Justification of Red List Category
This species has been downlisted to Least Concern because although its population may be declining slowly, the decline is no longer believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure), and the species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation).
The species is thought to number c.200,000 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 300,000 total individuals.
There has been a decline in density throughout the species's range, and many remaining populations may now be isolated (Garnett and Crowley 2000). It is continuing to decline, particularly in the more intensively developed parts of its range, but the overall rate of decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations).
Stagonopleura guttata is found in eastern Australia, from Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, to south-eastern Queensland, mostly on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range. Overall, there has been a decline in density throughout the range, and many remaining populations may now be isolated. The species may number c.200,000 mature individuals and is continuing to decline, particularly in the more intensively developed parts of its range.
The species inhabits a wide range of eucalypt-dominated vegetation communities that have a grassy understorey, including woodland, forest and mallee.
Much habitat has been cleared, with remaining fragments gradually becoming unsuitable as a result of competition with invasive species, predation of adults or young, alteration of vegetation structure through over-grazing, weed invasion, salinisation and other flow-on processes. Despite legislation to stop the large-scale clearing of habitat in New South Wales, 640,000 ha were approved for clearing in that state between 1998 and 2005 and, although not all of this will have been cleared, an unknown amount was cleared illegally (H. Ford in litt. 2007). The severity of most degradation is correlated with the area of the fragment. Factors that have been postulated to be adversely affecting this species in particular include the loss of key food plants and habitat as a result of invasion by exotic grasses more suitable for flock-foraging Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis, whose expansion in some areas may have disadvantaged S. guttata. In the north of the range, a change in fire and grazing regimes may have played an important part in the decline. Isolated subpopulations may be susceptible to illegal trapping.
Conservation Actions Underway
In 1997, legislation was introduced to prevent the large-scale clearing of habitat in New South Wales (H. Ford in litt. 2007).
Text account compilers
Taylor, J., Benstead, P., Symes, A., Garnett, S.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Stagonopleura guttata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/05/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/05/2019.