Avifauna of the Mulga–Eucalypt Line in Western Australia

D.T. Bell, R.C. Bell, William A. Loneragan

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    Abstract

    The Mulga–Eucalypt Line has long been recognised as a vegetational transition from Acacia spp. domination in the northeast to Eucalyptus spp. domination in the southwest. The avifauna of this transition zone was sampled over four seasons at four locations representing a north to south geographic gradient of ~170 km. Each location comprised one survey site dominated by acacias
    and a second dominated by eucalypts. A total of 81 avian species were recorded over the July 2011 to April 2012 sampling period with an average sample richness of 19 species per plot and a mean plot density of 1.05 birds/ha. Most species were classed as sedentary (39%), with the remainder as locally dispersive (21%), nomadic (25%) or migratory (15%). Ordination analysis indicated a
    latitudinal gradient of bird species from north to south along the first axis associated with gradually increasing rainfall. The second ordination axis revealed avian species differences dependent on the dominant vegetation. The third ordination axis displayed differences in bird species related to season, especially the spring and summer samples. The avifauna assemblage structure of northern locations was strongly influenced by the inclusion of irruptive, arid-zone
    nomadic species. Site richness comparisons between locations were not different, but eucalyptdominated sites had more species than acacia-dominated sites. Site richness was greater during spring and summer. Density also was influenced by the influx of arid-zone nomadic species to the northern sites of the transition zone during spring and summer. Species diversity of the samples was influenced by vegetation type, but the measures of evenness and dominance were not affected by the factors of location, vegetation type or season. The Mulga–Eucalypt Line transition zone presently has considerable conservation value, but is under threat from pressures of agricultural and mining intrusions. Continued protection of native vegetation in the conservation reserves
    should be encouraged.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)41-53
    Number of pages13
    JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Western Australia
    Volume96
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

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