First record of the Mallee Whipbird Psophodes nigrogularis leucogaster in Victoria since 1985
Abstract. The Mallee Whipbird (White-bellied Whipbird) Psophodes nigrogularis leucogaster is a threatened passerine restricted to mallee-heath vegetation in the Eyre Peninsula, Yorke Peninsula and southern Murray Mallee region of eastern South Australia and western Victoria. This taxon is both difficult to detect and has undergone significant declines in range and abundance over the past century. The last records in Victoria were made in 1985 in the Big Desert State Forest. Here, we report a new record in the Big Desert Wilderness Park made in October 2022. This record was the result of extensive field surveys targeting this and other threatened mallee bird taxa. We also recorded the Mallee Whipbird in the adjoining Ngarkat Conservation Park (South Australia), 5 years after the most recent record in that reserve and only the second record there after extensive wildfires in 2014. Both records were in vegetation burnt 8 years earlier, with a mix of low whipstick mallee (Narrowleaved Red Mallee Eucalyptus leptophylla) and diverse regenerating heath vegetation. The Mallee Whipbird must now be considered one of Victoria’s rarest resident birds, with only one location known for the state.