The King Island Brown Thornbill has the unfortunate distinction of being the Australian bird most likely to become extinct over the next two decades—and its neighbour, the equally inconspicuous King Island Scrubtit, isn’t far behind, coming in at number three on that list.
After decades of habitat clearance and more recent out-of-control fires in one of the few remaining reserves suitable for these birds, it was thought there may be only a handful of Brown Thornbills left on the island.
The odds looked to be against their long-term survival. But some great news has arrived from the dense, leech-infested swamps and fragments of tall eucalypt forest that these birds call home. Our Preventing Extinctions team, together with our partners, funded the first systematic searches for the thornbill which not only found the birds alive and well on the Bass Strait island, but provided hope that their population may be larger than initial estimates.
But this does not mean these birds are out of the woods just yet. Although this is great news, the King Island Brown Thornbill is still one of our most threatened birds. To ensure their continued survival, the Preventing Extinctions team and our partners will be back on King Island working with landowners to protect and enhance the places they call home and start a recovery program.
We need your help to stop this extinction. All funds raised will go towards undertaking priority conservation actions to help improve the populations of these two special King Island birds.