Vol. 15 No. 3-text

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Journal of the
Vol. 15, No. 3 March, 1981

ISSN 0311-8150

Registered for Posting as a Periodical Category BTHE N.S.W. FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB
E. Hoskin
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 1st July each year) are:
Single Member (within Co. of Cumberland) $8.00
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“Australian Birds”. The price of the journal is $2.00 plus postage per issue to
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posted. The Club holds a meeting and a field excursion each month.
All correspondence should be addressed to the Hon. Secretary at:
90 Picnic Point Road, Picnic Point. 2213
All membership fees should be sent to the Hon. Treasurer at:
P.O. Box C 436, Clarence Street, Sydney. N.S.W. 2000.
Manuscripts should be sent to the Editor at:
P.O. Box 39, Coonabarabran. 2857AIMMIAMI
Vol. 15, No. 3 March, 1981
From May to August, 1980 was stationed on Majuro Atoll in the Marshall
At 1000 hours on 2 May 1980 I noticed a large movement of Shearwaters
about 500 to 1000m outside the reef. Closer observation confirmed that they
were Short -tailed Shearwaters Puffinus tenurostris moving around the eastern
edge of the Atoll in a northerly direction in flocks of 500 to 1000 birds. This
movement continued all day until my observations were interrupted at 1500
hours by thunder storm activity in the area.

A check at 0900 hours on 3 May 1980 indicated that the passage of Shear

waters had ceased. did not observe Short -tailed Shearwaters during the rest of
my time in the Marshall Islands.
The sketch map of the Marshall Islands highlights the apparent movement of
the Shearwaters between Majuro and Arno Atolls. The passage between these
Atolls is only 40km wide and is subject to extremely rough seas because of the
cross wave motion.
It is sobering to consider the effect on the Shearwaters’ migration pattern
when this mass movement coincided with any of the atomic tests carried out by
the U.S.A. between 1952 and 1968 on Enewetok and Bikini Atolls. Fallout from
these tests on occasion, effected the inhabitants on islands as far away as Utirik
Atoll and Mejit Island.
It may well be an explanation for any population fluctuations that may have
occurred during this period.
G. HADDON, 94 McClelland Avenue, Lara, Victoria. 3212.39 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS 115) 3
Like Parker, too responded to R. Noske’s request (1978) that comment
upon an early draI ft of his article. also did not see the final version unI til publish-
ed. I felt no complusion, then, to comment on his article. But, I do feel compelled
to take up some of the points raised by Parker and Ford in their separate critic-
isms of Noske’s paper.
Might it not be appropriate for everyone to view the aim of Noske’s article as
being to stimulate thought and thereby bring about public discussion, rather than
as a paper providing solutions? There is a need to provide a general appreciation
of the basis for opinions implied within the “Interim List of Australian Song-
birds” (R. Schodde 1975) so that everyone interested in understanding the list
and current thinking in Australian ornithology may better appreciate the subject.
The absence of proper evidence through reference to articles which do not appear
conclusive, which are “in prep”, etc., merely impose an unacceptable sense of
The significance of the Interim List is highlighted in RAOU Newsletter (Feb.,
1975:6) which refers to it as a “serious list whose findings will be used in Union
publications, and probably by scientific bodies in Australia and overseas”. In
addition, J. Disney (RAOU Newsletter June, 1976:3) considered its publication
to be “long overdue”. Surely, such an important work merits comprehensive
explanation and this is what Noske has sought to encourage. Yet, he is severely
criticised. But, it seems to me that contrary to the implied view of S. Parker
(1979) and J. Ford (1979), Noske has not acted hastily or irrationally. Rather he
has sought to encourage thought to prevail over blind acceptance.
Noske accused Schodde of using the arguments of others only where he saw
fit, Parker has indicated that Noske has also “ignored certain matters,” and Ford
states that Noske has failed to “criticise facts and speculations fairly and object-
ively”. But, the point is, that an imbalance existed, which neither Parker nor Ford
entirely deny. Noske has also sought to stimulate a correction of that shortcom-
Judging by the reaction to Noske’s article, apparently it is not proper to do
so. This is despite the fact that many readers of this Journal have directly or in-
directly encountered criticisms of the Interim List. In addition, anyone who has
sought to come to terms with the Interim List will have encountered countless
examples of the use of “the arguments of others only where (it seemed) fit”,
or noted apparent inconsistencies, or read supportive material containing a milieu
of presumptions, assumptions and other vagaries.
do not suggest that Noske is correct, but merely point out that critics who
believe themsleves to possess the truth will always be disinclined to tolerate the
views of others. Indeed, either Noske’s or Schodde’s facts may be fallible but

facts have “the peculiar weakness of being completely contingent Facts are41 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS 115) 3
therefore very easy to destroy” M. Canovan (1974). Parker !Ioc. ea) demonstrates
this point when implying that whilst Gould was factually correct “in the middle
of last century”, to -day he is incorrect!
Parker, in remarking on Noske’s reference to the Pied Honeyeater Certh-
ionyx variegatus, Black Honeyeater C. niger, Banded Honeyeater C. pectoralis,
states that “I have encountered the Black Honeyeater six times, and never heard it
give the silent clinking or tinkling song referred to .”. He adds that “my ob-
. .
servations on the calls of the Black, which partly contradict Noske’s remarks, are
As quoted by Noske, my experience is exactly the opposite. Further cannot
liken the calls of the Pied Honeyeater, which have also heard, to those of the
Black Honeyeater. But, in my opinion, there is a similarity between the calls of
the Black and Scarlet Honeyeaters Myzomela sanguinolenta. In addition, Noske
did not rely solely on either Parker’s or my views.
Despite an overburden of criticism, Parker clearly indicates that he is support-
ive of Noske’s questioning of the transferrence of the Myzornela (the Black and
the Banded) honeyeaters to the genus Certhionyx.
J. Ford (loc. cit) in seeking to clarify Noske’s apparent lack of comprehension

of earlier discussions on the taxonomic status of the Chestnut -backed Quail

thrush Cinc/osoma castaneothorax and Cinnamon Quail -thrush C. cinnamomeum
“the only area of contact sampled (the Beal Range) produced male of only inter-
mediate plumage”. “On the basis of probability if all the specimens collected in
contact area are intermediate, it can be confidently assumed that intermediates
comprise a large porportion, if not the bulk, of the population in the contact
However, Ford fails to remind us that Noske had mentioned that the sum
total of all the specimens collected was only two birds. Ford is not completely
incorrect, for his sample does increase the level of probability of his hypotheses.
But, given the data, there is little justification for the level of confidence express-
ed by Ford. His definitive statement is too strong.
Equally relevant to a consideration of Ford’s rebuttal is the differing use of
the word “intensive”. Here we are presented not with a criticism of the content
of Noske’s article but with a criticism of his unfortunate use of terminology.
Noske clearly intends this term to refer to Ford’s considerable time and effort
spent collecting those two presumed hybirds specimens. That this is the intended
sense is revealed by Ford’s own remarks that “Quail -thrushes are very difficult
birds to collect and the series that collected in Queensland in December 1971
and January 1972 required dilligent and sustained searching for many hours and
many kilometres on foot”.
Conversely, Ford’s use refers to the comprehensiveness of the sample e.g.
“Contrary to Noske, sampling was anything but intensive as, indeed, indicated by
the meagre number of specimens collected” and “(I had) insufficient time to
sample intensively and thoroughly in the zone of contact”.March 1981 42
Again despite strong criticism by Ford, he also indicates agreement with
Noske by pointing out that “what this controversy also stresses is the importance
of having adequate and long series of specimens from hybird zones”, But, this is
one of the principal themes of Noske’s article i.e. “It is obvious from the Interim
List that there are very large gaps in our knowledge”, “One of the mosts frequent-
ly cited references does not present any quantitative data”, and “Changes
. . .
should only be made when information from comprehensive studies becomes
In conclusion, Noske has chosen only to raise questions on the appropriate-
ness of the Interim List, its basis and its conclusions. In doing so he has reaffirmed
that it will be along time before the dream of a fully proven body of knowledge is
In the meantime is it not far better to avoid confusion and the loss of inform-
ation by encouraging the collection of objective, qualitative data on all Australian
birds, including those species which are currently regarded as subspecies?
Finally, I would suggest that a diversity of opinion is no less an essential
feature of ornithology than it is of any other aspect of science and, consequently
should not be discouraged.
Canovan, M. 1974. The Political thought of Hannah Arendt. London: Dent and Co.
Ford, J. 1979. Taxonomic status of some quail -thrushes. Aust. Birds 13, 76-79.
Noske, R. 1978. Some of the scientific names used in the “Interim List of Australian Songbirds”. Aust. Birds
13, 27-35.
Parker, S. 1979. Comments on some of the criticisms of the “Interim List of Australian Songbirds”. Aust.
Birds 13,70-71.
Schodde, R. 1975. Interim List of Australian Songbirds. Melbourne: RAOU.
R.M. COOPER, 2 Rofe Crescent, Hornsby Heights, N.S.W. 2122.
The Black Kite 11/1ilvus migrans was recorded by J.N. Hobbs (1961 Emu 61,
36) as a resident to the South-west of New South Wales during the period 1951-

  1. After moving to the Dareton-Buronga area in 1972 found that initially
    fewer birds were present in winter compared to the summer months, but since
    1978, the status as described by Hobbs has again occurred.
    However, within the District the food supply for the kites appears to be-
    come noticeably scarcer during the winter months. From personal observations
    have found that carrion from road kills, insects and fish carrion, appear to be
    common prey items in this area, which compares with Readers’ Digest (1976
    Complete Book of Australian Birds) which states that they are scavangers of any
    type of carrion, but they also eat small mammals, insects and reptiles, and they
    congregate wherever there is a plague of rats, mice, grasshoppers or caterpillars.43 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 3
    In the Buronga-Dareton area road kills are scarcer in winter; the higher winter
    rainfall allows the vegetation to obscure the insect prey; and waterholes tend to
    be at a stable level in winter, so that there is a little fish carrion. This stituation
    appears to have led to the opportunistic Black Kites seeking other food sources
    during this period.
    In the Sunraysia District of north-west Victoria and at Dareton-Buronga in
    New South Wales, it is the usual practice of grapegrowers to plant green manure
    crops in autumn between the vines. The crop is turned into the soil in winter or
    early spring, when the pruning of the vines is completed. This farm -practice
    attracts the attention of Black -shouldered Kites Elanus notatus and Australian
    Kestrels Fa/co cenchroides which come to feed on the Field Mice Mus musca/us
    and quail coturnix sp. exposed by the action of the plough.
    Normally Black Kites avoid close contact with the vineyards but can be seen
    flying above them.
    It was of interest therefore, to record on 14 August 1980 at Dareton, a flock
    of nine Black Kites feeding behind a tractor as it disc -ploughed a cover crop into
    the soil. On the next morning at 800 hours observed seven Black Kites perched
    on the vines and posts in the same block preening and sun-bathing.
    Shortly after 8.30 hours the tractor re -commenced to plough the crop and the
    birds took off and followed. These birds were later joined by three Whistling Kites
    Haliastur sphenurus, and all were still feeding behind the tractor when it finished
    for the day at 1630 hours. Observations were made in good light and for a dis-
    tance of 160-200 m. However at times the birds were much closer to me than
    these distances, but was never able to actually identify the prey items snatched
    from the ground because of the crop cover between the tractor and my viewing
    position. Both mice and Stubble Quail C. pectora/is were plentiful in the crop and
    it was assumed that the kites were feeding on injured or damaged specimens.
    Although observed this method of feeding behaviour during the next week
    on adjoining vineyards, none of the farmers could recall seeing the kites following
    the tractor previously although they were aware that the Black -shouldered Kites
    and the Australian Kestrels did so. My observations indicated that the Black Kites
    soon learnt that the starting up of the tractor amongst the vineyards was the
    signal that the food was available. They then flew at once to the appropriate vine-
    yard when action was underway. The maximum number of Black Kites seen foll-
    owing the plough at any one stage during the period 14 – 21 August 1980 was
    nine birds. This feeding behaviour indicates the extreme opportunism adopted by
    Black Kites as mentioned in the Readers’ Digest book.
    CHRIS SONTER, 72 San Mateo Avenue, Mildura Vic. 3500.44
    March 1981
    J. WAUGH
    From 30 November to 3 December 1980, I travelled with A.M. Fisher by
    canoe from Gundagai to Wagga Wagga, along the Murrumbidgee River. The
    journey of 105 km took 24 hours of drifting and during that time a bird count
    was kept. Birds seen at lunch and at nightly camps were included only if seen
    along or over the river.
    Of the 52 species reported by M. Guppy (1974 Birds 8, 85-88), on a similar
    journey through this area in November 1972, saw 42 and added another 25
    species to make 67 in all. Nine species, marked () in the list, were observed breeding. The habitat consisted of River Redgum Eucalyptus camaldulenis, River Oak Casuarina Cunninghamiana, and Weeping Willows Salix babylonica; high earth – ern banks; sand and gravel bars; patches of rank weeds; and the Common Reed Rhragmites communis. The largest flock of brids was a flock of Sulphur -crested Cockatoos, feeding on grassland recently burnt by fire. The number of entries is a measure of the distribution of each species along the river. If the number of entries is close to the total seen this may be an indic- ation of breeding. Certainly this was the case with the Rainbow Bee -eater where single birds were often seen entering and leaving nesting holes. In the case of the Australian Magpie -lark, although no birds were seen at the nest, single birds were often seen foraging along the water’s edge, and flying off with food. Factors influencing my count included two groups of duck shooters in power boats on the first day, strong winds on three days, and a series of thunder- storms on the third day. It is probable that dry conditions in 1980 accounted for the greater number of species along the River than in 1972. All species recorded both in 1972 and in 1980 have been included in the list of species detailed in Figure 1. By way of explanation, following the species’ English and scientific name, the first column indicates whether the bird was recorded by Guppy (loc. cit) in 1972. The second column indicates whether seen by me in 1980. The third column indicates the number of entries made of species recorded in 1980 whilst the last column indicates the total number of individual birds of each species recorded during my trip. JOHN WAUGH, 33 Cecil Street, Caringbah N.S.W. 2229.45 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 3 TABLE 1 SPECIES OBSERVED ON MURRUMBIDGEE RIVER BETWEEN GUNDAGAI AND WAGGA WAGGA. SPECIES 1972 1980 Entries Total Australian Pelican Pe/ecanus conspici/latus x 14 27 Darter Anhinga melanogaster x x 1 1 Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo x x 4 6 Little Black Cormorant C.sulcirostris x Little Pied Cormorant C.melanoleucos x x 11 15 Pacific Heron Ardea Pacifica x White-faced Heron A.novaehollandiae x 11 22 Great Egret Egretta alba x 1 1 Rufous Night Heron Nycticorax caledonicus x x 3 3 Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopica x 2 4 Straw -necked Ibis T. spin icollis x x 2 42 Yellow -billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes x Black Swan Cygnus atratus x x 1 2 Australian Shelduck Tardorna tardornoides x 2 4 Pacific Black Duck Anas superci/iosa x x 50 150 Grey Teal A. gibberifrons x x 14 53 Maned Duck Chenonetta jubata x x 69 742 Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides x x 5 6 P Ae ur se tg rari ln iae n F Hal oco bn b y F Fa .lc Ioo n p ge ipr ee ng nri in su s x x x 1 1 Brown Falcon F. berigora x 3 3 Australian Kestrel F. cenchroides x x 3 3 Stubble Quail Coturnix pectora/is x 1 2 Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa x x 1 1 Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles x 11 20 Black -fronted Plover Charadrius melanops x 10 12 Greenshank Tringa nebularia x 1 1 Feral Pigeon Columba livia x Peaceful Dove Geope/ia p/acida x x 26 32 ‘ Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes x x 3 5 Galah Cacatua roseicapilla x x 46 157
    Sulphur -crested Cockatoo C. ga/erita x x 70 1229
    Superb Parrot Polytelis swainsonii x x 3 5
    Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus x
    C Yr eim llos won
    R oo sese llalla P.P f/l aa vty ec oe /urc su s elegans
    xx 111 181
    Eastern Rosella P. eximius x 7 12
    Red-rumped Parrot Psephotus haematonotus x x 23 65
    Blue Bonnet Northiella haematogaster x
    Pallid Cuckoo Cuculus pallidus x
    Horsfield’s Bronze -Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis x 6 7
    Southern Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae x 1 1
    White -throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus x 1 1
    Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae x x 25 37
    Sacred Kingfisher Halcyon sancta x x 25 27
    Rainbow Bee -eater Merops ornatus x x 79 97
    Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis x x 31 32
    White -backed Swallow Cheramoeca /eucosternum x 4 6March 1981 46
    Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena x x 65 750
    Fairy Martin Cecropis ariel * x 24 265
    Black -faced Cuckoo -shrike Coracina novaehollandiae x x 15 18
    Crested Shrike -tit Falcunculus frontatus x
    Grey Shrike -thrush Colluricincla harmonica x x 29 29
    Grey Fantail Rhipidura fu/iginosa x x 1 1
    Willie Wagtail R. leucophrys x x 50 59
    Clamorous Reed -Warbler Acrocephala stentoreus x x 13 19
    Rufous Songlark Cinclorhamphus mathewsi x 37 42
    Superb Fairy -wren Ma/urus cyaneus x 1 1
    Brown Treecreeper Climacteris picumnus x 6 11
    Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis* x 35 37
    Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala x x 1 1
    White -plumed Honeyeater Lichenostomus penicillatus x x 52 85
    Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus x x 20 22
    European Goldfinch carduelis x 2 4
    House Sparrow Passer domesticus x x 7 20
    Red-browed Firetail Emblema temporalis x 3 9
    Diamond Firetail E. guttata x 1 1
    Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris* x x 51 707
    White -winged Chough Corcorax melanorhamphos x x 3 11
    Australian Magpie -lark Grallina cyanoleuca x x 63 81
    White-browed Woodswallow Artamus superciliosus* x 3 4
    Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen x x 24 36
    Australian Raven Corvus coronoides x x 29 51
    It is with sorrow that I report the passing of Kenneth George Dunston Cob –
    croft, who died in hospital on 7 September 1980 aged 86 years. He is survived by
    his daughters, Dorothy and Roma, and son Keith.
    Some members will recall, during field days to Wilberforce, would stop and
    have a word with Ken when seeing him sitting in a easy chair on the verandah of
    the weatherboard cottage where he lived all his married life. The cottage was in
    Earl Street, Wilberforce where his property backed on to a swamp. Earl Street is
    familiar to most bird observers in Sydney, not by name, but as near the entrance
    to Bushell’s Lagoon at Smith’s dairy farm. Actually this entrance is in Argyle
    Reach Road, which is a continuation of Earl Street, Wilberforce.
    Ken Cobcroft was not a member of any bird societies, but his contribution to
    ornithology was noteworthy. He was an important man over the years giving
    ornithologists information about the occurrence of birds in the district. He kept
    a diary of water levels and the state of swamps, crops and weather in the district
    throughout his lifetime. This diary is in the possession of his son Keith.
    Ken Cobcroft was born in 1894 in the house opposite his residence which he
    built when he was married, and lived there until his death. He was a descendant of
    John and Sarah Cobcroft who came to Australian in the second fleet in 1790, John
    in the “Scarborough”, and Sarah on the “Neptune”, in the same month. They
    were married soon after arrival and given a 30 acre grant of land on the Windsor
    Road, near Wilberforce. This land is still owned by the Cobcroft family.47 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 3
    In his early years, Ken was a shooter, which was a popular sport in those days.
    He usually shot quail, snipe and ducks and it was during one of these outings in
    1930 that he shot a Comb -crested Jacana lrediparra gallinacea, the first record
    from near Sydney. Wilberforce is not in the County of Cumberland, being on the
    west side of the Hawkesbury River. The bird was shot in the swamp directly be-
    hind Ken’s home.
    A few years later, Ken was speaking to Mr. James Potter about birds breeding
    on the lagoons when he described a bird which had arrived in the district in the
    spring of 1930. He stated “several of the birds had been shot by local ‘guns’
    . . .

out of curiosity, and a local name of ‘Crested Snipe’ was given to them.”

Potter kept the discovery a secret from other ornithologists, however, after
he wrote the story of the bird’s occurrence (Potter and D’Ombrain 1933) the
location was revealed by his description of the environment. This caused a certain
amount of sensationalism and resulted in a spate of articles in journals and news-
papers, the top bird photographers of the day taking advantage of the event.
Later investigations in other swamps in the Hawkesbury area revealed several
It was Ken Cobcroft who discovered that adult Jacanas carry their young
under their wings, he wrote. “I saw three young birds (hatched out of another
. .
clutch) three or four days old, which the old one was carrying, two under one
wing and one under the other. The chicks would be carried this way, until they
were two or three weeks old, then being too big to carry, they would hide if dis-
turbed” (Cobcroft 1934).
Mr. J. Purnell witnessed a similar incident in the same lagoon in 1968. The
young bird nestled against the breast feathers of the adult which then walked
away with the nestling ‘stuck’ to the breast feathers of the adult and with its
legs dangling in front,
Another interesting behaviour of both the young and adults is to submerge at
the approach of danger. Potter wrote ..”As the canoe approached, the bird grad-
ually sank until it was completely out of sight when the spot was reached. A
search proved futile even with the assistance of the observer ashore. On leaving
the spot the bird gradually rose out of the water and went on calmly feeding”. It
is reasonable to presume that it is possible to overlook the presence of the bird.
On one occasion in 1963 at Yarramundi Lagoon, my two companions Keith
Hindwood, Keven Avery and myself observed a pair of adults with four young
about one month old, they were in down, their wings were very small and unde-
veloped, their legs were large and well developed. As we approached, the young
birds submerged and it took us time to locate them. Their bills, up to the nostrils
only, were poking above the swamp vegetation. We experimented with one bird
and it dived and remained under for approximately two minutes before poking its
bill above the surface; another time it was one and a half minutes and in a second
young bird, four and one half minutes. These young were banded by me on this
occasion. A month later, one of these birds was captured again and was placed on
the edge of a patch of clear water, it immediately dived into the clear water, swam
underneath kicking its legs like a frog (i.e. both kicked together at the one time)
until it came to vegetation where it remained submerged completely for four and
one half minutes before poking its bill above the surface. On another occasion
when liberated, it dived under the surface amongst acquatic vegetation. The time
that elapsed before the bill, up to as far as the nostrils, was slowly poked throughMarch 1981 48
the Azolla Fern Azolla pinnata on the surface was six and one half minutes in one
instance and approximately five minutes in Na subsequent experiment; the bird
remained below all the time. When it ascends, it does so very slowly without
After banding an immature bird at Wilberforce in the same season as the
above, the bird was liberated, it ran across the surface vegetation for 11m or so,
and then stopped and looked about. Shouts did not make it go under, but when
Keith Hindwood threw a stick in its direction and when the stick hit the water,
the bird dived below and stayed under.
The fact that the birds submerge has been know for some time. John Gilbert
wrote in 1865… (in Gould 1865) “At the slightest alarm they dive down at once
or take flight. Their powers of diving and remaining under water are equal to
those of any bird have ever met with”.
Some of the water plants which were growing at Wilberforce during the
1930’s were: Ludwigia pelpoides; Ceratophyllum demersum, Triglochin procera,
Ottelia ovalifolia, Nardoo Marsilea mutica, Myriophyllum latifolium, M. prop-
inquum and Azolla fern. The occurrence of these water plant species provides an
ideal habitat for the Jacana and many species of water birds. Unfortunately these
plants are very often overgrown by the introduced (from South America) Water
Hyacinth. This plant forms a greater part of the vegetation in the swamps in the
Sydney area where the Jacana once occurred. An insect (Neochetina eichhorniae)
has been introduced from South America and liberated in the waterways in New
South Wales to fight the Hyacinth. The insect which is a natural enemy of the
plant kills it by feeding on the leaves and their larvae tunnel into the stems and
cause the plant It may be many years before it spreads to Sydney.
Environment instability seems to be the main reason for the fluctuation in
number of the Jacanas in the Hawkesbury District. Droughts dry up the lagoons,
killing the water plants, after which they take several years to grow to a suitable
environment for the birds, then floods wash away the vegetation. This is what has
been occurring in the County in the last ten years forcing the birds to move else-
It is difficult to ascertain if the Water Hyacinth was in evidence during the
1930’s and ’40’s when the birds were at their peak in the Hawkesbury Swamps.
Old photographs of the Jacana, its nest, eggs, young and habitat shots shows
only the plants mentioned above. Whether the smothering of the natural veget-
ation by the Hyacinth was responsible for the disappearance of the bird in the
area, or not, is not certain.
There was a suggestion in the past that the bird used the plant Ludwigea
peploides (ex Jussieua repens) which has a yellow flower, as a camouflage, the
bird changing the colour of its comb to match the flower. The Jacana can change
the colour of its comb at will with colours ranging from pale flesh, pink, yellow
and red, but these colour changes were later thought to be caused by stress or
excitement. One writer also suggested that the shape of the comb has a resembl-
ance to the shape of the leaf of the plant Nardoo, which would also have the
effect of camouflage.
The Jacana is known to move its eggs to a new nest site. A. Blackburn (in
litt.) stated that while attempting to photograph a bird on a nest which contained
four eggs, he watched the birds from his hide build a new nest a few metres away.
It picked up the eggs one at a time under its bill, firmly against the neck and49 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 3
swam to the new nest site; several times the eggs were dropped in the water, but
being well incubated remained on the surface.
Most swamps in the Hawkesbury area had their compliments of Jacanas dur-
ing the 1930’s, 15 birds were seen on one swamp and towards the end of 1930
dry conditions forced the birds out. At Little Cattai Swamp 30 birds were seen in
the channel, being forced out of the dry swamps, they congregated in the last
remaining water. In July 1940 the swamps were dry and in 1941 several were
seen, having had rain during the interim period. In 1948 there were 12 at Pitt
Town Common and after this, deterioration gradually took over; although odd
pairs and singles were seen. Between July 1958 and August 1961 no birds were
recorded. The pattern was constant up to 3 January 1976, when at Longneck
Lagoon the last two birds were seen. During the above period, it took seven years
for the swamps to recover to a reasonable condition with floating vegetation,
the natural habitat of the bird but with very little if any, native vegetation.
am of the opinion that the bird’s decline is a combination of instability of
the swamps through droughts and floods and the unsavoury practice of egg
With this instability and the shortage of permanent water reserves or sanct-
uaries in the County, if the hyacinth is eradicated, there will be little chance of
the return of the Jacana for some time. I think the only hope is in the Long –
neck Lagoon, or if the National Parks and Wildlife Service acquired Broadwater
Swamp and controlled the water level with a weir, then this swamp and its ad-
joining Batts Hollow would provide as in the past an important breeding ground
for this unique wader. The natural water vegetation would
and provide an ideal habitat for the Jacana and other water frequenting birds.
Longneck Lagoon is a Reserve and is an important breeding area and has a weir
but there is no answer for droughts which threaten the swamps. Longneck Lagoon
is at the lowest level to my memory and Broadwater Swamp and Bushell’s Lagoon
are dry.
Ken Cobcroft did not know at the time, when he shot the Jacana, that he was
submitting his contribution to ornithology in the discovery of the bird in the
County of Cumberland.
It is interesting to note that a single bird was seen by M.,Cort in early Decem-
ber, 1977 at Mountain Lagoon, Bilpin. This is an unusual location, being high in
the Blue Mountains. Only one bird was seen on each of Miss Cort’s visits, and also
on subsequent visits by other observers.
Some of the information on which this article is based has come from the
personal files of the Late K.A. Hindwood and the remainder, from observations
made by us before his death. These files were passed onto me following Keith’s
death in 1971 and have maintained and kept them up to date since then. In-
formation from the files, known as the “Keith Hindwood Bird Recording
Service”, is readily supplied.
Cobcroft, K. 1934. The Jacana. Emu 34,47-49.
Gould, J.A. 1865. Handbook of the Birds of Australia. London: Privately.
Hindwood, K.A. 1966. They walk on water. Wildlife in Aust. 3,132-5.
Potter, J. & E.A. D’Ombrain. 1933. Lotus Bird found breeding on the Hawkesbury River, N.S.W. Emu 33,
ERNEST S. HOSKIN, 44 Patricia Street, Eastwood. N.S.W. 2122.March 1981 50
The reported food sources of the Pied Currawong Strepera graculina, were

summaried by I. Rowley in H.J. Firth, Ed. (1976) “Currawongs are omnivor-

ous and eat young birds, carrion, insects and berries. In the course of their wand-
erings, it is thought, they prey significantly on two species of stick insects which
at times defoliate eucalypt forests”. Additionally, R. Buchanan (1978) reported

the species feeding on Paroo Lily shoots; on the leaves of the Tartan Tongue

orchid; on one of the Acinathus orchids; and on grass.
Therefore, in August, 1979 when a pair of Pied Currawongs commenced nest-
ing in a eucalypt which overhangs our driveway at Hornsby Heights, an outer
northern suburb of Sydney, the opportunity was taken to note aspects of their
feeding behaviour and food sources, particularly where these were not in accord-
ance with previously published data.
The observations reported herein were made over a period of approximately
two months. They were recorded whenever our attention was drawn to activities
in which either of the pair of Currawongs was engaged. Most observations were
made without any optical aid although, on two occasions, 7 x 50 binoculars were
On the morning of 8 September 1979, a freshly regurgitated pellet was found.
This pellet contained the head of an adult Red Wattlebird Anthochaera caruncul-
On 11 September 1979, CDC noticed one of the Currawongs standing on
what appeared to be a clod of earth. On closer examination, the Currawong
took flight, carrying in its feet an adult Spotted Turtle -Dove Streptopelia chinen-
sis. The weight of the dove seemed to prevent the Currawong from gaining height
and it landed on the ground again nearby. When the Currawong was disturbed a
second time, it left the dove behind. Inspection of the dove indicated that it was
freshly killed.
On 15 September 1979 a rat Rattus sp (?) was found impaled on a sharp
splintered portion of a branch in a nearby Forest Oak Casuarina tortu/osa.
Just before dusk on 16 September 1979, the two Currawongs were observed
attacking a large Ring-tailed Possum Pseudocheirus langinosus. The possum was
in the tree next to the Currawongs’ nest and, at that time, it was assumed that
the birds were concerned only for the safety of their eggs (and nest). However,51 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 3
two days later, a dead Ring -railed Possum, of similar size, was found under
nearby bushes. Both its eyes were missing but there was no other obvious indic-
ation as to the cause of death. It is considered that this animal was the one seen
being attacked and that it was mortally wounded by the Currawongs. The fact
that it was not eaten would suggest that it did not die immediately and that
the birds did not subsequently locate it.
Three young Currawongs were hatched during the period 16 to 20 Septem-
ber 1979. Prior to this period, most of the incubation appeared to have been
undertaken by one bird -presumed to be the female. At times this bird emitted
calls similar to those of young Currawongs and, when this occurred the other
bird quickly appeared and fed it. Feeding continued until the incubating bird
ceased calling.
At approximately 1030 hours on 22 September 1979, one of the Currawongs
was seen with a relatively young Ring -railed Possum in its beak. The bird flew to
the splintered section of the Casuarina mentioned earlier, skewered its catch onto
the splinter and began tearing pieces from the body. These were taken to the nest
and fed to the three young birds. Shortly afterwards, the second Currawong
appeared with another young Ring -railed Possum. This bird used a similar “impal-
ing site”, in a Bloodwood located an equivalent distance from the best but some
12m from the Casuarina. By 1630 hours, four Ring -tail Possums were seen to be
torn apart at these two “impaling sites” and fed to the young Currawongs. In
addition, although both sites were empty up to 15 minutes before dusk, at
approximately 2330 hours the rump and tail (approx. 18 cm long) of another
possum was seen hanging from the “impaling site”, in the Forest Oak.
On 3 October 1979 a bricklayer working on our house mentioned to RMC
that he had seen one of the Currawongs carrying what he thought was a rat.
The next morning, 4 October 1979 the remains of another Ring-tailed Possum
was found on the “impaling site”, in the Casuarina.
Finally, on 7 October 1979, one of the Currawongs was observed having
considerable difficulty trying to carry a large blackish -grey object. RMC managed
to cause the Currawong to drop this object which proved to be a fledgling Austral-
ian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen. This was the first young bird the Currawongs
were known to take, yet we knew of two Magpie nests close by. Young were
successfully raised from each of these.
As far as we are aware, there are no published records of Pied Currawongs killing and feed-
ing on adult birds or mammals.
As a result of the observations, RMC made enquiries with a number of people, including
Anrold McGill, Stephen Debus, Richard Noske, Glenn Holmes and Barbara Howie, to determine
whether such behaviour had been reported elsewhere. None of these people had heard, or knew,
of any records of large adult birds or mammals being killed by Pied Currawongs. However,
Stephen Debus (in litt.) advised that he had recorded Currawongs feeding on the berries of
Privet, Camphor Laurel, and Lilli Pilli Acmena Smithii, a habit known to most observers. In
addition, he had seen a Currawong with a Common Mynah Acridotheres tristis in its feet,
and other single birds feeding on a (domesticated) canary Serinus canarius, a House SparrowMarch 1981 52
Passer domesticus, a Silvereye Zosterops lateralis, a young Blue -tongued Skink Ti/iqua scin-
coides, an Eastern Water Skink Lygosomo quoyii and he had observed also a Currawong catch-
ing crabs on rocks along the Lane Cove River.
A.R. McGill (1969) indicated that Neville Cayley, in commenting on the impact of this
species on the bird life of the Royal National Park, once wrote that “Undoubtedly the worst
bird -pest in the area is the Pied Currawong, which takes a heavy toll annually of the eggs and
young of others”. Clearly, from the observations mentioned here, the predatory ability of the
Pied Currawong is far greater than Cayley realised. In part, this behaviour appears to be related
to the pressures placed upon the food supplier(s) by those demanding to be fed. It is not un-
reasonable to expect that the non -incubating bird would have required a much greater effort on
its part to sustain both its own daily food intake as well as provide for that of the incubating
bird. Similarly, it seemed to us that the demands for food by the young birds, at least, were

significantly greater than those of the fledglings of many other species which we have observed

except, perhaps for some young cuckoos.
The food sources reported herein could be expected to offset the increased demands, with
little added effort, far more efficiently than would attempts to increase the level of foraging for
insects, berries, nestlings, etc, as would otherwise be required.
Food Caches
In NSW FOC Newsletters (Williamson 1975, and Reynolds 1976), the question of whether
Currawongs used food caches was raised. At the time, we did not contribute to the discussion,
but, in October, 1968 our food supplies were “ravaged” by a Pied Currawong which we en-
countered in Bruxner Park, near Coffs Harbour. At the time, we had been feeding scraps to the
bird whilst having lunch, much of the food provided to the Currawong was taken by it into a
forested area approximately 50 metres away. After lunch we went for a short walk leaving our
food packed on the table. When we returned, some 25-30 minutes later, the Currawong was dis-
appearing with our last slice of bread. It had removed, in that time, about two-thirds of a loaf
of bread and a piece of Christmas cake, weighing in excess of 0.5 kg after taking each from
separate plastic bags.
Buchanan, R. 1978. Pied Currawongs, Rainbow Lorikeets, Satin Bowerbirds, and Leaves. Aust. Birds 12, 87.
Frith, H.J. Ed 1976. The Complete Book of Australian Birds. Sydney: Readers’ Digest Services.
McGill A.R. 1969. Early Notes of the Birdlife of the Royal National Park. Birds 4, 7-9.
Reynolds, E. 1976 Pied Currawongs and Food Caches. NSWFOC News!. 13, pp2.
Williamson, H.D. 1975. Use of food caches by Pied Currawong. NSWFOC Nevvsl. 9, pp4.
C.D. AND R.M. COOPER, 2 Rofe Crescent, Hornsby Heights, N.S.W. 2122.AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 3
My house is located at Faulconbridge in the lower Blue Mountains and has a
garden of many native and introduced plants merging into the bushland that
makes up part of a water catchment reserve. A large picture window of the house
is located three metres from a bird feeding tray. This tray is on top of a metal
pole, some three metres above the ground and is location between a Sydney Red –
gum Angophora costata, on one side, and a Japanese Maple Acer pa/matum and a
Sydney Golden Wattle Acacia longifolia on the other side:
Crimson Rosellas Platycercus elegans, and King Parrots Alisterus scapu/aris
come daily to feed from the tray and Satin Bowerbirds Pti/onorhynchus violaceus
come regularly to feed on the berries and fruits of introduced and native plants.
Mainly sunflower seed is placed on the bird feeder for the birds to feed upon.
Pied Currawongs Strepera graculina are frequent visitors to the garden and feed at
the table but no food is specially placed there for them.
On 3 December 1980 at 10.00 hours from the window observed a Diamond
Python Morelia spi/otes in the Japanese Maple that overhangs the bird feeder. The
Python was observed over a period of four days and remained mostly within the
tree, but occasionally frequented the adjoining wattle. The Python was about
1.6m in length, coloured black with yellow diamond -shaped patterns. It often
laid along a horizontal limb with its neck drooping down onto the branch below
and its head facing the opposite direction lying flat along the second branch. It
was on occasions apparently stalking the Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots com-
ing to the feeder but they easily side-stepped the Python and did not appear to be
too worried by its presence. On that morning of the second day, the Python’s
body contained three small bumps indicating that it had fed successfully the prev-
ious night, but its prey was not known.
On the morning of the third day, the Python was found hanging by its tail
from a horizontal limb of the tree, and its body wound around that of a Pied
Currawong. The bird appeared to be only recently caught but it was not alive.
The Currawong was held head first and throughout the morning the Python pro-
ceeded to eat the Currawong by relaxing its grip and allowing the bird to fall for-
ward into its mouth.
The time taken to consume the Currawong, was about four hours. The Python
then resumed its full horizontal position on the limb with a very noticeable bump
inits body. Next morning the Pyton disappeared and has not been seen again
since. It is presumed that the Python caught the Currawong when it came to visit
the bird feeder, as the Python when found with the bird was only two metres
from that point.
BERYL POPPLE, 34 Adeline Street, Faulconbridge N.S.W.March 1981 54
At 1400 hours on 6 January 1981, Athol Colemane, Barbara and Martin
Brown, and I were at the Stockton Bridge Reserve, located on the northern side
of the Hunter River Estuary near Newcastle. We had been sitting on a log on the
beach for about two minutes observing the birds that come to roost there, when
suddenly a flock of 18 waders flew in from the east and settled on the low,
oyster -covered rocks, about 50 metres from us. They looked rather like Australian
Pratincoles StiItia isabel/a, with long narrow wings, slim bodies and small heads.
The birds were tentatively identified as Oriental Plovers Charadrius veredus and
this observation was later confirmed by consulting standard reference texts.
A description of the birds follows:- All birds stood erect with necks stretched
tall. The general colour of the upperparts was ginger and appeared smooth and
plain; underparts were whitish; the legs were long, thin and light coloured; the
iris was large and black; the bill was straight, coloured black and about the same
length as the head although the base of the bill was a pale yellow colour. The
nearest bird was standing at the edge of the rocks on muddy sand. This bird had a
light orange breast with a blackish band below, stretching right across the breast.
We could only distinguish one other bird with this breast pattern, the remainder
had pale, buff coloured breasts. The breast bar is indicative of breeding plumage.
When compared with an Eastern Golden Plover Pluvia/is dominica, that was
standing only one metre away from the nearest Oriental Plover, the former was
larger, looked decidedly plumper and more squat, with short, dark, thick legs.
By comparison, the Oriental Plover’s legs were pale straw-coloured, giving the im-
pressions of being long and lanky for the size of the bird.
Two more of the Oriental Plovers moved onto the mud but none fed. The
flock rested for about ten minutes and then flew off, continuing in the same
direction as they came, until out of sight. They did not call at any time. The day
was fine, and sunny with a light breeze and the light conditions were perfect for
observing the birds.
This observation constitutes the eighth record for New South Wales since
1900 and the first record for the Country of Northumberland. D. Larkins and
A.R. McGill (1978 Aust Birds 12,59-60) summarised all recent observations up to
1978 and there has only been one record since then, a single bird at Baker’s
Lagoon near Richmond, recorded by A. Colemane in November 1980 (1980
Cumberland Bird Observer’s Club Newsl. 2,2). The number observed at Stockton
would appear to be the largest flock noted to date.
ROBIN BIGG, 12 Wills Avenue, Castle Hill, N.S.W. 2154.55 AUSTRALIAN BIRDS (15) 3
On 23 May 1979 at Greenwell Point, New South Wales, a Little Egret Egretta
garzetta was under observation for about an hour while feeding in close assocation
with, firstly one, then two, Royal Spoonbills Platalea regia at a small tidal pool
less than 30 centimetres deep. The Egret remained within one metre of the lone
Spoonbill, but when that bird was joined by a second, placed itself midway bet-
ween the two. The Spoonbills used the “Slow Sweep and Intensive Search”
actions described by W.J.M. Vestjens (1975). The Egret ran round and between
the Spoonbills frequently jabbing its bill into the water apparently catching prey
disturbed by them. There were many Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopicus on the
mudflat and some occasionally wandered through the pool, feeding as the waded.
The Egret did not detach itself from the Spoonbills to follow any Ibis; possibly
their more sedate method of feeding, slow walking with direct up and down prod-
ing, did not disturb the fish or other waterlife so much. However a feeding assoc-
iation with Sacred Ibis, feeding in ooze not water, has been recorded in Australia
by F.T. Morris (1978).
That the Little Egret occasionally emulates the Cattle Egret Ardeola ibis
in association with cattle and other animals whilst feeding is well documented,
but know of no other recorded observation of a feeding association with Spoon-
bills in Australia, neither is it recorded by S. Cramp (1977). However M.A.
Connor (1979) observed Little Egrets in a feeding association with African
Spoonbills Platalea a/ba and also referred to a similar association with Reed Cor-
morants Phalacrocorax africanus (Fraser, 1974).
The Little Egret, unlike the other Australian egrets, frequently uses its foot to
stir water or mud, thereby distrubing prey which it promptly seizes. Utilising the
stirring of other animals, avian or mammal, is a sensible progression of this feeding
habit. It probably occurs much more frequently than present records indicate.
Connor, M.A. 1979. Feeding association between Little Egret and Africian Spoonbill, Ostrich 50,118.
Connor, M.A. 1979. Feeding association between Little Egret and Africian Spoonbill, Ostrich 50,118.
Cramp, S. (Editor) 1977. The Birds of the Western Palearctic. Vol 1. London: Oxford University Piess.
Fraser, W. 1974. Feeding association between Little Egrets and Reed Cormorants. Ostrich 45,262.
Morris, F.T. 1978. Feeding association between Little Egret and Sacred Ibis. Emu 78,164.
Vestjens, W.J.M. 1975. Feeding behaviour of Spoonbills at Lake Cowal, N.S.W. Emu 75, 132-136.
J.N. HOBBS, 87 Plunkett Street, Nowra, N.S.W. 2540.March 1981 56
Prater, J.H. Marchand, and J. Vuorinen 1977, British Trust for Ornithology Field Guide No. 17,
168 pp. 150 x 210mm.
The B.T.O.-has indeed done a service for wader watchers throughout the world in producing this inval-
uable book. The geographical area covered, comprises what we would call northern hemisphere wader areas.
Altogether 117 species are described, 52 of which have been recorded in Australia. There are 16 plates of
excellent black and white photographs, illustrating 32 birds – many of them juveniles. Difficult species are
shown in six line drawings. For the frontispiece there are two coloured photographs – one of the Mongolian
Plover Charadrius mongolus which is reasonably common in N.S.W. wader areas. The other is the intriguing
Spoon -billed Sandpiper Eurynorhynchus pygmeus, which has not occurred in Australia as yet, but it could
come and observers need to be prepared to know it, when it does.
This guide is aimed primarily at banders who have the opportunity to examine waders in the hand. It
does however contain much information on identification which birdwatchers will find of considerable help
in the field. About 58% of the world’s wader species come within the scope of this guide. They include the
regular intercontinental migrants and form a high proportion of waders found in Australia during the summer
The amount of data given for each species varies, depending mainly on the size of the collection avail-
able for study. Each species is set out in a standrad way:- distribution and migration, identification, ageing,
sexing, geographical variation and measurements. The most obvious field characters are included, although
habits and calls are not discussed. Where difficult pairs of species are involved, the section on field characters
is enlarged.
The book has a comprehensive introduction with special relevance to features observable in the hand.
Also for banders, there are numerous line drawings of feathers. Pages 82-83 give a useful table of identify-
ing features of seven small Calidrids, but unfortunately for us, summer plumage is detailed, whereas we see
them in their winter plumage. Yet this information is not entirely irrelevant as the writer had the good for-
tune to see a Little Stint Ca/idris minuta in full breeding plumage last November near Melbourne. This bird
was caught and banded there the previous year and this book could have provided valuable assistance for
those concerned. Several observers found it useful last December, in identifying an unusual wader seen on
the outing to Longreef. The bird was finally identified as a Red -necked Stint Calidris rufico//is, in breeding
Nomenclature is a little confusing at first glance. What Australians know as Grey -tailed Tattler Tringa
brevipes, is listed as Grey-rumped Sandpiper Heterosce/us brevipes. This alternate English name is listed in
some Australian publications and the alternate scientific name is in C.S.I.R.O. (1969 Index of Australian Bird
Names). Those members who have been upset by English name changes should note page 69, Spur -winged
Plover Hoplopertus spinosus, an entirely diffent bird to our erstwhile Spur -winged Plover, now more approp-
riately named Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles.
“Holarctic Waders” is an excellent book, and a must for all interested in waders. It is an exceptional
reference and study book for those on the lookout for rarities which are sometimes overlooked because of
the limited knowledge of the viewer. In view of the N.S.W. F.O.C. current wader surveys, the Committee
has wisely decided to order a supply of 50 copies from Britain and these would be available April -May for
the very reasonable price of about $7. Members will be notified. The small format of the book is an added
advantage for carrying in the field.

  1. Rigby Publishers Ltd. Pp 437, Col. pll 48 of eggs, and 32 of nests, B &W 2. 184 x 125
    mm. $16.95.
    The last publications as a guide for the identification of the nests and eggs of Australian birds
    specifically were A.J. Campbell (1901 Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds), Jackson (1907 Jacksonian
    Oological Collection) and A.J. North (1911 Nests and Eggs of Birds found breeding in Australia). These
    three publications are now collectors’ pieces and even if they were available, would be, for most people, too
    costly to purchase. However “Campbell’s” was printed as a facsimile in 1974 by Wren Publishing Pty. Ltd.
    The publication of “A Field Guide to Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds” by Gordon Beruldsen is a
    welcome volume for the identification of the eggs (photographs) and written nest descriptions. The book,
    which is the same size as P. Slater (1970 A Field Guide to Australian Birds; Non Passerines) is an addition to
    the well known and informative “Nature Series” books by Rigby. It contains 32 excellent colour, and two
    black and white photographs of nests with the bird in attendance in more than half. A comprehensive
    collection of nest descriptions is welcome, all in one volume, also photographic reproductions of the eggs of
    444 Australian species. The eggs of introduced species are not figured which I consider was a bad move, thus
    allowing no comparison with similar species, although a written description of the nests is given; several
    similarities of eggs are not figured to eliminate repetition. It is unfortunate however, that the author should
    depict each clutch of white eggs for non -passerines but Thornbills and Greygone Warblers are represented by
    a sample of eggs too small to see clearly, and not specific to one species.
    Most of the light coloured eggs could have been printed on a darker background. My copy shows Lyre-
    birds Menura sp. eggs too dark, and Eastern Whipbirds Psophodes olivaceus too pale. I feel that the honey-
    easters’ eggs are too creamy and the flesh colour is either lost in printing, or the fresh appearance lost in
    “blown” eggs. It would appear that it is difficult to reproduce natural colour in print.
    A system of numerical listing could have been devised particularly with the small eggs where there are
    larger numbers on one page because it is very difficult to determine which clutch of eggs belongs to what
    species. A scale also would give some indication of comparative sizes, and for quicker reference the page
    number for the egg should have been included in the description for that bird. It would seem that the author
    had to be a victim of conformity in the use of the controversial vernaculars, e.g. Lapwings for Spurwings,
    Thick -knee for Stone Curlews Burnhinus sp. and Pacific Baza ‘for the Crested Hawk Aviceda subcristata to
    name a few. Linnaeus would turn in his grave.
    It is odd that on page 125 under “S -Eggs for which no descriptions are presently available,” mention is
    made of the Yellow -legged Flycatcher Microeca griseoceps, however the eggs are in fact on p.299. In the
    “Key to the Nest Indentification”, the Jacky Winter M. leucophaea is not mentioned but its nest would
    probably be best suited to No. 18 Cuckoo -Shrikes Coracina sp.
    It is hoped that the book does not foster an interest in the illegal and senseless pastime of egg collect-
    ing. Although important warnings about bird conservation throughout the book is acceptable, it is little
    consolation to the thousands of birds that were denied the right to live in the past because of the activities
    of egg collectors, and of course in the future, because there are still many active collectors in our midst who
    are eager to collect the rarer specimens, species or that elusive “combination”. Every State Museum has a
    comprehensive collection which was collected in the bad old days of ornithology. These collections are open
    to public inspection on request.
    Several years ago, the Sanitarium Health Food Co., issued a set of cards in their cereal packets, which
    depicted a bird and its egg. However there was such public resentment, that the company was forced to with-
    draw the series.
    Most egg collectors are first class fieldmen and am sure every student of ornithology would have bene-
    fitted more it they had written about their experiences, instead of collecting and hiding behind the thought
    of prosecution through egg collecting.
    As is usual, it takes little time for statements to become outdated when referring to birds. The breeding
    of the White -fronted Tern Sterna striata within Australian became a reality in January 1979, but was pre-
    dicted as a future possibility by A.J. Campbell in 1894 and mentioned by the author. The Black -winged
    Petrel Pteradroma nigripennis is another bird that might soon nest within Australia.
    In summary the book is a useful informative guide, the result of many years’ experience in the field
    which will provide a reference for professional and amateurs alike and presents another example of an
    amateur leading the way in field work in Australia.
    E.S. Hoskin..1″
    Haddon, G. Observed movement of Short -tailed Shearwaters in the North Pacific 38
    . . .
    Cooper, R.M. Further comments concerning the Interim List of Australian
    Songbirds 40
    Sonter, C. Black Kites following the plough 42
    Waugh, J. A bird count on the Murrumbidgee River 44
    Hoskin, E.S. Ken Cobcroft and the Jacana 46
    Cooper, C. & R Observations on the food sources utilised by Pied Currawongs 50
    Popple, B. The Daimond Python, a predator of the Pied Currawong 53
    Bigg, R. Oriental Plovers near Newcastle 54

Hobbs, J.N. Little Egrets feeding in association with Spoonbills 55

Book Review Guide to the Identification and Ageing of Holarctic Waders 56
Book Review Field Guide to Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds 57
Registered for Posting as a Periodical – Category B
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