SPECIES: Atrichornis clamosus — Noisy Scrub-bird


A bird incapable of sustaining flight for more than a few metres at a time? You wouldn’t read about it. But yes, you would. Read on. The endangered Noisy Scrub-bird is found in WA in two locations and mainly occurs in low, closed forests. These are considered sub-populations, as when you have a bird that isn’t fond of flying and their habitat isn’t connected by corridors of suitable habitat to help facilitate movement of birds, they become in essence their own population.

A Noisy Scrub-bird will forage on or near to the ground and collects food from leaf litter– invertebrates including beetles, ants, spiders, crickets, moths, butterflies – and the list goes on.

With just 1500 birds left now, there’s many a reason as to their gradual decline over the last century or so. Most pairs only rear one brood per season. Added to this, it’s a constant struggle to ensure their only egg will even hatch, as nests are preyed upon and raided by foxes, feral cats, rats, mice, goannas and even snakes. Such a lot for a little bird to defend against. Wildfires since 2000 have dramatically impacted the Noisy Scrub-bird, with their habitat going up in flames. Sadly, one particular fire is thought to have wiped out two thirds of the population. Surveys have shown that the Noisy Scrub-bird will only again inhabit a forest that has been burnt after around 10 years. Certainly the loss of genetic variation for the species is also a threat, the smaller the sub-populations get is also a threat to their future.

And to answer your question, a male Noisy Scrub-bird is extremely territorial, defending their territories with a loud directional song that can be heard throughout they year. Sounds definitely noisy.

Photo: Alan Dank

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