Saturday, 28 December 2013

Eastern Bristlebird

Dasyornis brachypterus

Photo by David Cook (Flickr)

Common name:
eastern bristlebird (en); acantiza-de-cerdas-oriental (pt); dasyorne brun (fr); picocerdas oriental (es); braunkopf-lackvogel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Acanthizidae

This species is endemic to the eastern coast of Autralia, being found from south-eastern Queensland to eastern Victoria.

These birds are 18-21 cm long and weigh 33-51 g.

The eastern bristle bird is mostly found in dense scrublands, namely in areas with sedges and heaths, but also use grasslands, swamps, sclerophyll forests and rainforests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

They feed on seeds, small fruits and invertebrates, as well as fungi and occasionally nectar, food scraps and tadpoles.

Eastern bristlebirds breed in August-February. The nest is a small, globular structure with a side entrance, made of grass, bark, sedges or reeds, and sometimes leaves. It is placed near the base or low on a sedge, grass, fern or scrub, up to 1 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-3 white to light brown eggs with brown or grey spots, which she incubates alone for about 3 weeks. The chicks are fed and brooded by the female only and fledge about 16 days after hatching.

IUCN status - EN (Endangered)
This species has a relatively small and fragmented breeding range, and the global population is estimated at 2.550 individuals. The population has undergone a dramatic decline in the northern parts of the range, and although further south it  is considered stable at present, it is projected to decline in the future mainly due to habitat degradation caused by an inappropriate fire regime. If fires are too frequent they eliminate tussocks and enable the invasion by introduced woody weeds. However, when fires are too infrequent the vegetation becomes too dense for nesting. Further problems include habitat degradation by feral pigs and domestic livestock, overgrazing, invasion by exotic weeds and predation by inreoduced foxes and feral cats. Conservation actions underway include the construction of fences and fire-breaks, control of feral cat and pig populations, and the translocation of individuals to more favourable areas.

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