Since 1997, 181 bird species have been recorded at Gluepot Reserve (with a further 6 unconfirmed species reported). Four species are considered nationally endangered or vulnerable, and 33 further species are listed as endangered, threatened or vulnerable in one or more of the three Murray Mallee States. Gluepot Reserve and neighbouring parts of Bookmark contain by far the largest remaining population of the endangered Black-eared Miner, one of Australia’s rarest birds. Much of the field research and monitoring required in the species’ Recovery Plan is centred on the Reserve. Other nationally significant species breeding on the Reserve are the Malleefowl and the Red-lored Whistler. The Regent Parrot breeds along the Murray River and occupies the reserve when not breeding. Of the 33 regionally significant species, at least 13 are likely to be breeding residents, and 20 probably non-breeding visitors or vagrants. Only one introduced species, the Common Starling has been recorded breeding on Gluepot Reserve.
One of the jewels of Gluepot is the endangered Black-eared Miner Manorina melanotis . Black-eared Miners were once considered common within their mallee habitat. By the early 1990s, there were few records in Victoria and NSW, and in SA the species was considered nearly extinct. However, following sightings of hybrid miners in the Bookmark – Gluepot area, surveys conducted in 1996 resulted in over 80 sightings of miners. Over 200 colonies are now known from this area. Although many contain hybrids, over a third of colonies contain mainly phenotypically pure Black- eared Miners.
The Black-eared Miner resembles its close relative the Yellow-throated Miner Manorina flavigula. A comprehensive Identification Sheet has been developed by Rohan Clarke and the Black-eared Miner Recovery Team.
Click here to download the identification sheet.
A major factor in the decline of the Black-eared Miner is the loss and modification of suitable habitat. Black-eared Miners were rapidly eliminated from remaining suitable vegetation due to a combination of competition, introgressive hybridisation and/or reduced population viability. Fire has further reduced the Black-eared Miners prefered unburnt mallee vegetation.
A Black-eared Miner Recovery Team is working hard towards conserving this species and reducing the threats against its survival. Their efforts focus on:
developing fire management plans
managing risk against fire through maintenance of captive populations of Black-eared Miners;
translocation of colonies directly from the wild into areas of suitable habitat in Victoria;
Removing individual Yellow-throated Miners from Black-eared Miner colonies;
Removing Yellow-throated Miner colonies from within and near core Black-eared Miner habitat; and
Closing artificial watering points (dams) that may encourage / support Yellow-throated Miners within core Black-eared Miner habitat (and replacement of dams with enclosed tanks where necessary for fire fighting purposes).