Australian Journal of Zoology Australian Journal of Zoology Society
Evolutionary, molecular and comparative zoology

The ecology of the rufous treecreeper in the jarrah forest of south-western Australia and implications for its conservation and management

Michael D. Craig
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School of Animal Biology M092, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia. Present address: School of Biological Sciences, Murdoch University, Murdoch, WA 6150, Australia. Email:

Australian Journal of Zoology 55(1) 41-48
Submitted: 12 June 2006  Accepted: 6 February 2007   Published: 23 March 2007


Rufous treecreepers (Climacteris rufa) are common in southern jarrah forests of Western Australia, but nothing has been recorded of their ecology in the region. I investigated the foraging and nesting ecology of the species in the southern jarrah forests from January 1994 to April 1996. Rufous treecreepers foraged exclusively on two eucalypt species, jarrah and marri, and foraged on trees that were significantly larger and taller than random. Foraging on the ground, logs and fallen trees was relatively infrequent. Nest hollows were also located exclusively in jarrah and marri trees that were significantly larger and taller than random. The important foraging and nesting resources for the species in the southern jarrah forest appear to be large mature and overmature eucalypts. Anthropogenic impacts in the region, primarily logging, should aim to retain these resources in affected areas to improve the survival prospects of the species. When compared with studies in wandoo woodlands, the results of the present study indicate that the conservation of ground-layer habitat is likely to be of less importance in the jarrah forest. These habitat differences indicate that site-specific information is critical if the management and conservation of individual species is to be effective.


J. Dale Roberts made a substantial contribution to all aspects of this paper. Earlier versions of this manuscript were greatly improved by comments from Gary Luck. Wayne Zadow and Ray Garstone provided assistance in the field and found many nests. Staff at the Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), Manjimup, provided logistical support. The University of Western Australia (UWA) and CALM provided funding for this project. I was the recipient of a University Research Studentship from UWA for the duration of this study.


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