Short-tailed grasswrens are medium-sized, slim-bodied and have a short-tail. They have a grey-brown to dark rufous/dark red-brown upper body with fine black and white streaking and dusky breast-streaking. Adult females are differentiated from males by a small rufous-patch on the rear flanks. Short-tailed grasswrens (Flinders Ranges) are similar to striated grasswrens (A. striatus), western grasswrens (A. textilis) and the Gawler Ranges subspecies of short-tailed grasswren (A. m. pedleri). Short-tailed grasswrens are distinguishable from striated grasswrens by their significantly shorter tail and slightly heavier bill, as well as other subtle differences in colouration: the species is distinguishable from western grasswrens by their significantly shorter tail, smaller size, slimmer appearance, finer bill and considerably brighter rufous upperparts. The Flinders Ranges subspecies of shorttailed grasswren is distinguishable from the Gawler Ranges subspecies by their noticeably lighter colouration, less coarsely streaked chin, throat and breast and paler buff belly and flanks. Short-tailed grasswrens have a high pitched contact call and are said to squeak when issuing an alarm call, however little else is known of their song.
Short-tailed Grasswren (Flinders Ranges) |
Amytornis merrotsyi merrotsyi
Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list
Government evidence of impact of climate change:
Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Amytornis merrotsyi merrotsyi
Short tailed grasswrens (Flinders Ranges) have also been identified as one of 55 Australian bird taxa considered likely to be exposed to increases in the frequency and intensity of fires as a result of climate change (Garnett et al.; 2013).
Thus it can be argued that short tailed grasswrens (Flinders Ranges) exist at a limited location as the subspecies geographic distribution is limited; all known extant individuals are located in a geographically distinct area where excessive frequency of fire is the primary threat (Garnett et al.; 2011); and intense fires have the capacity to extirpate entire subpopulations in a single event (Carpenter; pers comm.; 2014).