As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Friday 27 October 2017

Reintroduced marsupials may pose new threat to ground–dwelling birds

23 October 2017

October 24, 2017

Native marsupials reintroduced in south-western Australia are a threat to ground-dwelling birds, a University of Queensland study has found.

Researcher Graham Fulton said ground-nesting and ground-dwelling birds had generally declined at a greater rate than other Australian bird groups, with the loss of eggs believed to be an important factor.

"We don't know a lot about the identity of ground-nest predators," he said.

Mr Fulton, a PhD student in the UQ School of Biological Sciences, said his research at Dryandra, south-east of Perth, highlighted the need for a greater understanding of the impacts of reintroducing native marsupials.

"Marsupials are not generally regarded as potential nest-predators of these birds, partly because the biology of rare Australian marsupials is not fully understood due to their rarity," he said.

The study found that three marsupials – boodie and woylie bettongs (Australian rat kangaroos) and brushtail possums (pictured right and left) – took eggs from artificial nests similar to those of the threatened painted button quail (pictured below right).

"Approximately one-third of the eggs were taken by the two bettongs and another third by brushtail possums," Mr Fulton said.

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