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Wimmera CMA

Street Address:
24 Darlot Street, Horsham, 3400
(enter via Gleed St)

Postal Address:
PO Box 479, Horsham, VIC, 3402
Phone: (03) 5382 1544
Fax: (03) 5382 6076
Email: wcma@wcma.vic.gov.au
 
Office Hours:
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(excluding Public Holidays and Christmas - New Year Closure.  Office may also be closed for short periods Monday mornings)

Article

Wimmera malleefowl population stable and breeding

Jun 29, 2020



 
Malleefowl_David Watson 2-360x254WebnewsMalleefowl by David Watson
 
WCMA-MalleeFowl Graeme Creek (1)-360x253WebNewsMalleefowl chick by Graeme Creek

We are rapt to share more iconic species results with you - this time our focus is on the malleefowl.

This story has a lovely citizen science aspect to it - what would we do without all these wonderful volunteers? 

Wimmera CMA is part of the National Malleefowl Monitoring Program, coordinated by the National Malleefowl Recovery Group through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. Wimmera monitoring has been going for around 20 years and this year has revealed some pretty exciting results:

  • Victorian Malleefowl Recovery Group volunteers visited 165 mounds across the Wimmera and of those, 34 showed signs of active breeding. This an increase from the previous year of 27.
  • Researchers estimate that 70 breeding pairs live in the Wimmera and results indicate the population is stable.
  • Results indicate there's been an increase in breeding over this 20 year period, and that the Wimmera has a relatively stable breeding population.

Predator control

This project doesn't only monitor malleefowl, it also helps protect the species through predator control - particularly foxes. Remote motion-sensor camera traps are being used to keep an eye on predators to acquire data that will help ascertain the level of control such as baiting. So far these cameras have captured 315,932 images. Foxes were common at all sites, as were kangaroos. Rabbits were more common at some sites than others.

What is it that makes the malleefowl so unique?

BirdLife Australia has a great summary: It doesn't build a nest like most other birds. Instead it uses its strong feet to scrape large amounts of leaf litter and sand from the ground and into a large pile. The eggs are then laid into a cavity at the top of the mound and covered over. As the leaf litter begins to compost it generates heat and this is used to incubate the eggs, rather than sitting on them. The male malleefowl checks the temperature of his breeding mound regularly, and scrapes material onto or off the mound to keep the temperature just right. So clever!