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The Eastern Bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus) is a small, cryptic, ground-dwelling bird that occupies low, dense heathland and grassy vegetation along the south-east coast of Australia. As a result of habitat loss and degradation, the once continuous distribution of the Eastern Bristlebird from Queensland to South Australia is now fragmented into three separate populations.
The northern population of the Eastern Bristlebird is one of 20 Australian threatened birds on the IUCN Red List of species threatened with extinction. Population monitoring has seen an 80% decline since the 1980s and this critically endangered northern population now comprises an estimated 38 wild birds. This population is found only in south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales and faces extinction in the wild from threatening processes such as habitat loss, grazing and predation.
The in-situ (in the wild) conservation work for the Eastern Bristlebird includes habitat management to reduce the impact of weeds and feral predators on Eastern Bristlebird populations. Fire regimes in Eastern Bristlebird habitats are also crucial to ensure the grassy habitats are maintained for this species. Regular surveys are also conducted to monitor population trends.
The Recovery Plan for the northern population of the Eastern Bristlebird includes an ex-situ component (captive breeding) that is managed by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. The overall objective of the captive breeding program is to have a sustainable captive population that can support multiple reintroductions of bristlebirds into the wild to supplement the wild northern population. This captive population also acts as an insurance population against extinction.
The Eastern Bristlebird is rarely seen but may be detected by its distinctive, loud calls
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2023 – HOORAY!! 15 bristlebirds successfully released into prime wild habitat.
2022 – First central x northern provenanced bristlebird pair successfully bred at Garima Conservation Reserve.
2022 – 5 breeding pairs of Eastern Bristlebird were transferred to the new breeding enclosures at Garima Conservation Reserve.
2021 – Construction of 5 breeding enclosures at Garima Conservation Reserve (a property managed by Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary).
2020 - First successful breeding of a central population provenanced Eastern Bristlebird at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary
2019 – Central population provenanced Eastern Bristlebirds collected from the wild and transferred to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary to increase genetic diversity in the captive breeding population.
2015 - Northern Eastern Bristlebird eggs collected from the wild. These eggs were incubated and the chicks’ hand-reared at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. This year Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary also had our first northern Eastern Bristlebird chick successfully bred in captivity!
2014 – Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary takes on the role of leading the captive breeding of the northern Eastern Bristlebirds. Birds collected from the wild and the remaining captive birds held at another institution were transferred to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Eastern Bristlebird Wishlist