 1 million individuals, a strong decline in reporting rate has occurred over the last 25 years combined with a contraction from the fringes of its winter range. It is now scarce in South Australia and less common in the Victorian lowlands, but remains common in Tasmania and the high country of the Great Dividing Range. Its density has probably not yet halved. Population justification
This species is locally common, with a population probably numbering c.1 million mature individuals, roughly equating to c.1.5 million total individuals.Trend justification
A strong decline in reporting rate has occurred over the last 25 years combined with a contraction from the fringes of its winter range (Garnett and Crowley 2000). It is now scarce in South Australia and less common in the Victorian lowlands, but remains common in Tasmania and the high country of the Great Dividing Range. Its density has probably not yet halved.Ecology
The species breeds in eucalypt forests and woodlands, with access to open areas, such as subalpine woodland, recently burnt forest, recently logged forest and pine plantations. In winter the species feeds in open areas such as pasture, and shelters and roosts in orchards and remnant vegetation. Threats
The most likely explanation for this species's decline is a rise in temperature, which has been greater in south-eastern Australia than anywhere else on the continent. The species is also likely to have declined because of the clearing, cultivation and degradation of its winter habitat. In contrast, much of the species's breeding habitat is managed, open upland forests, and the availability of such habitat has probably increased as a result of clear-felling. Recent reductions in clear-felling may lead to a reduction in habitat availability, as regrowth results in felled areas becoming unsuitable within five years. An increase in predation by Pied Currawongs Strepera graculina
could cause an increase in the already high rates of nest loss, and feeding habitat in open woodland may be degraded by grazing and other processes. Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation action is known for this species. Conservation Actions Proposed
Analyse existing data to determine the extent and distribution of the decline, and correlate with environmental variables. Carry out monitoring at selected sites. Coordinate recovery actions with those of other woodland birds of the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range. Address the causes of climate change on a national and international basis.
Garnett, S. T.; Crowley, G. M. 2000. The action plan for Australian birds 2000. Environment Australia, Canberra.
Garnett, S.T., Crowley, G.M. and Barrett, G. 2002. Patterns and trends in Australian bird distributions and abundance: preliminary analysis of data from Atlas of Australian Birds for the National Land & Water Resources Audit. National Land & Water Resources Audit, Canberra, Australia.
Further web sources of information
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
Garnett, S., Taylor, J.
IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Petroica phoenicea. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 01/08/2015.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from
http://www.birdlife.org on 01/08/2015.
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.
To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife
To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.
Additional resources for this species