Vol. 21 No. 2-text

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Journal of the
Volume 21, No. 2 June 1987

ISSN 0311-8150

Registered by Australia Post Publication No. NBH0790THE NEW SOUTH WALES FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB
PATRON A.R. McGill, O.A.M.
D. Smedley
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:
Adult Member $20.00
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All correspondence should be addressed to the Hon. Secretary and all membership fees should
be sent to the Hon. Treasurer at: P.O. Box C436, Clarence Street, Sydney, N.S.W. 2000.
Manuscripts should be sent to the Editor at: Dept. of Ornithology, Australian Museum, 6-8
College Street, Sydney 2000.Volume 21, No. 2 June 1987
Before 1970 there were very few acceptable records of either the Thick -billed Grasswren Amytornis
textilis or the Striated Grasswren A. striatus in New South Wales. This paper is an attempt to review
the early records of these birds, to identify their original habitats and thus to gain some insight into
their past distribution and status within the state. For simplicity have assumed that certain records
(to be discussed below) from north -central New South Wales will eventually prove to be of A. striatus.
The Thick -billed Grasswren occurs in three isolated populations: the subspecies A. t. textilis
and A. t. myall in the west, and A. t. modestus (once considered a separate species) in the vicinity
of Lake Eyre and extending eastward into central New South Wales. This last population is the one
of interest in the present study. The subspecies of the Striated Grasswren that occurs in New South
Wales is Amytornis striatus striatus. In New South Wales, most reports of the habitat in which Striated
Grasswrens have been found are from mallee with a ground layer of spinifex Triodia sp. while those
of Thick -billed Grasswrens are from low shrublands (Morris, McGill & Holmes 1981).
THICK -BILLED GRASSWREN Amytornis textilis
John Gould’s records
John Gould collected both Striated and Thick -billed Grasswrens in December 1839 or January 1840
in the lower Namoi River valley. Although they were the first records of these species in New South
Wales the precise locality cannot now be determined.34 Australian Birds 21(2)
We know that on 2 December 1839 Gould was on the Mooki River (Gould, 1865b vol II p 127)
after crossing the Liverpool Plains some time in the previous few weeks (Sauer 1982: pp 117-118).
He then proceeded on to Breeza: “on arriving at Brezi to the north of the Liverpool Plains in the
beginning of December … bordering the Mokai; and on crossing the plains between that river and
the Peel, in the direction of the Turi Mountain” (vol II p 82). He was at the Peel River on 11 December
1839 (vol I, p 380) and then went downstream to meet the Lower Mooki again by about 16 December
1839 (vol II p 267). It was at about this point that he considered himself on the lower Namoi (vol II
pp 127-128). From this date until 2 January 1840 when he was again “on the banks of the Mokai”
(vol II p 301) we have no information on his movements. It can be assumed that during this time he
went at least as far north as the foothills of the Nandewar Range (vol p 130), probably the area near
Narrabri today. We also know that he went “more than three hundred miles in the interior” (vol II
p 19) and that during these two weeks he visited “Gummel Gummel” (vol p 146) and “Gundermein”
on 23-24 December 1839 (vol I p 622: vol II p 140). However, these settleI ments are not to be found
on 1:250,000 topographic maps today. so it is likely that the farthest point that Gould went on this
expedition may never be known.
Parker (1972), following a suggestion from J.L. McKean, thought that Gould’s specimens of
A. textilis might have come from a Nitre -bush Nitraria schoberi plain. Gould noted that A. textilis “is
found in all those parts of the plains that are studded with scrubs and clumps of a low shrub -like
tree, resembling the Barilla of the coast” (Gould 1865a: p 336). Parker thought that the name Barilla
referred to Salsola kali, but in New South Wales it is a common name for a chenopod Atriplex cinerea
found on the south and central coasts (J. Dalby, pers. comm.). Salsola kali is an annual herb (also
a chenopod species), often referred to as Rolypoly, which becomes hemispherical on maturity
(Beadle 1972), while Atriplex cinerea is a small non -annual shrub that grows up to one metre in height
and is also known as Grey Saltbush. Whether it is one plant or the other the evidence suggests that
Amytornis textilis was collected in an area of chenopods or chenopod-like plant species.
Bennett’s records from the Mossgiel District
J.A. Keast (1958) mentions that there are three specimens of A. textilis from Mossgiel. Parker (1972),
when reviewing A. modestus, could find only one specimen (registration number 0.10581, Australian
Museum collection) directly referrable to this locality, but he inferred that a specimen in the American
Museum of Natural History (registration number 598073, the holotype of Diaphorilla textilis
inexpectatus) might have been collected by K.H. Bennett in the Mossgiel district during November

  1. A.J. Campbell mentioned only 0.10581 as coming from Mossgiel when reviewing A. modestus
    in 1927. – –
    Parker (1972) found two specimens from Mount Arrowsmith, two possibly three from
    the lower Namoi, and only one specimen from Mossgiel, while Keast (1958) noted two specimens
    from the Namoi, three from Mossgiel, and only one from Mount Arrowsmith. This anomaly perhaps
    results from a typographical error in Keast’s paper: at any rate, Keast (pers. comm.) cannot now
    recall whether he examined three specimens or only one from Mossgiel in the course of his review
    in 1958.
    Certainly there has never been more than one specimen of A. textilis registered in the
    Australian Museum from the “Mossgiel District”. A card index to all bird specimens registered in
    the Australian Museum was begun around 1920, which was continued until the present computer_c DC DC oC oC
    936 Australian Birds 21(2)
    data sheet was instituted in the 1970s (W.E. Boles, pers comm.). In this card index there is only one
    specimen of A. textilis, 0.10581, recorded as coming from the Mossgiel District. This specimen
    carries two labels, one much more recent than the other. The new label would have been placed
    on the specimen by John Disney or his staff sometime in the early 1960s, but at this time the card
    index was used as the source of information, and this was followed by Parker in his revision of the
    species; presumably Campbell used information from the old tag, which had some notes added
    by North.
    The original information is in the Australian Museum specimen registers: the specimen in
    question was in fact registered on 20 May 1898 and not collected on this date. The entry reads, inter
    alia, “0.10581 lAmytis [Amytornis] textilis (of Gould)/Yandembah, N.S.W./O.0 [Old Collection]” This
    specimen was one of a group headed “Spirit Coll. purch. 1886?”. At the side of the same page as
    the Amytis entry is the annotation, presumably written at a later date by A.J. North: “…all these spcms
    were probably collected in the Mossgiel district and not at Yandembah (A.J.N.)”. The annotation
    continues with comments on the fading of the colours of some of the other birds taken from spirit.
    The probable date of purchase corresponds well with the date of collection of Mathews’ specimen
    598073, which Parker thought might have been collected by Bennett in November 1886.
    Yandembah is a station property some 40 km ESE of Mossgiel in the flat country associated
    with the Willandra Overflow system. It has a clay soil and would probably have been largely saltbush,
    bluebush or some other chenopod before Europeans began grazing sheep in the area, much like
    areas further downstream in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Region. This habitat would have
    been quite compatible with that stated or implied in previously published observations of A. textilis.
    The reason why North decided to change the locality to the “Mossgiel District” can only be
    guessed at, but it is probably related to what he knew of Bennett. Edward Pierson Ramsay was the
    curator of the Australian Museum in Sydney at the time of the collection of Bennett’s specimens.
    A large part of Ramsay’s correspondence is now held in the Mitchell Library in Sydney. His letters
    tell us that for at least part of the time Bennett was employed in this area of New South Wales as
    a rabbit inspector and moved about his district considerably, having a number of bases for his
    operations, one of which was Yandembah. However, this in itself would probably not be sufficient
    reason to move the locality from Yandembah to Mossgiel. North may not have known where
    Yandembah was when registering the specimen in 1898, and knowing that Bennett worked in the
    “Mossgiel District”, placed the specimen there. Even so, North’s concept as to the size of the
    Mossgiel District probably differed greatly from that of later authors, who have almost universally
    assumed the locality to refer to the place itself rather than the district.
    One of the undated notebooks in the Ramsay material in the Mitchell Library is written by
    Bennett and consists mainly of botanical information, but it contains a bird list that is of interest here.
    The heading of this “List of stationary species periodical and occasional visitors at present and
    formerly to be met with in the western portion of N.S.W. W of a line from Hillston to Wilcannia and
    westward to the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers” outlines the region that is probably what
    Bennett and thus North meant by the “Mossgiel District”: that is, the area that Bennett covered in
    the course of his duties. Many published references place both A. striatus and A. textilis exactly at
    Mossgiel but there has been no qualification as to the size of the “Mossgiel District”, for example
    Parker (1972); Morris, McGill & Holmes (1981) and Schodde (1982). It would seem that placing the
    localities of these specimens at Mossgiel may be misleading and, at least in the case of A. textilis,
    inaccurate.June 1987 37
    Furthermore, Bennett obviously had problems distinguishing between A. textilis and A. striatus.
    He is quoted by North (1904) as writing: “Amytis textilis is an inhabitant of the dense mallee scrubs
    in the neighborhood of Mossgiel and Ivanhoe in the Central District of New South Wales [and] …
    their nests … were generally placed in a tussock of porcupine grass [Triodia], but sometimes
    discovered them in brush fences running through the mallee”. This differs greatly from the habitat
    of A. textilis given by Parker (1972): “saltbush, bluebush, cottonbush, Nitre -bush and similar low
    dense cover on plains and along watercourses”, but it agrees closely with the typical habitat of A.
    striatus, an anomaly noted by Parker. It seems at least likely, if not probable, that Bennett had
    confused the two species.
    Moreover, in a letter to E.P. Ramsay dated 11 February 1885, Bennett wrote concerning A.
    striatus: “I attribute their disappearance to the fact of the whole country being fully stocked and
    herbage that erst while afforded them shelter, being eaten off and in the spinifex country, burned
    off so that now there is no harbour for them and they have gone towards the ‘setting sun’.” These
    remarks suggest that what Bennett considered to be A. striatus lived in spinifex (Triodia irritans var.
    laxispicata in this locality) and other unspecified non-spinifex communities.
    However, at a later date he could certainly tell the two species apart. In Bennett’s list of birds
    of the Mossgiel District (fig. 2) he recorded both species, noting further that both were resident and
    that both bred in September and October. In the list there is also a record of the Rainbow Lorikeet
    Trichoglossus haematodus, well beyond the accepted range of this essentially coastal species. There
    is a corresponding specimen of this species in the Australian Museum (0.3704), collected by Bennett
    at Yandembah on 13July 1889, thus dating the list as not earlier than July 1889. The question arises
    as to which species Bennett considered to be A. textilis and which he considered A. striatus: this
    has relevance to another unpublished record in Ramsay’s notes, discussed further under A. striatus.
    Specimens from northwestern New South Wales
    The third definite record of A. textilis in New South Wales concerns two specimens taken in an area
    that has been presumed to have carried “a variety of saltbush and bluebush … [with] … stony rises
    adjacent” (Parker 1972). These were collected on October 1912 by W.D.K. Macgillivray at Wyarra
    Tank on Pimpara Lake Station, formerly part of Mount Arrowsmith Station in northwestern New South
    Wales. These specimens, now lodged in the American Museum of Natural History, New York
    (registration numbers 598070 and 598071), are the types of D. modestus obscurior Mathews (1923).
    I visited this locality in March 1987, when I noted that there were few chenopods in the vicinity
    of the tank. The nearest bluebush was some eight km to the northwest and 12 km to the southwest.
    Wyarra Tank is actually in sandhills dominated by a shrubland of hop -bush Dodonea sp., with small
    Number Species Stationery Breeds
    68 Amytis textilis X Sept. and Oct.
    69 striatus X Sept. and Oct.
    Figure 2. Typescript facsimile of the entry relating to grasswrens in Bennett’s manuscript list of the
    birds of the “Mossgiel District”38 Australian Birds 21(2)
    areas of White Cypress Pine Calitris columellaris, Emubush Eremophila sp., Cassia sp. and various
    small wattles Acacia sp.
    In this area A. textilis may have inhabited vegetation similar to that occupied by the species
    at Shark Bay, Western Australia, where the birds have been reported in habitat lacking chenopods
    (Storr 1985; P. Curry in Blakers et a/. 1984). In fact it was noted by my companions J. and P. Waugh
    that the vegetation in the Wyarra Tank area was superficially similar to that at Monkey Mia in Western
    Australia, the vegetation at Wyarra Tank differing in the lack of lower branches due to grazing by
    sheep. Indeed the high concentrations of Dodonea that occur on the property and elsewhere in the
    extreme northwest of New South Wales are believed to have been caused by overstocking in the
    past as sheep find these species less palatable than other shrubs (R. Sadow, pers. comm.). It is
    thus not surprising that no Amytornis spp. were seen during my visit, nor were they noted by G.
    Holmes (pers. comm.) when he visited the area some two years previously.
    It may be that the specimens in question were not collected at Wyarra Tank but elsewhere
    nearby towards Mount Arrowsmith, where the terrain consists largely of gibber plains with chenopods
    along the watercourses. This area certainly now supports Cinnamon Quailthrushes Cinclosoma
    cinnamomeum (D. Martin, R. Morrow, R. Pogany, pers. comm.), a species that shows a choice of
    habitat broadly similar to that favoured by A. textilis (see Ford 1983). The 1:250,000 topographic
    map that covers this area (Cobham Lake) shows the ruins of an early homestead two kilometres
    south of Wyarra Tank, called Wyarra. The original specimens were labelled “Wyurra” and “Wyarra,
    Tanbarra Ranges” (Parker 1972) and so they may not have been collected at the Tank itself but at
    some unknown elsewhere on the holding.*
    STRIATED GRASSWREN Amytornis striatus
    John Gould’s records
    Schodde (1982) thought that Gould’s records of the Striated -G rasswren may have been in erro-r
    because there appears to be no suitable spinifex Triodia sp. the usual habitat of A. striatus
    on the lower Namoi. Hindwood & McGill (1951), when discussing a record of a Tawny Grassbird
    Megalurus timoriensis in the region, suggested that A. striatus may have occurred in “plains grass,
    a native grass of black soil”. Indeed, the only Tawny Grassbirds that Gould saw in Australia were
    “from the grassy districts of the Liverpool Plains” (vol I p 399), a habitat that is likely to have been
    grazed fairly early during the settlement of the area.
    However, Gould also climbed the hills surrounding the floodplain (vol p 130, vol p 433) and
    I I
    in doing so he is likely to have come into some areas of sandy soil with the potential for supporting
    Triodia. Gould himself noted that A. striatus “appeared to give preference to a loose sandy soil
    studded with high rank grass, which, growing in tufts, left the interspaces quite bare” (Gould 1865a:
    p 337), and this is a fairly good description of a Triodia-like species. Triodia occurs at least this far
    east; in fact Triodia irritans var. laxispicata, the species prevalent in mallee communities in New South
    Wales, is still found in localities east of the Great Dividing Range in the valley of the Goulburn River
    (McRae & Cooper 1985; pers. obs.). Moreover, a species of Triodia has been recorded as far east
    There is an entry in the data book of the Bettington Oological Collection relating to a clutch of three eggs
    of the Singing Honeyeater Lichenostomus virescens “taken by Dr. W. McGillivray at Wyarra near Mt Arrow –
    smith, N.S.W. 4-10-12 [4 October 1912]”, an entry that sheds additional light on the provenance of these
    Amytomis textilis specimens.June 1987 39
    as Mernot near Barrington (H-ye m 1936). There is therefore little reason to disregard records of A.
    striatus from the lower Namoi indeed the species may persist in parts of the eastern Murray -Darling
    Basin today.
    Bennett’s records from the Mossgiel district
    Bennett also collected Striated Grasswrens and their nests in the 1880s in the locality of the
    “Mossgiel District” (see A. textilis). His single A. striatus specimen from the Mossgiel District cannot
    have its locality defined so well as his textilis specimen; it was registered on 6 January 1880 and
    its label reads, “A.7974 Amytis striatus Mosgiel [sic], N.S.W. pres. K.H. Bennett”.
    The Striated Grasswren can still be found in this area in the habitat noted by Bennett in North
    (1904). Recent reports of the species are all from the region northeast of Mossgiel, including Yathong
    Nature Reserve, Red Tank and Coombie (see Miller 1973; lzzard et al. 1973; and later NSW Annual
    Bird Reports published in Birds and Aust. Birds).
    Records from northern New South Wales
    In Ramsay’s diaries and books there is an undated note written between entries made in June 1880
    and on 30 April 1881-: ” Amytis textilis/ The Amytis Striated Wren sent by Mr. James Ramsay from
    Tyndarie is A. textilis Tyndarie is a station in the Bourke district about 50 miles [80 km] from Cobar;
    a spm from Mossgiel…” (It is known that James Ramsay sent a number of other specimens to the
    Australian Museum at about the same time.)
    This represents a previously unrecorded locality for either A. textilis or A. striatus. Tyndarie
    has undergone a number of name changes, also being known as Tyndarey, Tindarie and Tindayrey,
    the first -mentioned being the name in use today (see Fig. 1). The station was a large pastoral holding
    extending some 60 km NE to SW; the holding itself started some 50 km north of Cobar on the Cobar
    to Bourke road, with the homestead about 20 km further north (see Higinbotham et al. 1886).
    There is no specimen of either A. textilis or A. striatus registered in the Australian Museum
    from this locality, but there is an unlabelled specimen of A. striatus in the collection, which may be
    this bird. It may have been an unregistered display specimen. The card index in the Australian
    Museum contains no entries that might correspond to missing Amytornis specimens.
    There are several alternative possibilities as to what might have happened:
  2. E.P. Ramsay’s notes are in chronological order, in which case the note in question must have
    been made after the registration of A.7974. Because this specimen is (correctly) labelled as A. striatus
    there must be a specimen of A. textilis missing, and the comment, “a spm from Mossgiel” might
    then refer to 0.10581, whose date of receipt by Ramsay is uncertain.
  3. The notes are in sequence and the unlabelled specimen is perhaps the Tyndarie specimen. If
    this is so, then there is a “Mossgiel” specimen missing and E.P. Ramsay wrote the wrong species
    name in his notes.
  4. The notes are out of sequence, the relevant note being made before the registration of A.7974.
    On the older label attached to A.7974 there is the date June 1880 in North’s handwriting, even though
    the bird was registered in January 1880. It is possible that some of the dates in E.P. Ramsay’s notes
    were added later. Thus A.7974 might have been identified originally as textilis before being registered
    as striatus, in which case the unlabelled skin is the Tyndarie specimen.40 Australian Birds 21(2)
  5. There are two skins missing, one from Mossgiel, the other from Tyndarie. If so, they are of the
    same species, either A. striatus or A. textilis.
    Unfortunately, published accounts of the habitats at Tyndarie offer no clues. Among the
    habitats listed by Higinbotham et al. (1886) as occurring on “Tyndayrey” holding there is no mention
    of mallee, the main recorded habitat of A. striatus in New South Wales. Tindayrey is covered mainly
    with mulga Acacia aneura, but mention is made of some “ridgy country” which may possibly be
    equivalent to the habitat occupied by the population A. striatus merrotsyi in the Flinders Ranges
    of South Australia (see Parker 1982). Another possibility is that A. striatus occurs in habitats with
    a non-mallee overstorey in some parts of New South Wales, as suggested by Gould’s records.
    Alternatively the bird recorded might well have been A. textilis, as E.P. Ramsay originally thought,
    because there is a large area of “Low Mulga, Emubush and Stunted Box” in the southwest of the
    property, which may possibly have held this species (see comments in Storr (1985) and Curry in
    Blakers et al. (1984) for relevant information on the habitat of Shark Bay populations of A. textilis).
    Schmidt (1978) recorded A. striatus bathing at No. 13 Tank on Booroondarra Station on 29
    October 1974. This station is the one adjacent to the west of the Tyndarie holding of James Ramsay.
    The habitat given in Schmidt’s record is somewhat vague: “open scrubs, shrubs and near the tank
    itself, galvanised burr”. Various maps dating back to 1886 suggest that the plant communities found
    at Tindarey are the same as those found on Booroondarra Station. Schmidt did not give a description
    of the bird he saw, and the fact that A. striatus had been rediscovered in New South Wales some
    two years earlier (Miller 1973) may have prompted him to believe he had seen this species rather
    than A. textilis.
    Nevertheless, Schmidt’s record is probably correct because Keast (1958) notes at least one
    specimen of A. striatus from Byrock further to the east, where again there is little if any mallee habitat.
    Campbell (1927) records a specimen, number 2752, from “Coronga Park, Byrock, N.S.W.; Nov.
    1896 (probably female); like A.7974, but throat and flanks slightly darker and with hazel colour -patch
    on each side of the breast; wing 61 mm”. This specimen is probably the one registered as H LW
    2752 in the National Museum of Victoria. This specimen has two labels, the older one bearing the
    date 4 November 1890 and the locality Coronga Peak, Byrock, NSW. The bird was sexed as a male
    and came from the R. Grant collection, but on the H.L. White Collection label, Campbell has noted
    that it is probably a female (B. Gillies, pers. comm.).
    The provenance of Grant’s specimens is often considered doubtful, but Coronga Peak was
    the property immediately to the east of Tindayrey (see Higinbotham etal. 1886). Although mallee
    has not been recorded at Coronga Peak station some bird species generally thought of as being
    strongly associated with mallee, such as the Malleefowl Leipoa ocellata, have been recorded from
    the property and from as far east as Coolabah (North 1916), the Pilliga Scrub and Goonoo State
    Forest near Dubbo (Morris, McGill &- H olmes 1981). Furthermore, J. Wa-ug h (pers. comm.) climbed
    Coronga Peak in the late 1970s and although he saw no grasswrens noted a species of Triodia
    on the peak itself though not in the surrounding country. All of this suggests that the locality of Grant’s
    specimen may be correct.
    Although these three groups of records from the “Mossgiel District”, the lower Namoi and
    north of Cobar appear to be isolated there is a further, unpublished record that fills the gap between
    the last two localities. In a notebook of A.J. North’s held in the Mitchell Library, Sydney, there is an
    entry dated Friday, 13 October 1905 and headed: “Birds of the Coonamble Dist. Oct. 1905”. This
    entry includes the note: “… saw three Amytis t. [illegible, textilis?] fired at one but missed it. Watched41
    June 1987
    it for some time under three trees”. Further on in a list of the birds identified on this collecting trip
    to’ Woodside” (some 20 km northwest of Coonamble) he says “Amytis striata 3”. The specific name
    is difficult to read as it has been overwritten, either to make it more legible or to change it, presumably
    from textilis to striatus. This apparent error of North’s is surprising considering his description of
    A. modestus barely three years before (North 1902). If the record was indeed meant to be A. textilis
    rather than A. modestus (which he regarded as a different species) it would place the bird well outside
    the range he gave for the species in 1904. Perhaps on reflection North decided that he had seen
    A. striatus rather than textilis or modestus. Whichever is the case, this observation was well outside
    the known range of either species and of mallee habitat (see map).
    All this suggests that A. striatus may occasionally occur in New South Wales in a habitat other
    than mallee with an understorey of Triodia. Though this is the typical habitat, the species is by no
    means restricted to it elsewhere: it has been recorded in heathy shrubs near Lake Alexandrina in
    South Australia, and nests tentatively identified with this species have been found in a sedge Gahnia
    deusta (Eckert 1982). It has also been recorded using a prickly Hakea for cover in the Big Desert
    in Victoria (Noelker in Blakers et a/. 1984).
    However, inland heathy habitats such as these have not yet been recorded in New South Wales.
    It is of interest in this connection that Bennett recorded his misidentified “A. textilis” nests in “brush
    fences running through the mallee” (North 1904), presumably referring to the Broombush Melaleuca
    uncinata, a plant that, like Triodia, is found in both mallee and non-mallee communities as far east
    as the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range and the valley of the Goulburn River (Beadle 1976;
    MacRae & Cooper 1985; pers. obs.).
    If these northern populations that occur in habitats other than mallee are indeed found to be
    A. striatus, this increases the probability that the unlabelled Australian Museum skin is the missing
    specimen from Tyndarie. Its measurements are: exposed culmen 13.1 mm, wing 65 mm, tail 94 mm,
    and tarsus 24.5 mm; these are suggestive of a large male A. s. striatus (see Parker 1982).
    Recent records and their implications
    As already noted, A. striatus has been found in the area about 70 km northeast of Ivanhoe and 110
    km south of Cobar.- T here are now many records from this region, by amateur and professional
    ornithologists alike probably too many to document. Recently G. Holmes (pers. comm.) has seen
    A. striatus in the area of mallee west of the Darling River in the far southwest of the state. Thus it
    is possible that A. striatus may yet be found in the large area of mallee in the “Mossgiel District”,
    extending southwest and west of Ivanhoe through to the Darling River floodplain and Mallee Cliffs
    National Park. This region is inadequately surveyed and has not been systematically searched.
    Another area in New South Wales worth investigating for A. striatus is the area northeast of
    Bourke on the road from Enngonia to Job’s Gate. This area has yielded an old record of a skink
    Ctenotus pantherinus, a species that is usually associated with Triodia in northern and western
    Australia (R. Sadlier, pers. comm.). Recently, the area has also been found to support a population
    of Ctenotus brachyonyx, which was noted closely (but not exclusively) associated with Triodia. The
    Triodia of this area is a soft species T mitchellii, commonly known as buck spinifex, which occurs
    no further east than Widgee Downs Station (R. Sadlier & D. Brown, pers. comm.).
    There are no recent records of A. textilis from New South Wales. Areas that may have
    previously supported the species include the Moree Watercourses and the Darling River floodplain
    linking the Namoi Valley with the Barrier Ranges. These areas were probably completely altered42 Australian Birds 21(2)
    during heavy grazing in the 1880s before the devastating droughts of the 1890s, and it seems
    improbable that A. textilis still survives in these areas. Nevertheless, it may prove worthwhile to
    investigate the western Riverina through to Bennett’s “Mossgiel District”, the Paroo Overflow and
    the area to the east and southeast of the Caryapundy Swamp on the Bulloo Overflow. These areas
    may still carry extensive, lightly grazed chenopod communities capable of supporting Thick -billed
    As Bennett noted a century ago, the precarious state of A. textilis and A. striatus in New South
    Wales is related to the overstocking of the country and the disastrous effects of wildfires. From the
    records in northern New South Wales it would appear that both species were once far more
    widespread than they are at present. One or more elements of the environment must have changed
    drastically to have caused the severe decline of A. striatus and the virtual extinction of A. textilis in
    New South Wales, a phenomenon that rivals the disappearance of many small mammals from the
    interior. It can only be hoped that further populations of these birds can be located and protected
    Lea & Gray (1935) reported on a specimen of A. striatus collected by Edwin Ashby and allegedly
    taken along the Clarence River in New South Wales. This implies a locality on the east coast and
    is obviously an error, as noted at the time by the editor of The Emu. For most of his stay in Australia,
    Ashby lived in Adelaide, occasionally journeying to adjacent areas (such as Broken Hill) in western
    New South Wales. There is no Clarence River in western New South Wales, but according to
    Campbell (1927), Ashby did collect A. striatus in South Australia. Unfortunately, most of his collection
    was destroyed by fire at about the time of Lea & Gray’s paper; much of the remainder is now held
    in the South Australian Museum where there are no specimens of A. striatus collected by Ashby
    (S.A. Parker pers. comm.).
    I thank the following: W.E. Boles for advice and access to specimens, the library, and other materials
    at the Australian Museum; the staff of the Mitchell Library in Sydney for allowing access to the notes
    and correspondence of E.P. Ramsay and A.J. North; Belinda Gillies at the National Museum of
    Victoria for information on the Byrock specimen; Jane Dalby at the National Herbarium of New South
    Wales for much botanical information; S.A. Parker for advice and information on Edwin Ashby’s
    specimens; Dariel Larkins and Murray Bruce for advice relating to an earlier draft of this paper;
    Professor J.A. Keast for helpful discussions during his visits to Sydney; John Hobbs for his
    information on the size and nature of the “Mossgiel District”; Glenn Shea for drawing my attention
    to Hyem’s reference to Triodia at Mernot; Ruth Sadow of Pimpara Lake Station for information about
    the property and her hospitality to the New South Wales Bird Atlassers group during our visit in March
    1987; David Martin, Rob Morrow, Robyn Pogany and John and Pauline Waugh for information and
    companionship in the field; Ross Sadlier and Diane Brown for information about the area of buck
    spinifex east of Enngonia, Glenn Holmes for our many discussions on material relating to this paper,
    E. L. Hyem for access to the Bettington Oological Collection and especially T. Lindsey for his patience
    during the evolution of this paper.June 1987 43
    Beadle, N.C.W. 1972. Student’s flora of northeastern New South Wales, part II. Gymnosperms, key to Angiosperm
    families. Angiosperms. Families 37-83. University of New England: Armidale
    Beadle, N.C.W. 1976. Student’s flora of north-eastern New South Wales. Part Ill. Angiosperms. Families 84-106.
    University of New England: Armidale
    Blakers, M.; S.J.J.F. Davies & P.N. Reilly. 1984. The atlas of Australian birds. RAOU and Melbourne University
    Press: Melbourne
    Campbell, A.J. 1927. The genus Amytornis: a review. Emu 27: 23-35
    Eckert, John. 1982. Striated Grasswrens in atypical habitat. S. Aust. Ornith. 29: 25
    Ford, Julian. 1983. Evolutionary and ecological relationships between quail -thrushes. Emu 83: 152-172
    Gould, John. 1865. Handbook to the birds of Australia. 2 vols. London, privately
    Higinbotham, Robinson & Harrison [initials not given] (compilers and publishers). 1886. Map of the Bourke Land
    Board District shewing Pastoral Holdings with divisions under Crown Lands Act of 1884. Sydney, privately
    Hindwood, K.A. & A.R. McGill. 1951. The “Derra Derra” 1950 campout of the R.A.O.U. Emu 50: 217-238
    Hyem, E.L. 1936-1937. Notes on birds of “Mernot”, Barrington, N.S.W., parts 1 and 2. Emu 36: 109-127;
    Izzard, J.; V. Jenkins & B. Miller. 1973. Further notes on the Striated Grasswren in New South Wales. Birds 8:
    Jenkins, V. & R. Miller. 1976. The status and distribution of the Yellow -fronted Honeyeater in N.S.W. Aust. Birds
    10: 41-49
    Keast, J.A. 1958. Speciation in the genus Amytornis Stejneger (Passeres: Muscicapidae, Malurinae) in Australia.
    Aust. J. Zool. 6: 33-52
    Lea, A.M. & J.T. Gray. 1935. The food of Australian birds, part Ill. Emu 35: 167
    Mabbutt, J.A. (ed.) 1982. Threats to mallee in New South Wales. Dept of Environment and Planning: Sydney
    Mathews, G.M. 1912. Reference list to the birds of Australia. Novit. Zool. 18: 365
    Mathews, G.M. 1923. The birds of Australia, vol. 10. London: Witherby
    McRae, R.H.D. & M.G. Cooper. 1985. Vegetation of the Merriwa area, New South Wales. Cunninghamia 1:
    Miller, R. 1973. The rediscovery of the Striated Grass -wren in N.S.W. Birds 8: 9-11
    Morris, A.K.; A.R. McGill & G. Holmes. 1981. Handlist of birds in New South Wales. NSWFOC: Sydney
    North, A.J. 1902. On three apparently undescribed species of Australian birds. Vic. Nat. 19: 101-104
    North, A.J. 1904. Nests and eggs of birds found breeding in Australia and Tasmania. Aust. Mus. Special Cat.
    No. 1, Sydney
    North, A.J. 1916. The birds of Coolabah and Brewarrina, north-western New South Wales. Rec. Aust. Mus. 11:
    Parker, S.A. 1972. Remarks on the distribution and taxonomy of the Grasswrens Amytornis textilis, modestus
    and purnelli. Emu 72: 157-166
    Parker, S.A. 1982. Notes on Amytomis striatus merrotsyi Mellor, a subspecies of the Striated Grasswren inhabiting
    the Flinders Ranges. S. Aust. Ornith. 29: 13-16
    Sauer, G.C. 1982. John Gould the bird man, a chronology and bibliography. Lansdowne Editions: Melbourne
    Schmidt, B.L. 1978. Birds of the Cobar region. Aust. Birds 12: 61-86
    Schodde, R. 1982. The Fairy Wrens. A monograph of the Maluridae. Lansdowne Editions: Melbourne
    Storr, G.M. 1985. Birds of the Gascoyne region, Western Australia. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. suppl. no. 21
    Whitlock, F.L. 1924. Journey to central Australia in search of the Night Parrot. Emu 23: 248-281
    I.A.W. McAllen, 46 Yeramba Street, Turramurra NSW 207444
    Australian Birds 21(2)
    Not much is known about the breeding of the White -throated Nightjar Caprimulgus mystacalis.
    Campbell (1900) and North (1909) had little to say beyond descriptions of nest and egg. Elliott (1935),
    Hyem (1936), Morgan (1960) and Fleay (1968) contributed some additional notes, and Frauca (1973)
    gave an account of breeding by one pair in a season. Schodde & Mason (1980), largely using the
    above references, provided a detailed account of what is known about the species at present. Since
    1965 I have known 11 nests in Eurobodalla Shire, New South Wales, between Bateman’s Bay and
    Moruya (ca 350S, 1500E), in the 1986-87 season being able to follow one almost from laying of the
    egg to flight of the young bird. My observations differ in some respects from what has already been
    published. They all refer to the nest in 1986-87 except where stated.
    As is well known, the egg is laid on ground litter without an attempt at a nest -scrape, as made by
    some other caprimulgids (Cramp 1985), but not “invariably” (Schodde & Mason) near a specially
    conspicuous fallen branch, burnt log or prominent stone; at least in 1986 the egg was not so placed.
    In any case it would be difficult to decide this matter because the places where the nightjars lay in
    my area are always liberally scattered with rocks and debris of all sorts so that it would probably
    be difficult for the birds to choose a site far from some fallen branch or large stone.
    Curiously, Morgan (1960) described the egg as light brown. All other authors described it as creamy
    or buff in ground colour, as were all the eggs that I have seen. Schodde & Mason claimed that it
    “harmonized well with leafy ground litter”, a different sort of litter (“white, pitted leaves”) from that
    in my area (brown and russet leaves and bark). Frauca (1973) stated that “the egg is conspicuous
    to the human eye”. All the eggs that have seen have been so too. During daylight it is normally
    completely protected by the incubating bird. If the egg was cryptically coloured, this could be a
    disadvantage to the adults because they might have difficulty in finding it in dusk and darkness when
    they become active, whereas the light-coloured egg ought to be quite easily seen.
    The egg has not been moved during incubation in any nest that have seen, except that it
    may be picked up in the belly feathers of the sitting bird when flushed, and dropped a centimetre
    or so from where it was at first. On 11 out of 22 days during incubation in 1986 flushed the sitting
    bird, including two days when I spent half an hour at the nest erecting a hide, but the egg remained
    in the same place. Schodde & Mason based their remarks about moving of the egg, “if regularly
    disturbed”, on Morgan, who in fact recorded only two such occurrences, of 30 and “a few”
    centimetres. do not think that this, taken with my own observations, justifies a belief that the birds
    deliberately move their eggs in any manner during incubation.June 1987 45
    made a reasonable estimate of the period only in 1986. On 26 November flushed an adult without
    I I
    an egg. At 18:00 hrs on 28 November again flushed a bird, about 10 m from the previous place,
    from a clear, fresh egg, which had not missed on 26 November. The egg hatched between 11:30
    hrs on 21 December and 10:10 hrs on 22 December. Thus, the minimum period of incubation was
    22.5 days and the maximum could not have been more than 24.5 days. Schodde & Mason gave a
    range of 22-28 days for the period, doubtless relying, for the upper limit. on Morgan (1960), who
    stated bluntly that it was 28 days. Her account is too imprecise to be sure of the matter, but she
    certainly saw the egg for 25 days (observations in late pm from 16 November to 11 December
    inclusive); it may not have hatched until late afternoon of 13 December (or 27 days maximum). A
    reasonable estimate of the period from her record is 26 days so that in general it is probably 24-26
    days. In any case it is about one week longer than those of the European Nightjar Caprimulgus
    europaeus (Cramp 1985) and probably other Afro -European caprimulgids.
    The hatched egg -shell remained at the nest -site for many days till it disintegrated. Frauca
    (1973), who could not find the shell about 24 hours after hatching, assumed that the adults ate it
    or fed it to the young, which in this species seems implausible.
    During incubation could not distinguish the role of the sexes. All authors say that they are
    alike in plumage, except Frauca; he said that they are “strongly dimorphic” but admitted that the
    “difference can only be appreciated when the breeding pair is seen sitting together”. am not
    convinced that Morgan (1960) was justified in claiming that male and female take turns at incubating
    during the day on the strength of discriminating between the size of the white patch on the throat
    from one day to the next. However, Frauca was satisfied that both sexes incubated; unfortunately,
    by saying that they “took turns…during the day” without saying at what time of day he made his
    observations, he left doubt about their roles and the times of change -over or relief. This, with Morgan’s
    claim, probably led Schodde & Mason to say that “both sexes incubate … taking turns day by day”,
    which is more confusing than ever because it suggests that one sex incubated for one day and the
    other for the next. think that such a routine is unlikely. Cramp (1985) stated that in C. europaeus
    incubation is mainly by the female, relieved by the mate at dusk and dawn, which seems to be a
    much more likely routine. should be surprised if nest -relief in this species took place during daylight
    and suspect that the routine is much the same as in C. europaeus. never flushed the non -incubating
    bird from near the nest (of Schodde & Mason) but then did not search the locality carefully for fear
    of disturbing the birds too much.
    Figure shows the peregrinations of the chick from hatching to its thirty-first day of age. By that
    time it had travelled 248 m from the nest -site, actually covering about 530 m directly from point to
    point daily; for its first 10 days it averaged only about 8.3 m daily and for its last 20 days about 21
    m with a substantial distance of about 54 m on the twenty-ninth.
    Almost from the first day the chick gave feeble cheeps; it stood and did not crouch when put
    back on the ground on Day 5; it showed no attempt to escape till Day 9 when it walked a short distance
    after being put down. From Day 11 it was liable to raise its wings to full stretch above its back till
    they touched and run off into nearby shelter when released. It gradually became more and more46 Australian Birds 21(2)
    restive when handled, churred and cheeped more, gaping and snapping its beak from Day 27. Yet
    even on Day 31, when the wings and primaries were well developed, it did not try to fly before or
    after being handled.
    Schodde & Mason said that the chicks can fly well “by three weeks”. They also suggested
    that the parents may help it to move at night. do not think that this is in any way likely. The chick
    could totter about soon after hatching and is as nidifugous as the chicks of waders. The tarsus was
    about 15 mm long when first measured on 25 December (Day 3) and almost fully grown (±20 mm)
    ten days after hatching. Frauca (1973) also remarked on the quick development and large size of
    the feet and legs. feel sure that the chick’s nightly movements were independent.
    On 22 and 23 January, in spite of a wide and prolonged search, three of us could not find the
    chick or flush an adult; provided the chick had not been destroyed, it had probably flown or fluttered
    too far to be found down the steep slope where it was last seen.
    22.c ;”-sale
    1 Jan
    14 Jan
    12 Jan
    I Ian
    Figure 1. Nightly movements of a White -throated Nightjar chick, from hatching on 21-22 December
    1986 to last sighting on 21 January 1987June 1987 47
    Chicks were as described in the literature, hatched with dense down, which matched with
    Chestnut (Colour 32 of the Naturalist’s Color Guide) (Smithe 1975), evidently the same as Frauca’s
    description and not the “golden -brown” of Morgan (1960). The down persisted for about two weeks,
    apparently uniformly dense, but as the body feathers grew out they appeared first with similarly
    coloured chestnut tips so that difference between down and feathers was easily missed. With more
    growth, the proximal parts of the feathers began to show in colour about Light Drab (Smithe 1975)
    (Colour 119C); the general appearance of the chick became mottled and, if anything, less cryptic
    than the original down, which matched the dead leaves and peeled bark of the litter very closely.
    On the underside the feathers when they appeared lacked the chestnut tips.
    The quills of the primaries appeared on Days 4-5; the tips burst on Day 14, when about 25
    mm long; by Day 31 the longest primary was about 87 mm and over three-quarters out of its sheath.
    The quills of the tail showed through the down only by Days 24-25 and were only 51 mm long on
    Day 31.
    We weighed the chick daily between 09:00 and 11:00 hrs except on Day 22 when we could not find
    it: with a 50-g Pesola balance till the chick reached the instrument’s limit on Day 12; with an office
    letter -weight till it weighed almost 100 g on Day 26; and thereafter with the letter -weight and an
    OHAUS triple -beam balance, checking one with the other. Because they agreed exactly, we assumed
    that the measurements from Day 12 to Day 26 were reliable. Figure 2 is a graph of these
    measurements and shows that the chick grew from 13.5 g on hatching to about 110 g at age 27-30
    days. I assumed that it was probably a male because males (98-120 g) are decidedly lighter than
    females (140-180 g) in the species (Schodde & Mason 1980). After 30 days and probably near flying,
    one would have expected the chick to be much heavier if it had been female. Weight did not increase
    uniformly and was lost on Days 5,17 and 24 with pauses of three days at the last two times before
    growth was resumed. Weights on all these days were checked carefully and apparent losses were
    not due to errors in recording. These pauses were apparently matched in the length of the wing (fig.
    2), though these measurements were less reliable. If it is thought that such interruptions in growth
    occurred because the parents could not or did not bring enough food at the time, there was no
    obvious reason why this might have been so. On these occasions the weather was hot (about 350C
    day -time maxima) but conditions were not exceptional or unseasonably unfavourable with heavy
    rain, strong winds or sudden cold changes, night-time temperatures being average at 17-190C. The
    greatest loss of weight (8 g) on Day 28 may have been connected with some change in routine, even
    with first attempted flight, and certainly coincided with the chick’s longest movement at night (54
    m). More exact knowledge and study of conditions and of the habits of the birds would be needed
    to explain these interruptions to growth than could manage.
    could not distinguish the role of the sexes during the “nestling” pe-rio d. However, for the first 22
    days after hatching we- f lushed both parents each day except three one with the chick and the
    other 5-30 m distant which contrasts with observations during the incubation period and with48 Australian Birds 21(2)
    000 :00
    We gnt

  • .50 -x Wing- length mm 50
    20 70
    pays al ter hechong
    4 10 13 1,9 2,2 2,
    Figure 2. Growth curves (weight, and length of wing) of a White -throated Nightjar chick, 22 December
    1986 to 21 January 1987June 1987 49
    those of Morgan (1960) who found the second bird nearby only once. The distant bird was the first
    to flush and flew right away out of sight whenever this was noted; the bird attending the chick often
    sat very closely and then usually flew only 20-30 m before settling on the ground or on a log. After
    it had settled, I noticed distraction display only once, at a nest in December 1985, when the bird
    raised its wings to full stretch once, flapped them and hung them down low on each side for about
    two minutes before flying farther away. did not see any performances like those described by
    Schodde & Mason and others. If the bird settled on a log it sat lengthwise or obliquely, not across
    it, and did not adopt a frogmouth-like pose (cf Schodde & Mason) but rather a cigar -posture like other
    caprimulgids (Cramp 1985). Once from a concealed position watched the parent after had weighed
    I I
    the chick but it did not return to the chick within 30 minutes. This routine by the two parents was
    so regular that probably each parent plays one role and came to assume that the female attended
    the chick. After the twenty-second day, we flushed only one bird attending the chick; it was only on
    the last two days before we lost it that was sure that it was not being brooded. This break in routine
    at Day 22 could mean that by that time the requirements of the chick altered, even that it might have
    been capable of some flight (cf Schodde & Mason); nevertheless it certainly could not have flown
    well and equally certainly showed no attempt even to flutter away till the last.
    noted little of the behaviour of the adults away from egg or chick throughout this study.
    I I
    listened for them at sunset on three nights at the time of laying and twice towards the end of
    observations. They seemed singularly quiet. During these watches did not see a bird in flight till
    about 15-20 minutes after sunset and heard first calls, and then a few only, 20-30 minutes after
    All nests that I have known must have started between 5 November and 1 February. The median
    date of 11 layings was 27 November and only two were after the new year (10 January; 1 February
    at latest and probably earlier). Frauca (1973) had an interesting record of three layings on the same
    site during the same season. Only the two latest layings that knew are likely to have been true second
    broods but have no direct evidence for this as had Frauca; my late layings, of course, could equally
    well have been replacements after loss. All the same, the apparent change in routine of the adults
    when the chick was 21-22 days old might have meant that a second laying had taken place in 1987.
    Some of my observations differ from what has already been recorded (see particularly Schodde
    & Mason 1980). It would be unwise to think that they are more representative of the breeding routine
    of the species and of the development of the chick because they were more complete than previous
    studies: the events in 1986-87 may have been exceptional. For instance, at a nest in 1985-86 the
    chick, when weighing 91 g and probably about 23 days old, was still only 20-30 m from the egg –
    site and had never moved much farther away. Frauca (1973) also found that the chick stayed much
    nearer the egg -site than the one followed in 1986-87. All other aspects of breeding behaviour have
    been similar at all the nests that have known, as far as could judge, but they all need to be
    I I
    confirmed, especially matters of parental care.50 Australian Birds 21(2)
    am grateful to Dr and Mrs M. Guppy, Mrs J. Guppy, Dr D.W.G. Hollands, Dr R. de M. Marchant,
    H. Lew Ton, Ms J. Roberts, Mr and Mrs G. Stephinson, and Dr R. Traynier for much help in the field.
    Drs K. Fitzherbert and P.J. Fullagar kindly provided me with references.
    Campbell, A.J. 1900. Nests and eggs of Australian birds. Sheffield, privately
    Cramp, S. (ed.). 1985. Handbook of the birds of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. The birds of the western
    Palearctic. vol. 4. Oxford: OUP
    Elliott, A.J. 1935. Notes on the White -throated Nightjar. Emu 35: 129-132
    Fleay, D. 1968. Nightwatchmen of bush and plain. Brisbane: Jacaranda
    Frauca, H. 1973. Australian nightjars. A special study of the White -throated Nightjar Eurostopodus mystacalis.
    Aust. Birdlife 1(4): 67-70
    Hyem, E.L. 1936. Notes on the birds of Mernot, Barrington, N.S.W. Emu 36: 109-127
    Morgan, E.J. 1960. White -throated Nightjar nesting at Glasshouse Mountains, Old. Aust. Bird Watcher 1: 117-118
    North, A.J. 1909. Nests and eggs of birds found breeding in Australia and Tasmania. Spec. Cat. 1, Aust. Mus.
    Schodde, R. & I.J. Mason. 1980. Nocturnal birds of Australia. Melbourne: Lansdowne
    Smithe, F.B. 1975. Naturalist’s colour guide. New York: Amer. Mus. Nat. Hist.
    S. Marchant, PO Box 123, Moruya NSW 2537
    preliminary Notice No.
    The XX International Ornithological Congress will take place in
    Christchurch, New Zealand, from 2-9 December 1990. Professor
    Charles G. Sibley (USA) is President and Dr Ben D. Bell (NZ) is Secretary-
    General. The anticipated Congress programme will include plenary lectures,
    symposia, contributed papers ( spoken and posters ), workshops,
    discussion groups and films. There will be a mid -Congress excursion day.
    Pre- and post -Congress excursions are planned to interesting ornithological
    sites in New Zealand and adjacent regions. Requests for the First Circular
    and suggestions regarding Congress organisation should be addressed to:
    Dr Ben D. Bell,
    Secretary -General,
    XX International Ornithological Congress,
    Department of Zoology,
    Victoria University of Wellington,
    Private Bag, Wellington,

NEW ZEALAND.June 1987 51

Increasingly in recent years it is often stated, when researchers make comparisons between the
number of bird species in different localities, that the number of birds occurring in the Sydney Region,
i.e. County of Cumberland, is about 400 species. This review seeks to examine how that assessment
has been made and to establish the current total of species known to be present in the Sydney
The most recent definitive review of the avifauna of the County of Cumberland is that of
Hindwood & McGill (1958. The birds of Sydney. Royal Zool. Soc. NSW: Sydney), in which 377 native
species and 15 species of introduced birds are listed, making a total of 392 species. Using their figure
of 377 as a point of reference and incorporating more recent sources, it can be shown that the current
number of birds known to have occurred within the County of Cumberland (i.e. Sydney Region) since
1900 is in fact 422 species.
The County of Cumberland incorporates the land bordered in the north by the Hawkesbury
River, and in the west and south by the Nepean River. It extends north to Barrenjoey Point, west to
Windsor, Penrith and Camden and south to Thirroul. It includes such extensive bushland areas as
Ku-ring-gai Chase, Marra Marra, Heathcote, Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay and Royal National Parks;
Muogamarra and Towra Point Nature Reserves; Holdsworthy Army Camp and Firing Range;
Davidson, Lane Cove, Elouera and Cattai State Recreation Areas; Maroota, Castlereagh and
Cumberland State Forests; the estuarine wetlands of the Parramatta River and Botany Bay; and
the freshwater marshes and gravel pits of the Hawkesbury area. This diverse array of habitats
contains an extraordinary number of bird species.
Set out below is an analysis of the number of species known to have occurred within the Sydney
Region since 1900, together with notes that detail the reasons why some species have been rejected
or, if new since 1958, when they were first recorded and their current status. In their work, Hindwood
& McGill included some species in sections entitled “Provisional List” and “Wrongly Recorded”;
any species listed in those sections that is now accepted as occurring is dealt with below in the order
treated by those authors. New species have been added in order of their occurrence. Nomenclature
follows that of Morris, McGill & Holmes (1981. Handlist of birds in New South Wales. NSWFOC:
The following 16 species are deleted because they either (a) have not been recorded since 1900,
or (b) the original records last century are now considered highly doubtful, or for a combination of
both reasons (see Morris, McGill & Holmes (/oc. cit., pp 68-69) for further comment on some of these


Emu Dromaius novae-ho llandiae no records for 200 years.
Corncrake Crex crex first and only reco-rd : Randwick, 14 June 1893.
Upland Sandpiper Bartra-m ia Iongicauda first and only record: Sydney 1848.

Brolga Grus rubicundus no recent records.52 Australian Birds 21(2)

Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus – doubtful; no records this century.
Grass Owl Tyto longimembris no records since reporte-d at Sydney in 1898.
Red-tailed Black -Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus m-ag nificus doubtful; no records this century.
Orange -bellied Parrot Neophema chrysogaster no records since reported at Riverstone in 1907;
doubtful, probably involving esc-ap ed aviary birds.
Ground Parrot Pezoporus wallicus known from- M addens Plains in 1885 but no records since.
Red -backed Fairywren Malurus melano-ce phalus doubtful; no records this century.
Barred Cuckooshrike Coracina lineata one rec-o rd: Sydney 1886. Not recorded since.
White -fronted Honeyeater Phylidonyris albifrons one record: Middle Head, 1878. Not recorded
since. –
Painted Firetail Emblema picta one record: Campbelltown, 22 September 1896. Not recorded
since. –
Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica recor-de d at Pennant Hills in 1922 but clearly an escapee.
Spotted Bowerbird Chlamydera maculata only record one at Smithfield, 19 May 1902; a most
unlikely record based on present distributio-n.
White -backed Magpie Gymorhina hypoleuca now considered a subspecies of the Australian
Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen.
Fifteen introduced species listed separately by Hindwood & McGill (loc. cit., pp 103-107) are
transferred to the main list:
Rock Dove Columba livia
Spotted Turtledove Streptopelia chinensis
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Common Blackbird Turdus merula
Red -whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus
Skylark Alauda arvensis
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Indian Myna Acridotheres tristis
European Greenfinch Carduelis chloris
European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Tree Sparrow Passer montanus
Nutmeg Mannikin Lonchura punctulata
Black -headed Mannikin Lonchura atricapilla
White -winged Whydah Coliuspasser albonotatus
Promotions from Hindwood & McGill’s “Provisional List”
The following seven species were included in Hindwood & McGill’s “Provisional List” but their
occurrence has since been confirmed. Details are provided of first confirmed sighting and present

status.June 1987 53

Australian Brush -turkey Alectura lathami o-n e at Killara, 3 August 1980 (Aust. Birds 16: 8). Rare.
Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicauda one off Sydney Heads, 24 March 1973 (Aust. Birds
9: 31-32) but subsequently found to b -e a a rare summer migrant in pelagic waters.
Green Pygmy- goose Nettapus pulchellus record from Woolooware Bay in 1910 is now accepted
(Morris, McGill & Holmes-, l oc. cit.).
Black Falcon Falco subniger one at Pitt Town, 9 August 1972 (Birds 7:95), now a rare winter visitor
to the Hawkesbury Marshes and floodplain May- December.
Noisy Pitta Pitta versicolor- two records: St Ives, 8 April 1976 (Aust. Birds 11:97) and Bondi Junction,
2 May 1980 (Aust. Birds 16: 16-).
Western Warbler Gerygone fusca one at Greendale, 16 January 1974 (Aust. Birds 9:19) and now
found to be a rare visitor to the Cobbity-Bringelly area west of Sydney.
Plum -headed Finch Aidemosyne modesta small flock at Richmond, 1 January 1966 (Emu 66:
111-112). Rare but regular visitor to the Hawkesbury Marches, inhabiting reed -swamps and
cultivated paddocks.
Promotions from Hindwood & McGill’s “Wrongly Recorded” list
The following four species were included in Hindwood & McGill’s “Wrongly Recorded” list but now
have been found to occur. As before, details are provided of the first confirmed sighting and the

current status, in the order given by Hindwood & McGill:

Royal Albatross Diomedea epomophora one off Sydney Heads, 25 October 1967 (Emu 70: 201)
and again 20 May 197-8 (Aust. Birds 14: 3).
Fairy Tern Sterna nereis obse-rv ed at Botany Bay in December 1962 (Emu 63: 355).
Grey Falcon Falco hypo/eucos -aon e at Pennant Hills in 1960 (Emu 61: 36).
Star Finch Neochmia ruficauda small flock resident in the Hawkesbury Marshes since 1979
(Aust. Birds 15: 26).
New species reported for the first time since 1958
The following new species have been recorded since 1958 and are listed in the order that they were

first observed. Details are provided of the first sighting or specimen, and the current status.

Northern Giant -petrel Macronectes haffi separated from the Southern Giant -petrel M. giganteus
in the 1960s. Both species are r-eg ular winter visitors to inshore waters off Sydney.
Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis first recorded in the Hawkesbury Marshes in November 1958
(McGill. 1960. Handlist of the birds of NSW) and now known as a regular summer visitor to local
freshwater wetlands.
Cattle Egret Ardeola ibis small flock recorded at North Richmond, 11 June 1960 (Emu 61: 138);
now a common visitor May -November to the Hawkesbury flood plain in flocks of up to 250 birds.
Occasionally seen elsewhere. –
Yellow -headed Wagtail Motacilla c-itre ola one at Woolooware Bay, July 1962 (Emu 63: 66).
Buller’s Albatross Diomedea bulleri first recorded Thirroul Beach, 2 May 1963 (Emu 64: 101-103)

and subsequently recorded on four other occasions 1967-1977.54 Australian Birds 21(2)

Black -winged Petrel Pterodroma nigripennis one found beach -washed at Cronulla, 2 February
1964 (Emu 64:104). –
Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides one at Dee Why, February 1965 (Bird Obs. no. 411),
and subsequently recorded annually in small numbers, mainly frequenting the Hawkesbury
Marshes January -May. –
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos first recorded at North Botany Bay, 27 February 1965 (Emu
66: 382) and now a rare but regular summer- v isitor to local freshwater marshes.
Buff -breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis two records: one at Botany Bay, 4-18 April 1965
(Emu 65: 291) and one at Bakers Lagoon 19-31 December 1982 (Aust. Birds 18:51; Aust. Birds
21). –
Common Diving- petrel Pelecanoides urinatrix recorded off Malabar, 22 June 1967; recorded twice
since off Newport in 1972 and off S-y dney Heads in 1980.
Hutton’s Shearwater Puffin us huttoni one beachwashed at Wanda Beach, 11 November 1967
and now recorded regular-ly in small numbers in inshore waters September -May.
Black Noddy Anous minutus observed at Lo-n g Reef, 8 February 1969 (Emu 70: 32).
Red -chested Buttonquail Turnix pyrrhothorax during January and February 1969 several pairs
were observed in grassy paddocks and a crop of maize near Bakers Lagoon, Richmond and a
nest with 4 eggs was found (Emu 71: 168-181). Since found at Dee Why in 1973 and Bushells
Lagoon in 1981. –
Long -billed Corella Cacatua tenuirostris small numbers in flocks of Little Corellas C. sanguinea
during 1971 (Birds 6: 89), presumably escapees; now large flocks occur in the Cobbity and
Windsor areas. –
Ruff (Reeve) Philomachus pugnax one at Kurnell, 25 September 1971 (Birds 6: 86) and since then
recorded in most years as a rare summer visitor to freshwater marshes, mostly in the Hawkesbury
Valley. –
Pink Robin Petroica rodinogaster two records: a male at Yeramba Lagoon, 20 August 1972 (Birds
7: 60) and one at Castle H-ill, 6-14 April 1975 (Aust. Birds 10: 79).
Arctic Tern Sterna paradisaea one at Towra Point, 17 February 1973 (Birds 7: 110); since recorded
on at least eight occasions, either at sea off S-y dney Heads or roosting on rocky reefs.
Light -mantled Albatross Phoebetria palpebrata one beachwashed at Mona Vale, 12 July 1973
(Birds 8: 99). –
Striated Fieldwren Calamanthus fuliginosus found at Towra Point in swampy heath 8 February
1975 (NSWFOC Newsl. no. 9-), where occasional sightings are still made.
Baird’s Sandpiper Calidris bairdii one a-t North Botany Bay, 23 November 1976 (Aust. Birds 11: 92).
White-rumped Sandpiper C. fuscicollis one at Pitt Town Swamp 29 October -20 November 1977
(Aust. Birds 11: 57). –
Long -toed Stint C. subminuta observed at Pitt Town and McGraths Hill, 29 October 1977 to 18
March 1978 (Aust. Birds 13:- 1 0), all sightings probably of the same individual.
Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava o-ne at Bakers Lagoon, 29 April 1979 (Aust. Birds 14: 35-36).
Blue -billed Duck Oxyura australi-s one at Cobbitty, 7 April 1980 (Aust. Birds 16: 6).
Brown Booby Sula leu-c ogaster one off Kurnell, 6 July 1981 (Aust. Birds 15: 4).
White Tern Gygis alba one seen off Long Reef, 28 March 1981 and another seen off Cape Solander,
6 July 1981 (Aust. Birds 17:- 1 2).
Franklin’s Gull Larus pipixcan one in Sydney Harbour, 11 May -18 November 1981 (Aust. Birds
17: 12-15).June 1987


Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica one at McGraths Hill, 15 November 1981 to 20 January 1982 (Aust.
Birds 17: 18).
Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas 30 seen off Sydney Heads, 27 March 1982 (Aust.
Birds 18: 41); recorded several times- s ince.
Herald Petrel Pterodroma arminjoniana one off Sydney Heads, 30 October 1982 (Aust. Birds 19:
53-55). –
White -chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis single birds off Sydney Heads 26 June 1982 and
30 October 1982 (Aust. Birds 18: 41).-
Westland Petrel Procellaria westlandica one off Sydney Heads, 27 November 1982 (Aust. Birds
18: 41). –
Tahiti Petrel Pterodroma rostrata one off -Sy dney Heads, 27 November 1982 (Aust. Birds 18: 40).
White -necked Petrel Pterodroma cervicalis one off Sydney Heads, 15 December 1984 (Bird Obs.
no. 641: 51).
These 35 species are now added to the full list of the Birds of Sydney Region making a grand total
of 422 recorded for the County of Cumberland. At the rate that rare species of seabirds are being
observed off our coast and rare waders are being found frequenting the mud flats at Botany Bay
and Parramatta River, and the freshwater marshes of the Hawkesbury District, it cannot be long
before the list must be further extended.
An analysis of Hindwood & McGill’s (1958 The Birds of Sydney. Royal Zool. Soc. NSW: Sydney) and
more recent sources reveals that (a) 16 species on their list of 392 native and introduced birds should
be removed and transferred to the “Provisional List” because they have not been recorded this
century or because they now seem doubtful; (b) seven species on the “Provisional List” and four
species on the “Wrongly Recorded” list have now been upgraded to the full list, mostly on the basis
of more recent confirmed sightings; and (c) 35 new species have been recorded since 1958. These
adjustments result in a grand total of 422 bird species known to occur or to have been present in
the County of Cumberland since 1900.
A.K. Morris, 32 Cliff Street, Watsons Bay NSW 203056 Australian Birds 21(2)
On 19 December 1982 A.P. McBride, A.K. Dampney and found a Buff -breasted Sandpiper Tryngites
subruficollis at Bakers Lagoon near Richmond, some 64 km north-west of Sydney, New South Wales.
It was first seen with three Sharp -tailed Sandpipers Calidris acuminata, foraging on land used for
commercial turf production bordering the lagoon. The bird was subsequently seen at the same spot
almost daily until at least January 1983, and again on 9 January. On 21 February presumably the
same bird was relocated at Bushells Lagoon (some four km north-east of Bakers Lagoon), where
it was seen again on 6 March 1983; know of no subsequent sightings. In all, at least 35 observers
saw the bird. The record was submitted to the RAOU Records Appraisal Committee (RAC Case 61)
and accepted unanimously. A number of photographs were taken by several observers; these are
all unsuitable for publication but portray a bird certainly of this species; copies of several have been
deposited in the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife, Australian Museum, Sydney.
At the time, hot summer conditions had exposed extensive mudflats around the margins of
the lagoon, ringed with dense Baumea and Typha reedbeds, pastoral weed stubble and lawns. Other
waders frequently observed in the area at the time included Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos,
Red -necked Stints C. ruficollis, Curlew Sandpipers C. ferruginea, Sharp -tailed Sandpipers C.
acuminata and Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis.
Excellent viewing conditions allowed close scrutiny of the Buff -breasted Sandpiper on several
occasions. Generally fairly tame, it sometimes allowed approach to within five metres. It was reluctant
to fly, and generally walked away when pressed. It appears to have been an adult (perhaps a male
from its behaviour), just completing moult into winter plumage.
Similar in size to Sharp -tailed Sandpiper, but tarsus about three times the length of the tibia,
producing a much lankier appearance. Legs and feet did not trail beyond tail in flight. Bill entirely
black, and short (estimated same length as head), slightly swollen at base, and very faintly
downcurved; feathering extended a little way along lower mandible, producing slight colour hint at
awkward angles. Legs bright orange -yellow. Narrow white ring around eye. Head washed even
intense tawny buff. From a distance an obscure supercilium was evident, perhaps due to marginally
paler brow coloration. Crown mottled and spotted blackish -brown from nape to just above bill.
Numerous small dusky blackish brown spots formed a partial collar extending from mantle.
Underparts, from head to lower belly plain golden buff, turning dull whitish beyond legs to undertail
coverts. Wings and mantle profusely spotted blackish -brown with a distinctly scaled effect produced
by dark feather centres with broad buff tips. Tertials entirely blackish with bold buff fringes. Rump
and uppertail coverts blackish -brown at centre bordered on either side by light buff. Underwing
coverts pure white with blackish inward curving bar on primary coverts, conspicuous in flight. At
rest, the wing tips extended precisely to tail tip. No call notes were detected at any time.
Jizz: appeared of finer build than Sharp -tailed Sandpiper and stood taller owing to its relatively longer
legs. The square cut tail and short bill produced a superficially plover -like appearance. When alert,June 1987 57
the small rounded head and elongated neck gave an appearance reminiscent of a Plainswanderer
Pedionomus torquatus.
Age and moult: the mantle appeared less dark than in the juvenal plumage depicted by Prater,
Marchant & Vuorinen (1977. Guide to the identification and aging of holarctic waders. British Trust
for Ornithology: Tring, England); this factor, together with the lack of dark subterminal spots on the
coverts anterior to the terminal buff -white fringes, indicated that the bird was an adult. This was
confirmed by several observers (C.J. Corben, D.W. Eades, T.R. Lindsey). The two innermost
primaries were in complete moult and by 1 January 1983 the innermost secondaries were also
missing, producing a gap that was conspicuous in flight.
Behaviour: the bird foraged as extensively on the turf farm as it did at the receding margin of the
lagoon. The feeding action was a slow tentative pecking at the surface; it was never seen to immerse
the head as neighboring Sharp- tailed Sandpipers commonly did. Surface insects and on one
occasion a large earthworm were captured. On some occasions the bird was very active, often
running several metres in Terek Sandpiper style. Several observers noted foraging in dry weed
stubble on the margins of the lagoon; K. Brandwood (pers. comm.) noted that, over about 45 min
observation on 21 December, the bird foraged about 80 per cent of the time by pecking at the tips
of weed stalks. At other times it foraged in shallow water, exposed mud, and on grass turf.
The bird was seldom seen except in the company of Sharp -tailed Sandpipers, but it was
noticeably aggressive to these and other waders. witnessed two agonistic encounters and other
observers also remarked on this aspect of its behaviour. During these incidents the bird spread both
wings straight out, revealing the pure white underwing coverts while also assuming an alert posture
and swaying slowly from side to side. G. Holmes (pers. comm.) noted one encounter in which “neck
raised high, wings raised and tail cocked, it advanced toward the smaller Sharp -tailed Sandpiper,
which submitted and departed’. Buff- breasted Sandpipers are known to defend foraging territories
on their wintering grounds in South America (Myers, 1980. Condor 82: 241-250), which may explain
its unusually aggressive behaviour. Another distinctive habit was noted on 25 December when the
sandpiper perched on two occasions on the middle rung of an old wooden fence.
This constitutes the third record of the species in New South Wales: previous State records
consist of one at Botany Bay in April 1965 (Hoskin & Hindwood. 1966. Emu 65: 291) and one at
Kooragang Island in March 1979 (van Gessel & Barden. 1979. Aust. Birds 14: 33).
am grateful to Chris Corben, Alan Dampney, David Eades, Alan McBride and Terry Lindsey for their
assistance in preparing this note for publication. I also thank K. Brandwood, G. Holmes, D. Smedley,
N.&J. Russill and several other observers who provided additional notes, photographs and other
data on the occurrence.
Dion Hobcroft, 4/174 Dangar Street, Armidale NSW 235058 Australian Birds 21(2)
The Spotted Bowerbird Chlamydera maculate is a resident of the dry, timbered, low -rainfall areas
of inland Australia, and the eastern limit of its normal range in New South Wales is approximately
along a line from Moree through Nyngan and Condobolin to Moulamein on the Murray River (Morris,
McGill & Holmes 1981). North (1901) refers to a set of eggs (taken by John MacGillivray) “said to
have been taken near Grafton in 1864″ but, after exhaustive enquiries failed to produce any further
evidence of birds ever having been recorded in the area. he concluded: “if it is found at all in the
northern coastal districts, east of the New England range, it can only be regarded as a rare or
accidental visitor”. Hindwood & McGill (1958) refer to a stray bird collected at Smithfield, near Sydney,
on 19 May 1902. This specimen, registration number 0.12754. is in the Australian Museum collection
and is, as far as we can ascertain, the only coastal record in New South Wales.
In January 1987 one of us (NC) received a telephone call from Mr Ken Aynsley who lives near
Tuggerah, about 20 km north of Gosford, NSW. He said that a spotted bowerbird had been seen
around his home regularly since 1985 and in July 1986 had built a bower under some native shrubs
in his garden; the bird had worked at this bower ever since. He was sure of the identification, but
it was not until reading “In Quest of Bowerbirds” (Chaffer 1984) that he realized that the bird was
outside its normal range. He also mentioned a number of blue decorations at the bower, but refuted
the suggestion that it may have been a green Satin Bowerbird Ptilonorhynchus violaceus. He knew
the Satin Bowerbird well – the species regularly visits his garden – but this bird was brown with a
lilac patch on the nape of the neck. He had seen it carrying blue ornaments to the bower.
A few days later we visited Mr Aynsley and examined the bower. It was obviously that of a
Spotted Bowerbird. The walls were about 22 cm thick at the base and the avenue was about 15 cm
wide. There was no surrounding platform (as is the case with the bower of a Satin Bowerbird), the
display area was cleared and the decorations were placed on the ground. The decorations included
about 90 blue plastic drinking straws, 30 blue plastic clothes pegs and 12 blue plastic bottle caps,
together with a few red objects, pieces of broken glass, scraps of silver paper and a number of grey
plastic toy coins. Most of the coins were in the avenue. The blue objects comprised about 80 per
cent of the total, comparable with the number we have seen at typical bowers of the Satin Bowerbird.
The Spotted Bowerbird came to the bower, carrying blue straws, several times while we were
During the following three months we made a number of visits (once with A.R. McGill) and
each time the bird was active at the bower, sometimes accompanied by one or two green Satin
Bowerbirds. One of us (JDW) has taken a series of photographs of the bird, the bower, and the
Ken Aynsley has never recorded more than one Spotted Bowerbird, but this bird has been
seen almost every day for the past two years and comes regularly to a feeding table in his garden,
often with Satin Bowerbirds.
Whilst this must, of course, be treated as a stray or accidental record, it is interesting to note
that the bird has remained for two years in the same area, and has been so active at the bower in
the absence of any female. We are continuing our observations and a further paper on details of
behaviour and bower building is in preparation.June 1987
Chaffer, N. 1984. In quest of bowerbirds. Rigby: Adelaide & Sydney
Hindwood, K.A. & A.R. McGill. 1958. The birds of Sydney. Royal Zool. Soc. NSW: Sydney
Morris, A.K.; A.R. McGill & G. Holmes. 1981. Handlist of birds in New South Wales. NSWFOC: Sydney
North, A.J. 1901. Nests and eggs of birds found breeding in Australia and Tasmania. Volume 1. Spec. Cat. No.

  1. Aust. Mus., Sydney
    N. Chaffer 1 Roslyn Avenue, Roseville NSW 2069
    J.D. Waterhouse, 4 Lightcliff Avenue, Lindfield NSW 2070
    On 28 December 1985, a party of walkers from the Bush Club visited Kosciusko National Park, NSW.
    Walking around Rainbow Lake (36022’S 148030’E) Joan Fried flushed
    multicolor from a low bush and on investigating found a nest with three young. Her description of
    this nest led me back to the site. To avoid undue disturbance no data were collected at that time
    other than to note the extremely low nest site.
    On 3 March 1986, Jennifer Simons, leader of the earlier Bush Club walkers, went back to
    Rainbow Lake with Joy Thompson, a botanist working in conjunction with the herbarium of the Royal
    Botanic Gardens, Sydney. The nest was re-examined. As the very low site is unusual for this species,
    data collected are recorded here, as well as in the RAOU Nest Record Scheme.
    HABITAT: Low shrubs and snowgrass at the edge of alpine woodland on the shore of Rainbow Lake.
    SITE: the nest was supported by a living plant Oxylobium ellipticum (height about 20 cm) and
    balanced on snowgrass Poa sp. which was groundcover in the area; seedlings of Eucalyptus
    pauciflora subsp. niphophila 30 cm high grew about the nest, distant 20 cm. Height of nest base
    and young above the ground 10 cm.
    NEST: a very neatly woven cup ca 5 cm internal diameter, of grass, feathers and hair, woven in zones.
    The nest was in good condition on 3 March 1986, and an accumulation of many droppings
    suggested successful fledging.
    Dariel Larkins, 225 Kissing Point Road, Turramurra NSW 207460 Australian Birds 21(2)
    S.G. LANE
    The White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus is recorded as a “regular but rare visitor to eastern
    Australian waters” (Blakers et al. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. RAOU & Melbourne University
    Press), although there appear to have been no records in New South Wales since March 1978 (T.R.
    Lindsey, pers. comm.), when at least ten individuals were found dead or distressed at various
    scattered localities in eastern New South Wales, a dramatic wreck described by Morris (1979, Aust.
    Birds 13: 51-54). Accordingly, the following observations of a single bird at Coffs Harbour over a
    period of about eighteen months seem worth recording.
    On 21 August 1984, Andrew Taylor saw a White-tailed Tropicbird flying over the central
    business district of Coffs Harbour (Lindsey, 1986. Aust. Birds 20: 97-132), and saw the bird again
    during the course of several other visits to the town through the remainder of 1984; it seems that
    the bird was also seen in the area at various times by several other observers during this period but
    have been unable to establish details.
    About February or March 1985 a single bird was seen flying over the Coffs Harbour Jetty area
    by S.P. Wallace; the precise date is unavailable. In September 1985, a single bird was seen on a
    number of occasions over the Coffs Harbour Jetty area, first by M. La Spina about 16 September
    and then again by S.P. Wallace on 23 and 25 September.
    Despite a number of searches when it was reported, I had failed to find the bird. While at the
    Coffs Harbour town centre on 13 March 1986, my wife drew my attention to a tropicbird flying
    overhead. It was a magnificently plumaged adult White-tailed Tropicbird. It circled the Civic Centre,
    which is about 2.5 kilometres from the Jetty and harbour area, then obligingly settled briefly on the
    parapet of the building, no more than 25 metres from us. The black wing bars contrasted sharply
    with the immaculate white of the wings, the long tail streamers and the bright yellow bill.
    So far as can determine, the last observation was on 28 March 1986, when B. Tynan saw
    a single bird over the Jetty area. All observations at Coffs Harbour were of a bird in adult plumage
    with long tail streamers; it seems reasonable to suspect that they all relate to the same individual.
    During 1984 there were several reports of the species elsewhere in New South Wales at various
    localities south to Wollongong (Lindsey, 1986. loc. cit.), and further reports in 1986. The Australian
    Museum received a report from Ivor Bennett concerning six White-tailed Tropicbirds together over
    100 fathoms some 29 kilometres east of Broken Bay, Sydney, on 3 March 1986 (T.R. Lindsey, pers.
    comm.), and on 8 March 1986 one flew through an open window into a house at Port Macquarie,
    some 120 kilometres south of Coffs Harbour (R.J. Harmer, pers. comm.); it was recovered and
    released by a NPWS ranger.
    S. G. Lane, Lot 6 Fairview Road, Moonee via Coffs Harbour NSW 2450NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS
    Contributors are requested to observe the following points when submitting articles and notes
    for publication.
  2. Species, names, and the order in which they occur are to be in accordance with ” Handlist
    of Birds in New South Wales”. AK. Morris, A R. McGill and G. Holmes 1981 Dubbo:
  3. Articles or notes should be typewritten if possible and submitted in duplicate. Double
    spacing is required.
  4. Margins of not less than 25mm width at the left hand side and top, with similar or slightly
    smaller at the right hand side of pages.
  5. No underlinings and no abbreviations except as shown in the examples.
  6. Photographs should be glossy finish and not too small.
  7. The Style Manual, Commonwealth Government Printing Office, Canberra (1966) and
    subsequent editions will be the guide for this Journal.
  8. Diagrams should be on plain white paper drawn with india ink. Any lettering is to be
    ‘professional style’ or lightly pencilled.
  9. Dates must be written “1 January 1975” except in tables and figures where they may be
  10. The 24-hour clock will be used, times being written 06:30, 18:30 for 6.30 a.m. and
    6.30 p.m. respectively.
  11. Mr, Mrs, Dr are not followed by a full stop.
  12. In text, numbers one to ten are spelt numbers of five figures or more should be grouped in
    threes and spaced by a thin gap. Commas should not be used as thousands markers.
  13. References to other articles should be shown in the text-‘…B.W. Finch and M.D. Bruce
    (1974) stated…’ and under heading
    Finch, B.W. and M.D. Bruce 1974 The Status of the Blue Petrel in Australian Waters
    Aust Birds 9, 32-35
  14. Acknowledgements to other individuals should include Christian names or initials.Volume 21, No. 2 June 1987
    Ian A.W. McAllan
    44 NESTING OF THE WHITE -THROATED NIGHTJAR Caprimulgus mystacalis

S. Marchant

Dion Hobcroft
WALES N. Chaffer and J.D. Waterhouse
S.G. Lane
50 Preliminary notice, XX International Ornithological Congress, Christchurch,

New Zealand, 1990

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