Bush Stone-curlews, or Bush Thick-knees, were once widely distributed in Victoria. Sadly, they have suffered a significant decline and it is estimated there are fewer than 300 breeding pairs left on the Northern Victorian Plains. One of the main problems affecting this ground-dwelling bird is that their chances of breeding successfully are very low. Curlew eggs and young are particularly vulnerable to predation by foxes and cats. Trust for Nature has developed predator-free areas in the Goulburn Broken Catchment suitable for release of captive-bred curlews. Two 10 hectare areas of woodland have been fox and cat-proofed and vegetation is being managed to provide high-quality nesting, day-roost and feeding areas. The sites are on private land where landholders have an interest in supporting curlew conservation and managing woodland habitat.
Protecting and recording the Bush Stone-curlew
“Managing this species in the wild is hampered by a lack of accurate information about how many are left and where they live. ”
Managing this species in the wild is hampered by a lack of accurate information about how many are left and where they live. This is why Trust for Nature is conducting monitoring programs in collaboration with community groups. If you want to support the protection of Bush Stone-curlews in Victoria, please contact Bertram Lobert.
Trust for Nature has been working for a number of years on the protection and monitoring of Bush Stone-curlews in northern Victoria. Predator-proof fences have been installed in parts of the Koonda Hills district to provide safe nesting and year-round habitat for these ground-dwelling birds. Working with local landowners and community groups, we have been able to secure these sites but we are aware that much more needs to be done in order to protect this delightful creature for future generations. We conduct Bush Stone-curlew surveys in the Koonda Hills in collaboration with Sheep Pen Creek Land Management Group and the Gecko CLaN Landcare Network. This project is funded by the Victorian Government. By collecting detailed information from landholders through surveys and interviews – and following up with detailed site visits – we gain an accurate understanding of the curlew population’s size and distribution.
Progress so far
Two 10 hectare areas of woodland have been fox and cat-proofed and vegetation is being managed to provide high-quality nesting, day-roost and feeding areas for curlews. This has been achieved with funding from the Victorian Government and the collaboration of local landowners. Preliminary surveys indicate the breeding population of curlews in the Koonda Hills (200 square kilometres) is as low as two to five pairs.
Trust for Nature priority species covered:
Bush Stone-curlew (Burhinus grallarius)
Endangered (Victoria), listed under the Fauna and Flora Guarantee Act
Geographic area of project:
Koonda Hills, Goulburn Broken Catchment
Trust for Nature project contact:
Conservation Officer, Goulburn Broken
0409 433 276
Latest project partners:
- Sheep Pen Creek Land Management Group
- Gecko CLaN Landcare Network
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)