Endangered whipbird returns to SA Mallee

A faint recording of an endangered bird has confirmed its return to South Australia's Murray Mallee after devastating fires almost a decade ago.

The white-bellied whipbird's call was recorded recently by a volunteer as part of a 30-day field survey and verified by a team of researchers from Victoria's La Trobe University.

It was thought extinct in the region following the fires in 2014.

Lead researcher Simon Verdon said after hearing the recording he was immediately convinced it was the whipbird.

"However, we had to ask other experts to verify our find, which took a while because the call was faint with a lot of wind noise," he said.

"There's the chance now for us to act to benefit them. To inform future conservation efforts and take steps to protect their habitat.

"Until now, there hasn't been that opportunity because while we suspected some individuals may have survived 2014 wildfires, we didn't know where they were."

Conservation Ecologist Chris Hedger said managing the impacts of fires was critical as whipbird populations were small and isolated.

"This finding will enable us to protect and enhance existing habitat through various fire management planning and response activities," he said.

"It will also allow for more concentrated survey efforts to further improve local understanding of this population.

"It gives us a very useful starting point, rather than trying to find a needle in a 271,000-hectare haystack."

Data collected by the field survey has also increased understanding of the distribution of 10 key species within the endangered Mallee bird community and will directly inform future management efforts to protect and recover the threatened species.

The area known to contain these species has been selected as one of Australia's 20 priority places under the federal government's Threatened Species Action Plan.