Vol. 26 No. 3-text

Vol. 26 No. 3
Journal of the
Volume 26, Number 3. March 1993
President P. Davie
Vice -President S. Fairbairn
Secretary R. Hill
Treasurer B. Powell
Minutes Secretary H. Biddle
Activities Officer A.O. Richards
Conservation Officer P. Mackey
Journal Editor A.K. Morris
Newsletter Editor T. Karplus
Records Officer R.M. Cooper
Other Committee Members A. Burton
H. Jones
T. Ivarson
The object of the club is to promote the study and conservation of Australian
birds and the habitats they occupy.
Annual subscription rates of the Club (due October each year) are:
Adult Member -$25.00
Junior Member (up to 17 years) $10.00
All members recieve a newsletter and a copy of the quarterly journal ‘Australian
Birds’. The price of the journal is $5.00 plus postage per issue to non members.
Club badges are available to club members at $2.50 or $3.00 if posted. The club
holds a meeting and a field excursion each month.
All correspondence should be addressed to the Hon. Secretary and all member-
ship fees should be sent to the Hon. Treasurer at: PO Box C436, Clarence St,
Sydney NSW 2000.
Manuscripts should be sent to the Editor at: Wombat St, Berkeley Vale NSW
2259.Vol 26, (3) March 1993
The Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus is a common raptor over most of mainland Australia
inhabiting eucalypt forest and woodlands, generally near water (Blakers etal. 1984). A rather
opportunistic species, Whistling Kites occasionally form flocks at sites of abundant food.
Diet consists generally of small mammals and birds but they will feed extensively on carrion
where this is available (Cupper & Cupper 1981).
As part of the colony monitoring and patagial tagging program of The Hunter
Wetlands Trust’s Project Egret Watch regularly visited egret colonies at Lawrence and
Junction Hill in the Clarence Valley, Boambee near Coffs Harbour as well as Seaham and
Shortland in the Hunter Valley during the 1991-92 breeding season and prior to this the
Lawrence and Junction Hill colonies breeding season since 1983-84.
Whilst records of numbers were not kept, Whistling Kites, as well as other raptors
such as White -bellied Sea -Eagles Haliaeetus leucogaster, Wedge-tailed Eagles Aquila
audax and, at Lawrence, Brahminy Kites Haliastur indus, were regularly seen in small
numbers at these colonies. On 9 February 1992, however, Whistling Kites were particularly
obvious at the Junction Hill colony. Eleven birds were quickly counted in the Norfolk Pines
immediately adjacent, and overlooking, the wetland section of the colony, and in the larger,
Page 89 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3more open eucalypts overlooking the dry rainforest gully section of the colony. Due to more
pressing commitments with the egrets a more thorough search of the colony area was not
The presence of the larger than usual number of Whistling Kites at this site coincided
with the peak fledging period of the Cattle Egrets Egretta ibis. The Kites were situated in
large, open trees that overlooked the colony. On two occasions a single Kite was observed
to fly low over and between the next trees in the gully section of the colony in much the same
manner as a hunting Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isula (Blakers et aL, pers. obs.) in what
appeared to be a possible attempt to flush fledgling egrets.
have not observed this concentration of Whistling Kites before at a northern N.S.W.
egret colony despite the general availability of numerous carcasses of fallen nestlings
throughout the nestling period, a resource that a carrion feeder may use. Foxes, for
example, are a common sight at the Junction Hill colony and carcasses are generally
cleaned up overnight.
Whistling Kites have been reported gathering at sites of abundant food such as
slaughter yards and areas of high rabbit mortality due to myxomatosis (Hobbs 1961), grass
fires and insect swarms (Bell 1985) and carrion (Masters & Milhinch 1974, Bell 1985). Whilst
Cupper and Cupper (1981) report birds being brought to nestlings these probably consist
predominantly of small passerines. No Whistling Kite was observed attempting to capture
a fledgling Cattle Egret but it is a reasonable supposition that the kites were attracted to the
site by the availability of a ready supply of inexperienced juvenile egrets. It is difficult to
explain why Whistling Kites should congregate at this egret colony only whilst the nestlings
were fledging, being present in only small numbers at other times despite the general
availability of both dead nestlings on the colony floor and live nestlings still in their nest.
Bell, H.L. 1985 Distribution and habits of kites Milvus migrans, Haliastur sphenerus and H.
indus in Papua New Guinea. Corella 9,37-44.
Blakers, M., Davies, S.J.J.F. & Reilly, P.N. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne:
University Press.
Cupper, J. & Cupper L. 1981. Hawks in Focus. Mildura: Jaclin Enterprises.
Hobbs, J.N. 1961. The birds of south-west New South Wales. Emu 61, 21-55
Masters, J.R. & Milhinch, A.L. Birds of the Shire of Northam, about 100 km east of Perth, W.A.
Emu 74, 228-243.
D.J. Geering 2/10 Chifley Drive, Raymond Terrace, N. S.W. 2324 and The Wetlands Centre,
Shortland, N.S.W. 2328.
The Atlas of Australian Birds (Blakers et al 1983) shows that the Superb Fruit -Dove
Ptilinopus superbus breeds as far south as 18 degrees South in Queensland. While
breeding may occur further south there was no nesting observed in such areas during the
Atlas Period 1978-1981. There are no published breeding records for New South Wales
(Morris et al 1981), and it is considered that birds in this State are wandering non -breeding
birds (McAllan and Bruce 1988). Although they are regularly recorded throughout the year
in the rainforests of the Northern Rivers Region, an analysis of records for south of the
Hunter would indicate that there is an apparent southward migration into the coastal areas
during autumn.
It is possible that breeding has occurred in NSW because the Raymond Terrace bird
(see Table 2) of March 1973, which was either cat or vehicle damaged, was a juvenile male
with only its first feathers. The tail and wing were kept and the identification was confirmed
by Pat Bourke and was considered to have come from a nest nearby ( Athol D’Ombrain in
lit. to E.S.Hoskin). In addition G.Holmes (in litt. to I.McAllan) considers that the Superb Fruit –
Dove breeds in the rainforests of the Richmond Valley.
Many of the observations and reports for the area in question are for dead and injured
birds that have flown into windows at night, mostly in urban locations. Such reports
outnumber those of live birds in these areas.
The records for the dead and injured birds often refer to the period from the last week
in April to the first week in May. This must be an important time for migration which is also
true for the movements of Noisy Pittas Pitta versicolor (Morris 1992), and Scaly Thrush
Zoothera lunulata (Morris in prep.).
In 1992 there was an unprecedented movement of Superb Fruit -Doves into the
northern suburbs of Sydney during late April and May, when eight were found injured/dead.
Most had flown into windows, and one was observed feeding on the ground which in itself
is highly suspicious and may in fact indicate an injury. Details of these birds are set out in
Table 1.
The Mt. Ousley bird was found injured by Bronwyn Jarman, a W.I.R.E.S. carer and
was released where found one month later. The Willoughby bird which was cared for by
Susan Helshall, from W.I.R.E.S.,was featured in the North Shore Times of 15 May 1992, and
subsequently released in the littoral rainforest section of Wyrrabalong National Park, North
Entrance on 8 May 1992. The Turramurra bird was feeding beneath Gordonia and Sasanqua
bushes, apparently on the fallen soft fruit. The Forestville bird had flown into the windows of
the public School,where it was seen to be harrassed by a Pied Currawong Strepera grallina,
and died when picked up from the ground. The Northbridge bird had flown into a window. It
was found to be injured and subsequently taken to Taronga Zoo where it remains.
Page 91 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3Table Details of Superb Fruit -Doves Found injured or Dead April -May 1992
Date Location Specimen Status/Details
25 Apr 1992 Mt.Ousley (injured) W
May 1992 Naremburn (injured) W
1 I
May 1992 Roseville J DW
2 May 1992 Epping D
2 May 1992 Willougby (injured) AM W
19 May 1992 Turramurra (feeding on ground)
26 May 1992 Forestville AM DW
29 May 1992 Northbridge (injured) IM W
Note: D= found dead, W= flew into window, A= Adult,
M= Male, 1= Immature, F= Female
AM (followed by a number)= Australian Museum
Set out below are the other records for the Hunter, Sydney, Illawarra and South
Coast Regions since 1960 (prior to 1960 there were no mechanisms for recording
observations and that was the year of publication of the NSW Handlist (McGill 1960). These
records definitely indicate a pattern of autumn southerly migration, with birds being present
throughout winter. There are only two records for spring, and two for summer.
Note that the above records (in Table 3) include the three for Sydney, one for
Shellharbour and one for Ulladulla, prior to 1960 (Hindwood 1953 & 1959), one at
Parramatta in August 1959 not previously reported, and the immature female caught in the
garden by H.L.White and S.W.Jackson at “Belltrees”, Scone 28/12/1918 (White 1919). I.
McAllen (in lift) has advised that although White refers to this bird as P. regina he (McAllen)
has examined the specimen in the Australian Museum and can confirm that it is in fact P.
Food items that the Superb Fruit -Dove has been observed to eat in the Regions under
discussion include Blackberries (at Kiah) and the sasanqua Camellia sasanqua fruit (at Gordon).
The Parramatta bird was seen feeding in the back garden of Mrs Creswell, 24A Park Ave, adjacent
to Parramatta Park. The bird had been seen feeding in a Lilli Pilli Eugenia smithiifor several days
before it was seen by Messrs K. Hindwood and E. S. Hoskin on Sunday 23 August 1959. Mrs
Creswell reported that the bird had not moved out of the tree all the time that she had been watching
it. It fed on ripe fruit which it took whole, up to six at a time, and then it would rest, evacuating the
hard seeds from the previous feedings. The bird rested in the tree at night and was last seen on 27
August; the previous day it left the tree for an hour or so but was located in a Lilli Pilli in a neighbour’s
yard. Both trees were laden with fruit.
March 1993 Page 92The two birds which were found dead close to each other in Loftus Street and
Macquarie Place ,Sydney on 31 August 1961 had been feeding on Moreton Bay Figs Ficus
macropylla and fruiting Moreton Bay Figs were located in the near vicinity.
Table.2 Details of Reports Since 1960 Hunter -South Coast
Date Locality Sex Specimen Status
01/04/1961 Empire Bay F injured
21/08/1961 Loftus St. Sydney IF D
21/08/1961 Macquarie Place Pk F D
10/05/1964 Gymea IM D AM 0.40753
21/04/1969 Hurstville AM DW AM 0.43338
11/06/1969 Strathfield IM DD AM 0.43293
31/10/1970 Cowan AM DW AM 0.43786
-/03/1973 Raymond Terrace JM D
05/05/1973 Lane Cove DW
24/03/1977 Bellevue Hill F DW
09/08/1977 Wahroonga F D
14/06/1978 Rose Bay AM D AM 0.46906
31/07/1978 Roseville IM D AM 0.47025
-/07/1978 Galston Gorge
-/05/1979 Keiraville F
21/04/1980 Killarney Heights AM DW
28/04/1981 Pennant Hills IM
28/03/1984 St. Ives AM D
03/06/1984 Long Reef
29/03/1985 Kiah AM
27/05/1985 Mollymook AM D AM 0.57816
29/07/1986 Gordon IM DW AM 0.57904
25/08/1986 Yadborrow Flat AM
29/03/1987 Pearl Beach
30/03/1987 Burrewarra Point M DW
12/05/1987 Burrewarra Point F DW
18/05/1989 Moruya IM D AM 0.60792
10/10/1990 Cardiff AM ?
-/12/1990 Mosman F W
24/04/1991 Blackbutt Reserve DW
12/05/1991 Salamander Bay AF
Table 3 Records by Month
6 7 16 3 3 5 0 2 0 2
Page 93 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3DISCUSSION
Detailed above are 45 records of Superb Fruit -Doves recorded in South-east New
South Wales in the Climatic Regions of Hunter, Sydney, Illawarra and South Coast. Of
these, 27 were found dead and 6 found injured. It is known that 11 had flown into windows,
and more are suspected of being window casualties. In Australia, cuckoos and fruit -doves
are well known to injure and kill themselves by flying into windows, usually at night, for
reasons not fully understood. The majority of records are for the period March -August, with
pronounced southerly movement in March -April. All age classes are involed in this southerly
movement, but where the sex was determined there were nine females compared to 19
males, and only one adult female compared to 11 adult males. Twelve birds were
considered to be adults compared to 15 juveniles and immatures.
Based on the above information, the status of the Superb Fruit -Dove in New South
Wales should be given as follows :-
“?Scarce.?Resident.Migrant and Visitor;recorded all months
Distribution: Regular in Northern Rivers, possibly breeding; Irregular on Mid -North Coast;
regular autumn – winter migrant to Hunter,Sydney, Illawarra and South Coast Regions, both
adults and immature birds. Vagrants at Morton NP, and Wollomombi. Frequents rainforests,
wet gullies and isolated fruiting trees”.
wish to acknowledge the assistance of E. Date, E.S.Hoskin, L. Courtney -Haines
and Ian McAllen in the preparation of this note. Ern Hoskin provided extensive material from
the Keith Hindwood Bird Recording Service; Laurie Haines was the preparator of the
Ulladulla, Gordon, Loftus Street and Macquarie Place specimens for the Australian
Museum and provided notes on these birds; while Ian McAllan edited the many drafts and
provided reference material.
Blakers,M.,Davies S.J.J.F., and P.N.Reilly. 1983. The Atlas of Australian Birds.
Hindwood, K.A. 1953 The Purple -crowned Pigeon in South-eastern Australia and Tasmania.
The Emu 53, 303-304.
Hindwood, K. A.1959 The Purple -crowned Pigeon in South East New South Wales. The
Emu 59, 219-220
McAllan,I.A.W.,& M.D.Bruce.1988. The Birds of New South Wales, A Working List.
Turramurra:Biocon Research Group.
McGill, A.R. 1960.Handlist of Birds of New South Wales. Sydney NSW Fauna Protection
Morris,A.K. 1992 Noisy Pittas and Windows. NSW Bird Atlassers NewsLNo. 32.
March 1993 Page 94Morris, A.K. Scaly Thrush Movements in New South Wales in Autumn 1991. Aust. Birds in
Morris,A.K., McGill, A.R. & G.Holmes 1981. Handlist of Birds in New South Wales. Dubbo:
White,H.L. 1919 Birds and Drought. The Emu 18, 305-306.
Alan K. Morris, I Wombat Street, Berkeley Vale NSW 2259
Initial observations on the nesting behaviour and success rate of a pair of Leaden
Flycatchers Myiagra rubecula, have been reported (Angus 1990) for birds at Deep Creek,
off Narrabeen Lake, Sydney during the 1990/I season.
In the following season, records were kept of a pair observed ‘site hunting’ on 8
November1991. The details of subsequent visits are recorded below in chronological order.
The duration of each visit varied from three to ten minutes only, to avoid distressing the birds.
A hide was not used as the sites were close to a walking track and over a creek used by
canoeists. A hide would have drawn attention to the nest.
13 November 1991 0930 hours. The completed nest was located about 20m downstream
from the nest reported in Angus (1990). Unlike the nest reported from the year before, this
nest was under a dead protective overhead branch.
The nest tree was again the Coastal She -oak Allocasuarina distyla overhanging
Deep Creek. The supporting branch was about one metre above water level but 0.5m below
the top of the creek bank and 1.5m out from the bank.
The adults were very actively pursuing each other through the adjacent foliage and
backwards and forwards across the creek, calling regularly. This behaviour is similar to that
described by Lane (1978).
19 November 1991 0900 hrs. The female was sitting on the nest, the male calling from a
nearby branch.
25 November 19911015 hrs. The nest was empty and had been damaged. Neither bird was
in the vicinity as far as could be ascertained at the time. Imitation of contact calls produced
no response.
Page 95 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3December 1991 0820 hrs. A pair of birds were located constructing a new nest about 50m
up -stream from the destroyed nest. Only the base and the first few millimetres of the walls
were complete.
The support was one of a group of dead Allocasuarina sp. branches but the nest
lacked the overhead protecting branch. It was approximately 0.75m above the creek level
and 1.7m out from the bank allowing good vantage points for human observation without
disturbing the birds.
As each bird brought in construction material it sat on the nest base then twisted its
body backwards and forwards as it formed the cup. The arc shaped on each visit appeared
to be about one eighth of the nest cirumference.
5 December 1991 0950hrs. The nest appeared complete and no further construction was
being undertaken at the time of observation. Both birds were present in the area but the
behaviour described previously was not being repeated.
10 December 1991 0820 hrs. The female was sitting in the nest. It was not possible to
ascertain whether eggs had been laid. The male was in adjacent foliage making quick forays
to catch flying insects.
At 1030 hrs the male was on the nest. The female was calling from the other side of the creek.
No changover was observed.
16 December 1991 1005 hrs. On 12 and 13 December, heavy rain had caused flooding of the
area and back-up water from the lake closed the main road and access tracks.
The branch supporting the nest had been well below water level and the nest was
completely destroyed.
A search of the area located, near by, a partly constructed third nest again in
Allocasuarina distyla. It was approximately 1.7m above the 12-13 December 91 flood level.
It did not feature an overhanging branch. The sides of the nest at this time were about 10mm
high. The birds were again using their bodies for shaping.
19 December 1991 0930 hrs. The nest appeared complete but neither bird was sitting in it.
23 December 1991 0845 hrs. The female was sitting with the male in attendance.
3 January 1992 1015 hrs. The nest was deserted and empty. No nest damage was evident.
The male was located on a newly constructed fourth nest built on the same group
of low branches from which the earlier #2 nest was washed by floodwaters. This time it was
located a little higher (about .4m) above the level of the previous site and in a fork formed
by a branch which was erect at the base and then leaning to form an overhead protection.
March 1993 Page 96This nest did not appear to be as deep as the others and was ragged rather than the
usual neat construction. Lichens had been installed on the exterior suggesting that it was
13 January 1992 0815 hrs. Further heavy rain had fallen since the previous visit, making
access impossible during the interim. The fourth nest had been inundated by flood waters
and pieces were trailing from the branch.
The male was busy apparently inspecting potential new sites. The female was not
located nor were contact calls heard.
20 January 1992 1040 hrs. The male was sitting on its fifth nest for this season. Unlike the
last, this appeared sound and neat. It was constructed on the same branches that had been
inundated twice before. It was higher again on the branch and did not feature the upright
or overhanging protective branches. Height above normwal water level was now about Im.
The sitting male kept looking down into the nest but did not leave so the contents could not
be inspected. There were no contact calls from the female.
28 January 1992 0815 hrs. The male was sitting and again peering down into the nest. The
female was not evident and no contact calls were being made. Imitation of the contact call
was only answered by the male on the nest.
There was doubt as to whether the nest actually contained eggs or hatchlings and
it seemed possible that the male was performing instinctive nesting behaviour in the
complete absence of the female. A reasonable distance up and down the creek was
searched while repeating the contact call but there was no response.
10 February 1992 1000 hrs. Following a further three days heavy rain and the flooding of
Narrabeen Lake and Deep Creek yet again. Entry to the area was again made.
Flood debris indicated that the level had been about Im above the latest site and the
nest was once again completely destroyed. Neither bird could be seen or heard and
presumed they had left the area.
26 October 1992. 10.30 hrs. A pair of adult Leaden Flycatchers were observed apparently
investigating nest sites. The favoured site appeared to be the same dead Allocasuarina sp.
branches in Deep Creek from which the nests had been washed last season.
4 November 1992 0930 hrs. Heavy rain had fallen overnight and during the previous week.
The favoured site of 26 October was being utilised and the height above swollen creek level
was approx. 30cms. This was still below creek bank height and in danger again of being
immersed if the creek level rose further.
Page 97 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3The nest position was different to last seasons. It was located in the fork formed by
the support branch and a branch sloping away on the eastern side providing an angle of
about 100 degress. A thick dead branch provided protection above, the clearance being
about 40cms.
Both adults visited the nest regularly, the male more frequently during theobservation
time. Occasionally a piece of grass or a Casuarina needle was brought in. Both birds used
their bodies for final shaping and rubbed the bottom of the lower beak around the rim of the
nest, flattening and levelling the edge.
Decorative lichens were already in place. The nest was unattended for periods
ranging from 45 secs. to eight minutes while time at the nest varied from about 20 secs. to
70 secs.
A pair of Willy Wagtails Rhipidura leucophrys were nesting in the branches of
another Allocausarina sp. close to the bank 20m downstream and also below creek bank
level. That nest at the time was only about I5cms above water level. Immediately opposite,
across the creek, a pair of White-faced Herons Ardea novaehollandiae were building on a
branch about ten metres above water level. Total observation time for this visit was 54
7 November 1992. 0915 hrs. Heavy rain had fallen since the last observation but the female
flycatcher was sitting in the nest. The supporting branch was now only I2cms above the
creek surface. As there had been no rain in the previous eight hours and judging by the wet
sections on the bank of the creek, it is assumed that the creek level had been almost to the
support branch.
A changeover took place within three minutes of the visit and the female stayed on
the nest for the next eight minutes of observation. The nest of the Willy Wagtails had been
washed away but both adult birds were still in the area. This species had nested in this area
last season successfully raising two young in a nest approximately two metres above the
level of the bank. It is surprising that they would then choose to nest below the level of the
9 November 1992. 1545 hrs. The level of the creek had fallen and the nest was about 0.8m
below the nest. The female was in the nest and after eight minutes a changeover took place.
The Willy Wagtails appeared to be ‘site hunting’ higher in the same tree as the
inundated nest.
13 November 1992. Again heavy rain had fallen since the last observation but it appeared
that the creek level had risen only 50 mm. The male was in the nest but appeared nervous
of an Australian Raven Corcus coronoides presence. Observation was terminated after
only three minutes.
March 1993 Page 98The Willy Wagtail’s new nest was under construction in a Coachwood tree
Ceratopetalum apetalum, well back from the creek and about two metres above ground
20 November 1992. 0930 hrs. The nest site was inspected following further rain and an
obvious rise in the lake level. The nest was nearly submerged with only about 10mm showing
above the water surface. Three eggs were visible still in the nest and both parents kept flying
to the overhead branch to inspect the damage.
It was assumed that the sitting bird left the nest before it was inundated the last time.
Although continued searches were made until mid -March 1992 there was no further
evidence that either bird was still in the area. It was concluded that both birds had started
their northward migration.
The damage observed on 25 November 1991 was to the side of the nest closest to
the trunk of the tree. The sides were crushed inwards suggesting predation by a reptile
rather than a bird. Predation by a Pied Currawong Strepera graculina would be unlikely to
crush the side inwards. The monitor Varanus cf rosenbergii is known from the area. This
reptile is generally considered to be terrestrial however photographs of that species
descending a tree in the area were identified by staff at The Australian Museum.
Tests using plasticine imitation eggs have shown that the only evidence of attempted
predation by rats in the case of cup shaped nest was teeth marks in the plasticine. (R. Major
1991). This then supports the “reptile” predation theory though some sources suggest that
the Lace Monitor Varanus varius is the more likely culprit.
Marchant (1992) suggested that after a nesting failure Leaden Flycatchers “disappeared
immediately and perhaps nested elsewhere.” The observations reported here involved one
pair only and is not a large enough sample from which to draw a conclusion. Certainly this
pairdid not appearto conform, especially in relation to rebuilding or vulnerability. Additionally
these birds did not conform with the nesting heights observed by Marchant near Moruya
(loc.cit) where “only one nest in 32 was within reach of the 12m viewing mirror”. Beruldsen
(1980) suggested nest heights of “four to twenty metres or more” and North (1901-1904) “30ft.
to 80ft.”
It is interesting that contrary to other records no other Leaden Flycatcher nests are known
within a one kilometre radius.
No Noisy Friarbirds Philemon corniculatus, were nesting in the vicinity. The
association of the two species often affords some protection to Leaden Flycatchers
(Marchant 1979, H.A. Ford in lift. Lenz M. pens comm.), though it is doubtful that such an
association would have been of benefit to these particular birds.
Page 99 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3REFERENCES.
Angus R.J. 1990 Nesting of Leaden Flycatchers at Narrabeen. Aust. Birds 24,37-38
Beruldson G. 1980 Field Guide to Australian Birds Nests and Eggs. Adelaide. Rigby.
Lane S.G. 1978 Leaden Flycatcher Behaviour. Aust. Birdw atcher 7, 211.
Major R. 1991 Identification of nest predation by photography, dummy eggs and adhesive
Tape. Auk 109,190-192.
Marchant S. 1992 A Bird Observatory at Moruya 1975-84. Eurobodalla Nat. Hist. Soc.
North A.S. 1901-1904 facsimile edition. Nests and Eggs of Birds Found Breeding in Australia
and Tasmania. Sydney. Australian Museum.
R. J. Angus, 55 Campbell Ave., Dee Why. 2099.
On 25 August 1992, while walking past Phillip Park, a public recreation centre nearthe centre
of Sydney, noticed a Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae standing on the ground
in a children’s area, which contained various play equipment. It was directing its attention
towards an object lying on the ground in front of it, which eventually realised was a small,
furry toy Koala.
The Kookaburra repeatedly grasped a leg of the Koala in its bill, picked the toy up,
then flipped its head to smack the toy against the ground. The behaviour was that which
is normally used by Kookaburra’s to despatch prey. Usually only one, occasionally, two,
such hits were performed before the bird dropped the Koala. The bird would peer at the toy,
often hop a few steps to one side, and peer again, before picking it up and hitting it against
the ground again.
After 4-5 such episodes, the Kookaburra picked it up and laboriously flew for several
metres to a nearby jungle gym. It did not attempt to hit the Koala, instead holding the toy
in its bill while perched. At this point, it was noticed by a Noisy Miner Manorina
melanocephala, which made a few swoops at the Kookaburra.
The Kookaburra carried the Koala to the ground a few metres away, flying no more
than a metre from the ground, and dropped the toy in front of it. It repeated the earlier
behaviour of hitting the Koala against the ground, interspersed with peering. The first Noisy
Miner was joined by a second, and the pair continued to harass the Kookaburra. After a
couple more hits, the Kookaburra flew off, leaving the toy behind.
March 1993 Page 100The toy Koala was 14 cm long and weighed 35 gm. Judging from the effort required
by the Kookaburra to fly while carrying the Koala in its bill, this must be near the limit that
the bird is able to carry.
The toy’s fur covering and its more or less realistic appearance must have been
sufficiently authentic for the Kookaburra to consider it a potential prey item. The degree of
realism may not need to be very great: I have heard anecdotal reports of a Kookaburra
exhibiting similar ‘predatory’ behaviour towards a sock.
Walter B. Boles, Australian Museum. College Street, Sydney, N.S. W. 2000.
Between October and December1992, Pallid Cuckoos Cucullispallidus were observed daily
in the grounds of the garden at “Deenderrah”, a property 25 kilometres north of Manilla, New
South Wales, approximately 30°34′ south I50°36’east.
The endemic Pallid Cuckoo is distributed throughout Australia. It inhabits all types
of open country where there are trees (woodland, open forest edges, scrublands, cleared
paddocks, gardens, etc. Pizzey 1980; Blakers et al 1984; Coates 1985).
On 16 November 1992 a male Cuckoo was seen feeding a juvenile. This bird was
identified by its plumage which was boldly streaked dark brown and white (Simpson and Day
1984). The adult bird was identified by its call, an upward scale of about eight whistled notes,
the second note slightly below the first, then rising in quarter -tone or chromatic scale (Pizzey
This bird mostly perched on a five metre high post situated in the garden and often
made another call, a repetitious harsh piping. The juveniles call was a continuous raspy thin
peep -peep -peep.
The young bird was sitting on the dead limb of a White Box Eucalyptus albans. This
perch was four metres above the ground and ten metres from the lounge room window of
the house. The tree is one of a group of four White Box which attract a number of birds.
Predominant among them during the period of observation wasthe White -plumed Honeyeater
Lichenostomus penicillatus, a known common host of the Pallid Cuckoo (Brooker and
Brooker 1989).
The adult cuckoo fed the juvenile at about 15:00 hours and again at 15:10 hours when
the young bird ate a winged insect. Each time the adult brought food the juvenile’s call
Page 101 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3increased in intensity and became harsher.
Two days later on Wednesday 18 November at 14:15 hours a Pallid Cuckoo was
observed feeding a juvenile which was perched in a White Box 25 metres from the house.
Presumably these were the same birds observed earlier.
After it had taken food from the mature bird the juvenile flew to the ground and
foraged successfully on the couch grass lawn Cynodon dactylon. During the period 16 to
18 November no other birds were seen near the two cuckoos. However, White -plumed
Honeyeaters flew into the group of White Box near the house and were seen to drink water
from a bird batch. None showed interest in the cuckoos. While Pallid Cuckoos have been
obnserved to feed juveniles previously, it was only on rare occasions (Cooper 1958).
wish to thank Alan Morris for providing information and for his guidance in preparing the
Blakers, M., Davies, S.J.J.F. & Reilly, P.N. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne:
University Press.
Brooker, M.G. and Brooker, L.C. 1989 Cuckoo Hosts in Australia. Aust. Zool.Rev. No.2
Cooper, R.P., 1957. Stray Feathers, Emu 58: 1958.
Pizzy, G. 1980. A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Sydney:William Collins & Sons.
Simpson, K and Day, N., 1984. Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. South Yarra: Lloyd,
Russ Watts, “Deenderrah”, Upper Manilla, N.S.W. 2346.
Halobaena caerulea
At approximately 1100 hrs on 12 October 1991 a small grey and white petrel was found
beachwashed between Sandon Village and Illaroo Rest Area, Yuraygir National Park, some
35 kms east of Grafton, N.S.W. The bird, which was approximately 300mm in length, was
pale bluish -grey on its upperparts with a patchy black “M” across its upperwings. The outer
primaries, which projected beyond the tail, were dark. The tail was white tipped and there
was a black area on the crown and the forehead was white. The dorsal blue -grey colouration
extended as a collar down to the sides of the breast. Apart from this collar the underparts
were completely white including white underwings. The bill, which was laterally compressed,
was black and the legs and feet were blue -grey with flesh coloured webs to the toes. The
culmen length was 34.6mm, tarsus 32mm, total head length 64.8mm, weight 105, wing
length 215mm, wingspan 681mm and tail 81mm. These measurements were taken at the
Australian Museum, Sydney, following the lodgement of the specimen, which was
registered as 0.63473.
A check of the field guides allowed the bird to be identified as a Blue Petrel
Halobanaena caerulea. The whitetail tip made identification very easy as the Blue Petrel
is the only member of the Procellariidae with this character (Marchant and Higgins 1990).
The Blue Petrel has only been recorded a few times in New South Wales with seven
beachcast in July 1954 between Maroubra and Coledale, with two more later in the same
year; and two in the Sydney area in 1973 (Marchant and Higgins 1990). All of these
records are for the Sydney area or southwards. The Sandon record therefore constitutes
the fourth record for New South Wales, the first since 1973, and also the first record for
the Northern Rivers area of New South Wales. It additionally constitutes the northernmost
record for Australia and the record has now been accepted by the NSWORAC Committee,
Case No. 52.
Marchant, S and Higgins, P.J. 1990. Handbook of Australian, New Zealand & Antarctic
Birds, Volume I. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
Simpson,K and Day. N.I984 The Birds of Australia. A Book of Identification. Lloyd O’Neill:
South Yarra.
Slater, P., Slater, P. and Slater, R. 1986. The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds.
Willoughby: Rigby.
G. P. Clancy, 56 Armidale Road, Coutts Crossing N.S. W. 2460.
Page 103 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3THE SQUARE -TAILED KITE Lophoictinia isura IN NEW SOUTH WALES
Records of the Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura in New South Wales (n=357,
mostly since 1970) were analysed for patterns of seasonal and distributional occurrence.
The species is widely distributed in all regions of the State, though predominantly in eastern
and central regions (especially coast and inland slopes of the Divide); in the west it is virtually
restricted to riparian woodland. Northern regions, especially North Coast and North-west
Slopes, support the most Kites, with significant numbers also in the South Coast, Central –
west Slopes and South-west Plains. The species is a spring -summer breeding migrant to
the State, more strongly migratory in southern regions and at higher altitudes; the North
Coast is a wintering area for some birds. Some preliminary inferences on the Kite’s ecology
and conservation needs are made, and interim management strategies suggested.
McGill (1961) stated that in New South Wales the Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia
isura was known only from west of the Divide, this despite two Sydney records quoted in
Hindwood & McGill (1958). Morris, McGill & Holmes (1981) amended the Kite’s occurrence
in NSW to “all regions except Mid -north Coast and Illawarra, more numerous west than east,
seldom recorded coast”. Debus (1983) showed that the Kite is a spring -summer breeding
migrant to south-eastern Australia, drew attention to several coastal records in NSW, and
predicted its occurrence in coastal forests. Subsequently, Debus & Silveira (1989) found
that a quarter of 68 Victorian records were coastal, and that it breeds south to at least 37°S,
probably 38°S, in eastern and western Victoria. In recognition of its low population density,
the Kite was placed on Schedule 12 of the NSW National Parks & Wildlife Act 1974, Part
2: “vulnerable and rare” (defined as having a low population in the State). The Kite is
retained as such in the revised (interim) Schedule 12 (Gillooly 1992), and is classified
nationally as “rare” (Garnett 1992).
Debus has been responsible for giving the Kite’s distribution as “coastal and
subcoastal forests and woodlands, and inland riverine woodlands” (Debus & Czechura
1989; Debus 1990a, 1991a). This requires some explanation and redefinition, as “subcoastal”
was used in a continental sense (i.e. in the sense of “versus inland”): a rather narrow
peripheral band, which in NSW extends to the inland slopes of the Dividing Range. Recently
Cooper (1991), in listing NSW records for 1987, commented “more coastal than inland
records!”, as if this were surprising. Clearly, there is a need to review the status and
distribution in NSW of a bird that is an endemic, monotypic species and genus, now of some
conservation concern (Brouwer & Garnett 1990; Garnett 1992). Such a review enables
inferences to be drawn about the Kite’s ecological requirements, and hence about its
conservation needs and appropriate management strategies. This also enables analysis
of the Kite’s seasonal and regional patterns of occurrence, for comparison with patterns
March 1993 Page 104elsewhere in eastern Australia (Victoria: Debus & Silveira 1989; South Australia: Debus
1991a; Queensland: Debus & Czechura 1992).
Square -tailed Kite records were collated from the literature, museums (Australian
Museum, Museum of Victoria), the RAOU Atlas of Australian Birds (Blakers et a/. 1984;
unusual record forms sighted), historical and colleagues’ unpublished notes, and our
personal records (Appendix 1). Some additional records from the NSW Bird Atlas for
Central and Western Divisions were included, but no records for the Eastern Division are
yet available from this source. Similarly, available records from the NSW Wildlife Atlas
(National Parks & Wildlife Service) were included, but these were mainly for western and
southern regions. Literature records were obtained from the following sources: Emu (Austin
1907; Althofer 1934; Hobbs 1961; Heron 1973; Baldwin 1975; Wyndham 1978); Corella
(Disney 1979); Australian Bird Watcher (Debus & Silveira 1989); Australian Birds (Clancy
1980; Johnston 1983; Schulz 1983; Henle 1989; Debus 1992; Debus et aL 1992); the NSW
FOC annual bird reports 1970-91 inclusive; Canberra Bird Notes (Taylor et al. 1987); Bird
Observer (Mitchell 1989 and unusual sighting forms); NSW FOC Newsletter (Richards
1989; “unusual records” series by Morris & Chafer 1989-92 inclusive); Australasian Raptor
Association News (Maher 1988, 1992; Debus 1990b; Williams 1992); Cumberland Bird
Observers Club Newsletter (Brandwood 1989; members’ sightings inserts); books and
other publications (Gould 1865; Ramsay 1867; Cox & Hamilton 1889; North 1911; Fox 1972;
Wheeler 1974; Morris 1976; Gibson 1989; Maher 1990; Ford & McFarland 1991). Some
records were reported by more than one source, therefore care was taken not to double –
count records. One record was taken as one bird at one locality in one month or part thereof
(i.e. two birds = two records), and nestlings were not counted. For reasons given in Debus
& Czechura (1992) concerning the particular observer, the records of Cameron (1934 and
quoted in Bryant 1934) were rejected as misidentified Black Kites Milvus migrans. Similarly,
the records of Morse (1918, 1922) were rejected as unsatisfactory (nest attributed to the
Square -tailed Kite, without reasons; remains of putative specimen found on a “plain”).
Summarised details of published records (locality, date, source) are available from the
senior author (Debus).
Most (>90%) of the 357 records were since 1970. Two additional historical records,
not used in this analysis, deserve comment. “Watling” drawing no. 13, an unidentifiable
raptorfrom Sydney around 1790, may represent a Square -tailed Kite (Hindwood 1970). The
other record lacks a precise locality. John Gilbert, John Gould’s collector, travelled overland
from Maitland to the Darling Downs in autumn 1844. When near the present-day Narrabri
he listed the birds seen “thus far”, including a “Milvus isurus”, i.e. Square -tailed Kite (unpubl.
diary, Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW; McAllan in prep.). Presumably, Gilbert’s
identification was correct as he passed near the type locality, after Gould’s description of
the species. [However, we note that he later misidentified Black Kites as Square -tailed
Kites, when he no longer had his notebook of Gould’s descriptions: in north Queensland he
saw supposed Square -tailed Kites “in great numbers” (Chisholm 1944), an error overlooked
by Debus & Czechura (1992)1
Page 105 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3RESULTS
The Square -tailed Kite has now been recorded in all the regions defined by Morris
et al. (1981), including the Mid -north Coast and Illawarra, with greatest frequency on the
coast (Table 1): coast 38% of records, tablelands 21%, slopes 7%, plains 25%, far west 9%
(n=357 records). However, the result for the plains is inflated because of the artificial region
boundaries, based on administrative districts rather than on physiographic features (the
region boundaries being based on Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Agriculture
pastoral zones and Bushfire Council regions: AKM). Virtually all of the records for the North-
west Plain come from the Coonabarabran-Pilliga Scrub area (i.e. in slopes vegetation), in
habitat resembling that of the North-west Slope region rather than the plains. Using the
regions defined by McAllan & Bruce (1989), which are based on botanical provinces (in
Anderson 1961) and thus better reflect habitat types, the result is somewhat different (Table
2): coast 38%, tablelands 11%, slopes 33%, plains 11%, far west 8% of records. All further
analysis is therefore based on Table 2. Regardless of which definition of “coastal” one
adopts, i.e. either “versus inland” or specifically as the coastal regions delineated by Morris
et al. (1981) or McAllan & Bruce (1989), the importance of eastern regions is clear.
Furthermore, as discussed below, these figures are not simply an artifact of observer
distribution and density.
It is apparent from Table 2 that the most important regions in NSW for the Square –
tailed Kite are the North Coast and North-west Slopes, which between them account for
almost half the records (23 and 24% of records); these are followed by the South Coast
(12%), Central -west Slopes (9%) and South-west Plains (which approximates the Riverina
of Morris et al. 1981; 7%). Breeding has been recorded on the North Coast, Northern
Tablelands, North-west Slopes (regularly), North Far Western Plains, Central -west Slopes
(historically, 1800s to c. 1900), Southern Tablelands, South Far Western Plains, and
probably occurs on the South Coast. The Kite bred in recent years in the South-west Plains
(Riverina; P. Maher pers. comm.).
Seasonal occurrence
In the State as a whole, 77% of records fall in spring -summer and 23% in autumn –
winter, a ratio of almost 4:1 (from Table 2). However, there is some latitudinal variation in
this ratio. Taking the northern versus central and southern regions (from Table 2, i.e. at
approximately latitude 32°S, which about halves the State), the ratio is as follows. North:
spring -summer 73%, autumn -winter 27% (i.e. about 3:1); south: spring -summer 84%,
autumn -winter 16% (i.e. about 5:1). This suggests that populations in the south of the State
are more migratory than populations in the north.
There are other regional patterns in seasonal movements. The North Coast, with
54% of records in spring -summer and 46% in autumn -winter (i.e. close to 1:1) suggests itself
as the single most important wintering area within the State. The coastal regions in general
March 1993 Page 106Table
Records of the Square -tailed Kite in New South Wales by month, grouped according to the
regions defined by Morris et al. (1981). ND = not dated.
Region DJF AM JJ Month SON
M A ND Total
NR 10 6 9 7 7 1 3 2 11 4 1 4 7a 72
MNC 1 0 2 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 8
H 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 1 0 4
CC 2 2 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 1 10
I 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 4
SC 4 4 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 8 7 10 1 37
NT 4 1 2 3 2 0 0 2 3 3 3 6 3 32
CT 3 5 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 5 4 3 27
ST 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 1 15
NWS 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 0 1 0 10
CWS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 2 2b 7
SWS 0 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 3 0 0 1 8
NWP 12 5 2 1 0 1 0 0 2 9 10 19 1 62
CWP 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 5 0 0 8
R 4 4 3 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 1 1 3c 20
UW 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 4 1 2 13
LW 2 3 0 1 0 1 3 2 0 4 0 3 1 20
Total 53 39 24 15 15 7 9 8 22 38 44 57 26 357
a two of these in spring
b one of these in spring
c all three in spring
Page 107 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3Table 2
Records of the Square -tailed Kite in New South Wales by month, grouped according to the
egions defined by McAllan & Bruce (1989). ND = not dated.
Region Month
F M A M A S ND Total
NC 11 6 11 7 8 2 3 3 12 4 2 5 7a 81
CC 2 4 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 2 1 0 1 13
SC 4 4 2 0 2 0 0 0 0 8 8 11 1 40
NT 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0 4 1 15
CT 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 2 8
ST 5 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 3 1 15
NWS 18 5 3 2 2 0 0 1 7 11 12 20 3 84
CWS 2 3 1 1 1 1 2 0 0 3 8 6 3b 31
SWS 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 3
NWP 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 6 3 1 13
SWP 5 5 3 1 1 1 3 0 1 0 1 1 3c 25
NFWP 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1 4 0 2 12
SFWP 2 2 0 1 0 1 1 2 0 4 0 3 1 17
Total 53 39 24 15 15 7 9 8 22 38 44 57 26 357
a two of these in spring
b one of these in spring
c all three in spring
March 1993 Page 108(68% in spring -summer, 32% in autumn -winter, about 2:1), and the plains and far west
(pooled: 75% in spring -summer, 25% in autumn -winter, 3:1), seem to hold numbers of
wintering birds. This contrasts with the tablelands (91% in spring -summer) and slopes (85%
in spring -summer) which are virtually deserted in winter. Furthermore, there is an apparent
trend for periods of spring -summer residence on the cold tablelands to be shorter with
increasing latitude (Table 2). The Kites seem to respond to climatic factors related to altitude
and latitude.
Broad habitat notes for many of the sightings in this paper have been analysed
elsewhere (Debus & Czechura 1989). These, together with more recent records (including
our personal sightings), show that in NSW the Kite is predominantly a bird of open forests
and woodlands from the coast to the inland slopes of the Dividing Range; farther inland it
is virtually restricted to riparian eucalypt woodland. One can also infer this from the
distribution of records across the divisions of the State, and the vegetation types within the
botanical provinces (cf. Anderson 1961), i.e. the largest numbers of Kite records are from
regions with extensive areas of open forest and woodland. On the coast the Kite appears
to prefer the drier forest types (e.g. Spotted Gum Eucalyptus maculata/henryi and box-
ironbark) on the foothills and coastal plain, habitats which structurally resemble those it
inhabits on the western slopes (e.g. Mugga Ironbark Eucalyptus sideroxylon-White Box E.
albens; SJSD pers. obs.). Indeed in the Clarence Valley, perhaps the stronghold of the Kite
on the North Coast, other elements of the avifauna strongly resemble those on the Western
Slopes. These include the presence of isolated populations of such species as the Grey –
crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis and Black -chinned Honeyeater Melithreptus
gularis, and the local absence of wet sclerophyll species such as Superb Lyrebird Menura
novaehollandiae and Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus (McAllan & Bruce 1989).
A common feature of the Kite’s habitat is profuse eucalypt blossom and attendant
nectarivorous birds (SJSD pers. obs.).
Debus & Czechura (1989, Table 4) recorded the Kite nesting in Angophora
intermedia and A. floribunda in NSW and south-east Queensland. These tree names are
synonyms (Leach 1986), and it is apparent that Rough -barked Apple (now A. floribunda) is
an important nest tree. From this we infer that A. floribunda woodland, with associated box/
ironbark flats, along moist valleys on the NSW coast and western slopes (and perhaps its
replacement A. subvelutina on the coast north of Port Macquarie) was formerly an important
breeding habitat for the Kite, before extensive clearing and disturbance. Such habitat
supported large numbers of honeyeaters (the Kite’s main food), including the now
endangered Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia, e.g. White (1909) recorded flocks of
“thousands” of Regent Honeyeaters in A. floribunda woodland in the upper Hunter Valley,
and Gould (1865) also recorded these honeyeaters breeding “in the low apple -tree
[Angophora] flats of the Upper Hunter” in an area where the Kite also bred. This area, which
falls in the Central -west Slopes region of McAllan & Bruce (1989), presumably had
associated box/ironbark flats as is still the case near Merriwa in that region (IAWM pers.
obs.). Austin (1907, 1918) also recorded Regent Honeyeaters breeding “in numbers” as
Page 109 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3well as an active Kite nest, with “native apple” [A. floribunda] present, on the Central -west
Slopes. Our field impression is that in Eastern and Central Divisions of NSW (particularly
the slopes) the Kite and Regent Honeyeater occur in similar habitats, sometimes in the same
Other aspects of biology
One foraging observation submitted to the Bird Observers Club of Australia (unusual
sighting reports) is of considerable interest: on two occasions (in autumn, on the NSW North
Coast) a perched Kite was feeding on the larvae of the paper -wasp Polistes sp., having first
knocked the wasp nest to the ground (T. Bischoff/BOCA). This suggests that outside its
breeding season (when nestling passerines are not available), the Kite is at least partly
insectivorous. Also, this feeding behaviour is similar to that of the New Guinean “honey –
buzzards” Henicopernis to which the Kite is probably related, and to that of the true honey –
buzzards Pernis (to which Henicopernis may only be convergently similar; cf. Coates 1985,
Debus 1991b).
Following reviews of the Square -tailed Kite’s biology (Debus & Czechura 1989) and
its distribution and status in other eastern States (Debus 1991a; Debus & Silveira 1989;
Debus & Czechura 1992), the results of this study should be no surprise. It is abundantly
clear that the Kite is not primarily a western bird in New South Wales, nor is it “seldom”
recorded on the coast. We reiterate that the popular perception of the Kite, as reflected in
bird books, requires revision, and that the Kite should be recognised for what it is: a
specialised hunterof small, living prey in the tree canopy. It was an entirely predictable result
that its distribution parallels that of eucalypt open forest and woodland in NSW. We
therefore suggest that its distribution as given in Morris et al. (1981) should be amended to
“all regions, more numerous east than west, frequently recorded coast”.
The total number of records (357) suggests that NSW, particularly the eastern half,
is one of the strongholds of the Square -tailed Kite. This number is greater (admittedly with
an extra year’s data) than that obtained for Queensland (297), despite the latter State’s
much larger area (though probably fewer bird -watchers; cf. Debus & Czechura 1992). The
apparently increasing number of coastal sightings in NSW in recent years may reflect the
increase in bird -watching and the ability of observers to recognise the species, following
publication of modern field guides; the gradual disposal of the old myth that the Kite is an
inland bird; and increased contact with bird -watchers as the Kites adapt to “green” cities on
the North Coast (as around Brisbane, Qld: see Debus & Czechura 1992).
The Square -tailed Kite’s distribution and sighting frequency in the regions of NSW
may to some extent reflect the distribution and density of observers. For instance, bird –
watchers may be more inclined to visit the inland, and avoid high latitudes and altitudes, in
the cooler months. However, the number of RAOU Atlas record sheets per 1° block was
similar across the seasons, with spring coverage similar to winter and summer coverage
March 1993 Page 110similar to autumn, in NSW; winter and spring coverage of western NSW was good (see
Blakers et al. 1984, Figure 13, p. xxx). We believe that the regional pattern of records is a
reasonably accurate reflection of the Kite’s relative abundance from east to west, for several
(a) Western and Central Division records from the NSW Bird Atlas were used but those from
the Eastern Division were not available, and NPWS Wildlife Atlas records were similarly
biased towards western and southern regions (i.e. available Atlas records compensated to
some extent for greater observer density in the east);
(b) our analysis detected seasonal patterns of occurrence apparently independent of
observer distribution or density. For example, if Kite numbers were purely a reflection of
observer density, then there should have been far more records for the Hunter, Central
Coast and Illawarra (of Morris et aL 1981, i.e. Central Coast of McAllan & Bruce 1989);
(c) despite the pattern of observer density, the regional pattern for the Black Kite is virtually
the reverse of that of the Square -tailed Kite (compare their distributions in Blakers et aL
1984), i.e. there are many records for the Black Kite in the west but few from the east. it is
possible that observers do not take a second look at kites where Black Kites are common,
but the converse is probably true: early records of Square -tailed Kites in central and western
NSW may have been inflated by misidentified Black Kites, whereas observers are now
generally aware that a genuine Square -tailed Kite stands out clearly among Black Kites.
Clusters of sightings, and most breeding records, derive from scattered resident
observers regularly reporting observations from the North Coast (Grafton), North-west
Slopes (Inverell, Pilliga Scrub, Coonabarabran), South-west and South Far Western Plains
(Deniliquin, Dareton), and South Coast (Moruya, Nowra). However, their sightings by no
means account for all the Kite records from these regions. Furthermore, there have long
been several resident ornithologists on the Northern Tablelands (including Armidale), yet
there are comparatively few records for that region. In other words, the regional totals are
probably a genuine reflection of the relative importance of those regions for the Square –
tailed Kite. The regional totals for Central and Eastern Divisions probably also reflect the
degee of habitat retention in those regions (e.g. the extensive Pilliga Scrub); the low total
for the Central Coast probably reflects the clearing of forests on fertile soils from Newcastle
to Nowra. The Central Coast and Blue Mountains, on infertile sandstone, may be unsuitable
habitat, as most of the few Kite records from the Sydney area were on shale which supports
(or supported) box-ironbark and Angophora floribunda. On the coast, the little remaining
Angophora floribunda is largely restricted to moist, infertile sandplains that have escaped
clearing (R. Payne pers. comm.).
Following the reviews cited above, the Kite’s seasonal pattern of occurrence in NSW
is also no surprise and confirms that previously suggested (Debus 1983). It appears that
in NSW, Kites breeding at high latitudes and altitudes moveto milder, low -altitude inland and
coastal areas, and generally northwards, in autumn -winter. This might be expected in a
predator that lives on nestling passerines, insects and other small foliage inhabitants, and
is consistent with movement patterns predicted by Nix (1976) for birds in general.
Page 111 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3The Kite’s seasonal pattern of occurrence is entirely consistent with that of adjoining
eastern States, particularly Victoria and Queensland (cf. Debus & Silveira 1989, Debus &
Czechura 1992). The Kite is strongly migratory in Victoria (high latitude), the ratio of spring –
summer to autumn -winter records being 7:1; most of the autumn -winter records are for
northern Victoria (north of 37°S) and East Gippsland (i.e. low latitude/altitude and milder
coastal areas). It is possible that some autumn records in inland NSW are of Victorian birds
moving north. For Queensland as a whole, there is a slight increase in sightings in autumn –
winter (54%, vs 46% in spring -summer), with a pronounced influx to northern regions.
However, in south-east Queensland, as in the adjoining North Coast region of NSW, the
species is virtually resident (55% of records in spring -summer, 45% in autumn -winter: see
Debus & Czechura 1992, Table 1). As suggested for other States (Queensland, South
Australia: Debus 1991a, Debus & Czechura 1992), it appears that in NSW there is some
return southwards migration via the inland in wet years: Hobbs (1961) noted a “minor
irruption” in a post -flood spring in the south-west, and Wyndham (1978) recorded the
species in the far north-west corner of NSW after flooding rains, therefore the Kites may
exploit insect abundance and passerine breeding following plant growth.
In previous papers in this series, Debus has suggested that the Kite is a dry -season,
non -breeding migrant to the tropics (Kimberley, Top End, Gulf of Carpentaria and Cape York
Peninsula). In Garnett (1992), P. Olsen is credited with knowledge of the Kite breeding in
the Kimberley. However, Olsen & Marples (in press) conceded that alleged autumn
clutches of the Kite [presumably taken in the tropics] may have been misidentified.
Therefore, the question of whether there is a reservoir of breeding Kites in the tropics still
needs to be answered satisfactorily; it is of relevance to the conservation of the Kite in the
south and indeed Australia -wide.
The Square -tailed Kite’s ecological requirements are by now reasonably well known
in general terms, although little specific detail is available: it is dependent on eucalypt open
forest and woodland, and on passerines (particularly honeyeaters, i.e. nectarivores) that
nest in the foliage canopy, and occurs at low density. Breeding birds require mature
eucalypts for nesting, near an assured food supply, and those that migrate require wintering
habitat where they feed on free -flying small birds and on insects. Breeding pairs occupy a
traditional territory for many years: at least 11 years at one site in the Pilliga Scrub, an
important area for the species (see Johnston 1983; this study, Appendix 1). A case of
breeding failure in one year, and no breeding attempt in the following year, suggests that
pairs may linger on in a territory, with declining breeding success, while their habitat
degrades around them (see Debus et al. 1992; this study, Appendix 1).
In terms of nest -site characteristics and foraging behaviour, the Kite probably
responds to habitat structural attributes; floristic attributes are probably important determinants
of prey densities. Eucalypts recorded in the Kite’s breeding or foraging habitat in NSW
include boxes, ironbarks, peppermints, stringybarks, Spotted Gum, Silvertop Ash Eucalyptus
seiberi and smooth -barked gums (subgenus Symphyomyrtus) from the coast to the inland
slopes, and River Red Gum E. camaldulensis and Coolibah E. microtheca on inland rivers
(Johnston 1983; Schulz 1983; Debus 1992; Debus et al. 1992; this paper, Appendix 1; our
March 1993 Page 112pers. obs.). The presence of breeding Kites may be a useful indicator of the viability of a
habitat patch and its passerine population, in suitable eucalypt communities such as box-
ironbark woodland in the Central Division of NSW. Aspects of the Kite’s habitat, and its
apparent requirement for rich patches on fertile soils, may be similar to habitat requirements
of the Regent Honeyeater (see Ford et at in press, and references therein, for discussion
of the connexion between soil and foliage nutrients, and insect and honeyeater abundance).
It is likely that action to conserve viable, breeding populations of the Kite throughout the
western slopes of NSW would also help the Regent Honeyeater.
Half of the open forest and 36% of the woodland in Australia has been cleared, with
loss of woodland severe in NSW (from Lunney 1991). It seems reasonable to conclude that
the Kite’s population may therefore have been at least halved in NSW through habitat loss,
and that the Kite is now of conservation concern because it is a habitat and diet specialist.
We infer that conservation of the Square -tailed Kite in NSW requires habitat reserves
throughout itsgeographic range, catering forwintering as well as breeding areas. Furthermore,
eucalypt communities may be variously sporadic, persistent or non -persistent in their
flowering attributes (R. Payne pers. comm.), therefore habitat patches sampling all these
blossoming habits may need to be identified and reserved. We suggest that particular
attention should be paid to the North Coast and North-west Slopes, especially Spotted Gum,
box-ironbark and Rough -barked Apple open forests and woodlands.
Effective conservation of the Kite will require detailed and accurate knowledge of its
biology, breeding density, recruitment, habitat use and home -range size, from which may
be inferred the minimum size (area) for reserves. As suggested elsewhere, known nests
and foraging areas should be protected from clearing and other disturbance. As additional
interim management procedures, we recommend investigations for new reserves in the
Central Division (slopes) and north-west inland; financial incentives for landholders to retain
habitat on the western slopes of the Divide; a moratorium on disposal or clearing of Crown
land; and a detailed study of the Kite in northern NSW where its density is probably high
enough to provide meaningful results. The recommendations of Webster & Menkhorst
(1992) on Regent Honeyeater habitat, if implemented, may be a significant contribution to
the conservation of the Square -tailed Kite. Similarly, the recommendations of Morgan &
Terrey (1992) may benefit the Kite, but we note that reserves of sufficient size to conserve
plant communities may not be large enough to conserve bird populations, particularly high –
order consumers such as raptors. A field survey and biological study of the Kite in northern
NSW may detect remaining populations of the Regent Honeyeater.
Firstly, we acknowledge Chris Chafer for providing the stimulus to undertake this
review. We thank Dr S.J.J. F. Davies for access to RAOU Atlas observations by: K. Bartram,
R. Bigg, E. Birt, J. Brooke, G. Clancy, P. Fullagar, P. Knell, E. Lisser, R.& D. Long, S.
Marchant, A.K. Morris, R. Noske, C. Richardson, A.B. Rose, N. Schrader, R. Semmens, P.
Smith and J. Walter. Peggy Mitchell (BOCA) supplied a copy of a sighting report by T.
Bischoff. NSW bird Atlas observers were: T. Bischoff, P. Cannon, J. & M. Stephenson and
Page 113 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3T. Wade. Staff of The Australian Museum and Museum of Victoria kindly allowed access
to data, and staff of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW, allowed access to John
Gilbert’s and E.P. Ramsay’s unpublished diaries. Jerry Olsen and Philip Veerman helped
us to trace some records. Colleagues who generously supplied unpublished sightings and
notes were: the late Harry Bell, Greg Clancy, Dick Cooper, Liz Date, Hugh Ford, David
Geering, Dariel Larkins, Andrew Ley, Kath Marriott, Richard Noske, David Paull, Tony Ross,
David Secomb, Andrew Smith and Matthew Stanton. John Brickhill supplied records from
the NPWS Wildlife Atlas by: P. Bayliss, M. Cochrane, S. Dovey, B. Gall, T. Grant, J. Hobbs,
I. Mahood, P. Morris, A.B. Rose, J. Southeron, A. Spate and D. Turner. Dr Hugh Ford, John
Brickhill and Robert Payne commented helpfully on a draft.
Althofer, G.W. 1934. Birds of the Wellington district, NSW. Emu 34, 105-112.
Anderson, R.H. Introduction. Contr. NSW Nat/ Herbarium, Flora of New South Wales Ser.
1-18, 1-15.
Austin, T.P. 1907. Field notes on birds from Talbragar River, New South Wales. Part 1.
Emu 7, 28-32.
Austin, T.P. 1918. The birds of the Cobbora district. Aust. Zoologist 1, 109-137.
Baldwin, M. 1975. Birds of Inverell district, NSW. Emu 75, 113-120.
Blakers, M., S.J.J.F. Davies & P.N. Reilly. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne:
Melbourne Univerity Press.
Brandwood, K. 1989. Raptors at Annangrove. Cumberland Bird Observers Club Newsl.
11(1), 3.
Brouwer, J. & S. Garnett. (Eds). 1990. Threatened Birds of Australia, an Annotated List.
RAOU Report 68.
Bryant, C.E. 1934. The camp -out at Moree, NSW, and the birds observed. Emu 33, 159-
Cameron, A.C. 1934. Report on a trip to Mount Grattai from Moree. Emu 33, 202-203.
Chisholm, A.H. 1944. Birds of the Gilbert diary, Part 1. Emu 44, 131-150.
Clancy, G. 1980. Nest robbing by the Square -tailed Kite. Aust. Birds 15, 50.
Coates, B.J. 1985. The Birds of Papua New Guinea, VoL 1, Non -passerines. Brisbane:
Cooper, R.M. 1991. 1987 New South Wales bird report. Aust. Birds 24, 49-72.
Cox, J.D. & A.G. Hamilton. 1889. A list of the birds of the Mudgee district, with notes on
their habits, etc. Proc. Linn. Soc. NSW (2nd ser.) 4, 395-424.
Debus, S.J.S. 1983. The Square -tailed Kite as a migrant in south-eastern Australia. Aust.
Birds 17, 56-58.
Debus, S.J.S. 1990a. Square -tailed Kite, in Brouwer, J. & S. Garnett (Eds), Threatened
Birds of Australia, an Annotated List, RAOU Report 68.
Debus, S. 1990b. Square -tailed Kite hunting behaviour. Australasian Raptor Assoc. News
11, 8.
Debus, S.J.S. 1991a. The Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura in South Australia. S. Aust.
OrnithoL 31, 57-71.
Debus, S. 1991b. Relationships of the Red Goshawk. Australasian Raptor Assoc. News 12, 46-52.
March 1993 Page 114Debus, S.J.S. 1992. A survey of diurnal raptors in north-east New South Wales, 1987-1990.
Aust. Birds 25, 67-77.
Debus, S.J.S. & G.V. Czechura. 1989. The Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura: a review.
Aust. Bird Watcher 13, 81-97.
Debus, S.J.S. & G.V. Czechura. 1992. The Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura in
Queensland. Sunbird 22, 1-18.
Debus, S.J.S. & C.E. Silveira. 1989. The Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura in Victoria.
Aust. Bird Watcher 13, 118-123.
Debus, S.J.S., R.D. Earle, G.J. Millard & C.R. Parker. 1992. Breeding behaviour of a pair
of Square -tailed Kites. Aust. Birds 26, 1-13.
Disney, H.J. de S. 1979. Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union Pilot Atlas Scheme.
Corella 2, 97-163.
Ford, H.A. & D. McFarland. 1991. Faunal survey of New England III. Birds. Mem. Old Mus.
30, 381-431.
Ford, H.A., W.E. Davis, S. Debus, A. Ley, H. Recher & B. Williams. In press. Foraging and
aggressive behaviour of the Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia in northern
New South Wales. Emu.
Fox, A. 1972. Warrumbungle National Park. Sydney: Govt Printer for NSW NPWS.
Garnett, S.T. (Ed.). 1992. Threatened and Extinct Birds of Australia. RAOU Report 82.
Gibson, J.D. 1989. The Birds of the County of Camden (Including the lllawarra Region),
2nd edn. Wollongong: Illawarra Bird Observers Club.
Gillooly, W.J. 1992. National Parks and Wildlife Service revised (interim) Schedule 12,
National Parks and Wildlife Act. Sydney Morning Herald 4 March 1992, p. 32.
Gould, J. 1865. Handbook to the Birds of Australia. London: author.
Henle, K. 1989. A two-year avifaunistic survey in Kinchega National Park, western New
South Wales. Aust. Birds 22, 53-68.
Heron, S.J. 1973. Birds of the Orange district, NSW. Emu 73, 1-8.
Hindwood, K.A. 1970. The “Watling” drawings, with incidental notes on the “Lambert” and
the “Latham” drawings. Proc. Roy. ZooL Soc. NSW 1968-69, 16-25.
Hindwood, K.A. & A.R. McGill. 1958. The Birds of Sydney. Sydney: Royal Zoological Soc.
Hobbs, J.N. 1961. The birds of south-west New South Wales. Emu 61, 21-55.
Johnston, D. 1983. Nesting of the Square -tailed Kite in the Baradine area. Aust. Birds 17,
Leach, G.J. 1986. A revision of the genus Angophora (Myrtaceae). Telopea 2, 749-779.
Lunney, D. 1991. The future of Australia’s forest fauna. In Lunney, D. (Ed.), Conservation
of Australia’s Forest Fauna. Sydney: Royal Zool. Soc. of NSW.
McAllan, I.A.W. & M.D. Bruce. 1989. The Birds of New South Wales: A Working List.
Sydney: Biocon Research Group.
McGill, A.R. 1961. Handlist of Birds in New South Wales. Sydney: Fauna Protection Panel.
Maher, P. 1988. Random observations on raptors of the Riverina, NSW. Australasian
Raptor Assoc. News 9, 75.
Maher, P. 1990. Birds Survey of the Lachlan/Murrumbidgee Confluence Wetlands.
Sydney: NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service.
Maher, P. 1992. Here and there – kites, buzzards, harriers and sea -eagles. Australasian
Page 115 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3Raptor Assoc. News 13, 26.
Mitchell, P. 1989. Unusual sighting reports, series 78. Bird Observer 693, 124-125.
Morgan, G. & J. Terrey. 1992. Nature Conservation in Western New South Wales. Sydney:
National Parks Assoc. NSW.
Morris, A.K., A.R. McGill & G. Holmes. 1981. Handlist of Birds in New South Wales.
Sydney: NSW Field Ornithologists Club.
Morris, F.T. 1976. Birds of Prey of Australia: A Field Guide. Melbourne: Lansdowne.
Morse, F.C. 1918. Nesting notes from Moree. Emu 18, 65-71.
Morse, F.C. 1922. Birds of the Moree district. Emu 22, 24-36.
Nix, H.A. 1976. Environmental control of breeding, post -breeding dispersal and migration
of birds in the Australian region. Proc. XVI Internatl Ornithol. Congr. Canberra, 272-
North, A.J. 1911. Nests and Eggs of Birds Found Breeding in Australia and Tasmania, vol.

  1. Sydney: Aust. Museum.
    Olsen, P.D. & T.G. Marples. In press. Geographic variation in egg size, clutch size and date
    of laying of Australian raptors (Falconiformes and Strigiformes). Emu.
    Ramsay, E.P. 1867. Notes on the nidification of Baza subcristata. Proc. Zool. Soc. London
    1867, 392-394.
    Richards, D. 1989. North-west Plains report – Baan Baa. NSW FOC News!. 112, 8.
    Schulz, M. 1983. Nesting of the Square -tailed Kite in south-eastern New South Wales.
    Aust. Birds 18, 6-8.
    Taylor, I.M., M. Lenz & B.J. Lepschi. 1987. Annual bird report: 1 July 1985 to 30 June 1986.
    Canberra Bird Notes 12, 30-83.
    Webster, R. & P. Menkhorst. 1992. The Regent Honeyeater (Xanthomyza phrygia):
    Population Status and Ecology in Victoria and New South Wales. Arthur Rylah
    Institute for Env. Research Tech. Rep. Ser. no. 126.
    Wheeler, W.R. 1974. Birds and Where to Find them: New South Wales. Brisbane:
    White, H.L. 1909. Warty -faced Honeyeaters and friarbirds. Emu 9, 93-94.
    Williams, B. 1992. From the BOPWatchers. Australasian RaptorAssociation News 13, 10-
    Wyndham, E. 1978. Birds of the Milparinka district and Cooper Creek basin. Emu 78, 179-
    S.J.S. Debus, Zoology Department, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351
    I.A.W. McAllan, 46 Yeramba Street, Turramurra, NSW 2074
    A.K. Morris, Wombat Street, Berkeley Vale, NSW 2359
    March 1993 Page 116Appendix
    Details of unpublished records of the Square -tailed Kite in New South Wales. Regions as
    in McAllan & Bruce (1989). NP= National Park; NR = Nature Reserve; NPWS = NSW
    Wildlife Atlas, National Parks & Wildlife Service.
    Region Locality Comment
    NC Red Rock Pair observed, 1970s (R. Noske).
    NC Clarence Valley Singles Ulmarra and Swans Creek 4.4.87 (D. Geering).
    NC Grafton Singles Southgate and Glenugie State Forest 14.9.87
    (D. Geering).
    NC Valla-Hungry Head Singles 6-8.2, 24.4 and 19.8.87; detailed description
    supplied (D. Secomb).
    NC Clarence Valley Singles Jan. 1985; Feb. 1987; Feb. 1989; pair Mar.
    1987 (G. Clancy).
    NC Grafton Pair bred spring 1991 (E. Wheeler, per G. Clancy).
    NC Grafton 8.3.92, Kite eating a nestling bird in a street tree
    (A. Ley).
    NC Kempsey Pair resident at Yarravel Dec. 1991 -April 1992
    (T. Bischoff/BOCA).
    NC Laurieton One bird Grants Head 10.5.92 (Manning Valley
    Birdwatchers newsl., per AKM).
    NC Nambucca Heads Pair resident throughout June 1992 at least (K. Marriott,
    B. Lake).
    NT Kingstown Undated record, post -1970, per H.L. Bell (= source of
    record in Ford & McFarland 1991).
    NT Mt Kaputar NP One bird 5.11.77 (A.B. Rose/NPWS).
    NT Torryburn One over well -treed travelling stock reserve near
    Gwydir River 11.11.90 (A. Ley).
    NT Torrington Late November 1991, adult sitting on nest (incubating
    or brooding), calling with yelp and rattle as described
    in Debus et al (1992). Nest was in Mountain Gum
    Eucalyptus dalrympleana, in Mountain Gum -Yellow
    Box (E. melliodora)-stringybark grassy open forest
    c. 18-20 m ay. height, in creekline (M. Stanton,
    A. Smith).
    NWS Tingha One bird 4.9.86 (H.A. Ford).
    NWS (withheld) 1991 site (Debus eta/. 1992): adult on old nest 27.7.92,
    pair in 1991 nest tree Aug. 1992 (J. Courtney, K.
    Holdsworth). No further sightings in territory despite
    regular visits (J. Courtney), i.e. no breeding attempt in
    Page 117 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3NWS Baradine Pilliga Scrub: singles in Sept. -Oct. 1992 and pair
    breeding Nov. 1992 (D. Johnston, J. Brickhill, D. Paull,
    E.M. Date) at site described by Johnston (1983).
    NWS Rocky Glen Pair c.10 km N, in Pilliga Scrub, Dec. 1992 (E.M. Date).
    NWP Moree One bird Moree Watercourse 1.11.79 (J. Southeron/
    NWP Boggabilla One bird on Maclntyre River 1.5.85 (T. Grant/NPWS).
    NWP Narrabri Single 25 km SW in Pilliga Scrub Nov. 1992 (E.M.
    NFWP Paroo River Bird building nest along river between Wilcannia and
    Wanaaring, spring 1985 or 1986; nest was well hidden
    in tree canopy on billabong off main channel (T. Ross).
    NFWP Mootwingee NP One bird Gap Range 1.1.72 (I. Mahood/NPWS).
    NFWP Nocoleche NR One bird 1.10.77 (P. Bayliss/NPWS).
    CC Hawkesbury River One bird 17.12.77 (M. Paul, A. Colemane, J. Dixon).
    CC Royal NP One bird 17.1.83 (D. Turner/NPWS).
    CWS Temora Undated record, post -1970 (per J. Olsen).
    CWS Temora One bird Ingalba NR 1.9.71 (M. Cochrane/NPWS)
    CWS Dubbo One bird NE of town Nov. 1991 (T. Bischoff/NSW Bird
    CWS Forbes One bird W of town spring 1991 (P. Cannon/NSW Bird
    SC Nadgee NR One bird 11.2.84 (S. Dovey/NPWS).
    ST Goulburn One bird on Fish River at Narrowa Dec. 1881 (K.H.
    Bennett, in E.P. Ramsay unpubl. diaries).
    ST Kosciusko NP One bird Byadbo Mtn 19.12.81 (B. Gall/NPWS).
    ST Yass One bird Mundoonen NR 15.2.82 (S. Dovey/NPWS).
    ST Kosciusko NP One bird E of Yarrangobilly 20.10.82 (A. Spate/NPWS).
    SWP Ivanhoe One bird Morrisons Lake NR 1.1.71 (J. Hobbs/NPWS).
    SFWP Gol Gol One bird Gol Gol Lake/Tapio Station 12.6.84 (J.
    SFWP Menindee One bird Menindee-Broken Hill road 5.3.85 (P. Morris/
    SFWP Kinchega NP One bird May 1985 (J. & M. Stephenson/NSW Bird
    March 1993 Page 118OBITUARY: Norman CHAFFER, OAM, FRZS, FRAOU
    Norman Chaffer was born on 15 March 1899 at Willoughby and died on 23 November 1992,
    aged 93 years. All his life was spent at Willoughby, Chatswood and Roseville where he was
    living at the time of his death.
    His interest in birds started at an early age and much of his spare time was spent in
    bushland which extended near the family home in Willoughby to the shores of Middle
    harbour. In 1919 he started photography of wild birds and his first bird photographed of a
    White-browed Scrub -wren Sericornis frontalis, was published in The Emu 21, soon after he
    joined the RAOU in 1921. Then followed 65 years of bird photography with regular updating
    of equipment. He moved into colour photography in the early 1950’s, after suitable colour
    film became available, and also made a numberof movie films in colour. His last photograph,
    an Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris, was taken in November 1985. Many of
    his photographs were published in books, magazines and journals, both Australian and
    overseas, and over 60 appeared in The Emu. He was an excellent photographer, described
    in P. Slater 1980 Masterpieces of Australian Bird Photography as the “Grand Master of
    Australian Photography”, and like all great photographers, was never completely satisfied
    with his results; he was always striving for something better.
    Norman was not only a bird photographer of world class, but also a competent field
    ornithologist, and contributed 24 papers and fourteen short notes to The Emu. He also
    published a number of papers in the Australian Zoologist and articles in other magazines
    and journals. He is the author of the book In Quest of Bowerbirds 1984 Adelaide; Rigby
    Publishers, a group of birds to which he had devoted much time and study.
    He became well known as a lecturer, and was a regular guest speaker at various
    clubs and organisations, including the NSWFOC. (Norman was never a member of the
    NSWFOC, as that organisation came into being at the time when he was bowing out of active
    photography). His talks were all illustrated with his own slides or movie films, and he always
    stressed the importance of the need conserve habitats. This led to the award of the Order
    of Australia Medal (OAM) in 1979 for “Services to Conservation”. He was also awarded a
    Fellowship of both the RAOU and the RZS, the highest honour that either society can
    bestow. He served as president of the RAOU in 1954-5.
    During his active years, he attended a number of the RAOU Camp -outs, and many
    new members benefited from his advice and experience both as a field ornithologist and
    photographer. He also made many camping trips to areas as far apart as North Queensland
    and the mallee of north-western Victoria, usually accompanied by fellow “birdos”. These
    included Alec Chisholm, John Ramsay, Roy Cooper and Ellis McNamara. had the pleasure
    of being with him on some of these trips including one to North Queensland in 1953, where
    we were able to take the first known photographs of the Golden Bowerbird Amblyornis
    Page 119 Australian Birds Vol. 26 No. 3Norman was a quiet modest man, never seeking the limelight, but always ready to
    assist and encourage those who needed help. His published works will be a lasting
    memorial, and his negatives and colourtransparencies are held by the National Photographic
    Index of Australian Wildlife at the Australian Museum.
    He will be sadly missed by all who were privileged to know him. He is survived by his
    widow Marjorie and five children to whom our heartfelt sympathy is extended.
    John D. Waterhouse
    March 1993 Page 120NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS
    Contributors are requested to observe the following points when submitting articles and
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  2. Species, names, and the order in which they occur are to be in accordance with “The
    Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds”. S. Marchant & P. Higgins (Eds.)
    Volumes 1 & 2; and “Handlist of Birds in New South Wales”. A.K. Morris, A.R. McGill and
    G. Holmes 1981 Dubbo: NSWFOC.
  3. Articles or notes should be type written and submitted in quadruplicate. Double spacing
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  6. Photographs should be glossy finish and not too small.
  7. The Style Manual, CommonwealthGovernment Printing Office, Canberra (1966) and
    subsequent editions will be the guide for this Journal.
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  10. The 24 hour clock will be used, times being written 06:30, 18:30 for 6:30am and 6:30pm
  11. Mr, Mrs, Dr are not to be followed by a full stop.
  12. 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.
  13. 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
  14. Acknowledgements to other individuals should include Christian names or initials.Volume 26, No.3 March 1993
    Geering D.J. Concentration of Whistling Kites at a northern
    NSW Egret colony 89
    Morris A.K. Superb Fruit -Dove in south-eastern NSW 91
    Angus R.J. Multiple nesting attempts by a pair of Leaden Flycatchers 95
    Boles W.E. ‘Predation’ by Laughing Kookaburra on toy Koala 100
    Watts R.A. Male Pallid Cuckoo feeding juvenile cuckoo 101
    Clancy G.P. A northern rivers record of the Blue Petrel
    Halobaena caerulea 103
    Debus S.J.S.,
    McAllan I.A.W. &
    Morris A.K. The Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura in NSW 104
    Waterhouse J.D. Obituary: Norman Chafer, OAM, FRZS, FRAOU 119
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