NSW SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE
The main threat to the Black-breasted Button-quail has been clearing of subtropical and dry rainforests for agriculture and more recently for urbanisation, and degradation of rainforests by logging (over 90% of habitat has been cleared, Garnett & Crowley 2000). Other threats include the lack of connectivity caused by the currently highly fragmented nature of remaining habitat, vulnerability to fire during droughts (when leaf litter dries out), grazing and disturbance of habitat by livestock and feral pigs, and predation by foxes, dogs and cats. Many weeds are invading rainforest remnants, and degrading habitat of the Black-breasted Button-quail. Many of these threats (pigs, cats, foxes, weeds, too-frequent fire) are listed in NSW as Key Threatening Processes under the TSC Act. The species is likely to be targeted by egg collectors and aviculturists, but no documented evidence exists of attempted poaching. The species is well established in aviculture and breeds well in captivity.
There is no evidence of extreme fluctuations in either the NSW population of the Black- breasted Button-quail or its habitat.
Population reduction and continuing declines:
There is little information on the Black-breasted Button-quail’s past abundance, but has always been considered rare in NSW. The estimated Queensland population of less than 5 000 birds is still declining (Garnett & Crowley 2000), and is predicted to decline further in fragmented habitat (Smyth & Pavey 2001). Similar pressures, particularly in relation to Hoop Pine plantation forestry, apply in NSW. There are few NSW records of the Black-breasted Button-quail in recent years (three records in the 1990s, mostly of one or two birds, and one record of two birds in 2000, at four localities: NSW FOC annual bird reports). There is no precedent for suspecting that this cryptic, ground-dwelling rainforest bird, in areas of high human habitation and birdwatching effort, will reappear in any considerable number. Other similarly cryptic birds utilising the same habitat as the Black-breasted Button-quail are threatened (e.g. Fig Parrot Cyclopsitta diopthalma, Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus, Rufous Scrub-bird Atrichornis rufescens, Eastern Bristlebird, northern subspecies Dasyornis
brachypterus monoides), and most other Australian button-quail
declining (Garnett & Crowley 2000; Barrett et Amaurornis olivaceus has apparently ‘reappeared’ has adapted to weedy wetland margins in farmland.
al. 2007). in numbers
are also contrast, a lapse in
threatened or the Bush-hen records, but it
Extent of Occurrence (EOO) & Area of Occupancy (AOO):
The Black-breasted Button-quail is estimated to have a global extent of occurrence of 5 200 km2 (Garnett & Crowley 2000), of which most (at least 95%) now falls in Queensland. Its global estimated area of occupancy is 750 km2. As most of this (at least 95%) now falls in
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