Forty spotted pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus)

Application for Scientific Permit – Available for Public Comment

Public comment on the following application for a Scientific Research (Fauna) Permit is open until 12 September 2023.​

​​Applicant: Erin Bok, University of Tasmania

Species/Taxon: Forty-spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus)

Location: Maria Island, (Tenure – National Park)

Title of research: Forty spotted pardalote and manna gum: joining the spots to save an Australian endangered bird species

Aim of project: This project will investigate how variation in a key resource (manna) effects Forty-spotted Pardalote occupancy.

Justification: The results from this study will provide crucial information relevant for the conservation of the Forty-spotted Pardalote. For example, information on factors that influence manna production, and thereby pardalote feeding behaviour and reproductive success may be used for the development of reintroduction and supplementary feeding programs. Further, understanding implications of variation in manna production on Forty-spotted pardalote occupancy may also enable us to make clear predictions about how changes imposed by threats such as climate change or land use will impact the species.

Maximum likely numbers of individuals involved:  Maria Island National Park, approx. 974 birds.

Monitoring will occur between September and January 2023-2024.

Activities undertaken and methods:
Occupancy and abundance surveys will be conducted using Broadcast and land based transects following Magrath et al. (2017) under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999) for Forty-spotted pardalote monitoring and ensure animal wellbeing is maintained.

- Magrath M. J. L., Weston M. A., Olsen P. & Antos M. (2017) Survey guidelines for nationally threatened birds. Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Barton ACT.

Locations for occupancy surveys sampling will be selected based on monitoring locations provided by the National Forty- spotted pardalote Recovery Team. Observations will be made using binoculars to minimise disturbance of individual birds. However human presence associated with conducting observational monitoring has not been shown to disturb forty-spotted pardalote behaviours in previous studies (Alves et al. 2021; Case and Edworthy 2016; Swart 2017; Webb et al. 2019).

To determine patch occupancy, we will conduct 5-minute surveys within each patch listening for calls and actively scanning all E. viminalis canopies for any sign of pardalote movement. During the 5 minutes we will also use playback of recorded Forty-spotted Pardalote calls to encourage a response from any individuals within the surveyed area. Within this survey period any response from a Forty-spotted Pardalote, indicative of occupancy, along with any other bird species identified will be recorded.

Once an area has been identified as occupied, we will then conduct transect point abundance surveys.
Exact transect locations and length will be selected based on perceived occupancy and habitat suitability (stand of healthy adult E.viminalis trees), to account for habitat features.  

At each occupied site we will conduct a transect point survey in early morning (7:30-9:30).
At every 2m along the transect we will look for evidence pardalotes via visible detection using binoculars and listening for calls.

These transect surveys will be conducted for approx. 20 hrs, (4 days) per site, throughout the breeding season (September – January).

Fate of animals: non-invasive observational study.

Likely impact on species involved (including any by-catch):  This project is a non-invasive behavioural observation study, and thus we expect minimal impact on Forty-spotted Pardalote behaviour and physiology. Further previously studies utilizing the above techniques have found no evidence of disturbance to Fort-spotted Pardalote activity.

References to literature sited:
Alves F., Langmore N., Heinsohn R. & Stojanovic D. (2021) ‘Self-fumigation’ of nests by an endangered avian host using insecticide-treated feathers increases reproductive success more than tenfold. Animal Conservation 24, 239-45.
Case S. B. & Edworthy A. B. (2016) First report of ‘mining’ as a feeding behaviour among Australian manna-feeding birds. Ibis 158, 407-15.
Magrath M. J. L., Weston M. A., Olsen P. & Antos M. (2017) Survey guidelines for nationally threatened birds. Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, Barton ACT.
Swart I. (2017) Forty-spotted pardalote (Pardalotus quadragintus) tree use and the influence of tree and manna variation. University of Tasmania, Hobart.
Webb M., Alves F., Tulloch A., Shaw J., Bryant S., Stojanovic D., Crates R. & Heinsohn R. (2019) All the eggs in one basket: Are island refuges securing an endangered passerine? Austral Ecology 44, 523- 33.


Scientific Research Permits

Environment Division
GPO Box 44,
Hobart, TAS, 7000.