Emu Emu Society
Journal of BirdLife Australia
REVIEW

The conservation status of Australian malurids and their value as models in understanding land-management issues

A. Skroblin A B D and S. A. Murphy C

A Research School of Biology, Australian National University, ACT 0200, Australia.

B Australian Wildlife Conservancy, Mornington Wildlife Sanctuary, PMB 925, Derby, WA 6728, Australia.

C Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Land Management, PMB 227 Alice Springs, NT 0872, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: anjaskroblin@yahoo.com

Emu 113(3) 309-318 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MU12075
Submitted: 1 September 2012  Accepted: 22 February 2013   Published: 15 August 2013

Abstract

The conservation status of many birds in Australia has been deteriorating in response to human activities. Changes to land-management practices are required to halt declines but, in many cases, the causal mechanisms of declines are poorly known and so it is difficult to provide appropriate management directives. Of the 23 Australian species of Maluridae, 12 have infrataxa that meet the criteria for inclusion within an IUCN Red List category. The family possesses characteristics that make it ideal for research relevant to improving conservation outcomes for the Maluridae and other threatened taxa: the family is widely distributed, has been exposed to the varying pressures that operate in diverse habitats across Australia, and infrataxa have broadly similar ecologies and yet disparate conservation listings. Here we describe the conservation status of the taxa within the Maluridae and outline how the family can be used as models to test mechanisms associated with declines and for developing concepts to enhance conservation management. We argue that disparate responses of sympatric malurids to the same land-management regimes can be used to identify characteristics that make species vulnerable to environmental pressures. Quantitative insights into how malurids respond to threatening processes may provide directives for management of a range of threatened species.

Additional keywords: Amytornis, fairy-wren, emu-wren, grasswren, land management, Maluridae, Malurus, Stipiturus.


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