Foraging by the endangered black-breasted button-quail (Turnix melanogaster) within fragmented rainforest of an agricultural landscape

  • Smyth A
  • Pavey C
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Abstract

We studied the foraging habitat of the endangered black-breasted button-quail (Turnix melanogaster) in 13 rainforest patches of an agricultural landscape (23.4 km2) in eastern Australia to assess its use of fragmented habitats outside conservation reserves. The species foraged only in the three largest patches (17.4, 40.0, 63.8 ha in size), all of which were connected to open eucalypt forest, and in intact rainforest. Occurrence of birds was greatest in the largest patch. The maximum number of individuals within the study area was estimated to be 22. Radio-tracking of nine birds revealed that three were resident in the largest patch for periods of over 100 days; no movements between patches were detected. Three radio-tagged birds were taken by avian and mammalian predators. Our results indicated that the long-term future of the species in agricultural landscapes is bleak and that management action is urgently needed to arrest its decline in these ecosystems. © 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Foraging habitat
  • Patch isolation
  • Patch size
  • Threatened species
  • Turnix melanogaster

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Authors

  • A. K. Smyth

  • C. R. Pavey

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