Eastern Australia

Country/Territory Australia
Area 160,000 km2
Altitude 0 - 1200m
Priority urgent
Habitat loss moderate
Knowledge good

General characteristics

Stretching along the Australian coast from Fraser Island in southern Queensland, through New South Wales to eastern Victoria, this EBA includes the narrow coastal lowlands and the mountains of the Great Dividing Range.

The region's habitats are characterized by patches of rain forest (including subtropical, temperate and dry forest types) but the natural vegetation consists mainly of eucalypt forest and woodland. The boundary of the EBA is defined by the restricted-range bird records themselves (from Blakers et al. 1984), and the western limits correspond approximately with the 1,000 m contour.

Restricted-range species

Most restricted-range species occur in forest, both rain forest and eucalypt.

Distribution patterns within the region vary: five species, Turnix melanogaster, Menura alberti, Atrichornis rufescens, Tregellasia capito and Ptiloris paradiseus, occur in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales, one species, Origma solitaria, is endemic to central-eastern New South Wales (the sandstone areas both north and south of Sydney), and a further two species, Dasyornis brachypterus and Pycnoptilus floccosus, are confined to the south-east corner of the EBA in south-east New South Wales and eastern Victoria. The overlapping ranges of these birds have therefore defined the overall limits of the EBA. Two species, Ailuroedus crassirostris and Sericulus chrysocephalus, are found more widely within the area.

In addition to these restricted-range birds, there are a number of species which are largely confined to this EBA, but which are not included because their ranges are judged to exceed 50,000 km2: Wonga Pigeon Leucosarcia melanoleuca, Turquiose Parrot Neophema pulchella, Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae, Red-browed Treecreeper Climacteris erythrops and Bell Miner Manorina melanophrys.

Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor, a restricted-range species which breeds in Tasmania (EBA 185), winters in this EBA.

Species IUCN Category
Black-breasted Buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster) NT
Albert's Lyrebird (Menura alberti) NT
Rufous Scrub-bird (Atrichornis rufescens) EN
Green Catbird (Ailuroedus crassirostris) LC
Regent Bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus) LC
Eastern Bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus) EN
Pilotbird (Pycnoptilus floccosus) LC
Rockwarbler (Origma solitaria) LC
Paradise Riflebird (Lophorina paradisea) LC
Pale-yellow Robin (Tregellasia capito) LC

Important Bird Areas (IBAs)
IBA Code Site Name Country
Australian Alps Australia
Barrington Tops and Gloucester Tops Australia
Budderoo and Barren Grounds Australia
Bunya Mountains and Yarraman Australia
Capertee Valley Australia
Conondale Range Australia
Cooloola and Fraser Coast Australia
Gibraltar Range Australia
Greater Blue Mountains Australia
Jervis Bay Australia
Mudgee-Wollar Australia
Nadgee to Mallacoota Inlet Australia
New England Australia
Nightcap Range Australia
Palmgrove Australia
Scenic Rim Australia
Tamborine Mountain Australia
Werrikimbe Australia

Threat and conservation

Much of Eastern Australia's lowland habitat has been cleared for agriculture and consequently three species are classified as threatened. Turnix melanogaster has declined drastically in coastal and near coastal areas during the twentieth century and since c.1980 has been recorded from fewer than 50 sites (with less than 10 birds at each), and must also be vulnerable to introduced predators. Atrichornis rufescens now occurs in isolated populations in the highlands only, and continues to be threatened by inappropriate burning and forest management practices. Dasyornis brachypterus occurs in isolated and scattered populations in coastal regions, where it has suffered from changes in the fire regime (either too frequent with the elimination of tussocks, or too infrequent leading to dense shrubberies unsuitable for nesting) as well as from grazing, introduced exotic plants and animals, land clearance, and some recreational activities (Garnett 1993).

Subspecies of note include the southern form of Coxen's Fig-parrot Cyclopsitta diophthalma coxeni and Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus plumiferus, which inhabit subtropical rain forest in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales. Both are treated as threatened by Garnett (1993) because of their small and fragmented populations.

The EBA incorporates many protected areas, including seven separate rain forest sites together constituting the East Coast Temperate and Subtropical Rainforest Parks World Heritage Site (2,035 km2).

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Endemic Bird Areas factsheet: Eastern Australia. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 24/01/2021.