Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Endangered because it has a very small range, its distribution is severely fragmented and it is restricted to a very small area when breeding. The population assessment in 2010 and 2011 suggested up to a 60% decrease in overall population had occurred in the last 17 years.

Population justification
In 1994-1997, 3,840 individuals were counted (Garnett and Crowley 2000). However, the population has recently declined by >50% and in 2009 only 1,486 birds were counted (Bryant 2010). The number of mature individuals is therefore likely to be between 1,000-1,500.

Trend justification
In 1994-1997, 3,840 individuals were counted (Garnett and Crowley 2000). However, the population has recently declined by >50% and in 2009 only 1,486 birds were counted (Bryant 2010). The global population is thus estimated to have declined by 50-79% in three generations (12 years).

Distribution and population

Pardalotus quadragintus is endemic to Tasmania, Australia. It is present in all available habitat on Maria (974 individuals in 2009) and Bruny Islands (450 individuals in 2009), which contain over 90% of the population. Small remnant colonies remain on Flinders Island (but following extensive bushfires in 2002, this subpopulation may now be less than 20 birds and close to extinction, Bryant et al. 2012, Bryant and Webb 2013), and on the mainland of Tasmania at Tinderbox Peninsula (46 individuals in 2009), Howden (two to four birds and close to extinction, S. Bryant in litt. 2016) and Coningham (6 individuals in 2009) (Bryant 2010, Bryant and Tzaros 2010). Colonies found previously at Lime Bay and Mt Nelson were not found in the most recent surveys but require ongoing visits. A small colony was identified at Southport in 2015 and requires more detailed survey. In 1986, a census counted 3,520 individuals in 110 colonies in 38 km2. In 1994-1997, 3,840 individuals were counted in 121 colonies in 41 km2 (Garnett and Crowley 2000). However, in 2009 only 1,486 birds were found at 54 of the 102 colonies surveyed, representing a loss of 47% of colonies (Bryant and Tzaros 2010). Population genetics confirmed low connectivity between the Maria Island subpopulation and others, but strong connection between the Bruny Island and Tinderbox subpopulations (R, Heinsohn in litt. 2016).


It is found exclusively in open white gum Eucalyptus viminalis forest or woodland. E. viminalis provides most of its food in the form of invertebrates, lerp secretions and manna, as well as hollows for nesting.


About 77% of occupied habitat is reserved, but on private land, habitat continues to be lost because of clearance, sheep-grazing (preventing E. viminalis regeneration), subdivision and urban development. During the 1985 breeding season it was noted that timber clearance was underway or had taken place in or adjacent to six colonies on Bruny Island (Brown and Rounsevell 1986). Extended periods of low rainfall have resulted in habitat degradation, and in the long-term climate change may be the greatest threat (Bryant and Tzaros 2010). The Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala and introduced Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae are known competitors or predators. Wildfire that retards regrowth of E. viminalis can also be a threat, particularly on Maria Island and for isolated populations. Human disturbance is likely to have contributed to its decline in urban and public use areas (Bryant 2010). The commoner Striated Pardalote Pardalotus substriatus competes for the limited nest-cavities available in its largely second-growth habitat, and usurped about 10% of P. quadragintus nest sites in one study (Edworthy 2016a). The native parasitic fly Passeromyia longicornis is a principal source of nestling mortality, with a prevalence of 87% in 45 nests  in one study (Edworthy 2016b) and reduced fledgling rates by over 80% in one experiment (Edworthy et al. submitted). 

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Dennes Hill on north Bruny Island has been acquired and declared a state reserve for the species with an approved management plan. Key sites have also been acquired on Flinders Island. Guidelines have been established for production forestry within 5 km of the coast between Bicheno and Southport and for the Maria Island National Park Management Plan. Further E. viminalis clearance in or near existing colonies is restricted. A community network has been established on Bruny Island promoting species conservation through festivals and events. Kingborough Council actively review land clearance and development applications in or near known colonies. Successive recovery plans has have been implemented and an active national recovery team is in place. NRM South have ongoing programs with landholders on Bruny Island to protect and regenerate E. viminalis and stimulated management through small grants program. New research is leading to good conservation outcomes (Edworthy 2015, 2016, unpublished PhD) and stimulating ongoing
work. Maria Island hazard reduction fire plan identifies the pardalote as a key conservation asset. About 300 nest boxes had been added by 2016. 

Conservation Actions Proposed
Translocate birds to Flinders Island as a top priority and matter of urgency. Ensure monitoring of all populations at key sites at three-year interval is undertaken and expand surveys into areas of potential habitat, especially at Southport, Oyster Cove and Mt Communication. Map E. viminalis communities in greater detail and ensure legal protection of existing colonies and protection of primary forest. Determine relationship between site variables and food productivity. Determine juvenile dispersal, home range and colony dynamics. Protect existing and re-establish E. viminalis at sites within 5 km of the coast between Bicheno and Southport, particularly near existing colonies. Manage existing stands by limiting grazing and firewood-collection and managing fuel levels with a mosaic of low-intensity burns. Develop a management strategy for E. viminalis forest in response to climate change and target replanting in wetter areas. Ensure habitat regrowth (on Bruny Island) is encouraged. Support and expand research onto ecology and primary threats with applied conservation outcomes. Monitor extent of parasitic fly infestation and mortality, with possible fumigation of nests. Maintain community awareness of the species and involvement in recovery actions through community networks and local councils. Initiate Noisy Miner and Kookaburra reduction on islands and support Bruny Island cat management program. Seek funding to support recovery actions.


9-10 cm. Greenish pardalote with spotted wings. Sexes, adults and juveniles similar. Olive-green upperparts, finely scalloped darker, greyish-white below. Yellow wash around face and undertail-coverts. Black wings and tail with prominent white spots on tips of feathers. Similar spp. Juvenile Spotted Pardalote P. punctatus is more boldly patterned above, with greyish ear-coverts, buff-white spots on crown and orange-brown rump. Calls differ. Voice Inadequately known. Double-noted, territorial piping, second note marginally lower-pitched than first (P. punctatus has second note appreciably lower).


Text account compilers
Allinson, T, Benstead, P., Dutson, G., Garnett, S., McClellan, R., Pilgrim, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Bryant, S., Edworthy, A. & Heinsohn, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Pardalotus quadragintus. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/10/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/10/2020.