Mount Lofty Ranges Woodland Birds

The NCSSA/UQ Mount Lofty Ranges Woodland Bird Monitoring Program is a long-term monitoring program initiated by Professor Hugh Possingham’s research group that has been running since 1999. It aims to assess the evidence for declines in woodland birds through repeated surveys of over 150 sites throughout the Mount Lofty Ranges (from Kaiserstuhl/Patpoori Sanctuary in the north to Deep Creek Conservation Park in the south). Much of the data and associated reports and papers can be downloaded freely from: 

suebirdwatchingThe project uses bird monitoring experts in a systematic survey of sites. These sites are resurveyed annually to look for trends in the distribution and abundance of birds in response to a changing environment and broadscale ecosystem management. This study provides a tool to monitor and evaluate the performance of activities intended to maintain or restore biodiversity. The data can be used as a benchmark for the success of habitat restoration and rehabilitation. Furthermore it can be used as "before" data in before-after control-impact experiments on the success of actions like fencing, revegetation, feral control or weed removal.

Follow this link for a report published in the South Australian Ornithological Association newsletter on the project.

What is happening to the woodland birds of the Mount Lofty Ranges

silver-eye.jpgThe importance of our Mount Lofty Ranges Woodland Bird Monitoring Program has been highlighted in a recent issue of Decision Point magazine. “The Mount Lofty Ranges is like a canary in a coal mine for Australia’s woodland landscapes—what happens here is an early warning for Australia’s other landscapes,” says Professor Hugh Possingham from the University of Queensland, who instigated the monitoring program 12 years ago.

Monitoring data is collected annually by a team of expert and volunteer ornithologists currently funded by the Mount Lofty Ranges NRM Board and co-ordinated by the Nature Conservation Society of South Australia.

Download the pdf MLR Woodland Birds Monioring Report 4.1 Mb

Download the pdf MLR Woodland Bird Monitoring Research Prospectus 3.9 Mb

Mount Lofty Ranges Bird Forum

  Using bird monitoring to guide ecological management across multiple spatial scales

  Thursday July 31st  - Special Guest Hugh Possinghamone.jpg

Speakers presented current research on the bird fauna of South Australia. This included the results and benefits of long term regional bird monitoring, habitat modelling at a patch and regional scale to guide habitat restoration efforts, and using bird populations to guide regional decision making. Bridging the gap between research and monitoring to policy-making and managing ecosystems was also be discussed.


 Mark Lethbridge questions session


Latest News

scarlet_robin_sm.jpg The USING BIRD MONITORING TO GUIDE ECOLOGICAL MANAGEMENT ACROSS MULTIPLE SPATIAL SCALES forum held on July 31st was an outstanding success, with over 150 attendees. Speakers included: Professor Hugh Possingham, and Postdoctoral Fellow Judit Szabo from University of Queensland; Dr Mark Lethbridge from Flinders University; Dr David Paton, AM, University of Adelaide; and Dr Nigel Willoughby, Habitat Management & Restoration Ecologist, Murraylands (DEH). Presentations were filmed and will be available for those that were not able to attend through the NCSSA website soon.



The NCSSA/UQ MLR Woodland Bird Monitoring Program Surveys run from September to December annually, dependent upon funding. The Nature Conservation Society of SA, Inc. manages and coordinates the survey as well as secures funding for the project. Innovation in research and synthesis, data analyses and scientific publications are carried out under the supervision of Professor Hugh Possingham at the University of Queensland ( and

Special thanks to past and present funding and participating organisations: Adelaide & Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board, Australian Research Council, Birds for Biodiversity ~ Conservation Council of SA, Department of Environment and Heritage (SA), University of Adelaide, and the University of Queensland. We’re also very grateful to our volunteers, surveyors, and those property owners that allow us to access these sites year after year… Continuity is of the essence for long-term monitoring programs such as this, so their ongoing participation is greatly appreciated.