Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula)  |  

Stipiturus malachurus parimeda

Status: Vulnerable on the EPBC Act list

The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is a small bird that has an overall length of 17–19 cm and a mass of up to 9 g. The tail is long (over 10 cm in length and can exceed 13 cm in males), stick-like and comprised of only six emu-like feathers. The plumage of the Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) is very pale in comparison to most other subspecies of Southern Emu-wren. The upperparts of adult birds are pale olive-grey or brown-grey, with brown to dark brown streaking across the head, neck and back, and dull white streaks on the ear-coverts. The underparts are a pallid light-yellowish brown or tawny colour, except for the white belly. The bill is black, the iris dark brown, and the legs and feet are a brownish colour. The adult male differs from the adult female in having a uniform rufous forehead and forecrown (olive-grey or brown-grey in the female), a large patch of light grey-blue or pale sky-blue on the chin, throat and upper breast (yellow-brown or tawny in the female), and a sky-blue stripe above the the eye (yellow-brown or tawny in the female). The plumages of juvenile and immature birds have not yet been described. The subspecies is a poor flier and tends to hop and scramble, mouse-like, through its habitat. Short bursts of sustained flight between cover are often little more than a few metres. It has high-pitched calls, is secretive and cryptic in habit, and can be difficult to detect and observe. The Southern Emu-wren (Eyre Peninsula) usually occurs singly or in pairs, or occasionally in small groups of up to five birds.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Australian Government, Conservation Advice, Stipiturus malachurus parimeda

    This subspecies is considered likely to be exposed to increases in the frequency and intensity of fires as a result of climate change (Garnett et al.; 2013).
    Captive breeding may be necessary should this subspecies prove as sensitive and exposed to climate change as predicted and decline continues (Garnett et al.; 2013).
    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 epbc publications threatened birds.html Threats The main identified threats to the southern emu wren Eyre Peninsula are Inappropriate fire regimes.
    Bushfire is a major potential threat to the species as it may cause widespread habitat loss (SA DEH; 2009).
    In the past; patches of suitable habitat were probably continuous; but they have been fragmented by agricultural practices such as grazing by livestock; and altered fire regimes (frequency and intensity) outside conservation reserves (Garnett et al.; 2011).
    Southern emu wrens have benefitted from fire regimes incorporating a fire free interval of 7 to 8 years; and creation of a mosaic of different aged heathlands that maintain unburnt refuges (Higgins et al.; 2001).