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A novel method for using ecoacoustics to monitor post‐translocation behaviour in an endangered passerine

Published in: Methods in Ecology and Evolution

Authors: Oliver C. Metcalf; John G. Ewen; Mhairi McCready; Emma M. Williams and J. Marcus Rowcliffe


  1. Conservation translocations are an important tool in wildlife management, but monitoring of translocations has traditionally suffered from a lack of techniques for effective post‐release monitoring. Increasing understanding of post‐release movements is vital in improving the success of translocations, but few methods exist to efficiently monitor highly mobile and cryptic species post‐release.
  2. We present a novel approach to using dynamic occupancy modelling in combination with data derived from autonomous acoustic recording units to monitor the post‐release behaviour of hihi (Notiomystis cincta), a threatened endemic bird, at a translocation site in New Zealand. The process of analysing large quantities of acoustic data was facilitated by using automated classifiers and manual validation, an approach that was both accurate and efficient.
  3. We find that this approach detects behavioural change consistent with the transition from exploration of a new site to territory formation. We identify that hihi territories at the study site were closely linked to watercourses, but were not related to distance from release site.
  4. We find that this method is able to effectively monitor post‐release dispersal, and could provide a cost‐efficient and less invasive alternative to radiotracking for monitoring of vocal species.

You can find the article here


Written by Dr John Ewen

I have been interested and working with hihi since I was involved with establishing the Tiritiri Matangi island population through translocation in 1995. I am now employed as a Research Fellow at the Zoological Society of London and have been here since 2004. My research is multi-disciplinary and focusses on small population biology and management. I use decision science to assist in planning hihi management and drive our applied research with this species and have experience in molecular and behavioural ecology, wildlife health and nutrition and reintroduction biology.


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