Brolga FAQ 4

This page covers Brolga conservation. Size, calls, locations, numbers, food and water are in FAQ 1. Breeding habitat, nests, eggs and chicks are in FAQ 2, and FAQ 3 covers behaviour and dry season habitats. Background to Brolgas and Sarus Cranes with comparison photos is on Ozcranes Australia/New Guinea Cranes Intro page.

For interactions between Brolgas and Sarus Cranes in northern Australia, including potential hybrids, see Sarus Crane FAQ 3».

Status and protection

All jurisdictions protect wildlife through legislation and treaties, which is a different process from assessing threat levels in each place. New Guinea (PNG and Irian Jaya, Indonesia) would be better listed as Data Deficient, current numbers and threats are unknown.

Details of Brolga conservation status
International Least Concern
Australia Least Concern
New Guinea (PNG & Irian Jaya) Least Concern
New South Wales Vulnerable
Northern Territory Least Concern
Queensland Least Concern
South Australia Vulnerable
Victoria Vulnerable
Western Australia Least Concern

CommentIn Australia, threat levels of Vulnerable and above are managed through an integrated State/Commonwealth process, while allocating ‘Near Threatened’ status (below Vulnerable) is managed at State level. Almost all Brolgas in Australia (at least 50,000) occupy the ‘Top End’ and far north coasts of Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory. All three classify Brolga as Least Concern, and with the large numbers of northern Brolgas this is unlikely to change.

Conservation actions The three states with Vulnerable Brolga populations have a range of conservation programs, with Commonwealth and community support (see under Wetlands, below). BirdLife has declared seven Key Biodiversity Areas with Brolga as a trigger species: see Ozcranes Conservation Key Biodiversity Areas». Ozcranes Crane-friendly Fencing» guidelines were developed in consultation with north Queensland catchment groups in the 2005-2010 NRM plan process. Though not related to conservation protection, the Brolga is recognised as the state bird emblem of Queensland.

top TOP

Risks and Threats

Pig eating lilies

In southern Australia a combination of many factors is known to have caused a serious decline in Brolga population. Major drainage works, diversions to deep water storages and overgrown roost sites have caused Brolgas to desert sites or districts.

← Pig eating lilies in Swamp, Gulf of Carpentaria (P Merritt)

All the following risks are also known or suspected to impact Brolgas in the south or north, but there are no systematic records or studies:

[1] DM White (1987). The status and distribution of the Brolga in Victoria, Australia. Proceedings of the 1983 International Crane Workshop, ICF.
[2] PW Goldstraw & PB Du Guesclin (1991). Bird casualties from collisions with a 500KV transmission line in southwestern Victoria, Australia. Proceedings of the 1987 International Crane Workshop, ICF.
[3] S Garnett & R Bredl (1985). Birds in the vicinity of the Edward River Settlement, Part 1. Sunbird 15, pp 6-23. Birds Queensland.

top TOP

Wetlands and Brolga conservation

As detailed in Brolga FAQs 2 and FAQs 3 wetlands are the most critical habitat for cranes, including Brolgas. Major wetland restoration projects are underway for threatened southern Brolgas, and other wetland-dependent species in SW Victoria and SE South Australia.

↓ Brolga at restored wetland Winter Swamp (Mullahwallah Wetlands) near Ballarat, Victoria (Ed Dunens)

Brolga at Winter Swamp Pick Swamp

↑ Pick Swamp, SE South Australia, a major wetland restoration project (Matt Herring)

Inka Veltheim's research on the home range and movements of pre-fledged Brolga chicks found they mostly moved within 2km of 1-3 separate wetlands, so future habitat management for southern Brolga breeding should incorporate 3 wetlands and movement corridors. Brolgas cannot nest or spend the flocking season on wetlands or other habitats choked with thick vegetation, as has happened on the Townsville Town Common (see Ozcranes Conservation Burning for Brolgas: Restoring wetlands with grazing and fire»).

↓ Townsville Town Common, once a significant Brolga flocking site until overtaken by introduced Para Grass (denisbin)

Town Common

Projects and resources

top TOP


Brolga flying past wind towers

Brolga flying past wind turbines, south west Victoria (Ed Dunens) →

Concern for threatened Brolgas due to expanding wind turbine installations in south west Victoria was the trigger for Inka Veltheim's» significant population research study, results will inform revised planning guidelines.

Brolga deaths and injuries do occur on roads, though this is unlikely to affect conservation of the population overall. For more see Ozcranes Conservation Crane Hazards 2: Infrastructure, persecution». External links: here and here.

Other collision risks include barb wire fences and powerlines, more in Ozcranes Conservation».

« Back to Brolga FAQ 3, Dry season habitats and behaviour

« Back to Brolga FAQ 1 or « Brolga FAQ 2

« Back to Brolga & Sarus Crane Introduction

top TOP

Change AT to @ and DOT to . in email addresses