Madrid, 12 (European press)
This bird, called the plains wanderer, is the only member of its taxonomic family, Pedionomidae, and is listed as Critically Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Based on its taxonomic excellence and high risk of extinction, the Zoological Society of London ranks the species as the number one priority in conservation action among the world’s birds.
In a recent survey in northern Victoria, La Trobe University doctoral student Dan Nugent said the team found more plains hikers during the last survey than since monitoring began in 2010.
“We detected 60 adults and 41 chicks. This is more than double the previous best result in 2018 when 30 adults and 17 chicks were detected,” Nugent said in a statement.
“Another encouraging sign is that 85% of the observation sites were home to plains drivers, the highest percentage of sites since surveys began 12 years ago.”
The survey was conducted by La Trobe University in collaboration with the North Central Watershed Management Authority (CMA), as part of a report by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).
Since 2010, conservationists have monitored the number of roving plains native grasslands on public and private lands in the northern Victorian plains.
North Central CMA Project Director Laura Chant said, in addition to improvement in technology and survey methods over the years, the record numbers are likely the result of human rather than human intervention.
“The La Niña climate cycle facilitated a large and long-term breeding event, which likely led to an increase in their numbers,” Chant said.
“In addition, it is very likely that the habitat management and protection measures that we and many partner organizations have taken for many years to protect this amazing bird, including conservation agreements and strategic grazing through conservation sanctuaries, will be very effective.
Watching the elusive birds is a challenge, said Dr. Aaron Greinter, Natural Environment Program Officer at DELWP.
“Plain hikers are fuzzy, and are almost never seen during the day when they are most active due to their excellent camouflage and lack of confidence in predators, which makes their detection a huge challenge for researchers,” said Grenter.
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