Restoring landscapes across the Mount Alexander Region

The Feathered Five

Introducing the “Feathered Five”!

In 2013, Connecting Country developed a detailed 10-year Woodland Birds Action Plan for the Mount Alexander region with the assistance of external experts.

This plan identified five focal species that we have dubbed ‘the feathered five’. The ‘feathered five’ are ground-foraging woodland birds known to occur in the local area; Diamond Firetail, Jacky Winter, Hooded Robin, Brown Treecreeper and Painted Button-quail.

The ‘feathered five’ have all been declining in number and range in recent years, and are listed as threatened, along with a number of other bird species, in a group known as the Temperate Woodland Bird Community.

Each of the feathered five have been selected because they are:

  • easily identified
  • reasonably wide spread across the Mount Alexander region
  • ground foraging birds are very susceptible to the pressures that are causing woodland birds to decline.

If we can keep track of and look after these five species, then we can assume the rest of them will be OK too! Some of the things that the birds are struggling with are: predation by foxes and cats, loss of leaf litter and branches, drought, and altered fire regimes.

How you can help

There are a number of ways to help these small woodland birds.  Weed removal and supplementary planting will help their core habitat, and larger scale landcare projects that connect isolated patches of bush will help the birds move around the landscape. Keeping the bush area part of your property messy with lots of fallen timber, branches and leaf litter will help provide feeding areas and protection from predators. And finally – send in your sightings! Visit our record a sighting page to start contributing today.

firetail1 geoff 18 janDiamond Firetail

A seed eating species that forages at ground level

Requires large areas of intact woodland habitat with scattered grassy open patches

An accessible and safe water source is also important

Nests in prickly wattles, mistletoe clumps or even nests of eagles and Whistling kites!



Brown TC geoffBrown Treecreeper

Forages for invertebrates on and near ground level

Nests in hollows within trees, stumps and sometimes old wooden fence-posts

Requires large areas of intact woodland habitat with a good cover of leaf litter, logs and fallen branches

Breeds cooperatively – young from previous years help the parents raise the young.



HRHooded Robin

An insectivorous species, that forages on and near the ground in open areas. Prefers areas with a good cover of leaf litter, logs and other woody debris

Requires large areas of woodland in good condition with a connection to similar sites

Usually a quiet bird, this bird is known to call a lot on moonlit nights




PBQPainted Button-quail

Forages for insects in leaf litter, creating small circular patterns called platelets

The females are more brightly coloured – and she mates with several males who then raise the young!

Requires large areas of woodland in good condition with a connection to similar sites




JRJacky Winter

Often found along the boundary between grassy paddocks and intact woodland habitat

Often seen sitting on fence posts or wire, hunting for insects by perching and then pouncing on the ground

Can be distinguished from other small grey birds by its white-lined tail that moves in a distinctive figure-of-eight ‘waggle’

Needs intact woodland with a sparse, open understorey