There are just two species in the genus Atrichornis and both the Noisy Scrub-bird and its sister species, the Rufous Scrub-bird, were uplisted from ‘Vulnerable’ to ‘Endangered’ in 2014. This branch of the Tree of Life therefore requires special nurturing to prevent its extinction, and conservation efforts to save this bird have been intensive over the last 35 years.
Despite its distinctive call and much searching, the species remained undetected from 1904 to1961 and was thought to be extinct. At the time of its rediscovery on the south cost of Western Australia it’s likely that only 50 individuals remained.
Like their nearest relatives, the Lyrebirds, Noisy Scrub-birds are poor fliers, remaining airborne for only a few metres. They are particularly vulnerable to bushfires, partly due to their poor flying ability, but also because fires destroy the specific habitat (dense vegetation with small open pockets) that they need to thrive. A combination of habitat and fire management and the translocation of wild populations to new habitats saw the population grow to about 1500 breeding birds. Unfortunately, this fell to about 1000 after a series of wildfires. Active conservation is still required to preserve the Atrichornis branch of the Tree of Life.
Distribution: south coast of Western Australia
Conservation status: Endangered
Evolutionary distinctiveness: High