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NSW SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE

males, who then care for the eggs and chicks. The generation length of the species is estimated as three years (Garnett & Crowley 2000).

Diet

The Black-breasted Button-quail feeds on terrestrial invertebrates (mostly insects) and some seeds, gleaned by scraping the leaf litter. Its food supply and foraging habitat are adversely affected by factors that disturb and dry out or remove the litter, such as livestock movements, foraging by feral pigs and fire.

Territoriality/home range

Female Black-breasted Button-quail are territorial, defending exclusive territories of about 1.5 ha against other females (Marchant & Higgins 1993). The home range is 2.2-6.1 ha in remnant vine scrub, overlapping within and between the sexes (Smith et al. 1998). The home range for females has been reported as 3-4.4 ha, that of a breeding male as 1.9 ha, and that of a non-breeding male as 6.2 ha in a Hoop Pine plantation prior to harvesting (Lees & Smith 1999). Home range was 5.2-17.9 ha after harvesting, with probable turnover of individuals after clear felling (Lees & Smith 1999).

Ability to disperse/susceptibility to population fragmentation

The Black-breasted Button-quail is a reluctant flyer. Adults are apparently sedentary, and the extent of movement between isolated patches of habitat is uncertain. The species’ range, habitat and populations are fragmented (Garnett & Crowley 2000). In fragmented rainforest in agricultural land, the Black-breasted Button-quail only occurs in the largest fragments connected to eucalypt forest, and in intact rainforest. Individuals are resident (Smyth & Pavey 2001).

Number of mature individuals:

The global population of the Black-breasted Button-quail is estimated at about 5 000 mature individuals, of which most occur in Queensland. NSW holds a small proportion of the global population, perhaps 5% based on the respective share of geographic range, or about 250 birds. No subpopulation exceeds 2 000 individuals, although these estimates have been assigned a low level of confidence by Garnett & Crowley (2000). Although the Black-breasted Button- quail is secretive and cryptic, the level of confidence in survey results is high because birdwatchers are numerous and very active in the species’ NSW range, as in Queensland where birdwatchers regularly report the species in small numbers (Qld Ornithological Society data). The species is likely to be under-recorded in NSW, but the paucity of recent records suggests that the population may nevertheless number fewer than 250 mature individuals.

ESTABLISHED UNDER THE THREATENED SPECIES CONSERVATION ACT 1995

Contact Address: C/o PO Box 1967 Hurstville BC NSW 1481

Telephone: (02) 9585 6940 Facsimile: (02) 9585 6989

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