Draft Recovery Plan for the Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus

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Draft Recovery Plan for the

Grey-headed Flying-fox

Pteropus poliocephalus
140223 163310_.jpg

January 2017

The Species Profile and Threats Database page linked to this recovery plan is obtainable from:

© Copyright Commonwealth of Australia, 2017.

The Draft National Recovery Plan for the Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) is licensed by the Commonwealth of Australia for use under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence with the exception of the Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth of Australia, the logo of the agency responsible for publishing the report, content supplied by third parties, and any images depicting people. For licence conditions see: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

This report should be attributed as ‘Draft National Recovery Plan for the Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), Commonwealth of Australia 2017’. The Commonwealth of Australia has made all reasonable efforts to identify content supplied by third parties using the following format ‘© Copyright, [name of third party] ’.
While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the contents of this publication are factually correct, the Commonwealth does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the contents, and shall not be liable for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the contents of this publication.

Image credit

The Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) © David Westcott

Table of Contents

Table of Contents 4

Table of FIGURES 4

Executive summary 5

1 General Information 6

1.1 Conservation status 6

1.2 Purpose of this plan 6

1.3 International obligations 6

1.4 Affected interests 7

1.5 Interests of indigenous people 8

1.6 Social and economic impacts 8

2 Biological information 9

2.1 Taxonomy 9

2.2 Description 9

2.3 Ecological function 9

2.4 Reproduction 10

2.5 Competition and predation 10

2.6 Diet 11

2.7 Foraging behaviour 11

2.8 Roosting behaviour and habitat 11

2.9 Habitat critical to the survival of the species 12

2.10 Population size and trends 12

2.11 Distribution 13

3 Overview of threats and issues 15

3.1 Vulnerability to threats 16

3.2 Key threat 16

3.3 Other threats 16

3.4 Potential threats 19

4 Recovery objectives, performance criteria and actions 21

5. Priority ACTIONS and costings 26

6 Management practices 29

7 Duration and evaluation of plan 30

8 References 31

Table of FIGURES


This recovery plan has been developed with the involvement and cooperation of a broad range of stakeholders, but individual stakeholders have not necessarily committed to undertaking specific actions.

This recovery plan is based on the extensive work of many flying-fox experts. It has benefited from the diligence of Commonwealth and state government officers, the Commonwealth Threatened Species Scientific Committee, the NSW Flying-fox Consultative Committee, Department of the Environment and Energy facilitated Grey-headed Flying-fox policy workshops and the CSIRO coordinated National Flying-fox Monitoring Program.

The preparation of this plan was funded by an initial grant from the Australian Government and continued support from the NSW State Government. The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage coordinated the initial drafting of this plan on behalf of the Australian Government.


CSIRO – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

DEHP – Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection

DEWNR – South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources

DELWP – Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning

DPIPWE – Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries Parks Water and the Environment

EPD – Australian Capital Territory Environment and Planning Directorate

DoEE – Department of the Environment and Energy

EPBC Act – Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

NFFMP – National Flying-Fox Monitoring Program

OEH – New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (part of the Department of Premier and Cabinet)

TSSC – Commonwealth Threatened Species Scientific Committee

Executive summary

Current status of taxon

The Grey-headed Flying-fox is listed as Vulnerable under both the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the New South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. It is listed as threatened under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and as Rare under the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972.

Habitat and distribution

The Grey-headed Flying-fox has historically occupied forests and woodlands in the coastal lowlands, tablelands and slopes of south-eastern Australia, from Bundaberg in Queensland to Geelong in Victoria, with rare sightings outside its range. More recently, camps have established in Adelaide, the Australian Capital Territory and inland areas of central and southern New South Wales and Victoria.

Threats to species survival

The primary known threat to the survival of the Grey-headed Flying-fox is loss and degradation of foraging and roosting habitat. Conflict with people, including disturbance in camps and mortality from actions to manage commercial fruit crops, is considered to be a moderate threat, but is increasing in urban areas. The level of threat caused by electrocution on power lines and entanglement in netting and barbed-wire fences is unknown. The impact of climate change on Grey-headed Flying-foxes is also unknown but increasing temperatures and drought conditions are likely to degrade foraging and roosting habitat, influence the frequency of foraging in commercial orchards, cause heat stress and increase heat related mortality.

Recovery objectives and actions

Actions under this plan aim to improve the national population trend; identify, manage and secure key foraging and roosting habitat; improve the community’s capacity to coexist with flying-foxes; and increase awareness about flying-foxes, the threats they face and the important ecosystem services they provide as seed dispersers and pollinators.

Criteria for success

Success of this recovery plan will be evaluated against:

  • a robust estimate of improved population trend,

  • an improved understanding of habitat critical to the survival of the species

  • an increase in protection of habitat critical to the survival of the species and nationally important camp sites

  • implementation of effective habitat restoration projects

  • a reduction in the level of conflict in sections of the community affected by problematic flying-fox camps

  • greater uptake of crop netting under existing subsidy schemes, and

  • an improved understanding of threats of unknown status; climate change and electrocution/ entanglements.

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