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The distribution and ecology of the Rufous Bristlebird (Dasyornis broadbenti) at Aireys Inlet, Victoria
journal contributionposted on 2001-01-01, 00:00 authored by Barbara Wilson, John Aberton, P Reilly, M MacDonald
A study to assess distribution, numbers and habitat of the Rufous Bristlebird was conducted during 1997 and 1998 along the coast at Aireys Inlet, Victoria. Monthly surveys were conducted along selected pathways for 1 h at sunrise, noon and late afternoon. Birds were recorded on the basis of sightings and calls; 75% of records were from calls. The number of records of birds for April–June was significantly lower than for January–March, July–September and October–December. There was no difference in frequency of records due to weather conditions (clear, overcast or rain), presence of wind or difference in temperature. The Rufous Bristlebird inhabited remnant coastal vegetation, but also utilised nearby house gardens and road verges. Birds appeared to occupy distinct territories, with each separate territory occuring along a narrow strip of land on the coastal cliffs. The number of territories identified ranged from 14 to 33. Territories were occupied predominantly by pairs of birds. The minimum number of birds present was estimated for each survey session and ranged from 2 to 34. A conservative estimate of the bristlebird population in the area, based on the assumption that a territory was occupied by a pair, was thus between 28 and 66. A number of threats to the Rufous Bristlebird were identified in the study area including loss and fragmentation of habitat from housing developments and walking tracks. Introduced predators including foxes, cats and rats have been recorded, but their impact is unknown. The effect of people walking along the tracks and the presence of dogs is unclear.