Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

A diamond in the rough: Conservation action for the Diamond Firetail 

Posted on 10 October, 2023 by Anna

Three of our region’s beloved Feathered Five are now listed under the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. We have partnered with Birdlife Castlemaine District to deliver a series of blog posts describing these species, why they are threatened, and what we can do to support the conservation of these species into the future. In this blog post, we briefly summarise the conservation advice for the Diamond Firetail (click here), the causes of its decline, and what you can do to help it. To read an insightful ‘Bird of the Month’ about this species, written by our amazing partners at Birdlife Castlemaine District, click here 

Diamond Firetail – photo by Geoff Park

Habitat and threats 

The Diamond Firetail occurs primarily in lightly timbered habitats (including woodlands, open forest, and farmland) with relatively low tree density, few large logs, little litter cover and high grass cover. They live in flocks and roost in dense shrubs, and eat grass and herb seeds, Allocasuarina (she-oak) seeds, green leaves and insects.  This species’ population has declined by 30-50% over the last 10 years, and it is listed as ‘Vulnerable’. 

Photo by Geoff Park

Key threats:  

  • Habitat loss from land clearing.  
  • Invasive weeds, particularly exotic grasses.
  • Habitat degradation caused by livestock and overabundant native animal grazing. 
  • Competition with noisy miners. 
  • Habitat degradation caused by rabbits. 
  • Nest predation by pied currawongs. 
  • Extreme events (wildfire, heatwave, and drought).
  • Altered fire regimes – especially increased fire intensity. 

Some ways you can help Diamond Firetails: 

  • Protect Diamond Firetail habitat and retain, expand and reconnect remnant patches. Patches > 50 m wide and areas near water are especially important. 
  • Undertake revegetation, focusing on a diverse mix of locally appropriate native species, especially grasses for seed, and dense/prickly shrubs for shelter and nesting.  
  • Instead of mowing, allow native grasses to go to seed.
  • Retain mistletoe.
  • Plant for insect diversity, reduce spraying of garden pests such as aphids. 
  • Manage grazing to retain a diverse grass, forb and shrub layer. 
  • Control weeds. 
  • Provide water for birds and consider using water sources that hang to reduce predation from cats at bird baths.
  • Keep cats inside – see the Safe Cat website for information on how to keep cats (and wildlife) safe.

 The information above has been summarised from the government’s Conservation advice Stagonopleura guttata (diamond firetail) and advice from Birdlife Castlemaine District.

Flock of Diamond Firetails enjoying a lovely bath in a puddle. Photo by Damian Kelly.

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