Conservation status

The extent of lyrebird habitat has been greatly reduced by human activities, first, and to an unknown extent, by Aboriginal fire management of the environment, probably over some tens of thousands of years, and second, by European settlement during the last two centuries. By the end of the nineteenth century, an extensive lowland area of rainforest in northern New South Whales, within the range of the Albert's lyrebird, had been cleared for dairying—a loss of some 185,000 acres (75,000 ha).

Both species of lyrebirds, however, appear secure with much of their remaining habitat being in conservation reserves. Some concern remains, nonetheless, for Albert's lyrebird because of its small total range. Some small isolated populations of both species are regarded as being at risk. Public opinion, as well as the law, now protects lyrebirds from hunting.

Cats, domestic and feral, dogs, and the introduced European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) are all potential predators, and have been a serious problem in some areas including Sherbrooke Forest. That population also suffers from deterioration of habitat. Lyrebirds need patches of open ground where they can forage. In the past, periodic bushfires ensured this by reducing the ground cover. As of 2001, however, the immediate proximity of residential development required total fire exclusion and increasing ground cover reduces foraging space.

Because they are so intensely shy, it is impossible to census a lyrebird population. Singing males can be counted, giving some indication of the extent and density of a local population, but that is all. And even this can be extremely difficult because of the dense vegetation and rugged terrain of most lyrebird habitat.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment