SPECIES: Acanthornis magna greeniana — King Island Scrubtit

CLASSIFICATION: Critically endangered

You may be forgiven for just seeing a little brown bird. On second look, it's the critically endangered King Island Scrubtit, endemic to Tasmania and confined to King Island. Often silent, so you wouldn't even know one is about and shy and unobtrusive by nature, the King Island Scrubtit is not one often spotted by people. At a max it's 12cm long, found in swamp forest and eucalypt woodland and forages in ferns and shurbs for insects, spiders, snails and the eggs of these creatures. Remarkably, it's ancestors diverged around 13 million years ago. Survival must be in it's genes, but populations are now dangerously low, thought to be no more than 200 breeding pairs.

Threats facing this species of Scrubtit largely revolve around loss of habitat, due to land clearing and burning. The remaining population is now so fragmented, making it extremely vulnerable to both wildfire and disease.

Photo: JJ Harrison

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