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Plains Wanderer at home in Birchip

The Birchip area is home to the Plains Wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus), one of the region’s most elusive threatened species. Grasslands in the Birchip area provide vital habitat for the small ground dwelling native bird.

Plains Wanderer at home in Birchip

Plains Wanderer

“As these grasslands occur mainly on private land, it’s imperative to involve the landowners and local community in the preservation of the species,” Mallee Catchment Management Authority (CMA) Chair Sharyon Peart said.

September is Biodiversity Month, which promotes the importance of protecting, conserving and improving the diversity of the region’s native animals and plants.

The Plains wanderer is a quail-like bird that only lives in native grasslands. Unlike most bird species, female Plains Wanderers are larger and more colourful than males. Females will also leave a male to hatch and raise
her clutch of eggs alone while she looks for new partner.

“The future survival of native animals which live in the Mallee region is in our hands, it’s what we do now that will make a difference for generations to come.”

Plains Wanderer is listed as vulnerable under the national Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The deterioration of grasslands due to agricultural expansion and competition from
weeds/pasture has limited food availability for the species, and reduced protection from predators, leading to a decline in Plains Wanderer numbers.

It is vital that grasslands are managed appropriately to halt this decline and ensure the survival of the Plains Wanderer. Land managers can help protect the species by fencing areas of native grasslands on their property to exclude grazing and by controlling weeds and pest animals.

To find out more about programs to protect native grasslands and threatened species please call the Mallee CMA on 5051 4377.

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