White-throated Grasswren, Yirlinkirrkirr  |  

Amytornis woodwardi

Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list

White-throated grasswrens are small passerines that are robust and long-tailed, with colouration varying from black with bold white streaks on top and sides of head and neck to mantle, chestnut on back and rump, black on wings and tail with chestnut edges to feathers, white on throat and upper breast and black with white streaks on gorget on lower breast. Males have a black whisker mark and are rusty below, females are brighter with white lores and diagnostic dark rusty underparts. White-throated grasswrens are similar to Carpentarian grasswrens (A. dorotheae), however Carpentarian grasswrens are smaller, with less black colouration, red brown wings and no breastbrand; Carpentarian grasswrens also occupy a different range to white-throated grasswrens as they are distributed in the east of the Northern Territory and into Queensland. White-throated grasswrens have a song comprising of a series of rising and falling trills and notes; when feeding in groups they are known for consistent animated chirping and when sounding an alarm their call becomes a strong sharp note repeated sporadically.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Amytornis woodwardi

    White throated grasswrens have been identified as one of 39 Australian bird species; occurring in terrestrial habitats and inland waters; that are most exposed to either a loss of climate space or a reduction in climatic suitability white throated grasswrens are also 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).
    However; given the recent increase in fire frequency across their range; numbers are predicted to have declined and the remaining birds are thought to be severely fragmented into subpopulations of 1000 mature individuals each (NRETA; 2006).
    Threats White throated grasswrens are probably threatened by increased extent and frequency of fire (Woinarski et al.; 2007 Woinarski et al.; 2009 Woinarski et al.; 2012).
    Furthermore; due to the naturally restricted geographical range common to Amytornis species; subpopulations and entire populations have an increased likelihood of being affected by even a single fire event as fires continue to increase in intensity and frequency (Skroblin Murphy; 2013).