Save the endangered Southern emu-wren

Endangered: Research into the Mount Lofty Ranges southern emu-wren has revealed a lot more about the types of habitat they use. Photo: M Stokes.
Endangered: Research into the Mount Lofty Ranges southern emu-wren has revealed a lot more about the types of habitat they use. Photo: M Stokes.

One of the cutest, and most endangered, wrens are more adaptable than we thought!

The Mount Lofty Ranges southern emu-wren is like the beloved blue wrens – except its emu-like tail feathers means it can not fly far from home.

The closely-related cousins, the Mallee emu-wren, became extinct in South Australia when bushfires destroyed their habitat in 2014.

New research has revealed a lot more about the types of habitat that southern emu-wrens use, and highlighted the urgent need to extend and link their habitat hot spots. Research leader Dr Jasmin Packer, from the University of Adelaide, explained that with less than 300 individuals of the subspecies thought to be left in the world, it was urgent that people needed to understand the habitat they required.

“This research gives us hope because birdwatchers, land managers and ecologists are working together to identify the habitat patchwork helping our emu-wrens to survive in the Finniss River area, and what we can do right now to improve that habitat,” she said. “Masters student and bird lover from the United Kingdom, Diego Guevara, came over to lend a hand and a fresh perspective to help our emu-wrens.

“He spent three months sloshing through the endangered Fleurieu Peninsula swamps with a team of volunteers to survey the wrens and their habitat.

“Mr Guevara presented his findings at a recent emu-wren workshop where project partners identified and prioritised 27 recommendations to transform their research into action,” Dr Packer said. Natural Resources SA Murray-Darling Basin Ecologist, Nicola Barnes, is leading the next stage to put the priority recommendations into action.

“We’re organising for fences to be fixed, and working to incorporate the research findings into on-ground actions around these habitat hotspots,” Ms Barnes said.

Everyone can help save our iconic southern emu-wren by protecting local swamps and reporting sightings of the bird including date and location to SAMDBEnquiries@sa.gov.au.