Effects of short-term drought on the avifauna of Wanjarri Nature Reserve: What do they tell us about drought refugia?

M. D. Craig, A. Chapman

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A bird survey in the Wanjarri Nature Reserve in the Goldfields of Western Australia at the end of a year long drought revealed two responses to the short-term dry spell. Firstly, many bird populations were present in very low numbers. Secondly, areas of groving and creekline mulga supported a significantly higher number of bird species and individuals than other habitats. This was thought to be due to the greater foliage cover in groving and creekline mulga, probably as a consequence of soil structure, greater water availability and higher soil fertility. These areas of groving and creekline mulga may be important as drought refugia for resident bird species. Our results need to be confirmed by a more comprehensive study but the identification of drought refugia is of fundamental importance in the conservation of birds in the arid-zone of Australia, so we believe that the conservation of these groving and creekline mulga areas should be given a high priority.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-137
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Royal Society of Western Australia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003
Externally publishedYes


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