Woodland birds persisting in least disturbed environment: Birds of Dryandra Woodland 1953-2008
Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science
School of Natural Sciences
Woodland birds have seriously declined across southern Australian with local extinctions reported in many areas. Dryandra Woodland presents a contrasting picture to this decline with declining species persisting there. It retains an almost full community of birds, many of which have declined or disappeared from the surrounding wheatbelt. It is 27 000 ha of remnant woodland, situated ∼160 km south-east of Perth, in south-western Australia. Birds were surveyed predominately by professional biologists and/or taken from their archives, publications and institutional databases for a 55 year period (173 observation years) from 1953 to 2008; 141 species were detected. Persistence rather than extinction and increase rather than decline were the dominant paradigms for the birds of Dryandra. This is the inverse of what has happened in the greater wheatbelt, in which Dryandra is located. It is postulated that Dryandra's birds persist because their habitat is relatively unchanged compared to that of the surrounding wheatbelt. Despite the many 'success stories' some birds had declined, for example, Malleefowl Leipoa ocellata and Hooded Robin Melanodryas cucullata. Three species were judged to be locally extinct at Dryandra Spotted Nightjar Eurostopodus argus, Chestnut Quail-thrush Cinclosoma castanotum and Crested Bellbird Oreoica gutturalis.