Vol. 22 No, 1&2 part2-text

PDF available her: Vol. 22 Nos. 3 & 4
Journal of the
Volume 22, Nos.3&4 August 1989
ISSN 0311-8150
Registered by Australia Post – Publication No. NBN790NEW SOUTH WALES FIELD ORNITHOLOGISTS CLUB
President P.E.Roberts
Vice -President A.K.Morris
Secretary F. Brown
Assistant Secretary N.Maxwell
Minutes Secretary T.1 ronside
Treasurer R. Morrow
Records Officer R.Cooper
Activities Officer A.O.Richards
Conservation Officer E.Karplus
Editor,Australian Birds T.Lindsey
Production R.Browne
Editor,Newsletter T.Karplus
Committee Members P.Davie
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 July each year) are:
Adult Member $25.00
Junior Member (up to 17 years) $10.00
All members recieve a quarterly newsletter and a copy of the quarterly journal ‘Australian Birds’.
The price of the journal is $5.00 plus postage per issue to non members. Club badges are avail-
able to club members at $2.50 or $3.00 if posted. The club holds a meeting and a field excursion
each month.
All correspondence should be addressed to the Hon. Secretary and all membership fees should
be sent to the Hon. Treasurer at: PO Box C436,Clarence St,Sydney NSW 2000.
Manuscripts should be sent to the Editor at: 1 Wombat St. Berkley Vale. NSW. 2259.AlinMUM’
Volume 22, No 3-4 August 1989
150 species of birds (74 sedentary, 14 probably sedentary, 5 possibly sedentary, 1 sedentary
but later exterminated, 30 rare vagrant, 6 migratory and 20 nomadic or partially nomadic spe-
cies) were observed during a two year survey in Kinchega National Park, western New South
Wales. Only a few, mainly sedentary, species were confined to just one habitat. The structurally
more complex woodlands supported more species than the less complex, more open scrubland
habitats. Breeding was only observed from late autumn to early or (exceptionally) late spring.
Areas distant from water may be deserted by most birds in hot and dry summers. The number of
bird species within one habitat is not obviously correlated to the number of species of any other
vertebrate within the same habitat.
Previous studies of vertebrate assemblages of desert systems in North America, South Africa
and Western Australia are summarized by Pianka (1986). He concluded that Australian deserts
are exceptionally rich in reptiles, rich in insectivorous mammals and moderately rich in birds. He
suggested that bird and lizard diversity are positively correlated. However, Fyfe (1985) argues for
a negative correlation between birds and lizard/small mammal diversity in Australian deserts.
Too few surveys of sufficient duration are published for arid zone vertebrates in general, and
birds in particular, to draw sound generalizations. Indeed, Pianka’s vertebrate surveys in nine54 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
habitats In central Western Australia (Pianka 1969, Pianka & Pianka 1970) and Brooker’s surveys
In four habitats of the northern Nullarbor (Brooker 1977; Brooker & Wombey 1978; Brooker et al.
1979) remain the only published suchlike studies in the arid zone of Australia. Additionally, an
environmental assessment study of short duration (less than one week per study site), which
included a survey of all vertebrate groups, was carried out in a large number of habitats in the
Nullarbor (McKenzie & Robinson 1987). am not aware of any other published long term avifau-
nal survey In Australia’s arid zone but adaptations of birds to Australian desert conditions are re-
viewed by Keast (1959, 1981), lmmelmann (1963), Serventy (1971) and Davies (1976; 1982;
1984; 1986) and the general distribution of birds throughout the interior of Australia is reasona-
bly well documented (Blaker et al., 1984).
During two years of intensive field work in Kinchega National Park had the opportunity
to collect data on the distribution of all terrestrial vertebrates within most major habitats in the
park. Here present the data on the avifauna.
Kinchega National Park in central far -western NSW receives a seasonal low rainfall (yearly
average 236 mm). In the two years during the study temperatures ranged from a low of -4°C to a
maximum of 28°C In winter and a 10-46°C in summer. Rainfall was average during the study
period but both late summer/autumn periods were very dry and both springs were relatively wet
(table 1). The summer of 1986 was extremely hot. Otherwise temperatures followed roughly the
long term average (fig. 1). For more details of the climate in Kinchega see Robertson et al.
Permanent water is available in the form of the Darling River bordering the park in the
east and of the two regulated Lakes Menindee and Cawndilla (fig. 2), but both lakes may dry out
exceptionally (Evenleigh, pers. comm.). Extensive flooding in 1983 filled all the billabongs and
the ephemeral Lake Emu. During the study period water levels dropped considerably in all water
bodies except in the Darling; Lake Emu and all billabongs dried out completely.
Ornithological observations were made in six different habitats:
L: Lakes and their foreshores. Large parts of all lakes are fringed by flooded dead Black
Box Eucalyptus largiflorens and River Red Gum E. camaldulensis. The major parts of the fore-
shores are predominantly covered by Blue Rod Morgania florabunda and Tree Tobacco Nicoti-
ana glauca but several pockets of bushes and trees (mainly Black Box and Prickly Wattle Acacia
victoriae) are present as well.
G: Red Gum Gallery Forests along the Darling River with a more or less closed canopy.
B: Open Black Box Woodland on heavy -textured cracking clay bordering billabongs, an
artificial channel and parts of the lakes.
F: Open floodplains with a variety of mainly chenopod scrubs and bare clay pans.
Some Black Box trees are found on slightly raised soils within the floodplains.
M: Blue Bush Steppe (Maireana spp.), occasionally with acacias and with pockets of
Belah Casuarina stricta especially in the southwestern part of the park. Canegrass Zygochloa
paradoxa is intermingled with Blue Bush on the lunettes round the lakes.August 1989 55
D: Hopbush Dodonaea attenuata on red sand dunes with hardly any ground cover.
More detailed descriptions of the vegetation of the park are provided by Robertson et al. (1987).
Casual observations were made during one week each in January, July and August

  1. From September 1985 till May 1987 each second month was spent in Kinchega. Daily and
    nightly observations were made in Hopbush and Black Box study plots. All other habitats were
    surveyed at least once per week for several hours but usually more frequently.
    As no absolute population estimates can be made in such surveys four categories of
    relative abundance have been used:
    Uncommon (UC): <10 individuals observed per day Common (C): 10-100 individuals observed per day Very Common (VC): 100-1000 individuals observed per day Extremely Common (EC): > 1000 individuals observed per day
    The status for each species is described by:
    Occasional (0): Not observed each month
    Regular (R): At least one observation made per month
    The systematic list follows Pizzey (1985) which was used as principal identification guide. Birds
    rare or unusual for the region were additionally checked with Slater (1970, 1974) and palearctic
    migrants with Heinzel et al. (1972).
    Dromaius novaehollandiae Emu R, C in all habitats but most abundant in Blue Bush Steppe;
    regular migrations to water places in the morning or late afternoon observed from late spring to
    early autumn. One nest with eight eggs found in July 1986 on the foreshore of Lake Cawndilla,
    approximately one metre above the water level.
    Podiceps cristatus Great Crested Grebe R, C in L. Numbers steadily increased towards winter,
    approaching 100 in winter and thereafter decreasing again. Few specimens observed in sum-
    Podiceps poliocephalus Hoary -headed Grebe R, C -VC in L. Absent from late spring to early
    Podiceps novaehollandiaeLittle Grebe R, C in L. Absent from late spring to early autumn.
    Pelecanus conspicillatus Australian Pelican R, VC in L, 0, UC in G. Increased mortality occurred
    In July 1986, when 12 recently dead specimens were found along 500 m of beach at the south-
    eastern side of Lake Menindee.56 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Anna-1ga melanogaster Darter 0, UC in L and G, but mainly seen on lakes.
    Phalacrocorax varius Pied Cormorant R, VC in L, R, UC in G; large breeding colony in Lake
    Menindee (estimated at 1000 pairs in 1974 (Blaker et al. 1984)).
    Phalacrocorax melanoleucos Little Pied Cormorant R, VC in L, 0, UC in G.
    Phalacrocorax carbo Great Cormorant R, VC -EC in L R, C in G. The breeding colony in Lake
    Menindee was estimated as 40 000 pairs in 1974 (Blaker et al. 1984)
    Phalacrocorax sulcirostris Little Black Cormorant R, VC -EC in L, R, UC-C in G.
    Ardea pacifica Pacific Heron R, UC In L 0, UC in G.
    Ardea novaehollandiae White-faced Heron R, UC in L, G.
    Egretta alba Great Egret R, UC in L, G.
    Egretta garzetta Little Egret One specimen 18 January 1986 near Lake Menindee regulator in
    drowned Red Gum forest.
    Egretta intermedia Plumed Egret One specimen foraging together with two Great Egrets at Lake
    Cawndilla near the regulator on 29 March 1987; some possible observations in summer -autumn
    Nycticorax caledonicus Nankeen Night -heron C at Emu Lake in September 1986; most disap-
    peared with the drying up of the lake, thereafter 0, UC in L and G.
    Botaurus poiciloptilus Brown Bittern One seen 10 March 1987 between Lignum Muehlenbeckia
    cunninghamii stands in Emu Lake.
    Plegadis falcinellus Glossy Ibis One in Black Box regeneration on westside of Lake Menindee
    on 17 July 1986.
    Threskiornis aethiopica Sacred Ibis 0, UC in L.
    Threskiornis spinicollis Straw -necked Ibis 0, UC in G, nomadic groups of up to 150 specimens
    rested occasionally at Lake Menindee for a few days before moving on.
    Platalea regia Royal Spoonbill R, UC-C in L; usually not segregated from P. flavipes.
    Platalea flavipes Yellow -billed Spoonbill R, C -VC in L. R, UC-C in G.
    Cygnus atratus Black Swan R, VC in L; breeding in 1986/7 (Charlie, pers. comm.).August 1989 57
    Tadorna tadornoides Chestnut -breasted Shelduck R, C -VC in L; steady increase in number
    from maximally 10 observed in September 1985 to approximately 250 in May 1987.
    Anas superciliosa Pacific Black Duck R, C -VC in L: 0, UC in G.
    Anas gibberifrons Grey Teal R, VC -EC ion L, 0, UC in G. F. Female with 5 chicks observed on
    Lake Menindee In September 1986.
    Anas rhynchotis Blue -winged Shoveler 0, UC-C in L.
    Malacorhynchus membranaceus Pink -eared Duck 0, UC-VC in L, several hundred individuals
    regularly observed from March to May 1987 on Lake Menindee.
    Chenonetta jubata Maned Duck R, VC in L, G, C in F.
    Elanus notatus Black -shouldered Kite One specimen hunting near Kinchega Station from 18-23
    September 1985.
    Milvus migrans Black Kite R, UC-C in all habitats; regular movements of up to 15 specimens at
    the same time around sunset from Menindee (rubbish tip?) to roosts in flooded Eucalyptus in
    Lake Menindee. One individual captured a brown snake (Pseudonaja sp.) near Lake Menindee.
    Lophoictinia isura Square -tailed Kite Two seen near Kinchega Station 3 September 1986 and
    one over Old Homestead 21 November 1986.
    Hamirostra melanosternum Black -breasted Kite One hunting near Kinchega Station 7 March
    Haliastur sphenurus Whistling Kite R, UC-C in all habitats one nest found at Lake Cawndilla,
    breeding (?)
    Accipiter fasciatus Brown Goshawk One seen over Blue Bush Steppe north of Kinchega Station
    on 17 September 1986.
    Accipiter cirrhocephalus Collared Sparrowhawk One at Old Homestead on 19 November 1986.
    Aquila audax Wedge-tailed Eagle R, UC-C in M, D, B; breeding in 1985 (Robertson, pers.
    Hieraaetus morphnoides Little Eagle R, UC in all habitats: one pair breeding in early spring
    1986 near the Darling River.
    Circus assimilis Spotted Harrier One seen near Old Homestead 9 September 1986.
    Circus aeruginosus Swamp Harrier 0, UC in F, G, B, L.58
    Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Falco subniger Black Falcon 0, UC in M, L.
    Falco peregrinus Peregrine Falcon 0, UC in B, F, G; one pair possibly breeding at the Darling
    River late spring 1986.
    Falco longipennis Little Falcon One seen hunting near Kinchega station 11 November 1985 and
    again 18 November 1986.
    Falco hypoleucos Grey Falcon One seen near Old Homestead 19 September 1987.
    Falco berigora Brown Falcon One seen over Blue Bush Steppe east of Lake Cawndilla 27
    September 1985.
    Falco cenchroides Nankeen Kestrel 0, UC in F, M, B.
    Turnix velox Little Buttonquail One seen in open Black Box woodland near Kinchega Station 10
    March 1987.
    Gallinula ventralis Black -tailed Native -hen EC in F, L, G throughout 1985 and early 1986, there-
    after steadily decreasing with drying up of overflow lakes and billabongs; very rare to absent
    from November 1986 to May 1987.
    Gallinula tenebrosa Dusky Moorhen Approximately ten seen near Lake Menindee regulator on
    25 September 1985.
    Fulica atra Coot R, VC -EC in L; increasing in 1987 when up to 5000 were estimated in one small
    section of Lake Menindee.
    Ardeotis australis Australian Bustard One seen during the last week of July 1986 in Blue
    Bush/Belah Steppe.
    Vanellus miles Masked Lapwing R, UC-C in L, G, UC in F.
    Erythrogonys cinctus Red -kneed Dotterel R, UC-C in L.
    Charadrius mongolus Mongolian Sandplover One seen on recently emerged mudflats at Lake
    Menindee 28 May 1987; 3-5 seen same place 30 May 1987.
    Charadrius ruficapillus Red -capped Dotterel 0, C in L; but approx. 250 seen on mudflats at
    Lake Menindee in the second half of May 1987.
    Charadrius melanops Black -fronted Dotterel 0, C in L, G.
    Himantopus himantopus Pied Stilt Five seen at Lake Menindee 28 January 1986.59
    August 1989
    Recurvirostra novaehollandiae Red -necked Avocet 12 seen at Lake Cawndilla near regulator 11
    May 1987.
    Tringa hypoleucos Common Sandpiper Two seen at or near Horsepaddock Billabong during
    September 1986; one individual on mudflats at Lake Menindee 30 May 1987.
    Tringa nebularia Greenshank 0, UC in F.
    Calidris canutus Knot One in prenuptial moult on mudflats at Lake Menindee 30 May 1987.
    Calidris ruficollis Red -necked Stint Approximately 100 (10 in breeding plumage) on mudflats at
    Lake Menindee in last week of September 1987.
    Calidris alba Sanderling One seen with seven Charadrius melanops at Lake Cawndilla 29 March
    Larus novaehollandiae Silver Gull R, C -VC in L.
    Chlidonias hybrida Whiskered Tern 0, C -VC in L, but only until winter 1986, thereafter no obser-
    Hydroprogne caspia Caspian Tern R, C -VC in L, numbers increasing in 1987.
    Columba livia Domestic Pigeon One seen at the west side of Lake Menindee on 23 July 1986.
    Geopelia striata Peaceful Dove R, C in G; R, UC in B.
    Phaps chalcoptera Common Bronzewing 0, UC in M, G, B, F, D.
    Ocyphaps lophotes Crested Pigeon R, C -VC in all habitats.
    Cacatua roseicapilla Galah R, VC In all habitats. but large flocks predominantly in Blue Bush
    Steppe and Black Box woodland, here occasionally extremely common.
    Cacatua sanguinea Little Corella R, VC in L, G; possibly breeding at the Darling River in Novem-
    ber 1986.
    Cacatua leadbeateri Pink Cockatoo 0, UC-C in all habitats.
    Cacatua galerfta Sulphur -crested Cockatoo Two seen at the south-western border of the park
    28 January 1985.
    Nymphicus hollandicus Cockatiel 0. UC-C in M, B.
    Melopsittacus undulatus Budgerigar A flock of 100-150 in Blue Bush Steppe with few Belahs.
    observed daily from 24-29 January 1985.60 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Platycercus flaveolus Yellow Roselle R, UC-C in G.
    Barnardius barnardi Mallee Ringneck R, C -VC in B, G, F; frequently seen eating berries of
    Enchylaena tomentosa, numbers decreased in the main Black Box woodland study site with the
    end of fruiting In E. tomentosa towards summer; courtship and collection of twigs observed at
    the interface of Black Box and Red Gum woodland in September 1986.
    Psephotus haematonotus Red-rumped Parrot R, VC in F, B; 0, C in G.
    Psephotus varius Mulga Parrot R, VC in F, B, but more frequently observed on floodplains with
    few scattered Black Box trees.
    Northiella haematogaster Bluebonnet R, Vc in F, B; R, C in D- 0. UC in M.
    Ninox novaeseelandiae Boobook Owl R, UC-C in B R, UC in G.
    Ninox connivens Barking Owl Occasionally 1-2 heard in B.
    Tyto alba Barn Owl Two individuals (one seen, one heard) in Black Box woodland near Kinche-
    ga Station 11 May 1987.
    Podargus strigoides Tawny Frogmouth R, UC in B, G; often seen hunting flying insects attract-
    ed by the spotlight or by permanent lights attached to trees.
    Aegotheles cristatus Owlet -nightjar 0, UC in B. M. D. F only rarely seen hunting insects attract-
    ed by the spotlight or permanent lights attached to trees.
    Caprimulgus argus Spotted Nightjar 0, UC in G, D, B.
    Dacelo gigas Laughing Kookaburra 0, UC in G. B; several successful (?) hunting attempts on
    lizards (Morethia boulengeri) observed.
    Halcyon pyrrhopygia Red -backed Kingfisher One at Lake Cawndilla regulator 29 November
    Halcyon sancta Sacred Kingfisher R, UC-C in G; 0, UC in L; one captured a skink (Ctenotus
    regius?) near Lake Menindee regulator.
    Merops ornatus Rainbow Bee -eater R, C in L, G; 0, UC in B.
    Mlrafra javanica Singing Bushlark Three seen in chenopod scrubs at the western park bound-
    ary on 17 July 1986.
    Cheramoeca leucosternum White -backed Swallow 0. C in M. L.August 1989 61
    Hirundo neoxena Welcome Swallow R, C -VC in all habitats; approximately 20 pairs breeding
    each year in huts at Kinchega Station; large flocks of up to 500 gathered occasionally for hunting
    at Lake Menindee near the regulator during late autumn and early winter.
    Cecropis nigricans Tree Martin R, VC -EC in L, G; 0, c in B: a breeding colony of more than 50
    pairs were found on dead flooded trees in the Horsepaddock Billabong in September 1986.
    Cecropis ariel Fairy Martin R, UC-c in 8, D, L: one (successful?) brood in a hut at the Kinchega
    Station in September 1986.
    Anthus novaeseelandiae Richard’s Pipit R, UC-C in M < 0, UC in L.
    Coracina novaehollandiae Black -faced Cuckooshrike R, C in F, B.
    Coracina papuensis White -bellied Cuckooshrike 0, UC in F, B, D
    Coracina maxima Ground Cuckooshrike 20-25 seen in Blue Bush Steppe with a few Belahs in
    the southwest corner of the park 23 July 1986.
    Lalage sueurii White -winged Triller 0, UC in L, F, M.
    Petroica goodenovii Red -capped Robin R, C in B; R, UC-C in D, M; at least two pairs bred
    successfully each winter in Black Box woodland near the Kinchega Station.
    Pachycephala inornata Gilbert’s Whistler One female in Black Box woodland near Kinchega
    Station 17 May 1987.
    Pachycephala pectoralis Golden Whistler Five seen near the Old Homestead in Black Box
    woodland 7 July 1985.
    Pachycephala rufiventris Rufous Whistler Common in R, B in July and September of both years
    (seen daily); 0, UC In G, B, D at other times of the year.
    Colluricincla harmonica Grey Shrike -thrush R, C in G.
    Rhipidura fuliginosa Grey Fantail 0, UC-C, but most likely sedentary in dense Black Box regen-
    eration at the eastslde of Morton Bolka Swamp, an area only occasionally surveyed.
    Rhipidura leucophrys Willie -wagtail R, C -VC in all habitats, but least common in Blue Bush
    Steppe and on floodplains.
    Psophodes cristatus Wedgebill 0, C in M, D.
    Pomatostomus superciliosus White-browed Babbler R, C -VC in M, D, L; 0, UC in B; but at least
    500 Individuals recorded all over the park in the last week of July 1986.62 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Pomatostomus ruficeps Chestnut -crowned Babbler 0, C in M, D, but VC in Blue Bush Steppe in
    the last week of July 1986.
    Acrocephalus stentoreus Clamorous Reedwarbler EC in Emu Lake before drying up in early
    1986; VC at the Horsepaddock Billabong in stands of lignum till drying up at the end of 1986;
    only one further observation in reeds below Lake Menindee regulator.
    Malurus lambert Varigated Fairywren R, C -VC in L, G, F, D, B. 0, UC-C in M.
    Malurus leucopterus White -winged Fairywren R, C -VC in M; O. UC-C in ID; many observations of
    fairywrens were of females or males in eclipse only without definite identification, but calling
    groups and males in breeding plumage suggested that most of the obserations made in Blue
    Bush Steppe were of this species: although both wrens show clear differences in habitat prefer-
    ences, there is no complete segregation and on rare occasions mixed groups were found in
    Blue Bush Steppe near pockets of woods along the shorelines of the lakes.
    Smicrornis brevirostris Weebill R, C -VC in all habitats but with a preference for Black Box
    woodland; very common in the main Black Box woodland study site from late autumn to early
    spring but rare to absent at other times – possibly because of the large distance to the next
    source of water: in July 1986 two nests were completely finished in this study site but the spe-
    cies was abundant within the same month: breeding colonies in dense Black Box regenerations
    at the west side of Lake Cawndilla and near the Morton Bolka Swamp; several dozen nests were
    found woven in the outer foliage of young Black Box in Study Site 1: 5-4 m height: breeding
    started in late autumn and peaked in mid -winter.
    Gerygone fusca Western Warbler One seen near the Old Homestead 25 May 1986.
    Acanthiza pusilla apicalis Broad -tailed Thornbill 0, UC in B, F.
    Acanthiza uropygialis Chestnut-rumped Thornbill R, C -VC in B, R, C in D, M; in the main Black
    Box study site most common from late autumn to late spring, some birds may move closer to
    permanent water during summer.
    Acanthiza chrysoorhoa Yellow-rumped Thornbill R, C -VC in B, D; R, C in M, G; often in mixed
    flocks with A. uropygialis and Aphelocephala leucopsis; breeding in Black Box woodland and on
    Hopbush Dune In both years from late autumn through winter: one pair reared two chicks.
    Aphelocephala leucopsis Southern Whiteface R, VC in M, B, F, R, C in D, breeding from late
    autumn through winter in Black Box woodland and on Hopbush dune, one nest in a hollow
    branch of a Black Box at approximately 2 m height was used in both years, nest domed with
    grasses and lined with own and collected feathers.
    Climacteris picumnus Brown Treecreeper R, C -VC in G, B.
    Anthochaera carunculata Red Wattlebird 0, UC in G: one immature bird seen in January 1987.63
    August 1989
    Acanthagenys rufogularis Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater R, C in all habitats.
    Plectorhyncha lanceolate Striped Honeyeater Two seen in Black Box regeneration at Cawndilla
    Creek 9 July 1985.
    Philemon citreogularis Little Friarbird 0, UC in G.
    Manorina flavigula Yellow -throated Miner R, VC -EC in all habitats, but with a clear preference for
    Black Box woodland; most common passerine in the park, perhaps together with Lichenostomus
    penicillatus; often observed trying to catch small birds (Weebills and thornbills) in flight; frequent-
    ly searching for arthropods on the underside of Black Box leaves.
    Lichenostomus virescens Singing Honeyeater R, C in L; 0, UC in D.
    Lichenostomus penicillatus White -plumed Honeyeater R, EC in G; 0, Uc-C in B, L; by far the
    most common bird in the Red Gum Gallery forests along the Darling and its billabongs, a con-
    servative estimate of its abundance is an average of 100 birds per 500 m of river; breeding from
    late autumn to early (late?) spring in Red Gum gallery forests; absent in the main Black Box
    woodland study site till May 1987, when at least two pairs established territories there.
    Phylidonyris albifrons White -fronted Honeyeater Three seen in Black Box regeneration at
    Cawndilla Creek 9 July 1985.
    Ephthianura tricolor Crimson Chat 12 seen on open chenopod scrub steppe at the western
    boundary of the park 26 September 1987.
    Ephthianura albifrons White -fronted Chat 0, C in m, F, L, but most frequently in M
    Dlcaeum hirundinaceum Mistletoebird R, Uc-C in G, B, M, D, courtship observed in winter.
    Pardalotus rubricatus Red-browed Pardalote Five seen in dense bush at Lake Menindee near
    regulator on 15 January 1986
    Pardalotus striatus Striated Pardalote R. C -VC in B, R, C. in D, G: noticeably decreasing in
    numbers in the main Black Box study site during both summers: breeding from late autumn
    through winter In Black Box woodland and one pair in an old Fairy Martin nest in a shed near
    Kinchega Station; males established territories already in March in 1987, but not until May in
    Passer domesticus House Sparrow One male and three females resident at Kinchega Station
    from September to November 1985; nesting attempted; all were shot in November; one female
    passing through Kinchega Station In May 1987.
    Poephila guttata Zebra Finch 0, C in all habitats.
    Sturnus vulgaris Common Starling 0, C in all habitats.64 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Artamus leucorhynchus White -breasted Woodswallow R, C -VC in L, M; R, UC-C in B, F; one pair
    feeding two juveniles in Black Box on floodplain in September 1986.
    Artamus personatus Masked Woodswallow 0, C -VC in M, F, B, southwards movements of up to
    100 Individuals observed in September.
    Artamus superciliosus White-browed Woodswallow 0, C -VC in M; southwards movements of
    flocks up to 100 individuals observed in September.
    Artamus cinereus Black -faced Woodswallow 0, in M; southwards movements of flocks up to
    100 individuals observed in September.
    Grallina cyanoleuca Magpielark R, C -VC in all habitats, but with a slight preference for the
    shoreline of lakes; one captured a large skink Ctenotus regius.
    Struthidea cinerea Apostlebird R, C -VC in all habitats.
    Corcorax melanorhamphos White -winged Chough R, C -VC in all habitats, but slightly less
    common than Apostlebird.
    Cracticus torquatus Grey Butcherbird 0, UC in F, B.
    Cracticus nlgrogularis Pled Butcherbird R, UC-C In all habitats; breeding In River Red Gum
    gallery forests and Black Box woodland in spring; two pairs raised each two young; frequently
    observed hunting for large insects and skinks (Morethia boulenger).
    Gymnorhina tibicen Australian Magpie R, C -VC in all habitats but predominantly in Blue Bush
    Steppe and on floodplains.
    Corvus coronoides Australian Raven R, C -VC all over the park, no clear habitat preference
    noticeable; sometimes in flocks up to 25 individuals, possibly occasionally more, but because of
    difficulties of identifying corvids in the field most observations not assigned to species unless
    birds called frequently.
    Corvus mellori Little Raven R, C -VC in all habitats, one flock of 50-100 birds frequently resting at
    Lake Menindee; sometimes mixed flocks with Australian Ravens and Little Crows, which usually
    was an indication of large carrion somewhere nearby.
    Corvus bennetti Little Crow R, C -VC in all habitats; seems to be the least common of the three
    ravens, but many observed ravens were not assigned to species due to identification problems
    In the field.August 1989 65
    150 species were recorded. Of these, 74 species were regularly seen and are certainly seden-
    tary; 14 further uncommon species or species restricted to small parts within the park were not
    seen regularly but are likely residents; species (Passer domesticus) was sedentary but was
    exterminated; 5 species were observed irregularly and may be sedentary or vagrant; 30 species
    are rare vagrants, 6 are migratory, 14 nomadic and 6 mainly nomadic but with a resident popula-
    tion In the park. All six migratory species are waders; four are restricted to the lakes, one to the
    floodplalns and one was found In several habitats (table 2). Ten of the nomadic species are
    waterfowl or wetland species and ten (three parrots and seven passerines) were predominatly
    found in Blue Bush Steppe, but, except for Budgerigars, also in other habitats, usually drinking
    at the shorelines of the lakes.
    To survive in Kinchega, sedentary species have to cope with long periods of low rainfall
    and excessive heat. The importance of access to water is shown by the aggregation of many
    species at artificial water sources, the lakes or the river for drinking. A partly covered water tank
    at the station was regularly visited by Australian Ravens, Australian Magpies, Magpie -larks,
    Yellow -throated Miners and Crested Pigeons. Small passerines seldom used this source but
    frequented billabongs, the lakes or the river. These birds are the main reason for the high
    number of species the lakes and their foreshores share with other habitats (table 2).
    Proximity of open water allowed most species to remain in their preferred habitats.
    Nevertheless, sometimes the climatic conditions exceed the tolerable limits for most species.
    This could clearly be seen in March 1986 when, after a practically rainless summer, daily maxi-
    mum temperatures still averaged 36.5°C and frequently exceeded 400 C. Most species almost
    completely deserted the main study areas in Black Box woodland and on Hopbush dune – all at
    approximately 2 km distance from the next permanent open water source. Only Ocyphaps
    lophotes, Hirundo neoxena. Manorina fiavigula. Grallina cyanoleuca. Gymnorhina tibicen. Struthi-
    dea cinerea and Corvus coronoides were still regularly seen in these areas. All of them used the
    water tank of the nearby station for drinking. All species, which deserted the main study sites,
    were still observed in the gallery forests along the Darling and in dense pockets of bushes or
    woodland along the lakes but even there their activity and numbers were markedly reduced.
    Contrary to 1986 the summer 1987 was rather mild but as dry as in the previous year. In 1987 all
    species remained in the main study areas although their numbers were considerably reduced.
    Breeding, confirmed mainly for passerines, started in May, peaked in July and finished in
    most species before November. As in both years the late summer/autumn period was very dry
    and the winter/spring period received above average rainfall, it is not clear whether the winter
    breeding is a regular feature to avoid excessive heat or was purely a response to the high pre-
    vailing food availability for insectivorous birds (Henle, in prep.). In the Nullarbor some passerines
    also breed in autumn, while others breed during dry conditions or having long breeding seasons
    after heavy rains (Brooker et al. 1979).
    As in Western Australia (Pianka & Pianka 1970) and in the Nullarbor (Brooker et al. 1979)
    only a small number of nomadic species were found in Kinchega. The percentage of sedentary
    species is slightly higher in Kinchega (49%) than in the Nullarbor (39%). This and the slightly66 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Table 1: Annual and seasonal rainfall at Menindee (1km NE of Kinchega for the period 1883-1984
    (from Robertson et al. 1987) and at Kinchega during the study period.
    Spring Summer Autumn Hinter Year
    (Sep -Nov) (Dec -Feb) (Mar -May) (Jun -Aug) (Range)
    Menindee 61 62 57 59 236
    Kinchega1985/6 66.5 29.5 36 59.8 191.7
    Kinchega1986/7 89 74.8 43 60.3 267.2
    TABLE 2: Number of bird species observed in six habitats, exclusive of rare vagrants; second
    number:migratory species only; third number:nomadic species only.
    Category Lake Red Gum Black Box Flood -plain Maireana Dodonaea-dune
    confined 16. 4, 7 4, 0, 0 2. 0, 0 0, 1, 0 3, 0. 3 0, 0, 0
    shared 53, 1, 5 56,1, 3 57,0, 4 42,1, 3 43,1, 3 37,0, 4
    Table 3: Number of species in several different vertebrate taxa observed in six habitats in Kinchega
    (sources:present paper & Henle [in prep])
    Area* Birds Lizards All Small Mammals Small Mammals
    Reptiles (exclude bats) (include bats)
    L 69 3 7 1 2+
    R 60 6 9 1 4+
    B 59 14 21 4(-5) 8+
    F 43 3 3 2 3+
    M 46 20 25 3 4+
    D 37 12 14 2(-3) 4+
    *:see text for description of areas.67
    August 1989
    higher total number of birds observed in Kinchega (150 versus 135) may be explained by the
    more Intensive observations, which Increase the likelihood for rare birds to be seen and for
    uncommon birds found to be sedentary. In all three arid regions the numbers of species con-
    fined to (or at least observed only in) one habitat are small except for species associated with
    the lakes in Kinchega. In contrast, lizard assemblies in Piankas’ study sites (Planka 1969) and in
    Kinchega (Henle, In prep.) include more habitat specialists.
    The number of species reported for the Nullarbor habitats and for Kinchega are surpris-
    ingly similar. In the present study 59-60 species were found in woodland habitats, and 37-46 in
    the open, less complex structured steppe like habitats (table 2), while Brooker et al. (1979) list
    57-60 and 34-45 species for equivalent habitats. But the Western Australian desert habitats
    examined by Pianka & Pianka (1970), are less rich with 29-36 species in desert woodland and
    scrub habitats and 15-19 species in treeless steppe habitats. These comparisons partly sustain
    Fyfe’s (1985) claim brought forward without supporting data, that structurally more complex
    habitats should favour birds, but also show that further factors must contribute to the relatively
    depauperate avifauna in the Western Australian desert systems.
    Pianka (1969) suggested that in Australian desert habitats bird and lizard species in-
    crease with habitat complexity but lizards do so faster than birds, contrary to the situation in
    North American desert systems. While this relation holds true for his study plots the situation is
    quite different in Kinchega where lizard and bird diversities show no obvious correlation (table 3).
    There is also no clear correlation between the number of small mammal and bird species in
    Kinchega. Clearly, many more intensive surveys are necessary before any general conclusions
    about habitat and species diversity and about interactions or correlations between different
    vertebrate groups can be drawn.
    My thanks are due to the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service staff for their
    hospitality at Kinchega and for their encouragement throughout this study. I also wish to thank
    Dr S. Ambrose, Department of Zoology, Australian National University, for helpful comments on
    an earlier draft of this paper.
    Blaker, M.S., S.J.J.F Davies & P.N. Reilly. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne Univ.
    Brooker, M.G. 1977. Some notes on the mammalian fauna of the western Nullarbor Plain,
    Western Australia. West Aust. Nat. 14:2-15
    Brooker, M.G. & J.C. Wombey. 1978. Some notes on the herpetofauna of the western Nullarbour
    Plain, Western Australia. West. Aust. Nat. 14:36-41
    Brooker, M.G., M.G. Rldpath, A.J. Estbergs, J. Bywater, D.S. Hart, & M.S. Jones. 1979. Bird
    observations on the northwestern Nullarbor Plain and neighbouring regions, 1967-1978.
    Emu 79:176-19068 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Cogger, H.G. 1984. Reptiles In the Australian Arld Zone. In: H.G. Cogger & E.E. Cameron. Arid
    Australia. Australian Museum: Sydney
    Davies, S.J.J.F. 1976. Environmental variables and the biology of Australian arid zone birds.
    Proc. XVI Int. Ornith. Congr. 481-492. Aust. Academy Sci.: Canberra
  2. Behavioural adaptations of birds to environments where evaporation Is high and
    water is in short supply. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. 71A:557-566
  3. Nomadism as a response to desert conditions in Australia. J. Arid Environm.
  4. A biology of the desert fringe. J. Royal Soc. West Austr. 68:37-50
    Fyfe, G. 1985. A comparison of the ground -dwelling vertebrate faunas found in hummock grass-
    land and mulga shrubland In Central Australia. Herpetofauna 16:49-52
    Immelmann, K. 1963. Drought adaptations In Australian birds. Proc. XIII Int. Ornith. Congr.:694
    Keast, A. 1959. Australian birds: their zoogeography and adaptations to an arid continent,
    pp. 89-114. In: Keast, A., R.L. Crocker & C.S. Clayton: Biogeography and Ecology in
    Australia. Junk: The Hague
  5. The evolutionary biogeography of Australian birds, pp. 1586-1635. In:Keast, A.
    Ecological Biogeography of Australia. Junk: The Hague
    Heinzel, H., R. Fitter & J. Parslow. 1972. Pareys Vogelbuch. Parey: Hamburg
    McKenzie, N.L. & A.C. Robinson. 1987. A Biological Survey of the Nullarbor Region, South and
    Western Australia in 1984. Woolman, Governm. Printer, Adelaide
    Planka, E.R. 1969. Habitat specificity, speciation, and species density in Australian desert
    lizards. Ecol. 50:489-502
  6. Ecology and natural history of desert lizards. Princeton Univ. Press: Princeton, NJ
    Planka, H.D. & E.R. Pianka. 1970. Bird censuses from desert localities in Western Australia. Emu
    Pizzey, G. 1985. A field guide to the birds of Australia. Collins: Sydney
    Robertson, G., J. Short & G. Wellard. 1987. The environment of the Australian sheep rangelands,
    pp 14-34. In: G. Caughley, N. Shepherd & J. Short: Kangaroos. Cambridge Univ. Press:
    Serventy, D.L. 1971. The biology of desert birds, pp 289-339. In: Farner, D.S. & J.R. King: Avian
    Biology, Vol. I. Acad. Press: New York
    Slater, P. 1970. A field guide to Australian birds. Vol. I: Non -Passerines. Rigby: Sydney
  7. A field guide to Australian birds. Vol. II: Passerines. Rigby: Sydney
    Klaus Henle, Im Kalk 3. 7255 Rutesheim, Federal Republic of Germany69
    August 1989
    NESTING OF THE WOSIGA PIGEON Leucosarcia melanoluca
    Further observations at the two nests of the Wonga Pigeon Leucosarcia melanoleuca In 1987
    showed that some remarks made by Marchant (1987) were wrong and enable me now to give a
    more comprehensive account of the nesting cycle. Both nests were in the Mogo State Forest at
    Mulbrook Road, Moruya (35° 56’S, 150° 06’E), a description of which has been given already
    (Marchant 1979). All times are given as Eastern Standard.
    Nest A was on a horizontal fork of an upper flat branch of a casuarina, about 15 m high – a site
    that had also been used in 1986 for an unsuccessful nest. could view it clearly with 8×50 and
    10×50 binoculars from 30-50 m, from below eye level, but could not see the ground round the
    base of the tree. Thus, could not see the approach of relieving birds, which is usually or even
    invariably made on the ground. Nest B, probably a replacement after the loss of nest A and
    about 120 m distant from It, was in the trl-fork of a sloping trunk of a stringy -bark Eucalyptus
    mullerana, 20 m in height. It was clearly in view from eye -level at 40 m, as was also a good part of
    the ground round the tree. Here I could often see the approach of the relieving bird, which is
    what allows me to correct with confidence previous mistaken interpretations.
    Nest A. noted on 15 September that the old nest had almost disappeared and that there was
    no rebuilding. At 17:00 hrs on 23 September an adult was sitting on the new nest. At relief at
    07:10 hrs on 9 October, the relieved bird flew away with two half shells, dropping them almost at
    once. At 08:02 hrs on 10 October, it flew off again carrying egg -shells and later I found one half
    about 120 m away. The nest was unaccountably destroyed between 08:10 and 13:05 hrs on 16
    October. One dead squab was on the ground.
    Nest B. At 17:20 hrs on 29 October found the nest with an adult sitting. At 06:57 hrs on
    13 November, the relieved bird flew away with egg -shells and at 16:05 hrs on 14 November also
    did so. At 07:00 hrs on December, after a gale force wind all night, the nest was empty but I
    found both young,uninjured and able to fly 20+ m, on the ground nearby; they seemed no less
    immature than other recently fledged squabs that have seen previously. had feared that the
    I I
    young had been blown out of the nest prematurely but, after having seen them, doubted wheth-
    er this can have happened.
    This means that building of nests, new or replacement. takes no more than 8-12 days
    and probably several days less; that laying is at an interval of about 24 hrs; that incubation starts
    with the laying of the first egg; that hatching is asynchronic at an Interval of 24-36 hrs; and that
    the Incubation period Is at least 17-18 days and the nestling period 18-19 days, depending on
    which egg or chick is considered. There is no previous adequate determination of these periods
    except that of Frith (1982) who quotes B.E. Triggs for a nestling period of 26-27 days. Such a
    large discrepancy is inexplicable except by error.70 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Table 1 gives details of when relief took place. In the mornings they were between 06:16 and
    08:12 hrs with a median of 07:01-02 hrs but one was exceptionally late (09:08 hrs) and previous-
    ly (Marchant 1987) I recorded one very early (05:35 hrs). In the afternoons they were between
    15:02 and 17:30 hrs with a median of 16:02-03 hrs. Judged by the medians, the time of morning
    reliefs stayed about the same before and after hatching but in the afternoons they generally
    became about half an hour earlier (16:30 v.15:54 hrs). Also, before mid -October (i.e., in Nest A
    with rather few records) reliefs were generally 20-30 minutes later than afterwards (i.e., in Nest
    B), perhaps being related to earlier sunrise and increasing length of daylight.
    had only one record (30 October) of the relieving bird flying to the nesting tree from any
    distance (50+ m). Otherwise it always walked to within about 10 m of the nesting tree and then
    flew up, usually entirely silently with no sound of wing -beats, sometimes almost directly to the
    nest but usually to a perch 3-5 m below. From there It fluttered or hopped by two or three stages
    to a branch just above the nest. The relieved bird then usually left quickly and silently and the
    relief stepped at once onto the nest, leaving the eggs or young uncovered for barely a minute.
    Occasionally the relieved bird was reluctant to fly away and the two birds were at the nest to-
    gether for up to 10 minutes. The only occasions when the nest was left unattended were on 30
    November and 1 December, the last two days before fledging, when the relieved bird left 23 and
    4 minutes respectively before the relief arrived.
    In the morning I did not see the relieving bird until it suddenly flew up into the nesting
    tree, except once. However, it had probably been walking about in the ground vegetation nearby
    for some time because usually saw it fly into the area or walk across open places within 50 m of
    the nest up to an hour before the relief. Once it had flown up into the tree, relief was accom-
    plished in 1-5 minutes. On the day when the first egg hatched in Nest B, the relieving bird came
    to the nest, waited nine minutes, while its mate poked about in the nest, and then flew away; it
    was soon back, waited for another five minutes and left; finally it came back and settled at once
    as soon as its mate had left with the egg -shell.
    In the afternoon, relief was rather more protracted, though this may have been because
    could usually see the relieving bird on the ground close by the nesting tree before it flew up. On
    most occasions relief was accomplished in 2-8 minutes but on eight occasions ranged from 16
    to 60 minutes. During one of these long performances there was a third bird in the area, which
    may have caused the delay. This bird had flown into the nesting tree with noisy wing -beats in
    contrast to the silent flights of the breeding pair, had sat and walked from perch to perch within 5
    m of the nest for 31 minutes and had then flown away. While it was near the nest the sitting bird
    had kept its tall towards It, raised in the cryptic pose (see below), but otherwise had shown no
    interest in it. During the 60 -min delay the relieving bird was evidently alarmed by something
    because it adopted the cryptic pose for a while on the ground but could see nothing that might
    have frightened it. On 2 and 28 November, when witnessed no relief, the relieving bird came to
    the nest and flew away without disturbing its mate. This puzzled me because, if it was the female
    coming for its nightly stint (see below), it must either have returned much later (after 18:45 hrs)August 1989 71
    TABLE 1: Times (EST) of reliefs in morning and Male Female
    afternoon at two nests of the Wonga Pigeon in Relief Stints Relief Stints
    1987, with stints of attendance by male and fe- Nest 8
    male. NW- no watch; ? – no relief during watch; Oct 29 ? 7 —
    H1 and H2 -hatching of first and second egg. 30 7 — 17:10 13h35m
    31 06:45 10h4Om 17:25 13h26m
    Nov 1 06:51 10h22m 17:13 13h59m
    2 07:12 — 7 —
    3 08:06 9h14m 17:20 13h33m
    4 06:53 10h37m 17:30 13h50m
    5 07:20 — ? —
    6 07:55 8h35m 16:30 13h59m
    7 06:29 — 7 —
    8 NW 7
    9 08:12 7
    Male Female 10 NW 15:59
    Relief Stints Relief Stints 11 ? — 7 —
    Nest A 12 06:16 9h20m 15:36 15h21m
    Sep 23 H1 13. 06:57 9h0Om 15:57 14h48m
    NW NW 14 06:45 9h20m H2 16:05 14h35m
    24 ” 15 06:40 — ? —
    25 ” 17:00 16 06:30 8h32m 15:02 15h51m
    26 ” 17:11 — 17 06:53 8h52m 15:45 15h27m
    27 09:08 — 7 15h57m 18 07:12 8hOlm 15:13 15h42m
    28 07:17 9h05m 16:22 14h43m 19 06:55 9h31m 16:26 15h05m
    29 07:05 8h33m 15:38 15h46m 20 07:31 8h23m 15:54 15h07m
    30 07:24 9h32m 16:56 — 21 07:01 10h21m 17:22 13h4Om
    Oct 1 NW — NW 22 07:02 8h09m 15:11 16h31m
    2 07:33 8h50m 16:23 23 07:42 8h20m 16:02 15h25m
    3-8 NW — NW 24 07:27 8h49m 16:16 14h46m
    HI 9 07:10 — 7 — 25 07:02 8h46m 15:48 15h31m
    H2 10 08:02 8h13m 16:15 15h55m 26 07:19 8h23m 15:24 15h42m
    II 08:10 — ? — 27 07:30 7h57m 15:27 16h38m
    12 06:53 — ? — 28 08:05 — 1 —
    13 06:46 8h28m 15:14 16h14m 29 06:23 9h40m 16:03 15h28m
    14 07:45 — 7 — 30 07:31 9h14m 16:45 14h13m
    15 07:52 7h31m 15:23 16h45m Dec 1 06:58 — 7 —
    16 08:08 lost 2 Fledged72 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    than usual or put the change -over routine out of phase, unless of course there had been a relief
    before started to watch at 16:00 and 17:00 hrs and the visitor on both occasions was the male.
    As already reported (Marchant 1987), the afternoon relief is usually accompanied or heralded by
    persistent advertisement calling from near the nest. whereas in the morning there is usually little
    or, If there are some long bursts or series, they sound far from the nest and may not be given by
    a member of the pair. On the strength of what Frith (1982) said, assumed that the male gave
    the persistent calls, often in bouts of up to 250 individual hoots. At Nest B, it was quite certain
    that he did so on the nest in the afternoon, often when there was no sign of the female nearby.
    However, the only indication of calling that he gave was a slight movement of the tail with each
    hoot; his bill was closed and could see no pulsation of his throat.
    Thus, from the data in Table 2. attendance by the pair was as follows.
    Nest A
    Male Range Average Combined Average
    Pre -hatch 8h33m-9h32m 9h0Om
    Post -hatch 7h31m-8h28m 8h04m
    Pre -hatch 14h43m-15h57m 15h29m
    Post -hatch 15h55m-16h24m 16h24m
    Nest B
    Pre -hatch 8h35m-10h4Om 9h41m
    Post -hatch 7h57m-10h2lm 8h49m
    Pre -hatch 13h26m-15h21m 14h04m
    Post -hatch 13h40m-16h38m 15h19m
    The evidence from Nest A was poor but serves to support that from Nest B, which shows that
    the male’s attendance Is generally for about 9 hours and the females for about 15 (37.5 v 62.5%) and
    that the male’s share decreases by about an hour on average after hatching while the female’s in-
    creases by that amount.August 1989 73
    Persistent calling at the time of the afternoon relief was maintained throughout the
    incubation period. After the first egg hatched it was much reduced and became little more than
    the volume associated with the morning relief. usually only a few short low bursts as the female
    approached. It was certainly only on one or two occasions that the female also called and then
    only a brief burst or two of 5-7 hoots when at or very near the nest.
    When relaxed, the sitting bird held its head drawn in and tail almost horizontal (Fig. 1a). When
    could first see it as I approached my watching place, it usually had its tail raised towards me,I
    displaying the mottled undertail coverts, and usually was watching with its head turned aside
    round the tail (Fig. 1b). After a while, it gradually relaxed. I witnessed two good examples of the
    use of the cryptic pose (Fig. 1 c and 1d). The first time, at Nest A the bird had been sitting re-
    laxed, when suddenly it raised its tail and bowed its breast into a most exaggerated position,
    shuffling about on the nest as it did so. then realised that a Square -tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura
    was circling above the tree -tops about 50 m from the nest in the direction towards which the tail
    was raised. The kite drifted away fairly soon and the pigeon relaxed. About five minutes later, the
    kite returned from another direction and the pigeon repeated its performance. The kite could
    have been responsible for destroying this nest. The second time, at Nest B the pigeon from a
    relaxed position quickly assumed the cryptic pose and only then did I notice a Wedge-tailed
    Eagle Aquila audax over the treetops nearby. It drifted away and the pigeon relaxed.
    D. Goodwin (in NO has drawn my attention to the fact that the Torresian Imperial -Pigeon
    Ducula spilorrhoa, the male Superb Fruitdove Ptilinopus superbus and the African Green Pigeon
    Treron calve also have spotted or mottled under tail -coverts. He also sent me a transparency,
    taken by C.B. Frith, of D. spilorrhoa on a nest in the tail -up, body vertical pose, similar to that of
    the Wonga Pigeon (Fig. 1C). He agrees that the spotted under tail -coverts are probably protec-
    tive and not for sexual display as had been thought for T. calve. He is inclined to think that this
    pattern of plumage and the posture represent a fundamental behaviour pattern in pigeons that
    has been lost or altered in most species rather than that they imply a fairly close relationship
    between Leucosarcia. Ducula. Ptilinopus and Treron or that they have arisen independently in
    these genera. When keeping birds in captivity, he noted that rather timid individuals of Feral
    Pigeons Columba livia, Speckled Pigeons C. guineae, turtledoves Streptopelia spp. and Diamond
    Doves Geopelia cuneata crouched on the nest, when approached, with head lowered and hinder
    parts somewhat raised, though not in such an exaggerated fashion as that of L. melanoleuca
    and D. spilorrhoa.
    At hatchIng,the young had pale greyish down, as far as I could make out. The dead squab from
    Nest A, when aged about seven days, was about 13 cm overall and had pale greyish down on
    head, neck and back; its quills were dark grey, about 15 mm long and not yet burst. At Nest B,
    the squabs at 10 days old were becoming restless, walking about round the adults and stretch-
    ing their wings. They appeared well feathered and of the same colour as the adults on the
    upperparts. When they were small and until about half grown, it was hard to determine how often74 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Figure 1. Cryptic pose of Wonga Pigeon at
    nest. Refer to text for discussion.
    a ,.eialiaajY…August 1989 75
    they were fed because the adult was continually poking down under its breast and the young
    could hardly be seen, particularly if the adult was facing away from me. If it was facing me,
    however, I was struck by its grotesque and even menacing appearance (fig. 1D) when its head
    was well tucked down and the white stripes on either side of its neck curled up. This had a dis-
    tinctly aposematic or threatening look about it that could make a predator hesitate before attack-
    ing the bird when in its most defenceless position. Perhaps this explains a pattern of plumage
    that otherwise has seemed to me to be pointless.
    From about ten days old, the squabs were not brooded continuously. They spent more
    and more time sitting alongside or In front of the adult, stretching and flapping their wings. Bouts
    of feeding were less frequent than earlier and recorded them mostly soon after or before the
    relief. was then also able to see that they were fed by incomplete regurgitation with much gulp-
    ing and pushing about by the adult. Apparently both squabs were fed at the same time, one on
    either side of the adult.
    Frith, H.J. 1982. Pigeons and Doves of Australia. Adelaide: Rigby
    Marchant, S. 1979. The birds of forest and woodland near Moruya, NSW. Aust. Birds 13:59-68
    Marchant, S. 1987. Nesting habits of the Wonga Pigeon. Aust. Birds 21:19-2
    S. Marchant. PO Box 123, Moruya NSW 2537
    Pat Bourke grew up on country properties in the Bathurst district where he developed a lively
    interest In birds that stayed with him throughout his life.
    After gaining his Leaving Certificate and training as a teacher, Pat was appointed to
    Bugaldle, a one- teacher school near Coonabarabran. His first contribution to The Emu was
    published in 1939; in the same year he enlisted in the A.I.F. and was attached to the Intelligence
    Corps. After service In the Middle East and in the Pacific he was stationed on the Atherton Table-
    land in 1943. Here he met up with A.F. Austin and their association led to the publication (post-
    humously in the case of Austin) of a major paper on a previously unstudied region: “The Atherton
    Tablelands and its Avifauna” (Emu 47:87-116).
    Pat resumed his teaching career after the war: his progress is marked by the succession
    of his pupils in the annual Gould League competitions. He was an active co-operative contributor
    to Gould League Notes (an Editors dream, in fact) with articles illustrated by his own superb
    photographs or accomplished line drawings. His work was acknowledged by the gold medal
    award of Honorary Life Member of the League.76 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Pat contributed numerous articles to a variety of publications over a period of 50 years.
    Twenty-eight articles, many of them illustrated, were published in the Emu. He joined the New
    South Wales Field Ornithologists Club when it started in 1966, and his articles were published in
    Australian Birds 6:40, 6:55, 11:19 and 20:48. His major ornithological work was his book “Ele-
    mentary Bird Study”, a text book on scientific bird study. Although reprinted 20 years later it Is
    now unfortunately out of print.
    Pat’s contribution to Australian ornithology was recognized in 1983 by the award of the
    Order of Australia. During his retirement at Maitland from 1975 he took an active part in the
    movement to have Kooragang Island dedicated a Nature Reserve, and in the establishment of
    the Shortland Wetland Reserve.
    Paddy Bourke passed away at his home on 26 November 1988. His friends will remem-
    ber him as a quiet, courteous man with an encyclopaedic knowledge of birds. We will miss his
    low-key sense of humour and his rigorous approach to ornithology: our sympathy goes out to
    his widow lona and daughter Kerry.
    P.E. Roberts
    Recent studies of the Long -billed Corella Cacatua tenuirostris in Victoria (Temby and Emison,
  8. Aust. Wild. Res. 13:57-63) and In South Australia (Emison and Beardsell, 1985. S. Aust.
    Ornithol. 29:197-205) have shown that its major foods are (1) the corms of Onion Grass Romulea
    spp, which are usually obtained from pastures, and (2) cereal grains, which are taken from either
    germinating or mature crops or from stubbles.
    Between June 1979 and December 1984 data were also obtained on the food sources
    (e.g. pastures, cereal crops) where flocks of Long -billed Corellas were seen feeding in New
    South Wales. These sightings were made in the Riverina, mainly on the flood plains of the upper
    Edward and Wakool Rivers (to the east of a north -south line drawn through Moulamein) and
    along the Murray River from Barham to Millewa State Forest.
    Information on the food sources where corellas were seen feeding in the Riverina were
    gathered by ourselves (data on about 13 000 birds) and by local naturalists Philip Maher, Peter
    Disher and Evan Thomas (data on about 11 000 birds). Analyses of these data showed that the
    basic food sources of the corellas in the Riverina were similar to those in Victoria and South
    Australia in that 57% of the Riverina birds were feeding in pastures, 41% in cereal crops, and 2%August 1989 77
    in other crops. However, when the types of cereal crops in which the birds were seen feeding
    were analysed there was a marked difference between those being used by the Riverina birds
    and those being used in Victoria and South Australia.
    Of all the Long -billed Corellas seen feeding in cereal crops in the Riverina more than half
    (52%) were In rice crops while the remainder were in oats (31%) and wheat (17%). In contrast, of
    all the corellas seen feeding in cereal crops in Victoria and South Australia most were In oats
    (83% and 72% respectively) with considerably fewer birds in wheat (16% and 18% respectively).
    There were no rice crops in the Victorian and South Australian areas where most of our studies
    were conducted.
    Thus, it appears that in areas where rice crops are grown and where Onion Grass is
    present the main food requirements for the Long -billed CoreIla are satisfied. This may have
    implications for the future of this corella because it is presently expanding its range.
    W.B. Emison and C.M. Beardsell. National Parks and Wildlife Division, PO Box 137, Heidelberg
    Victoria 3084.
    It is perhaps a measure of our ignorance of the nesting of the White -bellied Cuckooshrike
    Coracina papuensis that at the end of the 1986-87 breeding season, after almost 25 years of the
    Scheme, there were only 18 nest record cards for the species. North (1904) and Campbell
    (1900) have almost nothing to say about the breeding of this species, beyond a description of
    nest -site, nest and eggs, in contrast to their usual detailed and informative accounts. can find
    no other useful Information in the literature.
    This lack of knowledge is not surprising because in my experience the birds are rather
    hard to distinguish from Black -faced Cuckooshrikes C. novaehollandiae except by voice, tend to
    be rather silent, and nest Inaccessibly high In woodland and forest, though the height probably
    depends on the general height of the trees In their habitat: the eight nest -records for Northern
    Territory, Queensland and Western Australia give heights of nests as 4-7 m, whereas eight from78 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    New South Wales and Victoria were all 8-20 m high. I have known five nests at Moruya, NSW,
    below eye -level at 30-50 m distance. The following notes summarize my observations, mostly at
    these two nests.
    found the first nest (A) on 7 September, perhaps 1-2 days after building started.
    IncubatiI on started on 17 September and the nest was destroyed on the night of 22-23 Septem-
    ber, possibly by an owl; fragments of it with some contour feathers and a broken egg were on
    the ground. It had been on a horizontal fork of a slender branch of a small angophora tree near
    its extremity and about 20 m high. The adults were easily distinguished: one had a full black
    mask; the other, a black mask with a whitish chin. On 6 October what appeared to be the same
    pair had just started to build another nest (B) about 200 m from the first, again on a horizontal
    fork of a curving branch of a eucalyptus tree, two-thirds out from its centre, again about 20 m
    high. Incubation started on 13 October; hatching occurred on 2-3 November and the last young
    left the nest about 09:00 hrs on 25 November. At both nests, building with no sign of serious
    Incubation on one day was followed by continuous incubation on the next; I therefore think
    that laying started before building finished, as suggested for C. novaehollandiae (Marchant
    1985a) and that incubation started with the laying of the last egg, on 17 September in Nest A
    and on 13 October in Nest B. If so, the incubation period in B was 21-22 days. Only two young
    were ever seen and the clutch -size was probably two. With the last young leaving on 25
    November, the nestling period was 22 days approximately. This is in line with the periods shown
    by other species of Coracina (Marchant 1979, 1985a).
    Both adults built about equally, coming to the nest singly or together. At Nest A building went
    on for at least 10 days before incubation started; at Nest B, for at least seven days. At A,
    however, building occurred in bursts of activity interspersed with periods when the birds disap-
    p the ea rr ee d w. eO ren tw peo r id oa dy ss oI f h 1a 5d – 3t 0o mw ina uit t e8 s0 -9 w0 it hm i nn ou te as c tb ive itf yo ,r e t hs oe ue gin hg oth n em the a t l aa sll t a tn wd o on d ae yv se ry b efd oa ry e
    Incubation, activity was continuous through watches of 73 and 66 minutes. Building visits
    were made every 9-10 minutes on average throughout all my watches (580 minutes). At B,
    building was more continuous without spells of inactivity. Visits were made every six minutes
    on average (watches = 300 min.). The faster building of Nest B suggests that the same pair
    was building a second nest.
    For the most part, the birds were silent while building, collecting material out of sight, a
    g oco co ad s i5 o0 n sm . Afr so m of tt eh ne an se nst o. t,I n noo t mic ae td e ra ia lb ir wd a c s o tolle bc et a s eth enin w htw ei ng tf hr eo m b irdn se a cr a mth ee tn oe ts ht e o n n eo sn t;l y d oth ur be te –
    less they were then carrying cobwebs, which they wiped round the nest and its supports, often
    reaching well over to the underside of the branch on one side, while depressing the tall and
    raising the rump feathers on the other. noticed no exaggerated gaping, which might have
    suggested the use of saliva, but when visiI ble material was brought, it was held well back in the
    gape and not towards the tip of the bill, as was noticed for C. novaehollandiae (Marchant
    1985a).August 1989
    Both nests were in an area colonised by Yellow -tufted Honeyeaters Lichenostomus
    melanops. During building, on five occasions I noticed 1-3 honeyeaters come to the nests
    while the cuckooshrikes were away, poke about in them and apparently remove material.
    Both adults (K = full black mask; W = white chin) shared incubation as follows:
    Watch K W Unattended (min)
    Nest A 1016 525 (52%) 350 (34%) 41 (14%)
    Nest B 550 333 (60.5%) 206 (37.5%) 11 (2%)
    Completed stints of incubation were:
    n Range Average
    Nest A 12 4-42 21.8 (mins)
    Nest B 8 3-83 25
    Nest A 13 2-57 20
    Nest B 5 4-24 12. 5
    Thus, the share was approximately 60(K) -40(W), K perhaps being the female. The watch
    at Nest A was entirely in the first six days, whereas at Nest B it was mostly (75%) in the last five
    days. So, as incubation proceeded, K apparently lengthened its stints and W shortened them.
    Usually one bird stayed on the nest till the other arrived at or near it, so that it was
    unattended only for short periods (n=2, range 1-11 mins, ay. 3.2 mins). There were two excep-
    tionally long absences (34 and 44 mins) on the third and fifth days of Incubation at Nest A,
    which account for half the total absences and which have excluded above. There was no
    ostensible reason for them. I have also excluded brief absences when Australian Ravens Corvus
    coronoides passed near. A pair of these birds had a nest up the valley and single birds were
    constantly flying to and fro. Whenever one passed within 50 m, the sitting cuckooshrike left the
    nest and either waited quietly a few centimetres from it or flew to a nearby tree and returned as
    soon as the danger had passed. Yet the cuckooshrlkes were quite Indifferent to me when
    walked below or near the nest.80 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    If the nest is as flat as North (1904) and Campbell (1900) say, it would probably not
    protect the eggs in high winds such as often occur in spring at Moruya. Therefore it is probably
    dangerous for the incubating bird to leave the nest unattended for long periods and close
    attendance has perhaps evolved as a safeguard, as with the Crested Shriketit Falcunculus
    frontatus (Marchant 1985a).
    Both adults fed the chicks, almost equally (K 22 v. W 20 times) during 661 minutes of watch
    throughout the period, averaging once every 15-16 minutes; at each visit only one young was
    fed. exclude 223 minutes of watch on days 14 and 15 when the chicks were not fed at all. A
    loose flock of more than 20 ravens were foraging for cicadas all through the treetops right
    round the nest on those days and probably kept the adults away from the nest.
    The chicks appeared to be clad in greyish white down when hatched. The adults swal-
    lowed the faecal sacs, even catching them in the air if they fell over the side of the nest. For the
    first five days the adults brooded the chicks almost continuously (172 mins ex 181); by the elev-
    enth to thirteenth day they were guarding them rather than brooding, often merely sitting
    alongside the nest, for about 60% of the time (114 ex 193); after the fifteenth day they hardly
    brooded or guarded them at all (7 ex 65 on Day 17).
    As would be expected, these observations confirm that the breeding habits of C. papuensis are
    similar to those of other sexually monomorphic cuckooshrikes (e.g.. C. novaehollandiae,
    Marchant 1985a). However, because found that these two species are not easily distin-
    guished In the field, It is worth noting those general field characteristics that separate the spe-
    cies and that could probably be confirmed by quantified observations, which could not
    make. As said above, the absolutely diagnostic characteristic of papuensis is its ‘kissik’ or ‘qu-
    izeek’ call (Pizzey 1980). The black facial mask varies so much in papuensis that it was unreli-
    able for recognition, even though papuensis is smaller with a shorter tail and seemed rather
    more ashy grey above than the silvery grey of novaehollandiae. but the distinction was hard to
    make unless two were seen together for comparison. Like novaehollandiae. papuensis indulged
    In aerial chases or displays with neighbouring pairs, when four or more birds flew about over
    and above the treetops, sometimes perching and displacing each other, with much liquid
    ‘chereer’ calling (Pizzey 1980) but the ‘chereer’ of papuensis sounded more highly pitched
    and more tinny, a matter that could probably be proved with sound recording. On perching,
    papuensis shuffled its wings in the manner characteristic of novaehollandiae but, it seemed,
    less often, more briefly and less emphatically, sometimes half opening both wings at the
    same time. When feeding, papuensis perched and foraged right among the outer leaves of
    the canopies of eucalyptus trees, whereas novaehollandiae tended to perch more on the larger
    and barer branches of the tree and flew from them to catch its prey among the leafy parts. Like
    novaehollandiae. papuensis Is absent from woodlands at Moruya, where I worked, from January –
    February to August -September or occurs rarely during that period, so assume that it is quite
    strictly migratory.August 1989
    thank Dr K. Fitzherbert for help with references.
    Campbell, A. J. 1900. Nests and Eggs of Australian Birds. Sheffield; privately.
    Marchant, S. 1979. Nesting of the Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris. Ibis 122:80-84
    —- 1985a. Nesting notes on the Black -faced Cuckoo -shrike. Aust. Birds 20:16-17
    1985b. Nesting notes on the Crested Shrike -tit. Aust. Birds 20:18-22
    North, A. J. 1904. Nests and Eggs of Birds found breeding in Australia and Tasmania.
    Spec. cat. 1. Aust. Mus. Sydney
    Pizzey, G. 1980. A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Sydney: Collins.
    S. Marchant, PO Box 123. Moruya NSW 2537
    On Sunday 15 February 1987 at about 16:30 hrs, Kevin Hatton, Linda Hatton and were walking
    along Lady Carrington Drive in Royal National Park, NSW, when made the following observa-
    Our attention was drawn to a young Fan -tailed Cuckoo Cuculus pyrrhophanus by its
    persistent, loud, high-pitched call. Its plumage was generally brown with buff edges to the feath-‘
    ers on the upperparts. It was perched on a branch about one metre from the ground. Suddenly
    a Grey Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa appeared, its bill crammed with food. The volume of the
    cuckoo’s call increased as the fantail approached to feed it. After being fed, the cuckoo immedi-
    ately resumed calling and about three minutes later a different species of bird flew in and fed it. It
    happened so quickly that did not confirm the identification, but suspected it was a White-
    I I
    browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis. The cuckoo then flew about 10 metres where it landed on
    a branch just a few centimetres from the ground. Its calling continued unabated and after anoth-
    er three or four minutes my suspicions were confirmed when a White-browed Scrubwren ap-
    proached and fed It.
    Since have not researched the literature do not know how common this behaviour is. pre-
    I I I
    sume that the persistent, worrying call of the young cuckoo prompted the feeding reaction in the
    fantail and the scrubwren. Which of the two species was the foster parent remains unknown.
    Ann I.G. Hatton, 38 Gladstone Street. North Parramatta NSW 215182 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
    Robin Bigg’s account of the Bush Stone -curlew Burhinus magnirostris at Glossodia, near Syd-
    ney, NSW (Bigg 1988), Includes a record from the Keith Hindwood Bird Recording Service of the
    species at Prestons, near Liverpool, NSW, in 1949.
    My family’s old home “Bernera” was in the vicinity of Prestons. The original grant to
    Donald McLeod In 1829 extended from the present Bernera Road back to Cabramatta Creek,
    and from the old Bernera Road, now Hoxton Park Road, to the old Hume Highway, now Camden
    Valley Way. Thus the curve of Cabramatta Creek served as a major boundary of the 1000 -acre
    Just before World War II this was for the most part grazing land, with some orchards
    nearby, as well as free-range poultry farms. As typical on the Cumberland Plain, the original
    forest had been slowly cleared and stumped from the earliest days of European settlement. Thus
    Emma Macpherson of “Bernera”, in her description of early Sydney, commented on the disap-
    pearance of the native forests (Macpherson 1860).
    At Prestons as late as 1950 there were unstocked paddocks with substantial regrowth of
    understory, principally Blackthorn Bursaria spinosa. A significant part of the old Church and
    School Lands Estate, known as the Common, was uncleared. One might have expected this
    habitat to have supported Speckled Warblers Chthonicola sagittata as it did Flame Robins Petro-
    ica phoenicea to my recollection.
    Local remnant and regrowth forest included Grey Box Eucalyptus moluccana and Forest
    Red Gum Eucalyptus tereticornis. Spotted Gum Eucalyptus maculata probably once grew on the
    ridges, and ironbarks had been abundant,but as a valuable commercial timber this was cut out
    very early, among other things being used in the construction of “Bernera” homestead in the late
    1850s. Timber unsuitable for building or for post -and -rail fencing was cut for firewood and taken
    by horse and dray to the railway line at Glenfield for transport to the bakers’ ovens of Sydney.
    Wood cutting continued as late as World War II, when the Army monopolised supplies
    for the military camps at Liverpool and Ingleburn.
    The banks of Cabramatta Creek were stabilised by She -oak Casurina cunninghamiana.
    with a fringing scrub cover of Blackthorn and wattles. In my family it was well known that “cur-
    lews” (that Is, Bush Stone -curlews) lived along the creek flats, which at that time were cleared
    grazing paddocks with a few trees. In late winter and early spring these birds were very vocal,
    the calls carrying well through the frosty night air. From our northern verandah about 400m from
    the nearest part of the creek, the birds could be heard wailing on the flat. Often there were a
    number of birds involved along the length of the creek, when the wails rose to a prolongedAugust 1989 83
    sobbing, the like of which Emma Macpherson (1860) might have had in mind when, overlanding
    to the Gwydir, she wrote of the bird whose cry was “pathos impossible to describe”.

Curlews also occupied The Thirty Acre, until about 1950 uncleared and unfenced flood

prone land at the junction of Cabramatta Creek and Hoxton Park Road. It was eerie to alight here

from the late bus out of Liverpool in winter and walk home through the bush while the stone

curlews were calling nearby.
Mrs Terry Fitzpatrick (?formerly Newcombe) of Liverpool told me about 15 years ago that
her father had been the overseer of a section of the water channel running from Cataract Dam to
Prospect. The family had lived in a cottage just beyond the crest of Carne’s Hill where the Brin-
gelly Road crossed the water race. Stone -curlews came into the poultry yards there and fed on
grain with the fowls, as I believe they did back along the old Hume Highway at Prestons.
The decline of the Bush Stone -curlew around Prestons coincided with the closer settle-
ment of the paddocks after World War II, when the laying of long-awaited water mains resulted in
grazing and orchard land being subdivided into market gardens. Poultry farming was soon to be
converted to the battery system.
When my family left the district in 1985, stone -curlews had not been heard for many
years. As fire and grazing, foxes, hunters, dogs and cats had long been present, we believe
changed land use led to the extinction of the Bush Stone -curlew at Prestons and elsewhere on
the Cumberland Plain.
Considering its survival for over 150 years of European settlement, it appears the spe-
cies originally Inhabited the dry sclerophyll forest of the Cumberland Plain, the habitat slowly
changing to grassland with some trees and scrub cover after European settlement.
Daniel Larkins, 225 Kissing Point Road. Turramurra NSW 2074
Cocoparra National Park and Fauna Reserve together cover some 13 000 hectares of open
woodland approximately 25 km north-east of Griffith, New South Wales. The park Is situated In
an area where many birds of the arid interior approach the eastern edge of their range and meet
with other species bordering on the western limit of their distributions.84 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
As a result, the park has a large and varied avifauna, some 148 species having been
recorded since 1968 (see Cocoparra National Park and Nature Reserve; a checklist of birds.
National Parks and Wildlife Service, 1979). From 5-7 October 1986 22 members of the Canberra
Ornithologists group enjoyed a visit to the area and identified over 100 species, including five
new to the area. This information is presented below.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo Four birds were seen flying over the park on the morning
of 6 October; this would constitute a new record for the area, although it is unlikely that the birds
were attracted to any of the dams in the park and were probably in transit from one of the larger
bodies of water near Griffith.
Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis An immature bird was seen flying over lightly wooded grassland
near Woolshed Creek on the afternoon of 6 October. This is the first record of the species from
the area.
Australian Hobby Falco longipennis An adult bird was seen by a number of observers pursuing
a small honeyeater near the campsite at Woolshed Flat early on 6 October; this species has not
previously been recorded from the area.
Little Cuckooshrike Coracina papuensis Around midday on 6 October a single bird of the dark
morph was seen and heard calling as it flew over the campsite. This is a new record for the park.
Inland Thornbill Acanthiza apicalis This species appears on the park list on the basis of several
unconfirmed reports. We saw several birds of this species, mainly around the campsite; they
were distinguished from the more common Chestnut-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza uropygialis by
their streaked breasts and red -brown eyes.
Painted Honeyeater Grantiella picta In the early morning of 6 October a single bird of this spe-
cies was seen by two observers foraging in a eucalypt heavily infested with mistletoe. This
species is recorded only sporadically from the park.
Black Honeyeater Certhionyx nigra Another highly nomadic bird, this species was last recorded
In the park some ten years ago. During our visit the species was unusually common, with large
numbers seen as single birds or small flocks. Substantial numbers were also reported at nearby
Ardlethan by a member of our party.
Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus This species had, until the groups’s visit, not been
recorded from the area but the closely -related Yellow-rumped Pardalote P. xanthopygus had
been observed Irregularly. During our stay in the park a few sightings were made of the former
species and on a number of occasions Its clear piping calls were heard in thicker stands of
forest. The salient features distinguishing this species from the Yellow-rumped Pardalote were
the red -brown rather than yellow rump and a distinct white eyebrow.
In addition, a number of species showed signs of breeding activity: Brown Goshawk Accipiter
fasciatus – a pair Incubating in a eucalypt by a small dam; Red -capped Robin Petroica goode-
novii, a pair building a nest in a blackened stump close to a pair of Chestnut-rumped Thornbills;August 1989 85
Jacky Winter Microeca leucophaea. a pair incubating in a dead eucalypt; Splendid Fairywren
Malurus splendens. a nest with three eggs in a dry creek bed: Chestnut-rumped Thornbill, a pair
nesting between a fold of bark in a burnt -out stump; and White -winged Chough Corcorax
melanorhamphos, a nest containing approximately six nestlings.
The records outlined herein bring the park’s total number of species to 152; 153 if we are to
Included the sighting of the Great Cormorant.
Thanks are due to all Canberra Ornithologists Group members who provided me with details of
their observations and to Mr C.C. Davey who critically read earlier drafts of this paper.
B.J. Lepschi. 24 Fullwood Street. Weston ACT 2611
The Magpie Goose Anseranas semipalmata is usually considered a bird of tropical northern
Australia, although until the early twentieth century it ranged southward into New South Wales
(Frith & Davies, 1961. CSIRO Wild’. Res. 6:91-141; see also Clancy, 1985. Aust. Birds 19:41-45
for a review of recent reports and status in New South Wales). Recent sightings in the Sydney
region are probably of escaped birds: Magpie Geese fly between the Botanic Gardens and
Taronga Zoo in Sydney (Blakers et al. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne Univ.
Press: Melbourne). This note reports the regular occurrence of Magpie Geese in another part of
Sydney: Centennial Park.
In September 1987, I saw three Magpie Geese perched on a stand of papyrus Papyrus
cyperus In the middle of the park. Enquiries revealed that the three birds were a male and two
females (one banded), which had been hatched in 1982 or 1983 at Taronga Zoo.
I visited the park again on 20 December 1987 and found the three birds feeding on the
bulbs of waterlillles Nymphaea sp. In a pond well covered with this plant. Magpie Geese predom-
inantly feed on grass blades and seeds although they also dig for bulbs (Frith & Davies, /cc. cit.).
While feeding, they burled their heads and necks deep in the mud, pausing, with head out, only
for a few seconds. The legs were often bent, possibly allowing deeper penetration. Over a three
week period, they cleared an area about 25 x 2 metres in extent. Feeding was confined to two
areas of shallow water86 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
A pair of the birds nested on one of the most southerly ponds, along Alison Road, in the
middle of January 1988, but the nest was later washed away by heavy rain, and one of the three
birds was found dead on the same pond. The birds renested about the middle of March in reeds
on a small island in the same pond. By the middle of April, the pair was again feeding but there
was no sign of any young.
The birds have probably been resident in the park since September 1987 because staff
at Taronga Zoo have not seen them since this time. There are large areas of waterlillies in the
park which may provide sufficient food for the geese. A small population could be supported by
the park and this can only be desirable. as it adds to the diversity of waterfowl already resident.
R.T. Kingsford. 2/9 Abbotford St. Kensington NSW 2033
On 31 October 1984 at 17:30 hrs one of us (Smith) was at the entrance to Lake Illawarra at
Windang, NSW, after heavy storms had battered the area. The weather was clearing with sunny
periods during the time of observation. On a small sandbar on the southern side of the entrance
channel a small wader was observed with a group of Bar -tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica. After
ten minutes observation with a 20x spotting scope the bird could not be identified and field notes
were taken.
The bird was approximately 50 metres away in excellent light, the sun behind the ob-
server. It was standing in water up to its knees and appeared to be approximately one third the
size of a Bar -tailed Godwit. It was long -winged and of slender appearance. The bill was short
and straight, similar in structure to that of a Red Knot Calidris canutus. and appeared wholly
black. The eye was dark, with no discernible eye ring. The forehead was brownish, but this
colour did not extend onto the crown, which was grey. A small dark area extended behind the
eye and there was a darker patch near the ear coverts. The throat was white. The breast was
streaked and mottled grey -brown, these markings almost forming a complete breast band. The
upperparts appeared uniformly greyish, and the underparts were white with some grey feather-
ing along the flanks below the closed wings. The legs appeared black.
At 18:10 hrs the birds were disturbed by dogs. Upon rising the bird did not call. In flight it
showed a slight wing bar on an otherwise dark wing. Its wing coverts appeared lighter than the
primaries. The rump was conspicuously white against a brownish back and tail band, which was
darker in the centre. The legs did not extend beyond the tail.August 1989 87
After watching the group of birds descend beyond Windang Bridge, Chafer was contact-
ed, and we agreed on a rendezvous. On Smith’s arrival at the rendezvous he noticed a group of
waders which included Grey -tailed Tattlers Tringa brevipes. Bar -tailed Godwits, Red Knots,
Lesser Golden Plovers Pluvialis dominica. and Greenshanks Tringa nebularia. When about 100
metres from the flock a group of about thirty Red Knots took to the air. In this group was the bird
In question, easily discernible by its white rump and smaller size. However, when Chafer arrived
the bird could not be located.
On 9 November 1984 at 16:00 hrs Chafer located a similar wader in a muddy pool of
water adjacent to the car park on the southern side of the entrance channel to Lake Illawarra.
Chafer realized immediately that It was the bird observed by Smith nine days earlier. Also in the
pool were six Red -capped Plovers Charadrius ruficapillus. This bird was larger than the Red –
capped Plovers and, using a 20X spotting scope, Chafer took the following notes.
The general shape and plumage was as described by Smith. The bird fed by shallow
probing in short grass and muddy pool edges, then walking a few steps and repeating the
process. Often when probing the bird would crane up on its toes and stretch its neck, giving it a
long -necked appearance. After fifteen minutes of observation Chafer decided to put the bird up.
In flight Chafer noticed the indistinct wing bar, the white rump, brown tail band and the fact that
the feet did not extend past the tail. It did not call and quickly flew to the other side of the en-
trance in typical zigzag Calidris fashion. The bird could not be located again despite an intensive
After comparing our notes with available literature we concluded that the bird was a
White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis and thus represents the second record for New
South Wales (Morris, McGill & Holmes, 1981. A Handllst of birds in New South Wales. NSWFOC:
Sydney) and the first record for the County of Camden (Gibson, 1977. Aust. Birds 11:41-80).
L.E. Smith. 5/50 Peterbourgh Av. Lake Illawarra South NSW 2528
C.J. Chafer, 69 Lake Heights Road. Lake Heights NSW 2502
Puffinus creatopus IN AUSTRALIAN WATERS
On 22 March 1986 on board the charter vessel Sandra K, a group of observers were approxi-
mately 21 km east of Wollongong, NSW, over 70 fathoms of water when a “black and white”
shearwater was seen on the horizon. At first taken for a possible Fluttering Shearwater Puffinus
gavia. it became evident as it came closer that it was far too big to be that species, and its identi-88 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
ty was uncertain. The bird approached to within, initially, about 300 metres of the boat, and set-
tled on the water, whereupon we manouevered the Sandra K to a position alongside it. We then
photographed and studied it at close range for some considerable time.
Upperwings and back uniform grey -brown, the crown being dark brown with a grey tinge. Chin,
throat, sides of face to a line from the gape extending below the eye and down the side of the
neck to the breast and belly, white. Sides of breast, vicinity of the axillaries and downwards onto
the flanks, dusky brown, the feathers quite worn, producing a mottled, blotchy appearance: the
region around the eye looked a little blotchy also. Underwings mainly whitish down the centre,
apart from the axillaries. the marginal and lesser coverts, the outer six or so primaries, and tips of
all flight feathers, which were dusky brown. The whitish underwing was prominent at a consider-
able distance, as were the white underparts. Legs and feet pink. Undertail and undertail coverts
dusky brown. Bill pale yellowish pink colour, with a dark tip on both mandibles, though one
observer (D. Fischer) described the bill as more pinkish than pale yellow.
Apart from extensive white in the plumage, the bird resembled a Flesh -footed Shear –
water Puffinus carneipes in size, build and general appearance (though a steep forehead was
noted), but the upperparts were greyer in shade, and it differed somewhat in jizz, looking slightly
bigger and bulkier, and flying somewhat more slowly: it also appeared to sit higher on the water.
According to Harrison (1983. Seabirds: an identification guide. Croom Helm: Becken-
ham, UK), the “combination of greyish -brown upperparts, white underparts, mottled underwings
and dark tipped pinkish bill” — all features displayed by our bird — are diagnostic of this species,
though he cautions against possible confusion with the pale morph of the Wedge-tailed Shear –
water P. pacificus. However, observers present had extensive field experience with Wedge-tailed
Shearwater, which has an extremely distinctive flight style and jizz, is distinctly smaller, more
lightly built, and has a dark, more slender bill than the bird we studied. There were several
Wedge-tailed Shearwaters and Flesh -footed Shearwaters in the vicinity for immediate compari-
son during our observations.
This appears to be the first record of the Pink -footed Shearwater in Australasian waters.
Alan McBride. PO Box 190. Cremorne Junction NSW 2090August 1989
On 7 April 1984, D. Fischer and I were conducting a wader survey of the lower Shoalhaven River
estuary east of Nowra, NSW. While looking through a flock of Red -necked Stints Calidris ruficol-
I If ms mon e dth iae t en lyo r sth ue sprn e cs ti ed de to hf a C t o itm we ar so n ag L iI ts tll ea n Sd t inI tc a Cm . e m ia nc ur to as as na d s bti en gt ath n a tt o l o tao kk ee d d es tl aig ilh edtly fid ei ldff e nre on tet. s . I
Fischer was some distance away when the bird was noticed and was able to observe the bird
only briefly.
Size and shape similar to that of C. ruficollis, but appearing slightly hump -backed. Bill and legs
black, the bill slightly longer than that of ruficollis. Crown brownish, streaked darker, the streaks
continuing down the nape. Eyebrow white, large, and extending well beyond the eye. Overall
facial pattern different to that of the other stints. Throat white. A band of pale rufous, streaked
darker, extended across the breast. Feathers of mantle dark, a conspicuous white V extending
from near the shoulders to the lower back. The scapulars and coverts near the white V were
dark, edged rufous and white, but became gradually paler downward toward the primaries.
Primaries black, edged rufous and white, extending slightly beyond the tail. In flight, the rump
appeared black with large white borders; a faint wingbar extended along the wing. The bird did
not call.
Foraging consisted of rapid shallow thrusts into the sand. This was done in quick,
short, jerky walks, then stop and repeat. The bird fed near, but not with, the other stints and was
chased when it approached them too closely. After several minutes of observation the whole
flock took off and split up for no apparent reason. Despite vigorous searching we were unable to
relocate the bird.
I returned the next day with L.E. Smith. However, weather conditions had deterio-
rated to rain squalls and strong southerly winds, and we were unable to relocate the bird.
I was able to observe the bird for approximately four minutes under perfect lighting conditions,
using 8×30 binoculars and a x20 spotting scope at a distance of approximately thirty meters.
Fischer was able to view the bird for about one minute.
Direct comparison was possible with C. ruficollis in various stages of breeding
plumage throughout the observation period: the bird stood out from the other stints because of
the conspicuous white V on its mantle, and its larger supercilium, white throat, pale rufous
breast, different facial pattern and brighter upperparts.90 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
Upon returning home we consulted Prater et al. (1977) and Curry et al. (1983). Both
of these references contained descriptions of birds with features similar to our bird. Later I
showed my field notes to a visiting German ornithologist, Bjorn Tupay, who agreed with our iden-
tification. Two recent Australian field guides (Simpson & Day 1984 and Slater et al. 1986) also
call attention to some of the field marks we noted, especially the white throat, white V on the
mantle, and relatively pale breast band; these features are also stressed by Hayman et al.
It Is interesting to note that, like our bird, the Western Australian birds were ob-
served in April among Red -necked Stints; and also that the colour of the breast band is variously
described In the literature as “orange -chestnut” (Prater et al. 1977), “brown” (Curry et al 1983),
“orange” (Simpson & Day 1984); “buff or grey” (Slater et al. 1986) and “rufous, more orangey than
C. ruficollis, not brick red” (Haymen et al. 1986).
therefore conclude that the bird was a Little Stint Calidris minuta, probably moult-
ing Into breeding plumage. This would appear to be the first record for this species in New South
Wales (Morris, McGill & Holmes 1981).
Curry, P.J.; R.P. Jaensch; P. Congrave, & S.D. Keeling. 1983. First records of Little Stint, White-
rumped Sandpiper, Buff -breasted Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover from south-west-
ern Australia. The Stilt 4:6-12
Hayman, P.; J. Marchant & T. Prater. 1986. Shorebirds: an identification guide to the shorebirds
of the world. Sydney: Croom Helm Australia Pty Ltd
Morris, A.K.;A.R. McGill. & G. Holmes. 1981. Handlist of birds in New South Wales. Sydney:
NSW Field Ornith. Cl.
Prater, A.J.; J.H. Marchant & J. Vuorinen. 1977. Guide to the identification and ageing of holarctic
waders. Tring, U.K.:Maund & Irvine Ltd
Simpson, K. & N. Day. 1984. The birds of Australia. Melbourne:Lloyd O’Neill Pty Ltd
Slater, P.; P. Slater & R. Slater. 1986. The Slater field guide to Australian birds. Sydney:Rigby
C.J. Chafer, 69 Lake Heights Road. Lake Heights NSW 2502August 1989 91
On 26 January 1988, Martin Moss and observed a bird resembling a Cox’s Sandpiper Calidris
paramelanotus feeding on the tidal mud flats on the western side of the northern approaches to
Stockton Bridge, Newcastle. The bird was first observed at a distance of 50m feeding with a
group of Curlew Sandpipers C. ferruginea. It was immediately noticeable as different by its dark
olive legs, streaked breast and crown and a browner appearance. The bird was watched for
some minutes using a Bushnell x25 telescope, it then moved, was subsequently re -located and
watched for a further four minutes, before it flew off towards a distant part of the tidal flats.
The following features were noted:
Size: about the same size and shape of the Curlew Sandpiper. Bit: was black, long and down –
curved. It was comparable in size, shape and colour to that of a Curlew Sandpiper.Head ri_d
Neck: very pale and finely streaked darker. Crown: very pale and streaked black or a very dark
colour, but not as finely streaked as the head and neck. Eyestripe: present, very pale or white,
extending from the bill back beyond the eye. Breast: pale buff, darkly streaked. UpperDarts:
cryotid with a brown appearance. Underparts: white. Leas: dull olive-green, and about the same
length as those of a Curlew Sandpiper. Summary: the bird looked like a Curlew Sandpiper in all
ways except in the colouration of the plumage and legs, The light conditions were excellent as it
was a fine, sunny day with the sun shining onto the bird from behind me. Unfortunately, the
rump pattern of the bird was not observed.
was not carrying a field guide at the time but consulted Hayman, Marchant & Prater
(1986), on returning to my vehicle. All the features noted were consistent with those of a Cox’s
Sandpiper. The following birds were dismissed for the reasons stated:
Pectoral Sandpiper C. melanotus and Sharp -tailed Sandpiper C. acuminate because the
bill was too long, black and down -curved, also the lack of a distinctive rufous crown. Dunlin C.
alpine because the legs were dull olive-green and not black. My bird had extensive fine streak-
ings on the head and neck and lacked a distinctive crown or black belly. Curlew Sandpiper
because of the colour of the legs and the brownish appearance.
Further reference to Slater et al. (1986 The Slater Field Guide To Australian Birds, Sydney:
Rigby Publishers) and Lindsey, Ed. (1987 Shorebirds of Australia. Sydney: Angus & Robertson
Publishers), confirmed my identification of the bird as a Cox’s Sandpiper.92 Australian Birds 22 (3-4)
This observation of Cox’s Sandpiper may be the first record for New South Wales, in
view of the uncertain identity of a similar bird recorded at Stockton in 1981. This bird, captured
on 21 March 1981 was described by Lane et al. (1981. Corella 5:114-115) as most probably a
hybrid between a Curlew Sandpiper and a Sharp -tailed Sandpiper, but subsequently doubt has
been thrown on its Identity and Cox (1987, South Aust. Ornithol. 30:85-97) considers it to be a
hybrid between a Curlew Sandpiper and a Pectoral Sandpiper.
This bird stayed in the area for several weeks and was last sighted about mid -February.
I wish to thank Alan K. Morris for his assistance in the preparation of this report.
Allan 0. Richards 34/13 Stewart St. Glebe, NSW, 2037.NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS
Contributors are requested to observe the following points when submitting articles and notes
for publication.

  1. Species, names, and the order in which they occur are to be in accordance with
    “Handlist of Birds In New South Wales”. A.K.Morris, A.R.McGill and G.Holmes 1981
    Dubbo: NSWFOC.
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  12. 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. & M.D.Bruce. 1974. The status of the Blue Petrel in Australian waters
    Aust. Birds 9:32-35
  13. Acknowlegements to other individuals should not include Christian names or initals.Volume 22,No.3-4 August 1989
    K.Henle A two year avifaunistic survey in Kinchega National Park 53
    western New South Wales
    S.Marchant Nesting of the Wonga Pigeon Leucosarcia melanoluca: 69
    Corrections and additions
    P. Roberts Obituary: P.Bourke 1915-1988 75
    W.B. Emison and Long -billed Corellas feeding in rice crops in the 76
    C.M. Beardsell Riverina region of New South Wales
    S. Marchant Nesting of the White -bellied Cuckooshrike 77
    Coracina papuensis
    A.I.G. Hatton A juvenile Fan -tailed Cuckoo fed by two different 81
    species of small bird
    D. Larkins Bush Stone -curlews: recollections of their occurrence 82
    at Preston, New South Wales
    B. Lepschi Some notable records from Cocoparra National Park, NSW 83
    R.T. Kingsford Magpie Geese in Centennial Park, Sydney, NSW 85
    L.E. Smith & A White-rumped Sandpiper at Windang, NSW 86
    C.J. Chafer
    A. McBride The first record of the Pink -footed Shearwater 87
    Puffinus creatopus in Australian waters
    C.J. Chafer A Little Stint at Comerong Island 89
    A.O. Richards Cox’s Sandpiper at Stockton, Newcastle 91
    Registered by Australia Post- Publication No. NBH0790
    Printed by Drumpoyne Copying, 56 Thomopson Street, Drummoyne. 81 1888