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Differential macrohabitat use by birds on an unregulated lowland floodplain of south-eastern Australia

Parkinson, Amber, MacNally, Ralph and Quinn, Gerald 2002, Differential macrohabitat use by birds on an unregulated lowland floodplain of south-eastern Australia, River research and applications, vol. 18, no. 5, pp. 495-506, doi: 10.1002/rra.689.

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Title Differential macrohabitat use by birds on an unregulated lowland floodplain of south-eastern Australia
Author(s) Parkinson, Amber
MacNally, Ralph
Quinn, Gerald
Journal name River research and applications
Volume number 18
Issue number 5
Start page 495
End page 506
Publisher John Wiley & Sons Ltd
Place of publication Malden, Mass.
Publication date 2002-09
ISSN 1535-1459
1535-1467
Keyword(s) Australia
Billabong
Birds
Floodplain
Murray-Darling Basin
River red gum
Ovens River
Waterbirds
Wetland
Summary In many lowland floodplains around the world, upriver interferences to flows (weirs, dams, off-takes) have led to much reduced frequency and duration of flooding. As a result, many floodplain wetlands are now inundated relatively rarely if at all. Given regulation of most lowland rivers in southeastern Australia, we assessed use of wetlands by birds in the essentially unregulated Ovens River in northeastern Victoria. Twelve sites (0.4-1.2 ha) were studied after flooding. Four sites were 'permanent billabongs', four were temporary wetlands and the other four were randomly selected woodland sites >60 m from the nearest water body (including the river) acting as 'control' or 'reference' sites. Aquatic birds were not recorded using woodland sites, but many species were differentially associated with either billabongs or temporary wetlands. A surprising number of non-aquatic birds either exclusively or differentially were associated with wetland sites compared with woodland sites. We concluded that heterogeneous macrohabitat will increase local avian biodiversity on lowland floodplains. Moreover, densities and diversity of non-aquatic, woodland species also increased with the presence of wetlands. Temporary wetlands were used differently from permanent billabongs by birds, especially in foraging methods. This suggests that the reinstatement of major flooding on heavily regulated floodplains would be ecologically advantageous for birds by providing foraging and breeding opportunities.
Language eng
DOI 10.1002/rra.689
Field of Research 060208 Terrestrial Ecology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2002, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30009466

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