Habitat Effects on the Distribution and Abundance of the Alisterus scapularis in Five Different Forest Types on the Atherton Tablelands

James K. Swenson, SIT Study Abroad

Australia: Natural and Cultural Ecology


This study evaluates habitat effects on the distribution and abundance of the Australian King Parrot, Alisterus scapularis, through five different forest types on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland, Australia. The Alisterus scapularis is very poorly documented, especially in Queensland, therefore very little known about its abundance and distribution through eastern Australia (endemic). This study is designed to test already documented studies, and to also provide more information about this bird.

This study tests two other previous studies. The first study pertains to the Alisterus scapularis dependence on continuous rainforest. The second study tested deals with habitat selection through forest fragment sizes. This study also attempts to provide further knowledge of the Alisterus scapularis flock composition.

Five different habitat sites were chosen, continuous rainforest, rainforest fragment, tobacco patches, acacia re-growth, and rural residential. Two different study sites were chosen for each habitat. Transects were created for each study site. All transects were walked for 20 minutes at a time to a pace fitting for each site for a total of 18 days. Abundance and flock composition was recorded through general observations.

This study both agrees and disagrees with certain aspects to the two previous studies. The results agree with F.J.H. Chrome's theory stating that the Alisterus scapularis has very little dependence on continuous rainforest. The results do not agree with Warburton's forest fragmentation theory, which suggests that the Alisterus scapularis uses only large and medium fragments. It important to note that this study was conducted for only one month and that this study should be expanded to a full year to fully understand the Alisterus scapularis annual cycles.