Investigating the ecology of Norfolk Island’s endemic passerines to achieve applied conservation outcomes (APSF 19017)

By 02/01/2019Current Projects
APSF 19017 | Amount: $31,000 | Project Leader: R Clarke | Project Period:

A collaborative project undertaken by the School of Biological Science, Monash University, and supervised by Rohan Clarke

The unique and beautiful Norfolk Island, renowned for its avifauna, boasts high levels of biodiversity and endemism. A suite of the island’s birds are in peril however, with both ongoing declines and recent extinctions demonstrating that pervasive threats continue to impact this island’s fauna. Three of the eight endemic Norfolk Island passerines have been declared extinct, the last (the White-chested White-eye) as recently as 2006. Whilst a number of potential threats have been identified, the extent to which these threats impact on the populations of the five remaining passerine species is unknown.

PhD student Allie Nance climbing a tree to deploy a motion-triggered camera at an active Norfolk Island Robin nest

This project aims to rapidly quantify threatening processes and current status of Norfolk Island’s passerines, specifically targeting the Robin, Gerygone, White-eye, Whistler and Fantail. In doing so we will provide local conservation managers with the ecological knowledge necessary for evidence-based decision-making. We aim to achieve this by:

  1. Investigating the breeding biology and causes of nest failure;
  2. Determining island-wide habitat-use; and
  3. Estimating population sizes for each species
Research/Supervisory Team and Collaborators
Dr Rohan Clarke (Monash University)
Alexandra Nance (Monash University, PhD candidate)
William Mitchell (Monash University, PhD candidate)
Benjamin Viola (Monash University, research assistant)
Gemma Braidie-Fermvall (Monash University, Honours student)
Catherine Young (University of Tasmania, A-class bird bander)
Daniel Terrington (Monash University, field assistant)