Vol. 17 No. 3-text

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Journal of the
March, 1983
Vol. 17, No. 3

ISSN 0311-8150

Registered by Australia Post Publication No. NBH0790THE N.S.W. FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB
The object of the Club is to promote the study and conservation of Australian
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6-8 College Street, Sydney 2000.49
Vol. 17, No. 3 March, 1983
The maximum number of Pied Currawongs Strepera graculina seen each afternoon in a
suburban yard in Thornleigh, Sydney was recorded for five years. A seasonal pattern emerged
from this data: numbers were highest in early summer, decreased dramatically in autumn,
increased in winter and decreased slightly in spring. Seasonal variation in numbers was thus
unrelated to temperature. Other published accounts of the seasonal abundance of Pied
Currawongs have not reported large numbers in urban areas during summer.
Despite almost two hundred years of European settlement in south-eastern Australia and
several studies (Walsh 1965, Strong 1966, Readshaw 1968 a and 1 968 b, Wimbush 1969), the
seasonal movements of Pied Currawongs are still not clear. Standard works give the reader two
different viewpoints. Leach (1958), Frith (1969), Reid, Shaw& Wheeler(1973), Rowley(1974),
Reader’s Digest(1977) and Morris, McGill & Holmes(1981) all use the word nomad to describe
the movements of Pied Currawongs, while Bourke (1955) and Pizzey (1980) both use the term
altitudinal migrant Other authors, such as Wheeler (1967) and Cayley (1972) discussed
seasonal changes but did not classify them. Slater (1 974) described the species as mainly
sedentary, but with regular altitudinal movements in some areas. Altitudinal movement
involves movement to the Great Dividing Range in spring and a return to lower altitudes in
autumn ( Readshaw 1968 b).50 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (17) 3
These discrepancies may be semantic as every intermediate stage between sedentary and
migratory birds exists (Dorst 1974), but it may also reflect the absence of substantial data on
these birds outside the winter months.
This study was carried out in suburban Thornleigh (166 m a.s.l.) approximately 19 km
north-west from the centre of Sydney. The surrounding district consists of detached dwellings
in 750 m2 blocks with some factories and shops along a major traffic corridor 0.75 km distant.
Most of the blocks are well vegetated with a mixture of exotic and native species. Bushland is
present in the valleys on each side of the narrow (approximately 1-3 km wide) urban area.
Vegetation in the bushland ranges from tall open -forest to shrub dominated communities.
The climate is mild, with average daily minimum temperatures ranging from 4.6°C to
15.9°C( Fig. 2). The nearest (1.5 km) climatic station is at Pennant Hills( Department of Science
and the Environment 1979).
The study site was at the junction of the built-up area and bushland. It consisted of a
backyard containing a lawn surrounded by a dense growth of shrubs and trees.
The maximum number of Pied Currawongs, in this yard and in two large trees in
neighbouring yards, was recorded each afternoon for five years( February1977 to January 1982
inclusive). The number of records ranged from 115 to 150 for each month of the five-year
period. During the afternoon bread and dilute honey mixture, seed and meat were put out for a
range of birds including Rainbow Lorikeets Trichoglossus haematodus, Noisy Miners Manorina
melanocephala, Laughing Kookaburras Dacelo novaeguineae, Australian Magpies Gymnorhina
tibicen and Pied Currawongs. These handouts were sufficient to attract large numbers of Pied
Currawongs to the yard, but were unlikely to have influenced any population movements
caused by weather, general availability of food or other factors.
A pattern of high summer, very low autumn numbers followed by a winter peak and a
decline in numbers in spring was repeated in all five years. However, Fig. shows that these
patterns were not exactly the same each year. For example, the lowest number of birds was
recorded in April in four of the five years (once in March), while the highest winter- spring
numbers were recorded twice in July, twice in August and once in September. The comparative
numbers of birds visiting the site also varied from year to year. For example, the winter peak
varied from an average of nine to twenty birds.
The seasonal differences are statistically significant at the 5% confidence level (students t-
test) and the number visiting the site was clearly unrelated to temperature, as peaks occurred in
both the coldest and hottest months of the year (Fig. 2).
The variability in comparative numbers and the precise timing of seasonal differences
resulted in a high standard deviation and range for the five-year period. The highest standard
deviation was 6.5 in July and the greatest ranges occurred in January (2-35) and November
(0-34) Fig. 2).
(March, 1983 51
Fig. 1. The average number of Pied Currawongs recorded at the study site on each month over
the five-year study period.52 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (17) 3
This study was undertaken in conjunction with a more detailed study of food of Pied
Currawongs (Buchanan in prep.), in which was interested in the number of birds visiting the
site of pellet collection each afternoon. The sample area was therefore unusually small for a
study aimed primarily at sampling the seasonal changes in bird populations. However,
continuous casual observations of the local population suggest that the results reflect seasonal
changes in the local population of Pied Currawongs, and not just changes in their use of the
feeding station, except perhaps in spring.
High December -January numbers, when a large population of young birds was present,
were certainly reflected in the surrounding urban area and bushland. The decrease in autumn
was associated with a dearth of birds seen or heard in the district Winter numbers were again
very high in the urban and bushland areas, but the low numbers in spring may have been an
artifact caused by a change in behaviour due to breeding, as reasonable numbers were still in
the district
Nest construction can begin in Thornleigh as early as late July, and laying can commence
in late August( B. Howie, pers. comm.) while more usually eggs are recorded from September to
December (Morris, McGill Et Holmes 1981). The birds studied by Recher (1976) had well
defined territories during breeding, and the decrease in numbers at the Thornleigh site may
have reflected this territorial behaviour, with only non- breeding birds available to visit the site.
Numbers certainly decreased in the built-up area during these months, but the number of birds
in the bush (some in well-defined flocks of 10-30 birds), remained relatively high.
Although available data is incomplete, winter arrival and departure times of flocks seem
reasonably consistent over a distance of 500 km from north- eastern Victoria to the Sydney area,
at altitudes ranging from approximately 100 m a. s. I. to above 1500 m a.s. I. Flocks arrive in April –
May and depart in late August to October(Campbell 1903, Roberts 1942, Walsh 1965, Vellenga
1966, Readshaw 1968a, Frith 1969). The results of this study are consistent with these, and
indicate that the spring decrease in numbers at the Thornleigh site reflects a departure of some
Virtually all observations on Pied Currawong populations concern the winter months. For
example, Caley 1800-1810 reported in Currey 1966), Campbell (1903), Roberts (1942),
Vellenga (1966), Gall (1977) and Marsland (1977) all record winter flocks in altitudes ranging
from sea level to elevations above 1500 m. Even the studies carried out by Walsh (1965),
Strong (1966), Readshaw (1 968a and b) and Wimbush (1969), emphasize the winter months.
Pied Currawongs tend to congregate around human settlements in winter. Only 10-20
years after European settlement Cayley wrote that the birds could be seen in large flocks on the
newly sown wheat in the depths of winter in the Sydney area ( reported in Currey 1966).
Readshaw(1 968b) located all the birds in his survey close to settlement at parks, playgrounds,
rubbish tips and the like, while in the Snowy Mountains Wimbush (1 969) concluded that the
apparent altitudinal movement to the valleys in winter occurred simply because settled areas
were usually in the valleys. This type of behaviour is no doubt associated with the large amount
of food scraps found near towns, but it may also be associated with the production of fruit by
exotic plants which grow around settlements. For example, Privet (Ligustrum sinense and L
lucidum) is a very common weed in the Sydney suburban area and produces a prolific crop fruitMarch, 1983 53
No of Currawongs
1°’ 16 123 IN 18
0-8 la;
kuvl Mm Te1m8p
Fig. 2. The standard deviation, range and average number of Pied Currawongs at the study
site over the five- year period 1977-1981. The average minimum temperature recorded at the
nearest climatic station is also shown.54 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS I1 7) 3
in winter. In Mittagong, Walsh (1965) noticed that peak winter numbers of currawongs
coincided with the fruiting of privet, which was the main food supply. The two species of privet
are also the main food supply in winter in the Thornleigh area ( Buchanan in prep.). Opportunistic
feeding behaviour is also reported by Loyn (1980) who recorded Pied Currawongs following
logging operations and scavenging for insects and small reptiles.
Observations over summer are far sketchier and none indicate a tendency to flock in urban
areas as the results in this study indicate. Jones (1981) studied the avifauna of the city of
Wagga Wagga (approximately 200 m a.s.l.) on the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range
and found that Pied Currawongs are numerous in winter, but absent from the entire district
during summer. Readshaw (1968b) concluded from his study and other recapture data that
these birds return to mountain forests in spring, mainly over long distances (up to 320 km).
Records of banded birds published in the Australian Bird Bander and Corella since Readshaw’s
(1 968 b) study show that the vast majority of recovered birds have been banded and recovered
in the latter eight months of the year. This again suggests that these birds are normally not
abundant near settlements during January to April inclusive.
In the light of this data, the high summer numbers in suburban Thornleigh, only 166 m
a.s.I., are somewhat surprising. Readshaw (1965) observed small parties in summer at
elevations of 600 m to 1200 m a.s.l. which he concluded were probably family groups. They
appeared to be continually on the move except that they lingered and flocked together
wherever they found abundant supplies. Perhaps abundant food supplies explains their
presence in the Thornleigh area.
Whether Pied Currawongs are nomadic or migratory is a question which remains
unresolved, and the answer depends largely on the definitions used for these terms. Rowley
(1974) outlines three requirements before a bird can strictly be called migratory. (a) a significant
part of the total population is involved; (b) the movements conform to a regular and predictable
schedule, and (c) “movement must be from one clearly defined part of the world to another
equally clearly defined region”. The first two of these are partly fulfilled in this and other studies,
but the third is not Birds have been recovered (“Recovery Roundup” in Australian Bird Bander
and Corella) over 100 km distant from their banding place in a different year in the same month,
but very few have been recovered in a different year in the same month at the banding place.
It seems likely that this species is nomadic, but that it does have favoured routes of travel
and favoured feeding grounds at different seasons. It may well be that the pattern of movements
has become far more well defined since European settlement and that no matter how much data
is collected to confirm population movements, this will not elucidate the type of movements
before towns and cities were present in the Australian landscape.
My thanks are due to Shirley Buchanan for collecting some of the data, and for the typing.
Bourke, P.A. 1955. Elementary Bird Study. Nedlands, WA University of Western Australia Press.
Campbell, AG. 1903. Birds of north-eastern Victoria. Emu 2: 9-18.
Cayley, N.W. 1972. What Bird is That? Sydney: Angus and Robertson Pty Ltd.March, 1983 55
Currey, J. E B. 1966. Reflection on the colony of N.S.W. George Caley. Melbourne: Lansdowne Press.
Department of Science and the Environment 1979. Climatic Survey Sydney Region 5 New South
Wales. Canberra: Aust. Govt Publishing Service.
Frith, H.J. 1969. Birds of the Australian High Country. Sydney: A H. Ft AW. Reed.
Dorst, J. 1974. The Life of Birds. Vol II. New York: Columbia University Press.
Gall, B.C. and Longmore, N.W. 1978. Avifauna of the Thredbo Valley, Kosciusko National Park. Emu
78: 189-196.
Jones, D. N. 1981. Temporal changes in the suburban avifauna of an inland city. Aust Wildl. Res. 8:
Leach, J.A 1958. An Australian Bird Book. Melbourne: Whitcombe and Tombs Pty Ltd.
Loyn, R. H. 1980. Bird population in a mixed eucalupt forest used for production of wood in
Gippsland, Victoria. Emu 80: 145-156.
Marsland, A 1977. Birds in winter in the Kiewa Valley, Victoria, above 1,500 metres. Emu 77: 33.
Morris, A K., A R. McGill and G. Holmes. 1981. Handlist of Birds in New South Wales. Sydney. New
South Wales Field Ornithologists Club.
Pizzey, G. 1980. A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Sydney. Collins.
Reader’s Digest 1977. Complete Book of Australian Birds. Sydney. Reader’s Digest Services Pty Ltd.
Readshaw, J. L 1965. A theory of phasmatid outbreak release. Aust J. Zool. 13: 47-90.

Readshaw, J.L 1968a. Estimates of the size of winter flocks of the Pied Currawong, Strepera

graculina (Shaw), from mark -recapture data a new approach. Aust J. Zool. 16: 27-35.
Readshaw, J. L 1968 b. The distribution, abundance, and seasonal movements of the Pied
Currawong, Strepera graculina (Shaw), an important bird predator of Phasmatidae, in Eastern Australia.
Aust. J. Zool. 16: 37-45.
Recher, H. F. 1976. Reproductive behaviour of a pair of Pied Currawongs, Emu 76: 224-226.
Reid, AJ., N.J. Shaw, W. R. Wheeler. 1973. Birds of Victoria. The Ranges. Melbourne: Gould League
of Victoria.
Roberts, N. L 1942. The winter flocking of the Pied Currawong. Emu 42: 17-24.
Rowley, I. 1974. Bird Life. Sydney. Collins.
Slater, P. 1974. A Field Guide to Australian Birds. Passerines. Adelaide: Rigby.
Strong, P. D. 1966. A winter population of Pied Currawongs. Aust. Bird Bander 4: 3-5.
Walsh, J. E. 1965. Notes on the Pied Currawong. Aust Bird Bander 3: 53.
Wheeler, W. R. 1967. A Handlist of the Birds of Victoria. Victorian Ornithological Research Group.
Wimbush, D.J. 1969. Studies on the Pied Currawong, Strepera graculina in the Snowy Mountains.
Emu 69: 72-80.
Vellenga, R.E 1966. Notes on the Pied Currawong. Aust. Bird Bander 4: 6.
R.A. Buchanan, 22 Alicia Road, Mt Kuring-gai NSW 2080.56 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (17) 3
The Square- tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura has been regarded as nomadic e.g. Morris,
McGill Et Holmes 1981), perhaps because of the scattering of fortuitous sightings. However,
CupperEt Cupper(1 981) found that adult pairs regularly bred in certain favoured localities. They
also found that the kite’s breeding diet consists of nestling birds; these and most other
recorded prey items (insects and lizards) have a strongly seasonal availability in temperate
Australia. therefore analyzed Square- tailed Kite reports in south-eastern Australia to see if any
obvious pattern emerged.
Records were extracted from the NSWFOC annual bird reports for the years 970-1 981
inclusive (Rogers 1971-1978, Lindsey 1979-1982). An “occurrence” here means one kite
present at a given locality for one month or part thereof. This was necessary to overcome
difficulties associated with the variety of ways in which observations were reported. Thus an
individual seen regularly at one place over two or more months is treated as one occurrence in
each month. Young kites in the nest were not counted, although there were several reports of
breeding. One report was not included in the analysis: G. Clancy reported the species at Grafton
“throughout most of 980 Lindsey, 1981).
1 (
Some additional records for south-eastern Australia were extracted from the RAOU Atlas
of Australian Birds. These records were a proportion of the accepted Unusual Record Report
Forms, and were a random sample regarding observation dates. They came to my attention for a
different reason, and were incidentally included in this analysis.
made sporadic efforts in 1979, 1980 and 982 to locate Square -tailed Kites in the cooler
I 1
months( May -August) in northern New South Wales. Limited searches were made in areas near
where the kites had been previously reported Bundarra, Baradine, Coonabarabran).
Reports of the Square -tailed Kite in southeastern Australia, 1970-1981
Dec Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov

  • FOC reports: 13 10 4 3 8 10 13
    1 1 1

Atlas: NSW 5 3 3 1 1 1

  • Vic
    1 1 1 1 1 1

1 1 1
Totals 19 14 8 2 3 2 9 13 15
1 1March, 1983 57
Table 1 illustrates the seasonal bias in Square- tailed Kite observations. The total number
of occurrences in each season was: summer 41, autumn 3, winter 6, spring 37. The figures for
spring and summer are conservative, since some observations spanned weeks or months and
may have involved more than one bird. My own winter searches for the kites in apparently
suitable habitat (open eucalypt and callitris forest) were unsuccessful.
The data suggest that the Square -tailed Kite is a spring -summer bree-d ing migrant to
south-eastern Australia. This is hardly surprising in view of its preferred prey nestling birds,
lizards and insects are at their peak abundance in the warmer months. The Square -tailed Kite
thus appears to be one of the most migratory of raptors in the south-east, rivalling the winter
exodus of Swamp Harriers Circus approximans from Tasmania (Green, 1977).
Caution is needed in interpreting these data because the Square -tailed Kite is notoriously
difficult to identify, and some of the records may be based on misidentifications. However, the
sources used offer a reasonably high level of reliability in this respect. Moreover, supposing a
significant number of the observations are spurious, it becomes even more difficult to explain
the strong seasonal trend in the data.
One question remaining is where do the kites go in winter? The obvious answer is the
tropics, but this needs confirmation by banding and systematic seasonal counts. It is perhaps
significant that Grafton, in the sub -tropical northeast of New South Wales, is the only locality
where the species was observed through most of a year.
A number of the records also challenge previously -held assumptions about the Square –
tailed Kite’s range and habitat preference in New South Wales. There are a number of records
from coastal and near -coastal localities, especially where there are resident ornithologists
regularly reporting their observations, eg. Grafton and Moruya. The Square -tailed Kite may
occur, more frequently than is realized, over open eucalypt forest and heathland on the coast.
From my experience of it in coastal Queensland, this species is easily overlooked if it is closely
working the canopy of a large tract of forest. It would certainly be worth watching for it over any
of the larger coastal national parks and state forests in New South Wales.
wish to thank Miss J. Strudwick of the Atlas of Australian Birds for permission to include
Atlas records in this paper.
Cupper, J. Er L Cupper. 1981. Hawks in Focus. Mildura: Jaclin Enterprises.
Green, R. H. 1977. Birds of Tasmania. Launceston: Queen Victoria Museum.
Lindsey, T. R. 1979. NSW bird report for 1978. Aust Birds 14: 1-22.
Lindsey, T. R. 1980. NSW bird report for 1979. Aust. Birds 15: 17-26.
Lindsey, T. R. 1981. NSW bird report for 1980. Aust. Birds 16: 1-23.
Lindsey, T. R. 1982. NSW bird report for 1981. Aust. Birds 17: 1-26.
Morris, A. K., AR. McGill Er G. Holmes. 1981. Handlist of birds in New South Wales. Dubbo:
Rogers, Alan E. F. 1971. NSW bird report for 1970. Birds 5: 66-76.
Rogers, Alan E.F. 1972. NSW bird report for 1971. Birds 6: 77-99.58 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (1 7) 3
Rogers, Alan E.F. 1973. NSW bird report for 1972. Birds 7: 89-109.
Rogers, Alan E.F. 1974. NSW bird report for 1973. Birds 8: 97-119.
Rogers, Alan E.F. 1975. NSW bird report for 1974. Aust. Birds 9: 77-97.
Rogers, Alan E. F. 1976. NSW bird report for 1975. Aust. Birds 10: 61-84.
Rogers, Alan E. F. 1977. NSW bird report for 1976. Aust. Birds 11: 81-104.
Rogers, Alan E. F. B T.R. Lindsey. 1978. NSW bird report for 1977. Aust. Birds 13: 1-22.
Stephen J. S. Debus, PO Box 1015, Armidale, NSW 2350.
Wing fluttering is a major component of many avian displays. In many species, it features
prominently in the distraction displays at the nest appeasement behaviour, food ‘begging’ by
females and fledged young and a wide range of aggressive behaviour. It is part of the display of
several finch species in territorial defence (Andrew, 1957) and is associated with high levels of
aggression in the American Goldfinch Cardue/is tristis (Coultee, 1 967). Wing fluttering displays
precede attack in the Least FlycatcherEmpidonaxminimus (MacQueen, 1950) and Loggerhead
Shrike Lanius ludovicianus (Smith, 973). We report here our observations of wing fluttering
displays by two Little Grassbirds Mega/urns gramineus in an apparently territorial dispute.
On 23 June 1982, while we were visiting Bakers Lagoon near Richmond, NSW, N.W.
Longmore heard a single note call of this species coming from low, dense creek -side
vegetation. By imitating its three note territorial song, he was able to attract three birds into
view. The Grassbirds moved about in the vegetation, occasionally disappearing from view and
intermittently calling. Two individuals, initially about six metres apart gave scolding calls and
moved towards each other with deliberate wing beats of a greater amplitude than is usually
associated with wing quivering actions such as food begging. Series of five or six beats were
given, separated from the next series by a momentary pause, as the birds moved forward. They
held their bodies horizontally and as they came closer, bowed their heads. One bird stopped,
but continued to flutter its wings; the other continued towards it. When the two birds were
several centimetres apart, they pounced at each other, made contact and fought for 5-10
seconds. They then separated, and we did not see any further aggression between them. The
entire sequence took about 25-30 seconds.
We interpret this encounter as territorial. The combatants made contact at the point where
the one bird stopped its forward movement, and their bout was restricted to this area. This
suggests that this was the boundary of the two adjoining territories. The high intensity wing
fluttering is similar to that reported for other species. Our observations were made at least a
month before the reported breeding season ( Reader’s Digest, 1 976) but territories appear to
have been established at this time. We do not know if these were breeding territories; as Little
Grassbirds are sedentary in this area, they may have been winter territories.March. 983 59
Little Grassbirds use wing fluttering in other contexts. Bryant (1940) described it as part of
courtship: the birds “face each other, droop and flutter the wings and utter the chattering call”
(p. 163). Whitlock (1912) and Hindwood (1950) mentioned this species practicing diversionary
tactics at the nest, fluttering and feigning a broken wing.
Andrew, R.J., 1957. The aggressive and courtship behaviour of certain emberizines. Behaviour 10: 255-308.
Bryant, C.E., 1940. Photography in the swamps: The Little Grassbird. Emu 40: 162-164.
Coultee, E.L, 1967. Agonistic behaviour in the American Goldfinch. Wilson Bull. 79: 89-109.
Hindwood, K.A., 1950. The Little Grassbird in Queensland. Emu 50: 36-40.
MacQueen, P.M., 1950. Territory and song in the Least Flycatcher. Wilson Bull. 62: 195-205.
Reader’s Digest 1976. Complete Book of Australian Birds. Reader’s Digest Services Pty. Ltd., Sydney.
Smith, S. M., 1973. An aggressive and related behaviour in the Loggerhead Shrike. Auk 90: 287-298.
Whitlock, F.L, 1912. Notes on Megalurus striatus (Milligan). Emu 11: 244-245.
Walter E. Boles, Department of Ornithology, Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW 2000.
William E. Davis, Jr., Department of Science, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, United States 02115.
N.W. Longmore, Associate, Department of Ornithology, Australian Museum, Sydney, NSW 2000.
From 3 December to 7 December 1981, travelled with A M. Fisher by canoe from Wagga
Wagga to Narrandera along the Murrumbidgee River. The journey of about 200 km took 42
hours of paddling, and a bird count was kept Birds were included only if seen along or over the
Of the 50 species reported by Guppy (1974, Birds 8: 85-88) on a similar journey through
this area in November 1972, saw 40 and added another 26 species. The difference in the
number of species is probably because of the drought conditions of 1981. Fourteen species
(marked B in Table 1) were observed breeding.
have described the habitat elsewhere (Waugh 1981, Aust Birds 15: 44-46). The
commonest and most widely distributed bird was again the Sulphur -crested Cockatoo although
the largest number of birds seen together was a flock of 110 Rufous Night Herons. Sixteen
species seen in 1980 were not seen in 1981, and 14 species seen in 1981 were not seen in

  1. Fifty-two species appear on both lists.
    Increases of 100% or more were noted in the numbers of Rufous Night Heron, Galah,
    Yellow Rosella, Sacred Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Fairy Martin, White -winged Chough, Magpielark,
    Australian Magpie and Australian Raven.
    In Table the common and scientific names follow the number given in Morris, McGill and
    Holmes 1981 Handlist of birds in New South Wales. NSWFOC: Sydney). The next column
    shows whether the bird was recorded by Guppy in 1972, the next whether seen by me in 1981,
    the next the number of entries for each species, and the last the total number of each species
    seen during our trip.60 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (17) 3
    The last entry in Table 1 was probably a flock of Little Ravens Corvus mellofi, a species
    common in the region. No calls were heard from this flock and the characteristic flight of Little
    Ravens was not noted.
    Table 1. Bird species recorded along the Murrumbidgee River between Wagga Wagga and
    Narrandera 3-7 December 1981.
    Species B 1972 1981 Entries Total
    54 Australian Pelican X 3 8
    Pelecanus conspicillatus
    59 Darter X
    Anhinga melanogaster
    61 Great Cormorant X X 2 2
    Phalacrocorax carbo
    62 Pied Cormorant X 1 1
    Phalacrocorax vafius
    63 Little Black Cormorant X X 1 1
    Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
    64 Little Pied Cormorant X 13 18
    Phalacrocorax melanoleucos
    68 Pacific Heron B X X 3 3
    Ardea pacifica
    69 White-faced Heron B X 20 24
    Ardea novaehollandiae
    72 Little Egret X
    Egretta garzetta
    76 Rufous Night Heron X X 20 146
    Nycticorax caledonicus
    82 Sacred Ibis X
    Threskiornis aethiopica
    83 Straw -necked Ibis X
    Threskiornis spinicollis
    84 Royal Spoonbill X 1 1
    Platalea regia
    85 Yellow- billed Spoonbill B X X 26 48
    Platalea flavipes
    89 Black Swan X
    Cygnus atratus
    94 Pacific Black Duck B X X 35 66
    Anas superciliosa
    96 Grey Teal B X X 10 22
    Anas gibberifrons
    102 Maned Duck B X X 59 384
    Chenonetta jubata
    115 Whistling Kite B X X 9 11
    Haliastur sphenurus
    116 Brown Goshawk X 2 2
    Accipiter fasciatus
    121 Wedge-tailed Eagle X 1 1
    Aquila audax
    122 Little Eagle X X 1 1
    Hieraaetus morphnoides
    126 Peregrine Falcon X X 1 1
    Falco peregrinusMarch, 1983 61
    127 Australian Hobby X X 2 2
    Falco longipennis
    129 Brown Falcon X 2 2
    Falco berigora
    130 Australian Kestrel X X 6 7
    Falco cenchroides
    133 Stubble Quail X 1 2
    Coturnix pectoralis
    149 Black- tailed Native -hen X
    Gallinula ventralis
    150 Dusky Moorhen X X 2 2
    Gallinula tenebrosa
    161 Masked Lapwing X 3 6
    Vanellus miles
    173 Black- fronted Plover X 13 17
    Charadrius melanops
    242 Feral Pigeon X X 2 22
    Columba livia
    245 Peaceful Dove X X 42 46
    Geopelia placida
    249 Common Bronzewing X 1 1
    Phaps chalcoptera
    252 Crested Pigeon X X 5 7
    Ocyphaps lophotes
    259 Galah X X 130 410
    Cacatua roseicapilla
    263 Sulphur -crested Cockatoo X X 134 792
    Cacatua galerita
    272 Superb Parrot X X 3 3
    Polytelis swainsonii
    274 Cockatiel X
    Nymphicus hollandicus
    280 Yellow Rosella X X 40 89
    Platycercus flaveolus
    281 Eastern Rosella X 2 4
    Platycercus eximius
    284 Red-rumped Parrot X X 35 73
    Psephotus haematonotus
    294 Pallid Cuckoo X
    1 1
    Cuculus pallidus
    298 Horsfield’s Bronze -Cuckoo X 3 3
    Chrysococcyx basalis
    305 Southern Boobook X 1 2
    Ninox novaeseelandiae
    320 Laughing Kookaburra X X 52 65
    Dacelo novaeguineae
    323 Sacred Kingfisher B X X 97 104
    Halcyon sancta
    325 Rainbow Bee- eater B X X 47 64
    Merops ornatus
    326 Dollarbird B X X 74 82
    Eurystomus orientalis
    333 White -backed Swallow X 5 5
    Cheramoeca leucostemum62 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (1 7) 3
    334 Welcome Swallow X X 77 555
    Hirundo neoxena
    336 Fairy Martin B X 59 738
    Cecropis afiel
    340 Black -faced Cuckoo- shrike X X 27 32
    Coracina novaehollandiae
    360 Shrike -tit X 2 2
    Falcunculus frontatus
    365 Rufous Whistler X X 3 3
    Pachycephela rufiventris
    367 Grey Shrike -thrush X X 50 50
    Colluricincla harmonica
    374 Restless Flycatcher X 3 3
    Myiagra inquieta
    376 Grey Fantail X
    Rhipidura fuliginosa
    377 Willie Wagtail B X X 67 76
    Rhipidura leucophrys
    389 Clamorous Reed -Warbler X X 12 13
    Acrocephalus stentoreus
    393 Rufous Songlark X 43 46
    Cinclorhampus mathewsi
    432 Brown Treecreeper X 20 28
    Climacteris picumnus
    438 Little Friarbird X 37 42
    Philemon citreogularis
    442 Noisy Miner X
    Manorina melanocephala
    455 White -plumed Honeyeater X X 85 145
    Lichenostomus penicillatus
    481 Striated Pardalote X X 11 11
    Pardalotus substriatus
    484 European Goldfinch X 1 2
    Carduelis carduelis
    486 House Sparrow X X 9 26
    Passer domesticus
    499 Common Starling B X X 89 733
    Sturnus vulgaris
    501 Olive -backed Oriole X 1 1
    Oriolus sagittatus
    509 White -winged Chough X X 17 100
    Corcorax melanorhampus
    511 Magpie -lark B X X 111 164
    Grallina cyanoleuca
    516 Dusky Woodswallow X 1 1
    Artamus cyanopterus
    519 Pied Butcherbird X
    Cracticus nigrogularis
    520 Australian Magpie X X 43 72
    Gymnorhina tibicen
    523 Australian Raven X X 60 132
    Corvus coronoides
    Corvus sp. 1 50
    John W Waugh, 33 Cecil Street Caringbah NSW 2229.March, 1983 63
    With some exceptions, the species of birds taken by Wedge-tailed Eagles Aquila audax
    include most of those locally available with bodyweights greater than 100 gm ( Brooker Et
    Ridpath, 1980, Aust. Wildl. Res. 7: 433-452). Food remains from a nest in the Macquarie
    Marshes, central western NSW (from which two chicks fledged) included birds from two orders
    that are rarely taken: Pelecaniformes (at least two Great Cormorants Pha/acrocorax carbo) and
    Ciconiiformes (one spoonbill Platalea sp.). Other birds found in the food remains were Black
    Swan Cygnus atratus (at least three), Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa (two), Grey Teal A
    gibberifons (one), and unidentified crow or raven Corvus sp. (two). Other animal remains
    consisted of a turtle (probably Che/odina longicollis), Eastern Grey Kangaroo Macropus
    giganteus (two) and Pig Sus scrofa (nine). The kangaroo and pig material was from juvenile
    animals but the waterbird remains (identified by G. van Tets) appeared to be from adults. The
    collection was made during a drought year (1980) and no widespread breeding by waterbirds
    had occurred there since 1978.
    These observations further demonstrate t-he ability of the Wedge-tailed Eagle to utilise
    most of the available prey species in an area in this case, an extensive inland freshwater
    The food remains at the nest of a White- billed Sea -eagle Ha/iaetus /eucogaster occupied
    in the same year and situated c. 2.5 km from the Wedge-tailed Eagle’s nest contained material
    from Glossy Ibis P/egadis falcinellus, Pacific Black Duck, Pink -eared Duck Ma/acorhynchus
    membranaceus, Purple Swamphen Porphyrio prophyrio, pig, and turtle.
    M.G. Brooker, 21 Dwyer Street, Cook, ACT 2614.
    Alexander Oliver McCutcheon, known always as Bob, died on 27 August 1982, and the
    Castlereagh region is the sadder for his passing.
    He was born in 1908 and grew up on the large property, Berida, on Marthaguy Creek,
    Gilgandra, where his father was the manager. This property in time was acquired for closer
    settlement purposes, and Bob’s family was successful in obtaining two of the blocks, including
    the homestead portion. Bob was always interested in natural history, especially that of birds
    and mammals, and since 1935 kept a birdlist for his property (which now stands at over 205
    species) and took notes on all the native mammals present in the Gilgandra Shire. Such
    information is an invaluable source for determining the historical distribution and local
    abundance of wildlife populations.64 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (1 7) 3
    My association with Bob began some eight years ago, soon after my appointment to
    Coonabarabran as Senior Ranger, National Parks and Wildlife Service. This came about
    because of his membership of the Dubbo Pastures Protection Board. Some Pasture Protection
    Boards make recommendations on applications by farmers to destroy kangaroos on their
    properties (these applications are then submitted to the NPWS for final decision). Bob
    McCutcheon, who was a member of the Dubbo board for 24 years (1956-1980), took
    considerable interest in any licence issued in his Board area, particularly if the applicant was
    given permission to destroy wallabies. would be questioned most closely about such licences,
    and was soon told if he considered that was too generous, or if he thought that the farmer had
    misidentified the species or overstated the case! However, his interest in wildlife was the start
    of a friendship between us that was terminated only by his death.
    Bob it was who drew my attention to the presence of Long-tailed Dunnarts Sminthopsis
    macrourus in the Gilgandra area, so extending the known range of this marsupial mouse much
    further south than was previously known. He also informed the Service about Tiger Cats
    Dasyurus maculate in the Warrumbungle Ranges, and the pale form of the Swamp Wallaby
    Wallabia bicolor which occurs around Gilgandra.
    However, his foremost interest was in birds. From being an ardent duck hunter in his
    younger days, he became a very competent observer and conserver of the birds in later life. His
    interest in birds led the Gould League Bird Study Group to hold a campout on his property in
  2. A report on the campout was published (Anon, 1950. Gould League Notes 16:5-6) and a
    number of photographs show Bob with the campers. Details of 94 species of birds recorded
    during the camp are given in that report. Then, as in later years, he was able to show the
    campers the Bush Stone -curlew Burhinus magnirostris that nest near the homestead, the
    Spotted Bowerbirds Chlamydera maculate that feed in the datepalms, and the waterbirds that
    nest along Marthaguy Creek.
    Since 1976 he contributed information to the NSWFOC Annual Bird Report. His
    observations have helped to document the decline in the population of that winter visitor the
    Superb Parrot Polytelis swainsonii; the distribution of the Turquoise Parrot Nephema pulchella,
    and rare visits to the Gilgandra Shire by the Powerful Owl Ninox strenua (1976, Aust. Birds
    11:15), and the Black -throated Finch Poephi/a cincta (1976, Aust Birds 11:12).
    Despite a serious illness over the past two years, he was still able to watch and to hear the
    birds he loved so well, right until the end. Bob was a competent naturalist and the Caz-tlereagh
    Region has been deprived of one who loved and cared deeply for its environment.
    Contributors are requested to observe the following points when submitting articles and notes
    for publication.
  3. 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 1 981 Dubbo:
  4. Articles or notes should be typewritten if possible and submitted in duplicate. Double
    spacing is required.
  5. Margins of not less than 25mm width at the left hand side and top, with similar or slightly
    smaller at the right hand side of pages.
  6. No underlinings and no abbreviations except as shown in the examples.
  7. Photographs should be glossy finish and not too small.
  8. The Style Manual, Commonwealth Government Printing Office, Canberra (1966) and
    subsequent editions will be the guide for this Journal.
  9. Diagrams should be on plain white paper drawn with india ink. Any lettering is to be
    ‘professional style’ or lightly pencilled.
  10. Dates must be written “1 January 1975” except in tables and figures where they may be
  11. 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.
  12. Mr, Mrs, Dr are not followed by a full stop.
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. Acknowledgements to other individuals should include Christian names or initials.Vol. 17, No. 3 March, 1983
    Buchanan, R.A. Seasonal variation in population size of Pied Currawongs at
    Thornleigh, NSW 49
    Debus, S.J.S. The Square- tailed Kite as a migrant in south-eastern Australia . . 56
    Boles, W.E.,
    William E Davis Aggressive wing fluttering by the Little Grassbird 58
    Et N.W. Longmore
    Waugh, J. A second bird count on the Murrumbidgee 59
    Brooker, Michael Further food items of the Wedge-tailed Eagle 63

Morris, Alan K. Obituary: AO. (“Bob”) McCutcheon 63

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