Rural landholders right on target in helping expand plains-wanderer habitat area

The critically endangered plains-wanderer has been given a 13,400-hectare helping hand by landholders in south west NSW who have exceeded a target for the number of paddocks managed to maintain habitat.

Male plains-wanderer (Pedionomus torquatus)

Senior Threatened Species Officer with Saving our Species David Parker has applauded the 25 landholders who joined the Paddocks for Plains-wanderer project, in partnership with Local Land Services.

‘We want to give a big shout out to these landholders, who not only met but exceeded our initial 10,000-hectare target, although we’re always looking for more suitable habitat.’

‘Thanks to rural people who care, the iconic plains-wanderer is a step closer to being secured in the wild for the future.’

The ‘Goldilocks’ bird

It is estimated that as few as 500 individual plains-wanderers remain in the wild, making it one of Australia’s rarest birds.

Dubbed the ‘Goldilocks’ of birds due to their picky preferences, they will not occupy an area if it is either too dense or too sparse with vegetation. It has to be just right!

Plains-wanderers favour native grassland areas having around 50% bare ground, and 40% herbs and grasses.

Farming and conservation working together

95% of the plains-wanderer’s prime habitat is on private land, most predominantly in the rich agricultural region of the Riverine Plains of south west NSW.

The Paddocks for Plains-wanderer project is being run across a wide region of NSW in the Riverine Plains, stretching from Hay to Carrathool, south to Conargo and Jerilderie.

The long-term goal of Saving our Species and this project is to support landholders who have Plains-wanderer habitat on their properties and to assist them to maintain habitat in suitable condition for the long-term.

David Parker says meeting the Paddocks for Plains-wanderer project target is testament to how farming and conservation can work hand in hand.

‘Pleasingly, a large proportion of these paddocks that are being managed under the project are now in suitable habitat condition, which is an achievement considering the impact of the recent drought.’

Through Saving our Species and working with Local Land Services, farmers are also being supported to control the key threats of predatory foxes.

The Paddocks for Plains-wanderer project is also supported with funding from the National Landcare Program.