Justification of Red List Category
This species has experienced a moderately rapid population decline, and is therefore classified as Near Threatened.
This species is locally common, with a population probably numbering c.1 million mature individuals, roughly equating to c.1.5 million total individuals.
A strong decline in reporting rate has occurred over the last 25 years combined with a contraction from the fringes of its winter range (Garnett and Crowley 2000). It is now scarce in South Australia and less common in the Victorian lowlands, but remains common in Tasmania and the high country of the Great Dividing Range. Its density has probably not yet halved.
Petroica phoenicea occurs in upland areas of south-east continental Australia and in Tasmania. It breeds throughout Tasmania, on Bass Strait islands and the high country of southern and north-eastern Victoria and along the Great Dividing Range in eastern New South Wales and south-eastern Queenland, as far north as 30oS. In winter some birds migrate from Tasmania to the mainland and from upland areas to lowland plains. Although still numerous, with a population likely to exceed 1 million individuals, a strong decline in reporting rate has occurred over the last 25 years combined with a contraction from the fringes of its winter range. It is now scarce in South Australia and less common in the Victorian lowlands, but remains common in Tasmania and the high country of the Great Dividing Range. Its density has probably not yet halved.
The species breeds in eucalypt forests and woodlands, with access to open areas, such as subalpine woodland, recently burnt forest, recently logged forest and pine plantations. In winter the species feeds in open areas such as pasture, and shelters and roosts in orchards and remnant vegetation.
The most likely explanation for this species's decline is a rise in temperature, which has been greater in south-eastern Australia than anywhere else on the continent. The species is also likely to have declined because of the clearing, cultivation and degradation of its winter habitat. In contrast, much of the species's breeding habitat is managed, open upland forests, and the availability of such habitat has probably increased as a result of clear-felling. Recent reductions in clear-felling may lead to a reduction in habitat availability, as regrowth results in felled areas becoming unsuitable within five years. An increase in predation by Pied Currawongs Strepera graculina could cause an increase in the already high rates of nest loss, and feeding habitat in open woodland may be degraded by grazing and other processes.
Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation action is known for this species.
Text account compilers
Garnett, S., Taylor, J.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Petroica phoenicea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 05/07/2020.