Vol. 28 No. 1-text

Vol. 28 No. 1
Journal of the
Volume 28 No.1 September 1994NSW FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB Inc
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Cover picture:
Channel -billed Cuckoo, by John Gould.
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ISSN 0311-8150
Printed by Zly Village bailie, 56 Thompson Street, Drummoyne 2047AUSTRALIAN
Volume 28 No.1
September 1994
Associate of The Australian Museum
61 Boundary Street, Forster 2428
The Little Tern Sterna albifrons is endangered as a breeding species in New South
Wales and I was monitoring the Forster colony on behalf of the NSW National Parks and
Wildlife Service.
Little Terns nested on Sand Island in Wallis Lake, Forster NSW from 13 November
1993 to 8 February 1994. This island, approximately 100 x 50 m, was formed with
dredge spoil to a height of 3 m above high tide and has been planted along the edge with
beach spinifex Spinifex sericeus. During the nesting season of the Little Terns American
sea rocket Cukile edentula grew on the south end and spinifex runners grew across the
north end. The only known predators of Little Terns using this island were Silver Gulls
Larus novaehollandiae. Wader tracks were consistently noted amongst the Tern colony
from 19 December 1993 onwards but waders were not considered a threat to the breeding
colony until a Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus was observed to pick up a Little Tern chick
and attempt to swallow it.
In the literature I could not find any mention of Whimbrels being predators of
eggs or chicks. A near relation, however, the Bristle-thighed Curlew Numenius tahitiensis
has the habit, unusual for a wader, of feeding on the eggs of nesting sea -birds (Austin
1962, Burton 1969). On Pacific islands it steals eggs of terns, boobies and frigatebirds,
impaling them on its bill and carrying them away to be smashed and eaten at leisure. The
diet of Whimbrels is recorded as molluscs, crustaceans, annelids, insects, spiders, millipedes
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1
1and lizards as well as plant material, mainly berries (Cramp & Simmons 1983). Animals
picked up in the tip of the bill are tossed to the mouth by jerks of the head.
In previous years Whimbrels were not common in Wallis Lake; usually only three
or four were seen with a maximum of ten. On 5 January 1994 30 Whimbrels with four
Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis and 49 Bar -tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
were roosting at dawn on the northern end of the tern colony. The Godwit were in a tight
group which flew off as a flock to feed on the exposed sand flats below. The Whimbrels
were walking all over the northern end of the colony then down the east side. The Eastern
Curlew stood in a group then followed the Whimbrels down the east side. I noted the
difference in the tracks of these waders.
On 7 January I noted tracks and feathers of Whimbrels amongst the Little Tern
nesting colony and one egg was missing.
At dawn on 9 January two Eastern Curlew and 54 Bar -tailed Godwit were on the
island with 31 Whimbrels. The Godwit left in a group while the Whimbrels wandered
over the northern end and north-east side of the south end. At 0542, just after the Little
Terns were leaving to feed, a Whimbrel walking past Tern chicks suddenly ran a metre to
pick up a runner in its bill and toss it. The runner was near to fledging and was able to
flutter away. The nearest Whimbrels flew up as two Little Terns mobbed them, and I
flushed the remainder but not before
two eggs, one chick had hatched and was later found pecked and dead about one metre
away. Only Whimbrel tracks were there as was the case on 11 January when the young
from the remaining egg that had hatched on the 10th was gone.
On 17 January tracks and a primary wing feather of a Whimbrel were at nest 38
suggesting they were responsible for the disappearance of two young that had hatched
the day before.
On 23 January two young hatched in nest 44 and were not seen again. On 24
January 1994 nest 46 contained one healthy chick and one that had been mauled; I expected
to find it dead in the nest with the other healthy chick on 25 January but both had gone
and there was no sign of any young being fed on the northern end.
On 24 January nest 47 had one hatchling and one egg. Next day the young one had
gone and the following day all that remained of the egg was a little yolk and albumen but
no shell, as if an infertile egg had been pierced and removed.
On 25 January at nest 48, three m from nest 46, two young had just hatched but
next day both had gone.
2 ROSE : Predation of Little Terns September1994On 23 January nest 49 had two young, only one on 25 January; Whimbrel tracks
were present as usual. The remaining chick was taken to the south-west corner where no
Whimbrel tracks had been seen and was the last to fledge from his colony. Six other
young in nests that disappeared the day after hatching before I realised Whimbrels were
predators were all on the northern end.
On 24 January at dawn 19 Whimbrels and three Eastern Curlew were on the island;
it was full moon and the Godwits had already left. Again the Whimbrels were all over the
colony. At 0552 the Whimbrels flew east, then south to the mangroves on Godwin Island,
followed by the Curlews.
On 31 January at dawn only one Whimbrel was on the flat below the colony.
Although the tide was low it was not feeding along the waters edge as the Godwits were
but wandering around near the spinifex used by runner Terns. It saw me, called and flew
The last nests in the open area to the south west where there were no Whimbrel
tracks all fledged in spite of being open to gull attack and gulls were continually being
mobbed away. Only one young fledged within the Whimbrel search area and that nest
was on the south-west edge. Two late Little Tern nests of two eggs each, laid 18 days
after the previous clutch, were outside the Whimbrel search area and one survived until 4
February although the other had been deserted. The eggs disappeared between 4-8
February; a north-east wind had covered all tracks except very fresh ones that included
Galah Cactua roseicapilla and Forest Raven Corvus tasmanicus that were feeding on sea
rocket fruit and one Whimbrel that had walked to the nests and was not feeding on fruit.
I followed the tracks across the northern end to a Red -capped Plover Charadrius
ruficapillus nest of two eggs that had also disappeared between 4-8 February. It did not
appear that any of the eggs were taken on 8 February, the tracks of the Whimbrel suggesting
it was revisiting nests where it had previously found eggs (as I had seen a Silver Gull do
a day after it had taken eggs).
There were lone Whimbrel tracks over the now deserted colony on 22 February,
and again on 2 March but this time from plant to plant of sea rocket as if feeding on the
fruit, then over the spinifex-covered north end.
Silver Gulls were responsible for predating nine runners (on the evidence of tracks
and direct observation) and possibly seven more as tracks were covered by wind; they
were known to have taken 12 eggs and probably seven more. Whimbrels took 13 young
within two days of hatching and possibly a further six, as well as two eggs and possibly
the last four laid. Table 1 shows that the last three groups of nests fledged less young,
corresponding to observed Whimbrel activity.
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1
3TABLE 1: Little Tern nesting success, and causes of losses.
Discovery Hatching Nests Eggs Hatched Fledged Cause of
dates dates (e) (y) losses
13-29/11 7-21/12 9 23 16 12 2e – wind-blown sand
5e – gulls
4y – gulls
1-19/12 24/12-5/1 13 29 22 18 7e – gulls
ly – weak & died
3y – gulls or Whimbrels
16-24/12 8-11/1 12 26 22 13 3e – deserted
le – Whimbrels
9y – gulls or Whimbrels
21-30/12 12-17/1 9 18 16 4 le – wind-blown sand
le – Whimbrels
12y – gulls or Whimbrels
30/12-23/1 21-25/1 8 15 9 1 3e – deserted
3e – gulls, Whimbrels
or Forest Ravens
8y – Whimbrels.
Sea rocket and spinifex were allowed to grow over the colony for cover for the
runners. In my opinion this was a mistake as the open area was avoided by Whimbrels. I
recommend that the manager of the nesting colony make sure the nesting area is kept
clear of all vegetation with plants only on the perimeters and sloping sides of this raised
sand island.
I thank Alan Morris and Peter Smith for most helpful comments and Walter Boles of The Australian
Museum for checking Whimbrel diet in the literature.
Austin, O.L. Jr. 1962, Birds of the World, Paul Hamlyn, London.
Burton, M. & Burton, R. 1969, International Wildlife Encyclopedia, B.P.C. Publishing Ltd,
Great Britain.
Cramp, S. & Simmons, K.E.L. 1983, Handbook of the Birds ofE urope, the Middle East and
North Africa, OUP, Oxford.
4 ROSE : Predation of Little Terns September] 994THE CHANNEL -BILLED CUCKOO IN FAR WEST QUEENSLAND:
225 Kissing Point Road, Turramurra 2074
Australian literature can be a source of information about animal behaviour and
distribution. Alice Duncan -Kemp and Henry Lamond each had a lifetime of pastoral
experience in far west Queensland, and included in their writing accounts of the Channel –
billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae, which they also referred to as the Flood Bird
and Storm Bird, sometimes with variations of spelling. Duncan -Kemp also introduced
the Aboriginal name Muk-kundrie (Giant Cuckoo).
Alice Duncan -Kemp was born about 1900 and grew up on Mooraberrie’, a cattle
station in the Diamantina-Cooper region, her experience including the Georgina country.
After the death of her father, Duncan -Kemp and her two sisters assisted their mother in
managing Mooraberrie’, a task at which they were very successful. Her writing reveals
a profound love and understanding of the area and its people, ‘black and white’. She
writes of the years 1906-1923 with considerable authority and may have referred to station
records and diaries.
Henry Lamond was born at Carl Creek Police Station, Gregory River, far north-
west Queensland, in 1885. Green (1968) states that Lamond had wide pastoral experience
and was an ‘acute and friendly observer of animals’. H.L. White of `Belltrees’, Scone
NSW, encouraged Lamond to write ‘An Aviary on the Plains’, one of his many books
about animals. Lamond’s experience would appear to have covered much of the same
period as Duncan-Kemp’s.
Neither author specifies dates of observations, although both are precise in stating
locations. Duncan -Kemp (1933: pp.267-268), at the Six Mile Swamp (approx. 25° 20′ S.
140° 58′ E) on Mooraberrie’, after an inch (25 mm) of rain observed,
On a coolabah bough, with its flattened head sunk in a white ruffle
of feathers, sat a slatey-grey Flood Bird. Of all the larger birds in
the bush this Muk-kundrie (Giant Cuckoo) is one of the most
interesting. Doomed by a legend of the blacks’ Alcheringa to be
restless and harsh -voiced, it follows storm and flood -waters.
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1 5For its share in inciting the birds to mutiny its species were
banished…. and obliged to wander the earth until extinction. The
demon spirit Marmoo… .suggested to the Muk-kundrie that it should
overcome the difficulty of propagating and multiplying its kind by
laying its eggs in another’s nest.
For suggesting this, Marmoo was turned into a crow. Duncan -Kemp then comments
on the truths and peculiarities of Aboriginal legends. She says the Cuckoo ‘nearly always
chooses a crow’s nest in which to lay its eggs. First tipping out the crow’s eggs one by
one, it deposits its own two or three in their place.’ Should any crow hatch they were
shouldered out of the nest when a few hours old. Duncan -Kemp witnessed this behaviour
twice. She further states that after the Cuckoos fledged, the crows ‘with all their mates’
hunted the Cuckoo young and pecked them to death unless they found shelter.
Duncan -Kemp (1961) described a blind Aboriginal boy’s gift for imitating bird
calls, including the Channel -billed Cuckoo, together ‘with the pitiful cries of the baby
flood -bird fleeing before enraged crow foster -parents who led hundreds of their friends
to the attack.’
Henry Lamond (1949), riding down the Georgina below Urandangie (21° 55′ S,
138° 29′ E), heard ‘the love -call of the storm -bird’, and describes the Channel -billed
Cuckoo. He mentions ‘a shuddering cry … a frightful medley of shrieks … a hideous din
… a discordant babel, … and the anguished call of a crow.’
Lamond says the male Channel -bill drives the crow from her nest, and lures the
pair away while the female Cuckoo lays in the crows’ nest. Unlike Duncan -Kemp, Lamond
says Channel -bills invariably selected crows’ nests, but concurs with Duncan -Kemp that
crow nestlings were ejected, although he makes no mention of crows harassing fledged
Cuckoos. He thought the crows knew that they had been deceived by the Cuckoos, but
continued fostering.
Crows and ravens are difficult to distinguish in the field, and Duncan -Kemp and
Lamond may have been unaware that three species of corvid occur in the Diamantina-
Cooper-Georgina region: the Torresian Crow Corvus orru, Little Crow C. bennetti and
the Australian Raven C. coronoides, all of which are known hosts of the Channel -billed
Cuckoo (Brooker & Brooker 1989).
Channel -billed Cuckoos at Mooraberrie’ fall within the Queensland range of the
species as described by Storr (1984), but observations below Urandangie are a south-
westerly extension of Storr’s range. Both these locations are significant extensions of the
range published by Blakers et al. 1984.
6 September1994
LARKINS Channel -billed Cuckoos
Blakers, M., Davies, S.J.J.F. & Reilly, P.N. 1984, The Atlas of Australian Birds, M.U.P,
Brooker, M.G. & Brooker, L.C. 1989, ‘Cuckoo hosts in Australia’, Aust Zool Rev 2, 1-67.
Duncan -Kemp, A.M. 1933, Our Sandhill Country, Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Duncan -Kemp, A.M. 1961, Our Channel Country, Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Green, H.M., 1968, A History of Australian Literature,Vol.2, Angus and Robertson, Sydney.
Lamond, H.G. 1949, An Aviary on the Plains, Angus & Robertson, Sydney.
Storr, G.M. 1984, ‘Revised List of Queensland Birds’, Rec W Aust Mus Suppl. No. 19, 1-192.
225 Kissing Point Road, Turramurra 2074
In their review of the habits of the Channel -billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae,
Goddard & Marchant (1983) stated that the laying routine of the Cuckoo was unknown, and that
while the female Cuckoos tampered with the eggs of the host, no details were available at that time
nor was anything known of the fate of eggs or young of the host. Brooker & Brooker (1989) also
commented on the lack of information about the breeding biology of the Channel -billed Cuckoo.
The following observations relating to the 1991-92 and 1992-93 breeding seasons in Sydney
add to the published accounts concerning the Channel -billed Cuckoo.
Channel -bills may arrive in the Sydney region (County of Cumberland and nearby
districts) as early as the first week in September, but most records relate to October,
November and December (see NSW Annual Bird Reports in Aust. Birds). The following
observations relate to three northern Sydney suburbs.
South Turramurra
In 1991 I first recorded the Cuckoo on 13 October. On 17 October I was woken
briefly about 0600 hours by fussing Pied Currawongs Strepera graculina. I was woken
again at 0625 by a commotion in the garden from Sulphur- crested Cockatoos Cacatua
galerita, Noisy Miners Manorina melanocephala and Pied Currawongs. A ratchet -like
grating prompted investigation.
Many circling birds focused on a clump of forest -remnant eucalypts where two
Channel -bills were perched high in the tallest trees. The Cuckoos slowly moved in on a
Australian Birds Vol.28 No. l 7Pied Currawongs’ nest near the centre, at the top of a red mahogany Eucalyptus resinifera,
approximately 13 m above the ground. As well as numerous Noisy Miners and Cockatoos,
many Currawongs were harassing the Cuckoos. Their numbers were too difficult to
estimate while watching the Cuckoos, with the surroundings a riot of flying birds and
agitated cries. Subsequently Ian McAllan and I established there was an average distance
of 250 m between Pied Currawong nests in this suburb when there was suitable habitat of
tall trees and bushy gardens.
One of the Cuckoos finally flew to, and stood in, the Currawongs’ nest, and with
head down and a vigorous action ejected a nestling with the bill. The ejection of the
nestling was a brief determined event, and in spite of close observation it was not possible
to see if an egg was deposited. The Cuckoo stood in the nest for about 10 seconds, then
both Cuckoos flew off and all was quiet, the various Currawongs leaving in different
directions. The total period of observation was about 12 minutes. The nest was deserted
by the Currawongs which did not re -nest.
The fallen nestling had been stabbed near the eye, as was a second nestling which
was thrown out before I arrived on the scene, probably during the commotion at 0600.
The nestlings both measured 180 mm from bill tip to vent, with the tail not emerged.
Their lower backs and rumps were downy, the heads and tibias partly so, the flight feathers
just emerging from pin, and mass after chilling 106 grams. They were registered in the
Australian Museum as specimens 0.63439 and 0.63440.
On 3 November 1992, a Channel -billed Cuckoo visited the same garden and perched
closed to a nest holding four Pied Currawong nestlings which were not molested in any
way by the Cuckoo. There was no nest defence by the Currawongs and the young fledged
successfully on 8 and 9 November.
Mt. Colah
On 9 October 1991, Keith and Janet Winsbury of Mt. Colah heard a commotion
between 0800 and 0900. They were aware of Pied Currawongs nesting in a Sydney
bluegum E. saligna and feeding young. Channel -bills had been in the area for some days.
They observed two Cuckoos, thought to be working together, one as a decoy drawing the
Currawongs away while its mate carried one Currawong nestling off and was seen to
throw a second nestling away. The Currawongs abandoned the original nest and re -built
nearby but did not sit. A young Channel -bill was seen in the vicinity in January 1992.
On 15 September 1992 the Winsburys were again visited by two Channel -billed
Cuckoos which were trying to get into a Pied Currawongs’ nest but were chased away.
The Currawongs deserted the nest and re -built nearby. On 5 October two Channel -bills
LARKINS Channel -billed Cuckoos September1994
8 :attempted to get into the new nest but were chased away by the Currawongs. After visits
by two Channel -bills on 9, 10 and 13 October the Currawongs abandoned the second nest
and did not re -nest.
The Winsbury observations include two Channel -bills fighting on 8 November
1988, apparently over a third cuckoo which was nearby.
In the spring of 1991 Kirsten Kracht heard raucous noises in spotted gum E.
maculata at Avalon. Many Currawongs were flocking to a nest where two Channel -bills
were seen, one appearing to act as a decoy. The Currawongs’ nest was destroyed, an egg
taken and the embryo extracted at what appeared to be hatching stage and eaten by the
Cuckoo. The Currawongs did not re -nest. Not recorded there before 1991-92, Channel –
bills were present at Avalon throughout the 1992-93 season and bred successfully as
Colleen Russell had a young bird in her care in February 1993 (K. Kracht and C. Russell
pers. comm.).
In the above observations, all Pied Currawongs harassed at the nest by two Channel –
bills deserted or re -nested and deserted following more harassment. This small sample
therefore suggests that the Cuckoos need to visit a large number of nests to achieve breeding
success, and as observed by Ian McAllan and me, such opportunities exist at Turramurra.
It is interesting that a single Cuckoo, observing but not harassing a nest holding
four Currawong nestlings, was not challenged. This may relate to the advanced stage of
development of this brood. Alternatively, only a pair of Channel -bills may be perceived
as a threat by Currawongs. Wyllie (1981) noted that successful decoy behaviour in the
Indian Koel Eudynamis scolopacea is a consequence of a strong pair bond. A similar
strong pair bond in the Channel -billed Cuckoo may mean that the hosts perceive a single
Channel -bill as less threatening than a pair of Cuckoos.
For successful breeding it appears necessary for the Cuckoos’ visits to coincide
with the hosts’ peak attachment to the nest. As Goddard & Marchant (1983) say, ‘the
timing is acute’. Unsuccessful visits may benefit the Channel -bills when eggs or embryos
are taken for food, although fruits, especially figs, are the main diet of the Channel -billed
The re -appearance of the species at exactly the same sites in successive years as
described, supports Goddard & Marchant (1983) in their contention ‘that Cuckoos remain
faithful to one breeding locality for several years’.
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.I 9CONCLUSION
Between 1956 and 1984 Channel -billed Cuckoos were a very rare bird in
Turramurra. In the 1991-92, 1992-93 and 1993-94 breeding seasons there was a very
marked increase in records in Turramurra and the Sydney region. Should this situation
continue, there are opportunities for further observations of this interesting species.
Walter Boles of the Australian Museum referred me to Keith and Janet Winsbury and Kirsten
Kracht who kindly shared their observations with me. I am grateful to Ian McAllan for many
discussions and observations of Pied Currawong nest sites, and to Michael Brooker, Stephen
Marchant and Alan Morris for commenting on the first draft of this paper. Kik Lisser assisted in
many ways.
Brooker, M.G. & Brooker, L.C. 1989, ‘Cuckoo hosts in Australia’ Aust Zoological Review No.
2, Royal Zool Soc NSW.
Goddard, M.T. & Marchant, S. 1983, ‘The parasitic habits of the Channel -billed Cuckoo
Scythrops novaehollandiae in Australia,’ Aust Birds 17: 65-72.
Wyllie, I. 1981, The Cuckoo, Universe Books, New York.
55 Campbell Avenue Dee Why 2099.
On 10 June 1994 at about 2200 hours, while spotlighting with my wife and Klaus
Uhlenhut in the Iron Range area of Cape York, north Queensland, we observed a Papuan
Frogmouth Podargus papuensis holding what appeared to be a cane toad Bufo marinus
in its bill. The grasp was on the head and neck of the toad where the major poison glands
are located, yet the bird did not appear to be affected by what is known to be a rapidly
acting toxin.
We watched from the vehicle with a spotlight trained on the scene while
the Frogmouth regularly beat the toad on the branch where it had apparently been perched
with the prey for some time.
After about five minutes I alighted and spent a considerable time taking photographs
with the aid of a flashlight. Eventually the bird flew off carrying the toad, still showing
no sign of adverse effects.
10Photo: Reg Angus
There is a description by Ross Alford in the Q & A section of Australian Natural History,
Winter 1993, of the techniques used by some native fauna to prey on cane toads.
I believe this is the first photographic record of such an event.
1309 Nimbin Road, Lismore 2480
On 28 September 1993 a pair of Wompoo Fruit -Doves Ptilinopus magnificus was
located nest -building in subtropical rainforest in the Big Scrub Flora Reserve, Whian
Whian State Forest near Lismore in north-eastern NSW.
At about 0730 the writer and C.R. Gosper noticed a Wompoo Fruit -Dove (hereafter
referred to as Wompoo) take flight from the middle storey and fly about 30 metres before
landing at a similar height. After a pause the bird began to climb about, then broke off a
leafless twig which it manipulated in its bill before discarding. It then repeated the action
eventually dropping this twig also. After breaking off a third twig the bird flew back in
the direction from which it had initially flown, perching in the middle storey about 10 m
above the ground. Here it remained, holding the twig in its bill and apparently watchful,
for about two minutes before making another short flight to a slightly lower branch.
After again pausing it alighted immediately in front of another Wompoo.
This second bird was manipulating a twig in a horizontal fork in a sapling about 9
m above the ground (and about 18 m from the observers). Initially our view of activities
was partially obscured but both birds were motionless much of the time, interspersed
with periods of head movement, but neither bird moved about on its perch. After about
two minutes the first bird (presumed to be a male) flew again to the same area and started
to climb about as previously. Meanwhile the second bird (presumed female) periodically
made adjustments to the twigs at its feet but did not alter its perch.
The male soon returned with another twig and alighted again in front of the female.
Following a period of head movement by the male, the female took the twig from the
male’s bill and after some manipulation proceeded to position the twig into the fork. The
male remained motionless for the most part in front of the female for about two minutes
before flying off to the same area (time 0747). Both birds continued this ritual as follows:
male returned with twig, departing again at 0752;
male returned with twig at 0754, departing at 0755;
male returned with twig at 0757, departing in a different direction (and out of
view) at 0759.
At this point the observation was terminated with the female still at the nest, its position
12 September1994During the period of observation the birds were silent with the possible exception
of a single call thought to have been uttered by the male whilst away from the nest.
Wompoos were calling in the vicinity throughout early morning.
Twigs carried to the nest were forked (branched) and up to about 15 cm long apart
from one which was short (<6 cm) and straight. None had leaves.
Little information is available on the nesting activities of the Wompoo either in
Australia or New Guinea (cf Frith 1982, Coates 1985), nor from avicultural literature
which indicates that the Wompoo is the only Australian fruit -dove not to have been bred
successfully in captivity (Rushton 1986, Shephard 1989).
Frith (1982) provides a brief statement on nest building by another Ptilinopus
species, the Rose -crowned Fruit -Dove P. regina, in which ‘both male and female break
the material off growing plants above the ground and carry it to the site of the nest’.
Rushton (1986), referring to his experiences with breeding the Superb Fruit Dove P.
superbus in captivity, says that only males were seen to carry nest material.
Behaviour noted during the limited observation described here suggests that in the
Wompoo the male alone may collect material and take it to the nest site where it is passed
to the female which performs the actual nest construction. Confirmation through further
observation is needed.
Alan Bentley provided avicultural references and Carl Gosper assisted with the preparation of this
Coates, B.J. 1985, The Birds of Papua New Guinea, Vol. 1 (Non -Passerines), Dove Publications,
Alderley, Qld.
Frith, H.J. 1982, Pigeons and Doves of Australia, Rigby, Adelaide.
Rushton, D. 1986, ‘Some notes on the biology and aviculture of the Wompoo Pigeon Ptilinopus
magnijicus and the Purple -crowned Pigeon P. superbus’, Australian Aviculture, 40 pp.
Shephard, M. 1989, Aviculture in Australia, Black Cockatoo Press, Prahran.
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1
7 Belford Street, Ingleburn 2565
Study Site
The Humewood/Beulah forest is located c. 50 km south-west of Sydney on the
Campbelltown-Appin Road 8 km south of Campbelltown NSW (34° 08’S, 150° 47’E).
The site is 220 metres above sea level and is situated in a continuous belt of well preserved
native forest with a total area of 32 ha. The area is bounded by open pasture with some
scattered timber on the north, south and western sides, with the Campbelltown-Appin
Road fronting the eastern side. This site provides an important and unique vegetation
corridor between the Georges and the Nepean Rivers (Figure 1).
Mt. Gilead*-


Meadowvale 0
0 1 O
Figure 1. Map showing location of area.
14Vegetation along the Georges River is very extensive and consists of heath on
the upper ridges and thick eucalypt forest along the Georges River and its tributaries such
as 0′ Hares Creek. Vegetation is continuous in an easterly direction to the coast and includes
the water catchment area and the military reserve, extending north to the Georges River
in the East Hills/Menai area. Vegetation is also continuous in a southerly direction along
the coastal escarpment, and on the Nepean River side of the Humewood/Beulah Forest
along Woodhouse Creek, a tributary of the Nepean River.
The area exhibits a complex pattern of sandstone and shales of Triassic age.
The Hawkesbury Sandstone unit is well exposed along the north west flowing Woodhouse
Creek which bisects the area. The overlying Ashfield Shale is the basal member of the
Wianamatta Group and underlies higher ground along the northern boundary and in the
south eastern corner of the study site.
The study site supports a dry sclerophyl forest with the dominant species on the
shale area being spotted gum Eucalyptus maculata association, with thin-leaved
stringybark E. eugenioides and broad-leaved ironbark E. fibrosa. Along Woodhouse Creek
on the sandstone are blackbutt E. pilularis and forest oak Allocasuarina torulosa (Benson
& Keith 1986).
Major understorey species include yellow pittosporum Pittosporum revolutum, native
blackthorn Bursaria spinosa, geebung Persoonia linearis, two-veined hickory Acacia
binervata and tick bush Kunzea ambigua.
Benson and Howell (1990) refer to this stand `…of readily recognisable Spotted
Gum Eucalyptus maculata, with a shrubby understorey of Acacia. Isolated from its nearest
natural occurrences at Hoxton Park and Werombi [20 km NE & W respectively], this
naturally occurring population should be preserved. The expansion of Campbelltown as
an urban growth centre is now destroying the last remnants of the shale woodland flora.’
The climate of the Campbelltown region is temperate maritime with warm to
hot summers and cool to mild winters. The area is drier than the coastal areas of Sydney,
experiences frosts on occasions in the cooler months, and has a slightly greater seasonal
and diurnal temperature range. The mean annual rainfall is 740 mm. Mean temperatures

are maximum 28°C for January and minimum 3°C for July, annual mean temperatures

are 23°C 9°C ( Bureau of Meteorology, 1975).
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1 15Study Methods
Banding and observational studies commenced in December 1973 and consisted
of regular banding visits covering a twenty year period to December 1993. In conjunction
with the banding program all species observed were recorded with special notation on
unusual visitors to the area, records of nesting, and feeding of individual species.
Birds were captured for banding with mist nets set at regular sites throughout
the forest area, or as nestlings. Some species e.g. Barn Owl were captured by hand.
The following data are recorded for each bird when banded and on each occasion
that it was recaptured: band number, date, age, sex, weight and measurements. Plumage
details are recorded for many species, particularly juvenile and immature birds, and moult
is recorded for all species.
Large numbers of birds make use of the Humewood/Beulah Forest for food,
nesting and migration. A total of 140 (134 native, 6 introduced) species have been observed
during the study. Many species are breeding residents (43%, n=60) while a number are
migratory (16%, n=23). Some migrants including the Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Channel-
billed Cuckoo, Sacred Kingfisher, Dollarbird, Cicadabird, White-winged Triller, Rufous
Whistler and White-throated Warbler return to the forest area each year to breed.
Other species only stop in the forest for a short period to feed before moving
through to thiir migration destination; these include the Swift Parrot, Rufous Fantail,
Grey Fantail , Black-faced Monarch,* Yellow-facedK Honeyeater , Brown-headed
Honeyeater, White-naped Honeyeater , Silvereye and Spotted Pardalote . Large
numbers of migratory honeyeaters use the forest area during times of migration. This is
particularly noticeable during the flowering of E. maculata.
The Gang Gang Cockatoo, Rose Robin, Golden Whistler * and Brown Warbler
are all winter migrants to the forest area (*non local breeding races ).
A total of 6069 birds of 66 species were banded during the study with 892 (14.7%)
being recaptured 1715 times.
The systematic list sets out the status for each species observed during the study.
Information gained from banding and recapture is also given including the number banded,
number retrapped, percentage retrapped and the total number of times retrapped.
16 LEISHMAN : Humewood / Beulah Forest September1994Where applicable the maximum longevity between banding and recapture is given along
with the period that breeding and moult was recorded.
Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae. Common resident breeding species
on dams adjacent to forest.
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus. Uncommon visitor to dams adjacent to
Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris. Frequent vagrant to dams adjacent
to forest.
Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos. Common visitor to dams adjacent
to forest.
Pacific Heron Ardea pacifica. Uncommon nomadic visitor to dams adjacent to forest.
White-faced Heron Ardea novaehollandiae. Common resident breeding species; feeds
on dams and adjacent open paddocks.
Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis. Uncommon visitor to the open paddocks
adjacent to the forest, usually after periods of rain.
Yellow-billed Spoonbill Plataleaflavipes. Uncommon visitor to the dams adjacent to
the forest.
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa. Common residentbreeding species, seen on the
adjacent dams and along Woodhouse Creek. Breeds in the forest area.
Grey Teal Anas gibberifrons. Uncommon vagrant to the dams adjacent to the forest.
Hardhead Aythya australis. Uncommon vagrant to the dams adjacent to the forest.
Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata. Common resident breeding species; prefers open
pasture adjacent to dams.
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus notatus. Common species; usually hunts over open
Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata. Uncommon vagrant.
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus. Two observed over forest in January 1982. Usually
a bird of open areas rather than confined forest.
Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus. Common species, observed regularly in forest.
Nested in January 1980. Two banded, one first year male in June 1973 and one adult male in
December 1985; no recaptures.
Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrhocephalus. Uncommon vagrant.
Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax. Uncommon, usually seen soaring on the thermals
above the open pasture areas.
Spotted Harrier Circus aeruginosus. Uncommon vagrant.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus. Uncommon vagrant to the area, seen hunting
Feral Pigeons.
Australian Kestrel Falco cenchroides. Common resident breeding species; usually
hunts over open pasture areas.
Painted Button-quail Turnix varia. Seen on a number of occasions, mostly in March
although two were seen in November 1992. This species feeds on Acacia seed and tends to be very
nomadic depending on availability of food. Two banded in March 1982; no recaptures.
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1 17Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa. Common residentbreeding species on the
dams adjacent to the forest.
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio. Common resident breeding species on the
darns adjacent to the forest.
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra. Common nomadic breeding species on the dams adjacent
to the forest.
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles. Common resident breeding species; prefers the
open areas adjacent to the forest and around the dams.
Feral Pigeon Columba livia. Common resident breeding species, usually around farm
houses; often taken for food by Peregrine Falcons..
Spotted Turtle-Dove Streptopelia chinensis. Uncommon vagrant in the forest, more
common around farm
Peaceful Dove Geopelia placida. Uncommon resident breeding species. These birds
were much more common during the early years (1973-80) of the study.
Common Bronzewing Phaps chalcoptera. Uncommon visitor to the study site; much
more common in the thicker vegetation along the Georges River.
Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes. Common breeding bird of the open woodland
areas. This species is a relatively recent arrival in the County of Cumberland.
Wonga Pigeon Leucosarcia melanoleuca. Regular visitor to forest area, probably in
response to the availability of seed food sources such as Acacias.
Glossy Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus lathami. Uncommon visitor, observed on
two occasions.
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus funereus. Common visitor to forest
area; usually seen feeding on grubs taken out of the trunks of Acacia binervata or on the fruit of
Gang-gang Cockatoo Callocephalonfimbriatum. Uncommon winter migrant to forest
Galah Cacatua roseicapilla. Common resident breeding species, observed nesting in
hollows in spotted gums on a number of occasions.
Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea. Common, usually seen flying over forest; prefers to
feed on open pasture areas.
Pink Cockatoo Cacatua leadbeateri. Uncommon; for a number of years one bird was
observed. It made an unsuccessful attempt to nest with a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo in an old
spotted gum in the centre of the forest
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita. Common resident species, observed on
most visits. Regularly breeds in the forest area.
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus. Common visitor, seen on a number of
occasions when eucalypts were in flower.
Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna. Uncommon visitor to forest area, generally
attracted by the flowering of E. maculata.
Little Lorikeet Glossopsitta pusilla. Common visitor to the forest area especially when
E. maculata is in flower. In 1985 there were in excess of 500 feeding on the Eucalyptus blossom.
Australian King-Parrot Alisterus scapularis. Uncommon visitors which usually move
from the Blue Mountains and the Southern Tablelands in the winter months.
Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor. Uncommon migrant, feeding on E. maculata blossom
during winter; 20+ observed in May 1983.
18 LEISHMAN : Humewood / Beulah Forest September1994Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans. Moderately common visitor to the forest area;
this species is usually associated with the sandstone vegetation to the east of the Georges River.
Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius. Common resident breeding species, observed
in all months of the year.
Pallid Cuckoo Cuculus pallidus. Irregular spring and summer migrant.
Brush Cuckoo Cuculus variolosus. Common migratory species. Two banded, one in
January 1974 and one in December 1978. No recaptures.
Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cuculus pyrrhophanus. Common breeding species recorded in all
months of the year. Twenty-one banded with two (9.5%) recaptured in the forest, both within 5
months of banding.
Horsefields Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis. Occasional summer visitor to site.
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus. Regular breeding migrant, recorded
August to April. Fifteen banded; no recaptures. One bird examined with active primary moult in
January 1988.
Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae. Common migratory breeding
species, arriving in September and departing in April.
Southern Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae. A common resident breeding species,
heard calling on most overnight visits. Two banded, one rehabilitated bird in 1975 and one
caught in mist net in 1981; no recaptures.
Barn Owl Tyto alba. Uncommon breeding resident, usually found in old buildings.
One caught in old homestead in 1981, no recaptures.
Masked Owl Tyto novaehollandiae. Rare visitor; one observed in 1974 roosting in E.
maculata being mobbed by a group of Noisy Miners.
Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides. Common resident breeding species, heard
calling on most overnight visits.
Australian Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles cristatus. Common resident; one sighting in
March 1984, but heard calling on most overnight visits.
White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus. Common summer migrant
observed regularly over the forest area, usually feeding ahead of weather fronts.
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae. Common resident breeding species,
present all year in groups of up to 10 birds. Sixteen banded with two (12%) recaptured; maximum
longevity between banding and recapture 11 years 7 months.
Sacred Kingfisher Halcyon sancta. Common breeding summer migrant, recorded
from October to March. 21 banded with 3 (14%) recaptured 7 times. One bird (No. 050-18343)
banded on 14 Nov. 1981 was recaptured three times in 1982 and once in 1983.
longevity between banding and recapture 3 years 1 month.
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus. Common summer migrant; feeds on insects over
forest area, breeds in hole nests in sandbanks along the Nepean River.
Dollarbird Eutystomus orientalis. Common breeding summer migrant; hawks for
insects over the forest.
Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena. Common breeding resident species although
numbers of this species migrate away from the area in winter. Feeds over the open areas and
generally nests under the eaves of buildings. Breeding recorded from September to January.
Thirteen nestlings banded in the old homestead in 1981, no recaptures.
Australian Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae. Common resident breeding species of the
open grassland areas adjacent to the forest.
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1 19Black-faced Cuckooshrike Coracina novaehollandiae. Common resident breeding
species. Two banded in 1981, no recaptures.
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina papuensis. Uncommon summer visitor,
recorded breeding in area. Two banded, both in December; no recaptures.
Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris. Common breeding summer migrant, recorded in
most years.
White-winged Triller Lalage sueurii. Rare summer breeding migrant, observed twice.
Two banded, one in 1981 and the second in 1982; no recaptures.
Red-whiskered Bulbul Pyconotus jocosus. First recorded in December 1992, this is a
recent local extension of the species’ range. It is not normally seen in native vegetation, preferring
to feed on introduced weed species e.g. African olive Olea africana or privets. Bulbuls have been
common in Campbelltown throughout the study; their arrival in the study area has been assisted by
the housing development along the Appin Road.
Rose Robin Petroica rosea. Common winter visitor, observed from March to August.
A total of 35 banded including two juveniles captured in April; 4 birds (11%) recaptured 6 times.
Maximum longevity between banding and recapture 4 years month.
Scarlet Robin Petroica multicolor. Uncommom migrant, only seen on two occasions.
Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis. Common resident breeding species, seen
in all months of the year and during all visits. A total of 198 banded with 109 (55%) recaptured
320 times. Birds were caught in all months of the year with maximum of 70 (13%) in March. Ten
birds banded as juveniles were recaptured more than 12 months after banding. 16 birds were
recaptured more than four times with one bird recaptured 13 times. Maximum longevity between
banding and recapture 11 years 9 months. Breeding noted from August to January; primary moult
recorded from January to April.
Jacky Winter Microeca leucophaea. Uncommon resident,usually seen in the scattered
or broken timber at the edge of the forest; breeding recorded in December. The species has declined
over the last twenty years at this site and throughout the County of Cumberland.One banded in
1982, recaptured 4 months later.
Crested Shriketit Fulcunculus frontatus. Common resident breeding species recorded
from August to March.Eight banded with two (25%) recaptured three times; maximum longevity
between banding and recapture 6 years 3 months. Primary moult noted October to January.
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis. Common resident breeding species, recorded
in all months of year. Partial nomad or migrant with at least two races being regularly recorded
throughout the study. 226 banded with 51 birds (22.5%) recaptured 99 times. Of the total banded
six were juveniles, 148 were first year birds and 66 were recorded as adult (3+) birds. Numbers
caught per month indicate a peak population in March (23% of the total number caught) and April
(23%) with a later peak in August (19%). The March/April peak relates to local breeding and the
fledging of birds of the year while the peak in August probably represents a build up of migrant/
nomadic population (the second race?). Recapture rate indicates a high site fidelity with 12 being
recaptured at least twice; two birds from this total were recaptured five times. Maximum longevity
between banding and recapture 8 years 5 months. Breeding recorded from August to December;
primary moult recorded January to June.
Rufous Whistler Pachycephala rufiventris. Common breeding summer migrant,
recorded September to April in all years. A total of 87 banded with 34 (39%) recaptured 74
times; maximum longevity between banding and recapture 14 years. Breeding recorded from October
to January; primary moult from December to March.
20 LEISHMAN Humewood / Beulah Forest September1994
:Grey Shrike-thrush Colluricincla harmonica. Common resident breeding species,
recorded in all months of the year. A total of 24 banded with 10 (41%) recaptured 21 times;
maximum longevity between banding and recapture 9 years 3 months. Primary moult recorded in
January to March.
Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis. Uncommon summer migrant, recorded
September to January. Six banded with no recaptures.
Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula. Uncommon summer migrant, recorded October
to March. Seven banded, no recaptures.
Satin Flycatcher Myiagra cyanoleuca. Rare summervisitor, recorded in October and March.
Four banded, no recaptures.
Restless Flycatcher Myiagra inquieta. Uncommon spring/summer visitor, recorded in
August, September and January.Three banded, no recaptures.
Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons. Common passage migrant. This species does not
nest on the site, preferring damper rainforest gullies for breeding. A total of 57 banded, all between
October and April with peak numbers of 15 in October (adults) and 31 in March (mostly first year
birds); no recaptures.
Grey Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa. Common resident breeding species whose numbers
are increased by a southern migratory population which moves through during the winter months.
A total of 222 banded with 27 (12%) recaptured 42 times. 118 (45%) of the birds were captured in
the three months March to May; maximum longevity between banding and recapture 7 years 10
months. Breeding was recorded from October to January; primary moult January to March.
Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys. Common resident breeding species, preferring
the forest edge and open woodland to the closed forest area. Eight banded, no recaptures.
Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus. Common (although in small numbers) resident
breeding species, more often heard than seen. Prefers the thick understorey for both feeding and
breeding. 17 banded with four (23%) recaptured seven times; maximum longevity between banding
and recapture 9 years 6 months. Primary moult recorded November to January.
Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus. Common summer migrant species
which has been found on the dams, where it feeds and breeds in stands of Typha sp. It only moves
out of this vegetation after the young require food at the nest, when it forages over a wide area for
Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus. Common resident breeding species, recorded
on most visits in all months of the year. A total of 154 banded with 67 (44%) recaptured 131
times. 153 (53 % of all birds) were captured from January to April, which corresponds with the
fledging period of young birds. Maximum longevity between banding and recapture 4 years.
Breeding recorded August to January; primary moult recorded January to April.
Variegated Fairy-wren Malurus lamberti. Common resident breeding species which
exhibits signs of being occasionally nomadic. There have been long periods (12-18 months) when
this species has not been observed on the site. A total of 59 banded; 11 (18%) recaptures with no
multiple recaptures. Maximum longevity between banding and recapture 2 years 3 months. Primary
moult recorded February to April.
Rock Warbler Origma solitaria. Uncommon species which occurs along the sandstone
edges of Woodhouse Creek; seen on only two occasions. This species is still common along the
upper regions of the Georges River where there is exposed sandstone with suitable caves and
overhangs for nesting.
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1 21White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis. Common resident breeding species;
numbers have fluctuated during the study due to changes in the understorey structure. This was
most evident in 1976 after heavy grazing by cattle which removed the yellow pittosporum, the
preferred habitat of this species at the time. Numbers did not build up again for eight years. A total
of 48 banded with 27 (56%) recaptured 58 times; maximum longevity between banding and recapture
4 years. Breeding recorded August to November; primary moult recorded November to February.
Chestnut-rumped Heathwren Hylacola pyrrhopygius. Rare visitor to area; this is
usually a species of the thicker heath type vegetation which exists on the eastern side of the Georges
River. One banded in 1981, no recapture.
Weebill Smicrornis brevirostris. Uncommon visitor, usually frequenting shale type
forest vegetation.
Brown Warbler Gerygone mouki. Uncommon winter nomadic species which moves
out of the rainforest gullies into forest areas after breeding. Five banded (March to August), no
White-throated Warbler Gerygone olivacea. Common breeding summer migrant.
Five banded, no recaptures. Primary moult recorded in January.
Brown Thornhill Acanthiza pusilla. Common resident breeding species, present
throughout the year. A total of 101 banded with 47 (46%) recaptured 116 times. Maximum
longevity between banding and recapture 10 years 4 months.
Buff-rumped Thornhill Acanthiza reguloides. Common resident breeding species at
the site until 1982, but not recorded since. This is one of the formerly common shale species which
has been reduced in numbers and distribution range within the County of Cumberland during the
past 20 years due to land clearing, vegetation changes, and the spread of land subdivision. Eight
banded with four (50%) recaptured. Maximum longevity between banding and recapture 2 years 9
Yellow-rumped Thornhill Acanthiza chrysorrhoa.Common resident breeding species
which prefers the open grassland with scattered -shale type vegetation.
Yellow Thornhill Acanthiza nana. Common resident breeding species. 26 banded
with four (15%) recaptured; maximum longevity between banding and recapture year month.
1 1
Breeding recorded in October.
Striated Thornhill Acanthiza lineata. Common resident breeding species. 62 banded
with 20 (32%) recaptured 27 times; maximum longevity between banding and recapture 8 years
month. Breeding recorded from August to November; primary moult from January to February.

Varied Sittella Daphoenositta chrysoptera. Common resident breeding species, usually

seen in small groups of 5 10 birds; this species is a communal breeder with nesting recorded in
October. 19 banded with five (26%) recaptured six times. Maximum longevity between banding
and recapture 1 year 7 months.
White-throated Treecreeper Climacteris leucophaea. Common resident breeding
species, recorded in all months and on all visits. 37 banded with 25 (67%) recaptured 81 times
(one bird 11 times); maximum longevity between banding and recapture 7 years 7 months. Breeding
recorded in March; primary moult from December to March.
Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata. Occasional visitor to forest area, this species
is one of the nest hosts for the parasitic Koel.
Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera. Occasional visitor to forest area, especially
when Eucalypts are in flower. Eight banded, no recaptures.
Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus. Occasional visitor, especially when E. maculata
22 LEISHMAN : Humewood / Beulah Forest September1994is in blossom. Four banded in March 1980, no recaptures.
Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala. Common resident breeding species, usually in
open woodland at the edge of the lower area of the forest. A total of 50 banded with 4 (8%)
retrapped; maximum longevity between banding and recapture 2 years 6 months. Primary moult
recorded in October to February.
Lewins Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii. Uncommon visitor which usually inhabits and
breeds in the thicker and damper vegetation adjacent to the Nepean River. This species moves into
the forest area to take advantage of food, usually fruit, such as blueberry ash Elaeocarpus reticulatus
when available. Seven banded with one (14%) recaptured, maximum longevity between banding
and recapture 6 months. Primary moult recorded in January.
Yellow-faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops. Common resident breeding species,
recorded in all months of the year; additionally a very large southern breeding population migrates

through the area in winter. A total of 1794 banded with 68 (3.8%) recaptured, 103 times (60% in

July August). One bird (No. 022-66983) banded at Humewood/Beulah on 31 August 1984 was
recovered dead near Morwell Victoria on 22 December 1986, 599 km SW. Maximum longevity
between banding and recapture 7 years 3 months. Breeding recorded August to January; primary
moult December to March.
White-eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis. Nomadic honeyeater more commonly
seen in the sandstone heath areas of the Georges River, but moves into forest area when eucalypt
blossom is available. Seven banded with one (14%) recapture; maximum longevity between
banding and recapture 11 months.
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops. Common resident breeding
species, recorded in all months of the year. Large numbers of juveniles move into the area when E.
maculata is in flower. 470 banded with 105 (22%) recaptured, 194 times; 40 birds were recaptured
at least twice with one bird eight times. Two birds banded as juveniles were retrapped more than 12
months after banding. One bird, an immature (No. 031-55077) banded at Humewood/Beulah
on 17 July 1983 was recaptured at Lucas Heights NSW on 9 September 1984, a distance of 21 km
north-east. Maximum longevity between banding and recapture 7 years 4 months. Breeding recorded
September to December, primary moult November to March.
Fuscous Honeyeater Lichenostomus fuscus. Formerly a common breeding species,
resident throughout the year and regularly caught in large numbers, but not recorded in the forest
since 1985. The reason for the decline at this site is not known. 194 banded with 39 (20%)
recaptured a total of 59 times; maximum longevity between banding and recapture 7 years 1 month.
Breeding recorded in August; primary moult in March.
White-plumed Honeyeater Lichenostomus penicillatus. Uncommon in the forest
although this species is common in the Campbelltown region where it prefers open savanna woodland
to dense forest.
Black-chinned Honeyeater Melithreptus gularis. Uncommon visitor to forest.
Two banded, no recaptures.
Brown-headed Honeyeater Melithreptus brevirostris. Uncommon breeding resident,
observed in most months of year. Twenty banded with one (5%) recaptured; maximum longevity
between banding and recapture 11 months. Breeding recorded in August, primary moult in January.
White-naped Honeyeater Melithreptus lunatus. Common resident breeding species
recorded all months of the year. In winter there is a larger population of passage migrants which
breed in the high country south of Canberra and migrates north as far as Queensland. A total of 845
banded with 58 (7%) recaptured 78 times; 252 (29% of all birds) were banded in 1985. Maximum
Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1 23longevity between banding and recapture 11 years 8 months. Peak numbers (73% of total) were
caught from June to August; breeding recorded August to November, and primary moult in January.
New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae. Common winter visitor;
usually found in heath areas adjacent to Georges River, and only recorded in the forest between
August to September. 46 banded with one (2%) recaptured; maximum number of 36 banded in
1980 during a large influx. Breeding recorded in September.
White-cheeked Honeyeater Phylidonyris nigra. Uncommon visitor to the area which
moves in response to suitable blossom food, e.g. E. maculata. One banded in August 1979, no
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris. Common species which moves from
the heath adjacent to the Georges River into the forest area. Observed in all months of the year but
no breeding recorded. 154 banded (54 male, 100 female) with 26 (17%) recaptured 48 times. One
bird (No. 014-27247) banded at Humewood/Beulah on 17 June 1984, was recaptured at Wedderburn
Field Study Centre on 16 December 1984, 3 km north-east. 130 birds (64%) were caught in the
winter months, May to August. There appears to be a skewed sex ratio between males and females
of 1:2 at this site. This may indicate movement of females during the non-breeding season to seek
food or territories. Maximum longevity between banding and recapture 6 years; primary moult
recorded in February.
Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta. Uncommon nomadic visitor to area.
Usually moves in response to flowering of native species of Eucalyptus, Melaleuca and Callistemon.
Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum. Uncommon visitor to forest area, the small
number observed probably relating to the lack of mistletoe within the forest area. One banded in
February 1979, no recapture.
Spotted resident breeding species recorded
in all months of the year. Ninety-five banded (47 male, 44 female, 4 unsexed) in all months of the
year with maximum numbers of 27 (28%) in August. Seven individuals (9%) were recaptured nine
times; maximum longevity between banding and recapture 2 years. Breeding recorded from
September to January.
Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus. Regular visitor to the forest, usually feeding
high in the eucalypts and not often caught. Three banded, no recaptures.
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis. Smaesident breeding population, observed in all months
of the year. A large migratory population moves through in the winter months from as far south as
Tasmania, some of which winter in the forest area. A total of 386 banded with 17 (4.4%) recaptured
30 times. This recapture figure is much lower than that obtained during a seven year study at
nearby Mount Annan Botanic Garden where 44% of the birds captured are Silvereyes with a recapture
rate of 13% (Leishman 1991). One bird (No. 014-10574) banded at Humewood/Beulah in March
1987 was recaptured near Armidale NSW in April 1991, 405 km north, 4 years after banding.
Maximum longevity between banding and recapture 4 years 11 months. Breeding recorded from
November to January; primary and secondary moult recorded in February and March.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus. Common breeding species, usually seen adjacent
to human residence especially in areas where horses are kept.
Red-browed Firetail Emblema temporalis. Common resident species seen in all months
of the year. 333 banded with 84 (25%) retrapped 131 times; maximum longevity between banding
and recapture 5 years. Breeding recorded January, primary moult December to April.
Diamond Firetail Emblema guttata. Occasional visitor to the area. This is one of the
inland species which has shown a marked decline throughout the Cumberland Plain. Hindwood
24 LEISHMAN : Humewood / Beulah Forest September1994and McGill (1958) suggested that illegal bird trapping was the cause of the decline of this species;
however there are other factors which may have contributed. Two banded, one immature in 1981
and one adult in 1982. No recaptures.
Double-barred Finch Poephila bichenovii. Uncommon visitor, preferring open
grassland and forest edges.
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris. Common resident breeding species, an active
tree- hole nester which forces out native birds from nesting sites.
Common Myna Acridotheres tristis. Common resident breeding species which usually
prefers areas adjacent to human residence. Another active hole breeding species which forces out
natives from nesting sites.
Olive-backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatus. Common breeding species in the area, often
seen feeding on the common brown butterfly Heteronympha merope when the butterflies are
swarming during October/November. 14 banded with four birds recaptured (28%), most (15) in
the September to December period. Maximum longevity between banding and recapture 5 years
11 months.
Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchusv iolaceus. Uncommon visitor usually moving through
the forest area in the winter months. One active bower was located in 1987 with adult (age 7+)
male in attendance. One male (age 7+) banded in February 1978, no recaptures.
White-winged Chough Corcorax melanorhamphos. Rare; observed between 1973
and 1984 when they used to breed but not regularly seen since. Previously common in adjacent
open woodland areas. One rehabilated juvenile banded and released in June 1988.
Australian Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca. Common resident breeding species,
usually confined to the outer edges of the timbered area.
Masked Woodswallow Artamus personatus. Uncommon migrant of irregular occurrence
in the spring, associated with the White-browed Woodswallow.
White-browed Woodswallow Artamus superciliosus. Irregular migrant species; in
some years large numbers move from inland to the coast to breed, influenced by inland seasonal
Dusky Woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus. Common breeding species usually recorded
near edge of timbered area, but moving away in the winter months, July to September. The Dusky
Woodswallow is an aerial feeder and is not commonly caught in mist nets. 29 banded including
three juveniles, five (17%) recaptured. Maximum longevity between banding and recapture 6 years
2 months. Breeding recorded October to December; primary moult in December.
Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus. Common resident breeding species, observed
on most visits.29 banded with two recaptured (6%). Small numbers caught in most years with a
peak of four in 1988 and five in 1990. Monthly capture figures show peaks in March and April
when 13 and 8 were caught respectively. This coincides with the fledging of young birds after
breeding when they are moving around seeking territories. Maximum longevity between banding
and recapture 3 years 7 months.
Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen. Common resident breeding species, usually
prefering the lightly scattered timber areas at the edge of the forest.
Pied Currawong Strepera graculina. Resident breeding species; numbers move down
from the higher mountain regions of the Blue Mountains and the Southern Highlands in winter.
Grey Currawong Strepera versicolor. Uncommon visitor; two recorded in September

  1. This species is usually observed in the Blue Mountains or further south in the Southern
    Highlands. One banded September 1976, no recaptures.
    Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1 25Australian Raven Corvus coronoides. Common resident breeding species, observed
    on all visits and at times in large numbers of up to 20 or 30.
    I wish to thank Mr George Betts, the owner of Humewood/Beulah for permission to
    carry out this study and for access to the site. Mr S.G. (Bill) Lane assisted with the setting up of the
    study and provided invaluable advice and assistance throughout the study.
    I also wish to thank the large number of banders who assisted with the study over the 20
    year period. Julie Dale provided assistance with the compiling of the banding data and Audrey
    Heuchmer provided valuable comments and assistance with the preparation of this paper.
    All bands used were provided by the Australian Bird and Bat Banding Schemes, Australian
    Nature Conservation Agency, (formerly Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service) Canberra.
    All banding was carried out under licence from both New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife
    Service and Australian Nature Conservation Agency.
    Benson, D. & Keith, D. (unpub.) 1986, Native Species Recorded at ‘Beulah’, Appin, Royal
    Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
    Benson, D. & Howell, J. 1990, Taken for Granted: the Bushland of Sydney and its Suburbs,
    Kangaroo Press, Sydney.
    Bureau of Meteorology 1975, Meteorological Survey Holsworthy-Campbelltown District,
    AGPS, Canberra.
    Hindwood, K.A. and McGill, A.R. 1958, The Birds of Sydney, Royal Zoological Society
    of NSW, Sydney.
    Leishman, A.J. 1991, Third Report of the Bird Survey of Mount Annan Native Botanic Garden,
    May 1988 to June 1991, Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney.
    Field Guide to the Birds of the ACT
    by McComas Taylor & Nicolas Day
    Published by National Parks Association of the ACT Inc., 1993. 90 pages (45 colour), habitat photos, 1 map,
    2 appendices (rarities and plant names), species index. Rrp $14.95 + $1.50 postage, from PO Box 1940,
    Woden ACT 2606; Fax 06 282 5813.
    If you’ve ever wondered how much can be crammed into a small space then take
    a look at this great new book. In its 90 pocket -sized pages this guide manages to fit all
    you ever wanted to know about not just Canberran birds but also a sizeable chunk of
    NSW birds. The secret seems to be not in skimping or miniaturising text, but in
    26 September1994straightforward succinctness. First and foremost it is indeed pocket sized and yet it is all
    you really need in Canberra.
    I do have one major gripe that I will get out of the way now. The standard practice
    in field guides of depicting birds sharing a plate to the same scale has not been followed,
    e.g.the Greenshank is drawn the same size as the Curlew Sandpiper. Otherwise, Nicolas
    Day’s plates are so good that identification should be no problem. The beauty of this
    book is that there is no need to wade through plates of birds you are unlikely to see this
    side of Bourke.
    The book has been designed to enable the reader to identify quickly any bird in the
    ACT. The species descriptions are accompanied by icons as quick aids to further
    information, cutting back on unnecessary text and relate to size, likely time of year, whether
    the species breeds in the ACT and its relative abundance. An icon of one binocular tells
    the reader that the species is rare whilst five binoculars means it is very common. I would
    have preferred `R’ or ‘V’ because I found myself mentally counting the icons to determine
    a bird’s status.
    Then follows a guide to habitats in the Territory with likely species and examples
    of localities. Each habitat is keyed with an icon which, if you can remember your icons,
    will quickly tell you if the bird you think you are watching should not occur in that
    habitat. There are several habitat icons to each species; but why is the Whiskered Tern
    regarded as a land bird while the Banded Lapwing as a waterbird?
    The book next moves through a section on key bird -watching locations listing
    everything you need to know about Canberrans seven favourite sites, regrettably without
    detailed maps. However, there is a general map inside the back cover marking these key
    localities. The lift out flap has a quick icon reference and there is a user friendly guide to
    your favourite bird spots.
    The text is fresh and pleasing to read. Instead of attempting to describe the voice
    of a Spotted Pardalote in the traditional way the author states that the bird calls ‘Paul
    Keating’ which, if you think about it, is exactly what it sound like! On separating Leaden
    from Satin Flycatcher the author states, ‘Hint – if you are unsure, it is probably a Leaden’.
    In summary, the authors are to be congratulated in filling a void in the market. It
    would make a wonderful present for anyone with a passing interest in birds in south-east
    Australia and would be essential for anyone living near Canberra.
    Chris Gladwin
    Australian Birds Vol.28 No.1 27REVIEW
    The Biology and Status of the Long -billed Corella in Australia
    by W.B. Emison, C.M. Beardsell and I.D. Temby
    Published by the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology, California, Volume 5, number 4, May 1994. 36
    pages, 4 photographs, 20 maps and histograms, one table of bird and one of plant species, and appendix of
    botanical names. Price $US 7.00 from the Foundation or Must 15.00 from Andrew Isles, 113-115 Greville St,
    Prahran 3181.
    This booklet was published in California USA, but the authors and their research
    were based in Australia. The monograph contains good news; the increase in the number
    of Long -billed Corellas, one of the parrot family which is an important component of the
    Australian fauna. Three authors have combined their efforts and expertise into one booklet
    which contains results of research between 1978 and 1984 into a corella species that
    occurs in the Murray -Darling basin.
    Information is included on studies of distribution, habitat, breeding, moult, feeding,
    mortality and status. The advent of European settlement that adversely affected many
    species is clearly outlined. From personal observation in central western NSW the partial
    control of the rabbit resulted in a considerable increase in the amount and variety of
    vegetation in the 1950s. This, and the increase in cereal cropping and spread of introduced
    plants, is reported to have supported an increase in the populations of Long -billed Corellas.
    Any reader interested in the development from aboriginal times, then the pastoral industry,
    to present day agriculture will be interested in this account.
    Maps were used to clearly show vegetation associations, rainfall patterns, cereal
    crops and the distribution of Corella. Trends with seasons, daily temperatures, and the
    occurence of the Corella are presented by histograms which are preferable to a one -figure
    statistical significance. All are situated appropriately in the text to illustrate or emphasise
    a point.
    The book is a valuable study of historical records and present day biology,
    but unfortunately many will consider the price too high. Anyone collecting information
    on the large parrots will find the booklet a useful addition. Of course, any library collecting
    information on fauna, flora, aboriginal activities and the history of agriculture in Australia
    should include the booklet in its shelves.
    Dick Turner
    28 September1994Advice to contributors
    Manuscripts should be typed with double spacing and wide margins at top and sides,
    and submitted initially as an original and two duplicates. Tables and figures must be
    in the form of reproducable hard copy, having due regard to the journal page size
    and format. If extensive re -typing or drafting is required publication may be
    delayed or prevented. Photographs should be submitted as glossy black and white
    prints of size and contrast suitable for reproduction.
    Upon acceptance, it is most helpful if the final manuscripts of substantial articles can
    be submitted in word processor format. The editor will advise details of acceptable formats.
    Contributions are considered on the understanding that they are not being offered for publication
    Authors are advised to consult a current issue of Australian Birds as a guide to style and
    punctuation, which conform in general to the Commonwealth Style Manual.
    Spelling follows the Macquarie Dictionary. In particular:
    dates are written ‘1January 1990’, but may be abbreviated in tables and figures;
    the 24 hour clock is used with Eastern Standard Time, e.g.
    0630 for 6.30 am and 1830 for 6.30 pm. Daylight Saving Time should
    be corrected to EST;
    in the text, single -digit numbers are spelt out; 10 000 and larger numbers are
    printed with a space (not a comma) separating the thousands;
    English names of bird species (but not group names) are written with an initial capital
    for each separate word.
    References to books appear in the form
    Marchant, S. & Higgins, P.J. (eds) 1990, Handbook ofA ustralian, New Zealand and Antarctic
    Birds, Vol. 1, OUP, Melbourne.
    and to journals as
    Morris, A.K., Tyler, V., Tyler, M., Mannes, H. & Dalby, J.1990, ‘A Waterbird survey of the
    Parramatta River wetlands, Sydney’, Aust Birds, 23:3, pp, 44-64
    These are cited in the text as Marchant & Higgins (1990) or (Morris et al. 1990), respectively.Volume 28, No. 1 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS September 1994
    A.B. Rose Predation of Little Terns by Whimbrels
    Dariel Larkins The Channel -billed Cuckoo in far west Queensland 5
    Dariel Lark ins The Channel -billed Cuckoo at Pied Currawong nests 7
    Reg Angus Papuan Frogmouth at Cape York 10
    D.G. Gosper Nest building by Wompoo Fruit -Dove 12
    A.J. Leishman Birds of Humewood / Beulah Forest 14
    Chris Gladwin Book Review: Field Guide to the birds of the ACT 26
    Dick Turner Review: The Long -billed Corella in Australia 28
    Print Post Approved PP232004/00010