News from the Field, Press Release

First records of two well-known bird species at South Australian wildlife sanctuary

15 Nov. 2023
Albert Wright/Alamy Stock Photo

Two additional bird species have been recorded at Australian Wildlife Conservancy’s (AWC) Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary (Wangkangurru, Dieri and Arabana country) on the shores of Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre in South Australia. The Cattle Egret and Redthroat were recently spotted by volunteers assisting in AWC’s bird survey, bringing the sanctuary’s total number of confirmed bird species up to 171.

The two new species for the property were observed during a 15-day bird survey which covered 66 sites, including 11 wetlands, across the 679,600 hectare sanctuary. The Cattle Egret, a self-introduced species to Australia, was recorded by a volunteer while it was resting among a group of other waterbirds on the bank of the Warburton Creek. Meanwhile, the Redthroat was observed – by another volunteer – flushing from scrubby low shrubland out in the dunes.

AWC conducts regular bird surveys to gather information on the conservation of species on the sanctuary, and the response of bird assemblages to changing environments and management activities.


Desert moon sunset at Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary Simmo Van Der Veen/AWC
Volunteers observed a Cattle Egret and a Redthroat during a 15-day bird survey at Kalamurina Wildlife Sanctuary which covered 66 sites, including 11 wetlands.


Keith Bellchambers, AWC Senior Wildlife Ecologist, was thrilled by the results of the survey which broke previous observation records.

“As always, survey results are never the same two years in a row and there is always something new to observe and appreciate,” said Keith. “We are thrilled to have added the Cattle Egret to our bird list which to date only has a few records from this part of South Australia , and the Redthroat which is flying north of its previously known range in the state.”

“Over the 15 days, we observed 120 different bird species – the most species we have recorded during a survey since they commenced in 2008. We believe the success of the survey may be due to generous rainfall over the last few years, as well as the team getting to more sites than previous years, and timing – with this survey being conducted in September, outside our usual period in July.”


Crest-tailed Mulgara Mark McLaren/AWC
In addition to the bird surveys, many Crest-tailed Mulgara were spotted during 65 ‘track and sign’ surveys.


During the survey, the team also observed the Australian Bustard, Australia’s heaviest flying bird with an average height of 1.2 m and a wide wingspan of 2-2.3 m, as well as a Brolga, one of only two crane species residing in Australia. Individuals from 16 different species were also recorded as still breeding or having just finished.

In addition to the bird surveys, 65 ‘track and sign’ surveys were completed for mammals, with the Crest-tailed Mulgara and the threatened Dusky Hopping Mouse recorded at many locations across the sanctuary.

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Wayne Lawler/AWC
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