Western Heath Whipbird  |  

Psophodes nigrogularis nigrogularis

Status: Endangered on the EPBC Act list

The Western Whipbird (western heath) is a medium-sized ground-dwelling songbird with a short crest, powerful legs, short wings and a long tail. It is 19–25.5 cm long and weighs 45 g. On adults, the upper body is olive and the underbody is olive or greyish, except for: a distinct, narrow, black submoustachial stripe bordered below by a narrow white submoustachial stripe; a black chin and throat; an off-white stripe along the centre of the breast and the belly, with fine blackish mottling on the latter. The tail has a blackish subterminal band and broad white tips. The upperwing is greyish-olive with a brown tinge, and the underwing is mostly light brownish-grey. The bill is blackish above and pinkish-brown below; the eyes are dull red; and the legs and feet are dark grey. The sexes are alike. Juveniles are similar to adults, but lack the submoustachial stripes, chin-throat patch and pale belly-stripe of adults, and are generally paler.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Psophodes nigrogularis nigrogularis

    Previously this subspecies occurred west of Albany along the coast to Perth but its range has contracted greatly due to land clearing for agriculture and changes to fire intensity and frequency in south west Western Australia.
    At Two Peoples Bay; the Western Whipbird (western heath) nests in dense low heath; up to 50 m from thickets of taller vegetation.The frequency of burning determines the structure of the component vegetation in Two Peoples Bay; territories were established in some areas 4 6 years after fires had burnt the area; and 7 10 years in other areas (Smith; 1985a; 1991).
    The survey guidelines are intended to provide guidance for stakeholders on the effort and methods considered appropriate when conducting a presence absence survey for species listed as threatened under the EPBC Act. http www.environment.gov.au epbc publications threatened birds.html Threats The current main threat to the subspecies is extensive or frequent fire (Garnett et al.; 2011 Gilfillan et al.; 2009 Higgins Peter; 2002).