Threatened Species – Fauna

King Island fauna species listed in the Commonwealth EPBC Act 1999:

Two frogs – Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peronei), Green and Gold Frog (Litoria raniformis)

Eight resident birds – King Island Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla archibaldi), King Island Scrubtit (Acanthornis magna greeniana), King Island Green Rosella (Platycercus caledonicus brownie)Black Currawong (Strepera fuliginosa colei), Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus), Little Tern (Sternula albifrons sinensis), Fairy Tern (Sternula nereis nereis).

Two birds that migrate through King Island – Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) and the Swift Parrot.

One fish – Australian Grayling (Prototroctes maraena)

One snail – Southern Hairy Red Snail (Austrochloritis victoriae)

Threatened Species Recovery Plan and Projects for the endemic King Island Scrubtit and King Island Brown Thornbill –

A Conservation Action Plan has been developed for both the King Island Scrubtit (Acanthornis magnus greenianus) and King Island Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza apical Archibaldi). A Recovery Team with members from all stakeholders including the KINRMG  was formed in 2019  under BirdLife Australia’s Preventing Extinctions Program.

Extensive searches to ascertain the abundance and distribution of both species were done and habitat information has been updated and is available: Defining and mapping habitat requirements to support the survival of King Island threatened birds January 2023 report prepared by Phil Bell and Matt Webb, Biodiversity Maintenance Australia.

Key information on the endangered King Island birds: King Island Scrubtit and Brown Thornbill Survey Results March 2019 report prepared by Matt Webb and Dr Ross Crates

“Enhancing KIBT habitat patches for future corridor”,

Stage 2 planning is under way, with sites mapped for native re-vegetation by direct seeding pasture areas and regeneration of degraded vegetation with tubestock over-planting. A major challenge is to gather sufficient local provenance seed.

Stage 1 completed April 2023, supported by Cradle Coast Authority, through funding from the Australian Government.  It aids the recovery of the endemic and critically endangered King Island Brown Thornbill (KIBT) via protection and restoration of native vegetation through stock exclusion, improved wallaby and weed management. More information is available at Birds of King Island website.

Australian Government Threatened Species Action Plan has profile pages for :

  • King Island brown thornbill a subspecies of the Brown Thornbill only found on King Island
  • King Island scrubtit found on King Island. There may now be fewer than 50 individuals remaining.
  • Orange-bellied parrot breeds in south-west Tasmania in summer and spends the rest of the year in coastal Victoria and south-eastern South Australia. The migration route includes the west coast of Tasmania and King Island.

Counting our Birds – The Wings on King Project 2016 onwards…

Wings on King is a bird-monitoring project that will be officially launched in April, 2017. It is the initiative of the KINRMG and operates under an MOU with BirdLife Australia. It is being developed and undertaken entirely by volunteers. While its broad aim is to use the bush birds of King Island as an indicator of the sustainability of King Island as a whole, a particular focus will be placed on monitoring the four listed threatened subspecies. These are the:

* King Island Scrubtit (Critically Endangered)

* King Island Brown Thornbill (Critically Endangered),

* King Island Green Rosella (Vulnerable)

* King Island Black Currawong (Vulnerable)

This threatened species monitoring was begun in 2015 with an island blitz, where an attempt was made to count the actual population of both the KI Rosella and Currawong. This information was submitted to the government and contributed towards both of these species being listed as Vulnerable later in 2015. See this article for more information.

Further monitoring within Wings on King will have two arms:

1) regular monitoring of fixed sites situated within the known habitat of all four threatened species – at least annually and hopefully quarterly

2) Blitz weekends every three years where these fixed sites plus extra fixed sites, will be monitored twice, once each on two weekends one week apart. The broad community will also be asked to tell us of any they see over these two weekends.

For more information about Wings on King go to click here

Counting Our Birds 2015, A Wings on King project.

The King Island Green Rosella and the King Island Black Currawong may be becoming extinct. They are both subspecies of Tasmanian native species that live only on King Island. They exist nowhere else in the world. KINRM will work with Wings on King and BOKI to count these birds during Autumn 2015, for more info

Shore Bird Protection Project 2008-9

To protect shore bird nesting sites. Funded though Envirofund.

Orange Bellied Parrot Habitat Management and Restoration Project 2007-8

A project to implement the on-ground components relevant to King Island, of recovery actions outlined in the National Recovery Plan for the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster). Funds for the project were committed by three separate funding bodies: Natural Heritage Trust, DPIW and KINRMG.

Information: Orange-bellied parrot habitat management and restoration on King Island 2007-2008

Recovery of Threatened Forest Birds of King Island Project 2003/4

The Birds:

Scrubtit (King Island) endangered critically endangered
Brown Thornbill (King Island) endangered endangered
Green Rosella (King Island) vulnerable not listed yet
Yellow Wattlebird (King Island) not listed yet
Black Currawong not listed yet
Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Project Overview

This project, running from November 2003 to November 2004 has been made possible through the contribution and financial support of the Threatened Species Network Community Grants Program as a joint initiative of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Australia and the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust.

The Threatened Birds project is the brainchild of bird ecologist and conservation enthusiast, Richard Donaghey. Richard has done many weeks of volunteer and Bushcare / Land for Wildlife work for King Island already. He was the editor and major contributor to The Fauna of King Island. A guide to identification and conservation management (2003).

Richard is the technical consultant for this project, and as such has visited the island twice, and contributed several weeks of his time since the project began.

We must express our gratitude to Richard, and also to the many other volunteers on this project. Thank you!!

Project Summary

King Island has a high proportion of threatened and declining forest birds, especially those that depend on tree-hollows for nesting. The three listed endemic species are the critically endangered Scrubtit, the endangered Brown Thornbill and the vulnerable Green Rosella. This project will provide the King Island community Threatened Bird Network with the skills and techniques to monitor population size and protect critical habitat of threatened species.

Project Details

King Island in western Bass Strait once had extensive Tasmanian blue gum forest but now has lost about 70% of its native vegetation through clearance for agriculture and fires. Only about 5% of the original Tall swamp paperbark forest and Tasmanian blue gum forest remain. Many King Islanders have fostered a conservation ethic and although they have fenced off and protected large amounts of remaining forest and streams, many forest birds are threatened and declining.

The 2000 Action Plan for Australian Birds (APAB) identified 7 threatened bird species on King Island that need an integrated conservation plan. Five of these taxa are endemic to KI. Two of these, the Scrubtit and Brown Thornbill, are listed nationally and in Tasmania as endangered. The Green Rosella (KI) is listed as vulnerable in Tas. Recent fieldwork on KI has identified many other birds in decline including hollow-dependent birds such as Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Southern Boobook and Striated Pardalote.

The primary focus of this project is to recover the listed threatened birds with community action. The critical habitat for the endemic Scrubtit (KI) is the Nook Swamp, Lavinia State Reserve. Recent surveys failed to find Scrubtit at any of the other localities mentioned in the APAB. The good news is that Scrubtit have survived in the Nook Swamp paperbarks despite recent large scale burning of the surrounding landscape. There is an urgent need to determine the population size of the Scrubtit in Lavinia SR and search for another population at other sites in the south of the island. The endangered Brown Thornbill (KI) has been observed recently at Pegarah SF so the population size needs to be determined and its habitat secured. The vulnerable Green Rosella is one of a suite of species that depends on old growth eucalypts with tree-hollows for nesting. The small brown endangered Scrubtit and Brown Thornbill are inconspicuous and restricted in distribution. By comparison the conspicuous and widespread Green Rosella can be used as an umbrella species for all hollow-dependent birds.


  • Administer a KI Threatened Bird Network to coordinate species recovery
  • Produce and distribute brochures on KI threatened birds to all KI landholders and urban residents
  • Train volunteers in threatened species identification and bird monitoring techniques and reporting
  • Determine population size of critically endangered Scrubtit, endangered Brown Thornbill and vulnerable Green Rosella and secure habitat.
  • Identify and protect nest-trees with hollows of Green Rosella and monitor nesting success.
  • Erect, manage and monitor nest-boxes for Green Rosella and monitor nesting success.
  • Activities of the Threatened Bird project
  • We have 37 members in the Threatened Species Network so far, and growing.
  • Activities included: Field days identifying and recording focus birds, extensive searches in likely areas for scrubtit, mapping, looking at designs for nestboxes and starling traps.

One of the threats to hollow-nesting birds is the European starling. To obtain a design for a starling trap, contact King Island NRM Group.
The brochure Are we losing our native birds on King Island? contains further details of this project.

Last Updated on 18 June 2023