Six bird species are set to be added to the list of extinct Australian animals.
The birds were classified as “critically endangered and possibly extinct” 10 years ago but have not been spotted of late.
Birds Australia, the country’s peak bird protection group, is preparing to list them as extinct because recent surveys failed to find the birds.
Charles Darwin University Professor Stephen Garnett says researchers still hope the six species may be alive.
“We’re hoping, maybe, this press release will mean someone will say, ‘oh yes, I’ve got them in my backyard, I didn’t know they’re special,’ or something like that,” he said.
“But birdwatchers have been out looking for them and scientists have been looking for them and not found them.”
Professor Garnett says the likely extinctions are across Australia and are due to several factors.
“Changes in burning regime, over-grazing. One has gone because of introduced rats in Norfolk Island,” he said.
“One lost most of its habitat in the Mount Lofty Ranges [near Adelaide], and then the big fires of 1983 are pretty sure to have had the last population.”
The six birds, one species and five subspecies, are:
- the white-breasted white-eye from Norfolk Island;
- the form of pied currawong from western Victoria;
- the thick-billed grasswren from near Alice Springs;
- the hooded robin that once lived on the Tiwi Islands;
- the spotted quail-thrush from the Mount Lofty Ranges near Adelaide; and
- the southern form of star finch that once occurred between Townsville and northern NSW.
Australia already has 24 extinct bird types.