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Elanus axillaris

Additional details on Conservation:

Olsen (1995) and Debus (1998) stated that this species is increasing in abundance due to the clearing of woodland and concomittant increases in mouse populations, including the introduced House Mouse. According to Debus (op cit.), this species did not suffer from eggshell thinning during the period of DDT use in Australia. It is possible that secondary poisoning may occur from rodenticides used during mouse plagues or from pesticides used during locust plagues (Debus op cit.).

In southwestern Australia, it is now once of the most commonly recorded raptors in the wheatbelt, with numbers being highest from April to October (Saunders and Ingram 1995). Those authors provided a thorough summary of the recent history of this species in southwestern Australia, as follows: Serventy and Whittell (1976) regarded this species as a bird of the arid zone, which appeared in the southwest in cycles of fluctuating numbers. It became numerous in the wheatbelt in 1952, and increased in range and abundance over the next 40 years. It was not recorded by early observers in Stirling Range National Park, but Sedgwick (1964) noted that it was recorded there in 1953. Ford and Stone (19567) noted that in the Kellerberrin/Kwolyin districts, this species was first observed in the spring of 1945, and it was abundant from the spring of 1951. It declined in the latter half of 1952, and only a few individuals were still present in early 1956. This species is now an uncommon resident in the same area (Sanders and Curry 1990). Masters and Milhinch (1974) noted that this kite was first recorded in the Northam district in 1935 and became fairly common there.

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