Vol. 16 No. 3-text

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Journal of the
Vol. 16, No. 3 March, 1982

ISSN 0311-8150

Registered by Australia Post Publication No. NBH0790THE N.S.W. FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB
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birds and the habitats they occupy.
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Vol. 16, No. 3 March, 1982
The status of the Red Goshawk Erythrotriorchis radiatus in New South Wales requires
review. Morris et al. (1981) listed it as “?Rare. ?Resident”, and gave its range as “Northern
Rivers”. It is now on the N.S.W. National Parks and Wildlife Service list of endangered fauna
(Hermes 1980). The main pressures on it are stated to be “habitat alteration”.
A search of the literature has revealed several localities from which the species was record-
ed last century. Since then it apparently went unrecorded until recently. Because of its
apparent scarcity and possibly threatened status, have collated the following summary of
records for New South Wales, some of which were obtained from the RAOU Atlas of Australian
North (1912) and Mathews (1916) gave details of the following early records. The first
specimen was taken in or near Sydney soon after settlement, and a drawing of it is in the
Watling collection. However since the Watling drawings came from Port Stephens as well (W.
Longmore pers. comm.), the exact locality must remain in doubt. Early reports of the Red
Goshawk along the Parramatta River have been shown by Mathews to be the result of confus-
ion with the Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus (hence also the belief that the Red Goshawk was
a carrion eater and a sea -eagle). In the 1800s, specimens of the Red Goshawk were obtained
from Bourke and the Richmond River, and were lodged in the British Museum (Natural
History) and the Australian Museum respectively. From his own researches, N. Favaloro
(in litt.) considers that the Bourke specimen is suspect as to locality, and that it was probably
taken much closer to Sydney. Details on the Richmond River specimen are incomplete and
there is now no museum record of it. The mounted display specimen devoid of any collection
data may be this bird. Gould reported the species in the “dense brushes” of the Manning and
Clarence Rivers.42 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (16) 3
All recent records of which am aware are detailed below in chronological order:-

  • I –
    Ben Lomond Llangothlin Lagoon area late Ausut 1961 one seen “a number of times by
    many (Gould League) observers, at rest and in flight” (Gould League Notes 28, 1962, per


Narran Lake area 1960s J. Cupper (in. litt.) has informed me that “one of the most know-
ledgeable persons on Australian birds and eggs” told him of nests found, including one with
three eggs. If the birds themselves were not clearly seen then they could have been Little Eagles
Hieraaetus rnorphnoides, since eggs of the two species are easily confused (Favaloro 1981).
More details on these remarkable records, if correct, are desirable.

  • Tilbuster, north of Armidale mid 1960s one seen regularly “about 15 years ago” (G.
    Kleindienst pers. comm. 1980). There seems no reason to doubt this record, but further details
    would be useful. The obser-ve rs knew the local raptors well.
    Scone late January 1968 one reported by C. Austin (Wheeler 1968). The bird’s features were
    clearly seen at down to seven metres; Austin was familiar with the species, and a second ob-
    server (S. Beggs) was familiar with the Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura and other similar

species (C. Austin in litt). The sighting was made during the 1967-68 drought.

Wooli 12 July 1968 one observed by M. Tarburton (per Atlas; the limited description on the

URRF tallies with the Red Goshawk).

Kyogle 7 February to 23 August 1969 one or both of a pair seen frequently but not since

(J. Hobbs in litt.).

Canberra, A.C.T. 13 December 1969 a pair described in detail by Slater (1970). He stated
that it was an extremely doubtful record, however the description fits the Red Goshawk per-

fectly and can scarcely apply to another species.

Narromine late December 1969 three reported by F. Stephens (Wheeler 1970). The observer
does not claim a positive sighting, but noted the following features for all three birds: even rich
rufous colouring; goshawk size and flight, gliding and soaring on flat wings; wings not as
rounded as a normal goshawk glide, but not pointed; “fingers” not as prominent as sometimes
illustrated for the Red Goshawk, otherwise silhouette as for that species (F. Stephens in litt.).
The Square -tailed Kite, Little Eagle and red phase Brown Falcon Falco berigora were ruled out.

The number and date suggest a family party.

Collarenebri 17 April 1971 one, possible vagrant, along the Barwon River (F. Morris in litt.).

Northern Tablelands 6 March 1974 one east of Armidale, possibly resident as it seemed to
know the area well (F. Morris in litt.).

Both the above records were mapped in Morris (1976), p. 101.

Central Tablelands mid -1970s a nest found with a partly incubated egg “a few (about six)
years ago” (G. Beruldsen in litt. 1981). This information was given verbally, and the person
concerned “has a very sound knowlege of . . . raptors. It is highly unlikely that he erred.”
Again, unless the bird was clearly seen this remarkable record must remain in some doubt

because of possible confusion with the Little Eagle.

Upper Orara, near Coffs Harbour 18 May 1976 one reported by G. Holmes (Rogers 1977).

North-west Slopes two observed on 1 March 1978 and several times subsequently by N.

Rogers, which suggests a resident pair (per Atlas; URRF contains a good description).

Queensland border, near Tenterfield October 1979 to April 1981 one observed many times
by N. Aiken and others; suspected to nest (per Atlas; field notes contain good description of

the bird).

Grafton 3 March 1980 one observed by I. McDonald (per Atlas; URRF contains a very good

description and comparison with potentially confusing species).

Ballina 1980 two observed on 30 March, one on 20 May by J. Izzard (Lindsey 1981).March, 1982 – 43
Northern Tablelands 5 January 1981 one observed by ‘R. and C. Cooper east of Glen Innes,
confirmed by examination of museum specimens (R. Ccooper pers. comm.; field notes contain

a good description).

Northern Tablelands 19 April 1981 one observed in escarpment country south-east of Tenter –
field by Atlas observer E. Finley ( R. Cooper pers. comm.; URRF contains a very good des-


Queensland border September 1981 one seen by J. lzzard in the extreme north-east of the
state (G. Holmes in Fitt.).
Except for the somewhat doubtful cases discussed, none of the above were confirmed
breeding records. I did not see the species during two years’ residence in Armidale (1979-1980)
and frequent travel in the north-east of the state, and G. Holmes (in Fitt.) has not seen it during
a similar period at Kyogle although he has a probable sighting just over the Border. As far as
I am aware, recent detailed fauna surveys in the controversial Washpool Wilderness Area have
not identified it..
Recent records of the Red Goshawk have been from the same general area as the first
records (see map). The reason for the absence of records in the first half of this century is not
clear, but the lack of field guides and very scanty knowledge of the species are probable factors.
The apparent clumping of recent records, eg. in the late 1960s and early 1970s, suggests
a minor irruption at this time. This is borne out by the remarkable number of southern and in-
land records: Collarenebri, Narromine, Scone and Canberra. The proliferation of field guides
since 1970 and the increase in field work since the Atlas in 1977 may partly explain the spate
of records over the last few years. However another minor irruption may have occurred.
It is likely that the Red Goshawk is seldom seen in relation to its numbers. Like some other
accipiters it may deliberately avoid humans, and could be more numerous and regular in New
South Wales than suspected. It is also likely that it naturally occurs at low density.
The Red Goshawk is so little known that its conservation status is difficult to assess.
Slater (1978) felt that it is declining, and stated that only about a dozen have been recorded
in the last 50 years. Nineteen records (at least 14 positive) in New South Wales alone within
the last 20 years, some involving two or more birds and repeated sightings, are therefore en-
couraging. However New South Wales may be marginally within the Red Goshawk’s range,
surplus birds from Queensland possibly spilling over following good seasons and then drought
there. These birds may settle and breed.
Habitat notes associated with some of the above records included river timber, sometimes
with a dense tea -tree understorey, and open forest, sometimes associated with hilly country
and/or clearings. This generally agrees with the literature on the Red Goshawk’s habitat pre-
ferences. Remoteness from humans may also be a prerequisite, at least for breeding birds. The
Red Goshawk may have retreated before large-scale land conversion in the south-east of its
range, but there seems no reason to suspect a decline in areas still close to their original con-
dition. T. Lindsey (pers. comm.) mentioned that all six of his Red Goshawk sightings in
Queensland were over rainforest. Therefore the remaining subtropical rainforest may be the
most important habitat in this state for the species. This habitat has been greatly reduced in
area and is still under threat.
Conservation action will depend on knowledge of the Red Goshawk’s life history and
ecological requirements, and the New South Wales population is badly in need of survey. It
will be important to locate resident pairs and study their food requirements and breeding bi-
ology, especially to monitor breeding success. To this end all New South Wales sightings should
be reported. Localities of breeding records and suspected resident pairs would be better sub-
mitted to the Club’s Records Officer, rather than published. It would also be worth reporting
any further “old” records.44 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (161 3
-F ig. 1. Map of New South W-a les showing pattern of Red Goshawk records.
Crosses historical records; circles recent records (solid=positive, open= those for which
more details needed).march, Twit 45
Other observers have remarked that the Red Goshawk can be difficult to identify (especial-
ly in flight), having features in common with other raptors, and can look like different species
from different angles. Recent field guides and other works provide incomplete information,
therefore I offer the following based on a sighting in Queensland (Debus in press).
Wing carriage: wings held slightly raised in gliding and especially soaring flight, but less so than
other reddish species. This feature was also noted on the birds seen by I. McDonald and R.
Cooper. Has a wider wingspread than the other accipiters.
Tail tip: apparently variable, at least in females. The bird I observed (possibly male) had a
square to slightly notched tail tip. The bird observed by N. Aiken had a rounded tail. Speci-
mens in The Australian Museum have tails as follows: square to slightly notched on the two
males and one large (probably female) bird; rather rounded on one female.
Several other raptors are similar to the Red Goshawk in colour scheme, especially the
Square -tailed Kite, immature Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis, and some dark phase Little
Eagles. However their different shape and flight behaviour separate them at once. At close
range, the Red Goshawk’s striking pattern of rufous wing linings and boldly barred underside
of flight and tail feathers is very diagnostic (Favaloro /oc. cit.). There is a need for Red Gos-
hawk sighting to be more fully documented, especially with details on their biology and behav-
A paper of this nature requires the help of many people. wish to thank the following
especially for their assistance with the collation of records: Ms M. Blakers of the Atlas, Messrs
C. Austin, G. Beruldsen, R. Cooper, J. Cupper, N. Favaloro, J. Hobbs, G. Holmes, J. Izzard,
G. Kleindienst, T. Lindsey, W. Longmore, A. Morris, F. Morris, F. Stephens. T. Lindsey also
commented on a draft of this paper.
Debus,’S.J.S. 1981. A record of the Red Goshawk. Sunbird, in press.
Favaloro, N.J. 1981. The Red Goshawk. Aust. Bird Watcher 9, 44-53.
Lindsey, T.R. 1981. N.S.W. Bird Report for 1980. Aust. Birds 16, 1-23.
Hermes, N. 1980. Endangered species. Parks and Wildlife Aug. 1980.
Mathews, G.M. 1916. The Birds of Australia. London: Witherby and Co.
Morris, A.K., A.R. McGill and G. Holmes. 1981. Handlist of Birds in New South Wales. N.S.W. Fileld
Ornithologists Club.
Morris, F.T. 1976. Birds of Prey of Australia: a Field Guide. Melbourne: Lansdowne.
North, A.J. 1912. Nests and Eggs of Birds Found Breeding in Australia and Tasmania. Aust. Mus. Spec. Cat.
Rogers, A.E.F. 1977. N.S.W. Bird Report for 1976. Aust. Birds 11, 81-104.
Slater, P. 1970. Red Goshawks in Canberra? Canberra Bird Notes 6, 23-24.
Slater, P. 1978. Rare and Vanishing Australian Birds. Adelaide: Rigby.
Wheeler, R. 1968. Bird notes 1967-68. Bird Obs. 442:3-8.
Wheeler, R. 1970. Bird notes 1969-70. Bird Obs. 468:4-8.
STEPHEN J.S. DEBUS 42 Kenneth St., Longueville. N.S.W. 2066.46 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (161 3
While driving along Wrights Lane, Castlereagh on 1 November 1980, a Kingfisher was
observed perched on telephone wires adjacent to one of the gravel pits that are located in the
vicinity. The bird was immediately recognised as a Red -backed Kingfisher Halcyon pyrrhopygia
because of its grey/white streaked cap and orange/red rump, visible through the folded wings.
A. McBride was already familiar with the bird in Central Australia.
The bird was extremely co-operative in allowing us to confirm the salient features of its
plumage, by flying from an overhead wire to a small bush next to the road, then on to a fence –
post and back to the overhead wire again. In all these movements the back and rump were ob-
served quite distinctly. These markings together with the general bright appearance of the bird
led us to suspect that it was a male. All of the underparts were noted as white. The bird was
observed as close as four metres at times.
The Red -backed Kingfisher was subsequently observed at the same place on 16 November
1980, and by ourselves and other observers until January 1981. On 3 December 1980 a nest
was located in which at least two distinct “voices” could be heard. No birds were seen by AM
on 24 January 1981 and it is presumed breeding was successful. Many observers were fortunate
in being able to observe this pair of Kingfishers during their stay at Castlereagh.
It is interesting to note that in all standard reference texts studied, it is stated, or implied,
that the Red -backed Kingfisher can live far from water. Yet at the observation site, the gravel
pits contained approximately six good-sized depressions all with extensive water. G. Beruldsen
(1980 Nest and Eggs of Australian Birds P. 276) states “seldom, if ever, nests in a cliff overlook-
ing or close to water in the stream bed ” Our birds chose a vertical wall in the south-west
corner of the gravel pit on what can only be called from above, “a cliff overlooking water”.
The nest was approximately 1.5 m from the top of the cliff and 12 m above the water level.
The cliff dropped straight down to water.
This record represents the fifth occasion when the Red -backed Kingfisher has been ob-
served and the first instance that breeding has occurred within the County of Cumberland.
Hindwood and McGill (1958 The Birds of Sydney) give the first three records as Ashfield 1873,
Artarmon June 1919 and Caringbah July 1930; G. Chapman (1962 Emu 61, 316) records one,
which was seen and photographed by A.R. McGill and M. Kaveney between Luddenham and
Bringelly on 29 July 1961; and A.R. McGill (in Lindsey 1981 Australian Birds 16, 23) observ-
ed one at Camden on 20 May 1979. This last mentioned record was just outside the Cumber-
land boundary and within the Co -u nty of Camden. Most previous observations therefore have
been in the winter months May July and this is consistent with coastal occurrences else-
where in New South Wales. The widespread drought in parts of inland New South Wales at the
time of our observation may well have been the reason why at least one pair of Red -backed
Kingfishers nested nearer to the coast than usual in 1980.
The authors wish to acknowledge the assistance of A.R. McGill and A.K. Morris in the
preparation of this note.
A.P. McBRIDE 26/8 Haride Street, Neutral Bay N.S.W. 2089.
A.R. DAMPNEY 5 Poole Road, Kellyville N.S.W. 2055.March, 1982 d7
At 1645 hours on 17 February 1980 a female plumaged Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundin-
aceum was observed in a Weeping Bottlebrush Callistemon viminalis at suburban South
Grafton. It was feeding at the blossoms by working its open bill over the stamens. The tongue
was apparently being used to collect nectar or pollen in lorikeet fashion. The method of feeding
was more suggestive of nectar or pollen gathering than insect seeking. The bird fed in this
fashion for about an hour. At 1820 hours an adult male and an immature of the same species
were feeding in the bottlebrush in a similar manner to the first bird.
On 29 June 1981 two adult male Mistletoebirds were observed feeding at the blossoms of
the same bottlebrush. Mistletoebirds have been seen or heard in the tree on numerous occasions
but other commitments have prevented closer observations to determine feeding methods.
When discussing the diet of Mistletoebirds H.J. Firth (1976 Ed. Readers Digest Complete
Book of Australian Birds) lists a variety of berries, and insects as being eaten. He does state,

however, that some members of the family Dicaeidae (flowerpeckers), to which the Mistletoe

bird belongs, do feed on nectar.
The relative abundance of the Weeping Bottlebrush in the Clarence Valley, especially along
watercourses, may account for this apparent adaption by the Mistletoebird to feeding on nectar
or pollen.
GREG P. CLANCY, 17 Margaret Cres, South Grafton N.S.W. 2461
While observing honeyeaters at Waterfall in the Royal National Park, Sydney, a Grey
Currawong Strepera versicolor was noted feeding in an unnusual manner. During the early
afternoon (13:00 – 14:00 hr) on 16 June 1980 a single bird was seen walking slowly through
the very low heath of the Uloola Ridge. The ridge saddle was dominated by scattered clumps of
Darwinia fascicularis and mosses, with the intervening areas being exposed sandstone littered
with rock debris. It was in these open areas of bedrock that the currawong was feeding.
With slow and deliberate strides the bird would approach and then inspect each rock. At
some (notably small ones) the currawong would bend over, crook its head to one side and
force its beak beneath the rock. The bird then straightened its head and proceeded to lift the
stone off the substrate by opening its beak. On a number of occasions (three of the ten observ-
ed), the bird suddenly thrust its beak forward below the rock and dragged out a lizard (most
likely hibernating Ctenotus taeniolatus, which were very common on the ridge).
Such foraging behaviour, whether common or rare, indicates a substantial ability of
Strepera spp. to modify their behaviour to capture otherwise obtainable prey.
D.C. McFARLAND, Zoology Department, University of New England, Armidale N.S.W. 235148 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (16) 3
In recent years fears have been expressed that the Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza
phrygia has disappeared from its more favoured haunts. In the most recent comprehensive re-
view Peters (1979) demonstrated a decline in population status throughout its former range,
particularly in Victoria. More recently, E. Incoll (1981) and others writing in the Bird Observer
have corroborated Peters’ conclusion. The purpose of this paper is to examine whether there
has been a decline in populations of the Regent Honeyeater in the Upper Macquarie -Castlereagh
regions of News South Wales, compared with published reports dating back over 100 years for
the same area.
The area considered in this paper encompasses the Shires of Coolah, Coonabarabran, Well-
ington, and Mudgee. These Shires are located on the Cudgegong River (Mudgee), Talbragar
River (Coolah), Macquarie River (Wellington), and Castlereagh River (Coolah and Coonabara-
bran). The area generally forms part of the “Central -west slopes and plains”, climatic district
of the State. The Cudgegong and Talbragar Rivers are tributaries of the Macquarie River, the
former joining the Macqua le at Burrendo-n g Dam, the latter near Dubbo. The- geographical
location is generally between 31 degrees 29 degrees south, 148 degrees 30′ 150 degrees
east, in mid central -north-west of New South Wales.
The rolling hills and wide, flat valleys of this Region have been developed primarily for
cereal growing, mainly wheat, and the raising of fat lambs and beef cattle. The river valleys were
formerly covered in a woodland dominated by Yellow Box Eucalyptus melliodora, Blakeley’s
Redgum E. Blake/eyi, and Rough -barked Apple Angophora floribunda with an understorey of
acacias. The hill slopes were clothed in White Box E. albens and White Cypress Pine Cal/itris
columellaris, again with an understorey of acacias, while the ridges were characterised by a dry
sclerophyll forest dominated by Narrow -leafed Ironbark E. creba, Mugga Ironbark E. sidernxy-
Ion, White Gum E. rossii, Black Cypress Pine C. enderlicheri, Silver -leafed Banksia Banksia
marginata and many understorey plants. In the upper reaches of the rivers, River Oak Casuarina
cunninghamiana was the dominant tree, while lower down, River Redgum E. camaldulensis
While much of the river valleys and slopes have been cleared, there still remains a consider-
able amount of natural vegetation. The steeper ironbark-clad hills still remain, and while the
woodland on the slopes has been thinned and much of the White Cypress Pine removed for tim-
ber purposes, the Yellow Box and White Box are still very common trees. Except in the towns
like Wellington and Mudgee where the introduced willow trees Salix babylonica have been
planted, Redgums and River Oak still line the rivers. In this region, large areas have been set
aside for State Forests (14 forests covering 102000 ha), Nature Reserves (five, totalling 43000
ha), National Parks (one the Warrumbungle National Park 19000 ha) , Burrendong Catchment
Area (12000 ha), Mr. Arthur Reserve (1300ha), and Windermere Dam Catchment Area (6000
ha). In addition, there are numerous travelling stock reserves and other areas of crown land
which retain the natural vegetation, including the higher section of hills and ranges. It is doubt-
ful whether the extent of natural vegetation is less now than it was in the 1930’s, because
although clearing of land has continued since that time, the catchment areas, National Parks
and Nature Reserves established in recent years, all included formerly cleared lands that now
are being allowed to revert to natural woodlands, generally dominated by Yellow Box and
White Box.March, 1982 49
This area is for -tu nate in having three very detailed accounts of the avifauna of the Region
made between 50 100 years ago. It is from these accounts that it is possible to assess what
changes may have taken place since.
During the period 1880-1888 Messrs Cox and Hamilton (1889) made a detailed account
of the birds of the Mudgee District, collecting eggs and skins. They recorded 205 species for an
area that roughly co-incides with the present day boundaries of the Mudgee Shire. They said
of the Regent Honeyeater,
“not common here until 1885 and 1886 when large numbers were observed in July feeding
on the White Box blossom Eucalyptus hemiphloia (=albens), and young birds not able to fly
were observed in September. One of us took two sets of eggs and heard of another being taken;
so that there can be no doubt as to their breeding”.
At Cobbora, on the banks of the Talbragar River, 13 km west of Dunedoo, T.P. Austin
(1918) recorded the birds on his 3600 ha property, “Cobbora Station”, during the period
1905 -1917, and gives details of 132 species found breeding in the District. The property
consisted of timbered ranges, arable river flats, and timbered watercourses. The status of the
Regent Honeyeater was given as follows:-
“Being a nomadic species, it arrives some years towards the end of winter, as a rule, most
of the birds depart before the end of November. Some years, or even several years in succession,
not a bird will be seen. Only once have I known them to remain here all winter. They breed
here in great numbers laying mostly two eggs for a sitting, but occasionally three, and they
often become the foster parents of the Pallid Cuckoo. The nests are sometimes placed within a
few feet of the ground, but it is not unnusual to see them forty or fifty feet up. The earliest
date on which I have taken their eggs is September 2 and the latest November 26″.
In the Dripstone area, 12 km south of Wellington, G.W. Althofer lived and he recorded the
birds, of that area over a ten year period 1924-34. Of the Regent Honeyeater he said (p. 106)
was 149, compared with 169 for the previous ten years. Among the species recorded on the
daily counts was the Regent Honeyeater, being recorded on three days in August, two days in
September 1933, and on one day in April 1934, a total of 6 days out of 365. The Regent
Honeyeater therefore was hardly very common in that year!
Finally A.J. Campbell (1900) records that John Gould who did much of his collect-
ing in central N.S.W.”regarded it as a stationary species but Hermann Lau, a noted egg
collector, records that during the period 1865-1869 it only appeared in numbers now and
To conclude, prior to 1935, the species in the area in question was known to be nomadic,
appearing irregularly in large numbers mainly during the period July -October, but often absent
for several years at a time.
Between 1965-1973 AKM made a regular banding trip to Munghorn Gap Nature Reserve,
30 km east of Mudgee, each of two to three days’ duration. In addition, from 1968 onwards
an additional three day quail survey was carried out at Cooyal, midway between Mudgee and
Munghorn Gap. NK has lived at “Balmoral”, Cooyal since 1940 and kept records of the birds
on the area since 1973 up until the present time. Between us, we have monthly records of all
species observed since 1965.50 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (16) 3
A summary of our Regent- Honeyeater observations in the Mudgee area during the period

1965-1981 are set out below:

1967 August October, maximum 48 in May, Munghorn Gap.

1968 2 in January, possible the last of the large numbers in 1967 at Munghorn Gap.

1970 January October, on 5 occasions, max 15 in July at Munghorn Gap. Also nested at

Cudgegong, 38 km south of Mudgee on 4 January 1970 (Rogers 1971).

1971 March May, max 100 in April Munghorn Gap.
1973 April, 30 + on 19 April, Munghorn Gap.
1977 April, “large numbers” but no details (A. Cam pers. comm.) Munghorn Gap.
1978 October, Max 8 birds in creekside vegetation at “Balmoral”, Cooyal.
1979 May, single bird Cooyal Creek near “Balmoral”.
1981 September, single bird Cooyal Creek near “Balmoral”.
1981 October, small numbers at Munghorn Gap.
The present status in the Cooyal-Munghorn Gap area is similar therefore to that described
by Cox and Hamilton (/oc. city, for the Mudgee District in 1889. Unfortunately, we do not
know how widespread the birds were in 1887 as the authors mentioned no localities but Mung-
horn Gap itself is referred to elsewhere in their paper.
Few visits by ornithologists have been made to Cobbora in recen-t years and on the two or
three occasion that AKM made brief stops in the area between 1975 1981 no Regent Honey –
eaters were observed. The nearest observation by AKM was at Wongoni Creek 20 km north
of Cobbora HS, a single bird on 11 June 1976 (Rogers 1977). However the area is still well
timbered at Cobbora and the habitat appears to be suitable.
G.W. Althofer (pers. comm. 1982) advises that although he has recently moved from Drip –
stone into Wellington, the status of the Regent Honeyeaters has not changed since he wrote
his article in 1935. The birds usually were present when th -e White Box flowered, some years
early in April, but other years it flowers as late as August September. The numbers of birds
however, varied considerably, some years they were abundant, at other times very few were
At nearby Mumbil, George’s brother, Peter Althofer is manager of the Burrendong Arbore-
tum. He advises (pers. comm. 1982) that here the birds can be found most years when the
White Box is in flower, staving two to three months. Once again numbers fluctuate, sometimes
in flocks of 20-30 birds throughout the District, other times only one or two birds are sighted.
Rarely do the birds stay to breed but in October 1980, a pair bred in the Burrendong Caravan
Park and fed the young on nectar and insects taken from a Grevillia longifolia in flower at the
time. These birds were also seen by C.M. Bonser and the observation was recorded in Lindsey
(1981). Peter Althofer said that large numbers were present elsewhere in the District at the time

that this pair were nesting.

Other sightings in recent times in the area are as follows:
1958 May, One bird amongst many iioneyeaters 16 km south of Wellington. (A.R. McGill in
litt. 1982).
1978 September, 10 in Yellow Box near Mumbil on 18 September (AKM).Mamh,1982


During residence in Coonabarabran 1975 1981, the Regent Honeyeater has only been
recorded in this Shire at the Warrumbungle National Park. There are some earlier sightings for
the Park, but without any details, i.e. February 1965. The birds have been recorded along
Spirey Creek and Mopra Creek near Camps Pincham and Blackman. Each stream is lined with
River Oak, Red- Gum, Yellow Box and White Box, and Rough -barked Apple. Details of sightings
are as follows:

1965 February.

1976 20-30 birds Sept December when nesting took place near Camp Pincham, but also
observed at Camp Blackman by AKM, A.R. McGill and others.

1977 A few birds remaining in January.

1979 Small numbers present in creekside vegetation April May.
Without any earlier reports to compare it with it is not known whether these observations
could be considered to be unchanged over the years. Since the Park was established in 1953
with 2200 ha, it has now been extended to 19000 ha, much of which consists of Yellow Box
and White Box woodland, considered to be suitable Regent Honeyeater habitat.


During the period 1965 1977, 40 Regent Honeyeaters were banded at Munghorn Gap
Nature Reserve banding station. For details of the site see Morris (1975). No birds have been
retrapped at the banding site or recovered elsewhere. All birds were banded by AKM or Annette


Details of banding dates are set out below:

  1. 4.1967 20.4.1967 4 8 12
  2. 5.1967 3 3
  3. 7.1970
    1 1
  4. 8.1970 2 2
    1 1
  5. 4.1973 10 8 18
  6. 4.1977 1 2 3
    Adults were separated from immatures in that the former have chestnut -red irises, dark
    gape and bright yellow wattles. Immatures have pale gapes; brown irises; pale, very small or
    no wattles around the eye; and brown head feathers.
    The mass of seven adults taken on 19 April 1973 averaged 47.6 gm, range 41-52 gm.
    The length of 14 adults averaged 237 mm, range 218-247 mm.
    The wing length of five adults averaged 113 mm, range 108-118 mm.
    The wing span of 17 adults averaged 339 mm, range 320-351 mm.
    Based on information presented in this paper, there is no indication that Regent Honey –
    eaters have declined in the Upper Macquarie and Castlereagh River valleys. Certainly there have52 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (16) 3
    been less observations it the past five years than the previous five years, but that could reflect
    less birding in the areas where the birds are known to occur, than any other reason. Between
    1965-1975 AKM visited Munghron Gap almost every month, but not so any longer, yet the
    Regent Honeyeaters were recorded during several visits by ornithologists in the past five years
    at very irregular intervals. Therefore, we are of the opinion there is no sign of a decline in popu-
    lations of the Regent Honeyeaters in this area as yet.
    We are indebted to the Secretary, Australian Bird Banding Scheme for the provision of
    banding equipment and for advice and information on the banding data. P. Althofer, G.W.
    Althofer, A. Cam and A.R. McGill provided data, and made helpful comments concerning the
    d raft.
    Althofer, G.W. 1934 Birds of the Wellington District. Emu 34, 105-112
    Austin, T.P. 1918 The Birds of the Cobbora District Aust Zool. 1, 109-137
    Campbell, A.J. 1900 Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds, Melbourne. Wren Publishing Co. (Facsimile Ed.)
    Cox, J.D. and A.G. Hamilton 1889 Birds of the Mudgee District. Proc. Lin. Soc. 4, 395-424
    Heron, S.J. 1973 Birds of the Orange District N.S.W. Emu 73, 1-8
    !moll, E. 1981 More about Regent Honeyeaters. Birds Obs. 599, p 101
    Lindsey, T.R. 1981 Bird Report for 1980. Aust. Birds 16,20
    Morris, A.K. 1975 Results from Banding Yellow -tufted Honeyeaters. Aust. Bird Bander 13, 1-8.
    Peters, D.E. 1979 Some :ividence for a decline in population status of the Regent Honeyeater. Aust. Bird –
    watcher 8, 117-123
    Rogers, A.E.F. 1971 Bird Report for 1970. Birds 5, 71
    Rogers, A.E.F. amd T.R. Lindsey 1977 Bird Report for 1976. Aust. Birds 11, 102
    A.K. MORRIS, P.O. Box 39 Coonabarabran N.S.W. 2857.
    N.K. KURTZ, “Balmoral” ‘ RMB 4, Wollar Road, Mudgee N.S.W. 2850.
    On 28 December 1981 a large pigeon was observed in a tall Native Tamarind Diploglottis
    australis in a patch of gully rainforest near Coramba, north-west of Coffs Harbour. On closer
    inspection the pigeon was seen to be a Wompoo Fruit -Dove Ptilinopus magnificus. While it was
    perched there two Topknot Pigeons Lopho/aimus antarcticus landed in the tree, followed by a
    flock of Rainbow Loriketts Trichog/ossus haematodus, an Australian King Parrot Alisterus
    scapularis and a Pied Currawong Strepera gracu/ina. Although none of these birds was observed
    feeding they were apparently attracted to the tree’s profuse crop of sticky fruits. The fruits are
    also edible to humans.
    GREG P. CLANCY, 17 Margaret Cres, South Grafton N.S.W. 2416NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS
    Contributors are requested to observe the following points when submitting articles and notes
    for publication.
  7. Species, names, and the order in which they occur are to be in accordance with “Handlist
    of Birds in New South Wales”. A.K.Morris, A.R.McGill and G. Holmes 1981 Dubbo:
  8. Articles or notes should be typewritten if possible and submitted in duplicate. Double
    spacing is required.
  9. Margins of not less than 25mm width at the left hand side and top, with similar of slightly
    smaller at the right hand side of pages.
  10. No underlinings and no abbreviations except as shown in the examples.
  11. Photographs should be glossy finish and not too small.
  12. The Style Manual, Commonwealth Government Printing Office, Canberra (1966) and
    subsequent editions will be the guide for this Journal.
  13. Diagrams should be on plain white paper drawn with india ink. Any lettering is to be
    ‘professional style’ or lightly pencilled.
  14. Dates must be written “1 January 1975” except in tables and figures where they may be
  15. The 24-hour clock will be used, times being written 06:30, 18:30 for 6.30 a.m. and
    6.30 p.m. respectively.
  16. Mr, Mrs, Dr are not followed by a full stop.
  17. In text, numbers one to ten are spelt; numbers of five figures or more should be grouped
    in threes and spaced by a thin gap. Commas should not be used as thousands markers.
  18. References to other articles should be shown in the text-‘…B.W. Finch and M.D. Bruce
    (1974) stated…’ and under heading
    Finch, B.W. and M.D. Bruce 1974 The Status of the Blue Petrel in Australian Waters
    Aust. Birds 9, 32-35
  19. Acknowledgements to other individuals should include Christian names or initials.Vol. 16, No. 3 March, 1982
    Debus, S.J.S. Range and status of the Red Goshawk in New South Wales 41
    McBride, A.P. & Redbacked Kingfisher breeding in County of Cumberland 46
    A.R. Dampney
    Clancy, G.P. Mistletoebirds feeding at Bottlebrush flowers 47
    McFarland D.C. Lizard Hunting by a Grey Currawong 47
    Morris A.K. & The Status of the Regent Honeyeater in the Upper Macquarie
    N. Kurtz and Castlereagh Valleys 48

Clancy, G.P. Birds in a Native Tamarind 52

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