Vol. 23 No. 2-text

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Journal of the
Volume 23, No.2 December 1989
President P.Davie
Vice -President S.Fairbairn
Secretary R.Hill
Treasurer R.Morrow
Assistant Secretary N.Maxwell
Minutes Secretary J.Ironside
Activities Officer A.O.Richards
Conservation Officer E.Karplus
Editor, Australian Birds A.K.Morris
Production, Aust. Birds R.Browne
Editor, Newsletter T.Karplus
Records Officer R.M.Cooper
Committee Members J.Melville
The object of the club is to promote the study and conservation of Australian birds and the
habitats they occupy.
Annual subscription rates of the Club (due October each year) are:
Adult Member $25.00
Junior Member (up to 17 years) $10.00
All members recieve a newsletter and a copy of the quarterly journal ‘Australian Birds’. The
price of the journal is $5.00 plus postage per issue to non members. Club badges are
available to club members at $2.50 or $3.00 if posted. The club holds a meeting and a field
excursion each month.
All correspondence should be addressed to the Hon. Secretary and all 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: Wombat St, Berkeley Vale NSW 2259.
Volume 23, (2) December 1989
In Australian Birds Vol. 21 No 3, an article by Dariel Larkins entitled “Bush Stone Curlews:
Recollections of their occurrence at Prestons, NSW”, an error occurred in the text as
published, while the “Acknowledgements” and “References” section of the paper were
omitted altogether.
Similarly, in Australian Birds Vol. 23 No 1 in the article by Alan Morris, entitled ‘The
birds of Botany Bay National Park”, one whole page was omitted as a result of an error on the
original computer disk. The missing page could not be retrieved prior to the issue going to
press. The opportunity, is therefore taken to correct these errors and to apologise to the
authors and to the readers for the loss of the sections of the two papers.
The Editor.
In paragraph 4, page 82, Aust. Birds 22:82 (1989) insert “red -breasted robins” for Flame
robins Petroica phoenicea.
This account is based on the records of Bernera Farm, and on the recollections of three
generations of the Havard family. Further comments on woodcutting at Prestons are available
from the records of the Church and School Lands, NSW Archives Office, Sydney, and from
the unpublished papers of Elizabeth Edmonson, Australian War Memorial Archives,
Canberra, ACT.
Bigg, R. 1988. Bush Stone -Curlew breeding near Glossodia. Aust. Birds 21:78
Macpherson, E. 1860. My Experiences in Australia, being recollections of a visit to the
Australian Colonies in 1856-7. London.
Brush Cuckoo Cuculus variolosus
Rare; summer migrant, Oct -Mar. Eucalyptus forests & woodland.
Fantailed Cuckoo Cuculus pyrrhophanus
Common; Winter visitor, Apr -Sept. Woodlands.
Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx basalis
Uncommon; summer migrant, Aug -Feb. Heathlands & woodland.
Shining Bronze Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus
Rare; summer migrant, Aug -Feb. Singles in Congwong Bay- Henry Head 20/9/86 &
20/2/88, more regular on southern headlands. Woodland & forests.
Common Koel Eudynamys scolopacea
Rare; summer visitor, Oct -Feb. Favours fig trees at Captain Cooks Landing Place.
Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides
Uncommon; woodland & forest. Resident.
Spine -tailed Swift Hirundapus caudacutus
Uncommon; summer migrant, Oct -Mar. Hawking over heathlands & woodlands.
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae
Common; resident. Woodland & forest. Absent northern headlands!
Sacred Kingfisher Halcyon sancta
Common; summer migrant, Sept -Mar. Woodlands & forest. Only northside record at
Congwong Bay 20/9/87.
Dollarbird Eurystromus orientalis
Uncommon; Summer migrant, Oct -Feb. Pair nest in tall Eucalyptus at Little
Congwong Bay & another pair at Captain Cooks Landing Place.
Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena
Common; most habitats. Nests on cliffs and in fortifications.
Tree Martin Cecropsis nigrigans
Rare; vagrant. Single Henry Head 21/8/86 and La Perouse 20/2/87.
Fairy Martin Cecropsis ariel
Uncommon; summer migrant, Aug -Feb. Regularly at Kurnell, nesting in culvert in
village. Small flocks.
Australian Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae
Uncommon; resident. Low heath, golf courses & grass areas. Breeds.
Experience at Moruya since 1974 makes it probable that the breeding season of passerines
and near -passerines, as defined by the laying of new clutches, in these parts ends with the
calendar year. Out of several hundred accurately aged nests of about 40 species, a mere
handful has been started after January: Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis,
1 1 1
Superb Fairy -wren Malurus cyaneus, 8 Yellow -faced Honeyeaters Lichenostomus chrysops,
3 Grey Fantails Rhipidura fuliginosa, 2 Rufous Fantails R. rufifrons and 1 Leaden Flycatcher
Myiagra rubecula. This disregards the Superb Lyrebird Menura novaehollandiae and the
Red-browed Firetail Emblema temporalis which start nests in June and from November to
June respectively.
It was not particualrly surprising to find the nest of a Yellow -tufted Honeyeater
Lichenostomus melanops on 22 January 1989 with two new -laid eggs because some
species (above) normally do start nests late in this area. It was, however, a suprise to find an
egg of the Pallid Cuckoo Cuculus pallidus in the nest on 24 January. It hatched on 4-5
February, the Honeyeater’s eggs were ejected on 5-6 February but the young Cuckoo was
lost between 8 and 14 February.
The surprise was for several reasons. First, no Pallid Cuckoo’s egg had been found
before in the study area. In fact, the species is not a member of the breeding community in
woodland and forest hereabouts. It has rarely even been seen in the area, although its song
is heard every year at the edge of the woodlands or in partly cleared land 200-500 metres
from the limits of the area. Secondly, in 1988-89 the last record of the Cuckoos was on 18
November and by 24 January it was reasonable to suppose that they had long since left.
Thirdly, it may be supposed that, like the European Cuckoo C. canorus, the Pallid Cuckoo
does not breed in simple pairs or that the possibility of true pair formation is unlikely (Wyllie
1981), that one female lays one or two clutches each year and that, just like other birds, she
produces about 12-20 eggs each year and lays them fairly continuously at a rate of one
every two days during a period of about 6 weeks (Chance 1922, 1940), starting as soon as
she is in condition and can find suitable hosts. In other words, at Moruya the Pallid Cuckoos,
arriving in the last part of September, would probably have finished laying for the season by
the end of November.
What then was a Cuckoo doing laying so late, after its laying period was probably at
an end? It is ridiculous to suggest what might seem to be the only explanation, if the above
speculations are right: that an itinerant female Cuckoo, probably migrating late, met an
Page 28 Australian Birds Vol 23 No 2equally itinerant male just at the time when she happened to have come across a nest
suitable for parasitizing, and waited about for some days to complete the necessities for
laying. The matter would be explained much more parsimoniously, if the female Cuckoo had
mated some time earlier and had stored the sperm until the opportunity for laying occurred.
Prolonged storage of sperm in domesticated birds has been known for over 200
years and the duration of storage has been determined in captivity in Anseriformes,
Falconiformes, Galliformes, Columbiformes and Psittaciformes (Birkhead 1987). The
maximum duration has ranged from 6-8 days in three Columbiformes to 72 days in the Turkey
Meleagris gallopavo and the mean duration has been 42-51 days in the Turkey, 21-22 days
in the Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus and 11 days in the Budgerigah Melopsittacus
undulatus. Evidence from wild birds is available only from seabirds. Among them, the
Common Guillemot Uria aalge has a mean interval from the last observed copulation to laying
of 8.1 days; the Black-browed Albatross Diomedea melanophrys, of 14.6 days; the Northern
Fulmar Fulmarus galacialis, of 19 days; Buller’s Shearwater Puffinus Outten of 30 days; and
the Great -winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera, of 60 days (Birkhead 1987).
Thus, storage of sperm is not uncommon, at least among non -passerine birds and
can be for a long time. At this stage it would be too much to suggest that it occurs among
cuckoos, especially because, knowing _so little about their breeding habits, we cannot be
sure of such factors as pair bonding, frequency of cnpulations and so on, which have a close
relation to the question of sperm storage. However, it is obvious that, if it does occur, it could
explain much that is puzzling in the breeding of cuckoos, from their ability to parasitize hosts,
themselves with uncertain times of laying, to apparently late or out -of -season breeding, as
described above. Perhaps this note will stimulate others to look for, and record, similar
oddities. With enough examples, even isolated ones, we could begin to ask questions
needed for further research.
am grateful to Dr P.J.Fullagar for discussion and comment and especially for
providing me with Dr Birkhead’s paper.
Birkhead, T.R. 1987. Behavioural aspects of sperm competition in birds. Adv. Study Behay.
Chance, E. 1922. The Cuckoo’s Secret. London: Sidgwick & Jackson.
Chance, E. 1940. The truth about the Cuckoo. London: Country Life.
Wyllie, I. 1981. The Cuckoo. London: Batsford.
S. Marchant, P.O.Box 123, Moruya, NSW, 2537.
The Monaro Region of south-eastern New South Wales covers some 15470 km2 of
tableland, montane and alpine country bordered in the north by the Australian Capital
Territory, in the south by the Victorian border, the Snowy Mountains in the west and the
Gourock Range in the east.
Costin (1954) studied in detail the ecology of the area, particularly the botany and
pedology, and also provided reasonably complete faunal lists. The bird list consists of 160
species (by current taxonomy; introduced species are listed seperately on p.131), and has
been frequently referred to by authors working on the avifauna of the region (eg. Gall &
Longmore 1978, National Capital Development Commission 1984), however, closer
examination of the list shows it to be somewhat inaccurate.
Costin, being a botanist by profession, carried out no fieldwork and based the list on
distributional data contained in Caley (1944) and Royal Australian Ornithologists Union
(1926) as well as the limited field observations of McKeon (1946). Caley and the 1926 RAOU
Checklist were both rather inaccurate on distribution, and some of McKeon’s records are
questionable (see below). Costin appears to have unwittingly transcribed errors perpetrated
by these authors into his list.
Most species listed by Costin are found in the area, while some may occur as
vagrants (such as Black -tailed Native -hen Tribonyx ventralis, Spotted Harher Circus assimilis,
Black -eared Cuckoo Chrysococcyx osculans and Crimson Chat Ephthainura tricolor),
although know of no specific records to support this. Others are clearly erroneous (eg.
Brush Turkey Alectura lathami, Orange -bellied Parrot Neophema chrysogaster, Elegant
Parrot N. elegans, and Ground Cuckoo -shrike Coracina maxima). There are some notable
omissions; for instance: Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos, Golden Whistler
Pachycephala pectoralis, White -throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaea and Yellow –
faced Honeyeater Lichenostomus chrysops. All this appears to reflect the way in which the
list was compiled; by an author with little ornithological knowledge using inaccurate published
material. Consequently, Costin’s bird list for the Monaro Region should be disregarded by
future workers.
As a recognised area for ornithological observations, the region overlaps with the
Canberra Ornithologists Group’s “area of concern” (see Canberra Ornithologists Group
1985) and includes montane areas dealt with in studies such as Gall and Longmore (1978),
Jordon and Rodwell (1965) and Longmore (1970), and therefore, compilation of a revised
bird list would probably be of little value.
Page 30 Australian Birds Vol 23 No 2It may be of value to briefly discuss the observations made by McKeon (1970), as
these appear to be the only major field observations for the area prior to Costin’s work.
McKeown covered the Kosciusko area of the region in early 1946 and recorded 58
species (three cited by genus only); of these, the following appear to be erroneous: Bell
Miner Manorina melanophrys, Lewin’s Honeyeater Meliphaga lewinii and Black -faced
Woodswallow Artamus cinereus (= melanops). The latter two appear to be mis-identifications
for the White -eared Honeyeater Lichenostomus leucotis and Dusky Woodswallow A.
cyanoleuca respectively, while the Bell Miner too appears to be a mis-identification, but the
actual species in question is not clear (the only possible similar species, the Noisy Miner M.
melanocephla, does not occur in alpine regions (Blakers etal 1984).
The list also includes two other species which are somewhat doubtful; Peaceful
Dove Geopelia placida and a Myzomela sp. honeyeater (Scarlet Honeyeater M.
sanguinolenta?). Both species are unusual for the Kosiusko area, although Blakers eta’ (op.
cit.) cites records for the latter for the “Snowy Mountains”.
Apart from these few doubtful records, McKeown’s list is quite sound, although as
for Costin (1954) there are some suprising omissions.
Blakers, M., Davies, S.J.J.F. & P.N. Reilly. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne:
Melbourne Uni. Press.
Caley, N. 1944. What Bird Is That? Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
Canberra Ornithologists Group. 1985. A Field List to the Birds of Canberra and District.
Canberra: Canberra Ornithologists Group.
Costin, A.B. 1954. Ecosystems of the Monaro region, with special reference to soil erosion.
Sydney: NSW Govt. Printer.
Gall, B.C. & N.W. Longmore. 1978. Avifauna of the Thredbo Valley, Kosciusko National Park.
Emu 78:189-196.
Jordon, D.W. & F.W. Rodwell. 1965. List of birds in the Snowy Mountains. Sydney: Natn.
Parks Wildl. Serv. NSW.
Longmore, N.W. 1979. Koscuisko National Park Birdlist. Sydney: Natn. Parks Wildl. Serv.
McKeown, K.C. 1946. Report on the Ornithology. jn Report to the trustees of Kosciuscko
State Park by the joint Scientific Committee of the Linn. Soc. NSW and R. Zool. Soc.
NSW, on a reconnaisance natural history survey of the Park. January -February 1946.
National Capital Development Commission. 1984. Ecological rescources of the ACT. NCDC
Tech. Pap.,14.
Royal Australian Ornithologists Union. 1926. Official Checklist of the Birds of Australia.
Melbourne: RAOU.
B.J. Lepschi, 24 Fullwood Street, Weston. ACT. 2611.
Lake Cowal (33°35’S,147°30’E) is a natural freshwater lake of about 100km2 (maximum
150km2) situated in the intensively cropped and grazed western plains 360km west of
Sydney. Its catchment is mainly local, although floodwaters can enter from the Lachlan River.
The main waterbird habitats are flooded lignum Muehlenbeckia cunninghamii (roughly
3000ha), flooded red gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis with lignum understory (1500ha),
sedge, and open water with submergent aquatic plants. Vestjens (1977) gives a more
detailed description in a report collating seven years of observations from a large portion of
the lake, when 66 species of waterbirds and waders were recorded, and 34 species were
observed breeding.
More recently, the lake dried naturally in 1987 and reflooded naturally in April and
May 1989. A one day visit was made on 19 November 1989 to one part of the lake. About
150ha of lignum flooded to a depth of 800mm was surveyed, as was 100ha of red gum,
flooded to 600mm, two-thirds of which had lignum understory (red gum/lignum). Smaller
subsample areas were more intensely searched and counted. The following observations
were made, supplemented by those of -Mr Trevor Botte of “Lakeside”, and included some
apparently new records for the lake.
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Five pair in a hectare of red gum/lignum, all with nests and eggs. Similar density over
several hectares. One pair with young brood.
Hoary -headed Grebe P. poliocephalus
Pairs with young broods throughout lignum. Approximately four pair per hectare.
Australian Little Grebe P. novaehollandiae
Pairs with nests, mainly in red gum/lignum. A density of three pair per hectare.
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus
Four nests with eggs on banks out in the lake on 16 September which failed (Trevor
Botte, pers.comm.).
Darter Anhinga melanogaster
Six nests with eggs in half a hectare of red gum, in association with Little Pied
Cormorant nests. Uneven distribution throughout red gum.
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Building nests in one area of red gum in association with Little Black Cormorants
(Trevor Bolte pers.comm.).
Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris
Nests with eggs and young in red gum (Trevor Bolte pers.comm.).
Page 32 Australian Birds Vol 23 No 2Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos
40 nests with eggs in half a hectare of red gum. Uneven distribution throughout red
Great Egret Egretta alba
At least 15 nests in one area of red gum/lignum of one hectare, with a few
Intermediate Egret E. intermedia nests. Nests were in trees and lignum bushes with
adults sitting 6/12/89.
Rufous Night Heron Nycticorax caledonicus
30 birds roosting inside lignum bushes in half a hectare of red gum/lignum. Similar
density throughout red gum/lignum and slightly fewer in lignum. Nesting (with eggs)
in crowns of lignum bushes and in trees – possibly ten or more nests per hectare,
also some juvenile birds.
Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
Nests, either with eggs or freshly built, scattered amid Straw -necked Ibis nesting
colony. 30 nests in one hectare, but extent unknown.
Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopica
Nest building or nests with eggs adjacent to Straw -necked Ibis colony. 50 nests in
one hectare but extent unknown.
Straw -necked Ibis T. spinicollis
Nesting colony of at least 40ha in lignum. Nests with eggs and fledged juveniles.
Over 30 nests in 50m2 in places but not evenly distributed. By a rough estimation of
density the total colony could have numbered between 5000 and 10000 nests and
15000 to 30000 ibis.
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia
Nesting pairs scattered through large Straw -necked Ibis colony. Three pair in one
Magpie Goose Anseranas semipalmata
One pair with nest and 16 eggs in top of a lignum bush.
Wandering Whistling -Duck Dendrocygna arcuata
Five birds (one pair, one group of three) in pools amid lignum. A subsequent visit
6/12/89 revealed one nest with six eggs and a sitting adult in a lignum bush.
Black Swan Cygnus atratus
Two pairs per hectare of lignum. Throughout lignum and red gum/lignum and also
common in open water. Broods from very young to almost adult.
Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa
Two pair seen in approximately two hectares of lignum. Both males with coloured
bills, both pairs returning to particular bushes. One nest found with seven eggs.
Grey Teal Anas gibberifrons
About four pairs per hectare throughout lignum. One incubating in red gum hollow,
one two-week old brood seen.
December 1989 Page 33Pacific Black Duck A. superciliosa, Blue -winged Shoveler A. rhynchotis three to four pair, and
Pink -eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus one to two pair, per hectare
throughout lignum. No nests found nor broods seen.
Hardhead Aythya australis
Three to four pair in half a hectare of red gum/lignum. Nests deep in lignum bushes
(two searched for and found – clutches of 11, 12 eggs). Also broods (two seen – both
freshly hatched). Pairs throughout lignum and red gum/lignum.
Blue -billed Duck Oxyura australis, Musk Duck Biziura lobata and Marsh Crake Porzana pusilla.
Two of each seen in the lignum and red gum/lignum areas covered. No breeding
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Six to ten pair with nests (freshly built or with eggs) per hectare throughout lignum
and red gum/lignum. Others with young broods. Also juveniles. Nests were either
low in lignum or floating grebe -style beside lignum bushes.
Two interesting aspects of the observations are the apparently high breeding
density of some waterbird species, such as the Night Herons, grebes, Hardhead, Coot and
ibis; and the presence of unusual species, noteably Magpie Geese and Wandering
Whistling -Duck.
No direct comparisons are available with previous waterbird breeding at Lake Cowal,
but Vestjens (1977) did not record Hardhead or Freckled Duck breeding despite intensive
observation of waterbirds between 1969 and 1976. Crome (1988) describes a relation
between the drying and reflooding of another inland basin and extensive waterbird
breeding, and this effect may have contributed to the productivity of Lake Cowal.
The occasional records of Magpie Geese breeding in New South Wales in recent
years involve mainly northern sites (see Clancy, 1985), although a brood was reported in
September 1989 near Griffith and in the Macquarie Marshes NSW F.O.C. NewsL No.115 &

  1. Likewise, a cursory survey of literature indicated very few published records of the
    Wandering Whistling -Duck from southern New South Wales, although Frith (1977) mentions
    the occurrence of “odd ones” at Griffith. Vestjens (1977) did not record this species at Lake
    Blakers et. al. (1984) suggests that southern occurrences of these two species
    could be escapees. Alternatively, increased wetland availability in Eastern Australia in 1988
    and 1989 (see Kingsford et. al., 1989 & 1990) may have encouraged vagrants from the
    One conclusion is beyond speculation – Lake Cowal is a natural wetland of great
    value to our waterbirds and needs to remain just that.
    Page 34 Australian Birds Vol 23 No 2ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    Many thanks to Mr Trevor Bolte of Lakeside who enthusiastically shared his
    observations of Lake Cowal’s birdlife with me.
    Blakers, M., Davies, S.J.J.F. & P.N. Reilly. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne:
    Melbourne University Press.
    Clancy, G.P. 1985. Recent records of Magpie Geese in New South Wales. Aust. Birds
    Crome, F.H.J. 1988. To Drain or Not to Drain? – Intermittent Swamp Drainage and Waterbird
    Breeding. Emu 88:243-248.
    Frith, H.J. 1977. Waterfowl in Australia. Sydney: A.H. & A.W. Reed Pty Ltd.
    Kingsford, R.T., Smith J.D.B. & W. Lawler. 1989. An Aerial Survey of Wetland Birds in
    Eastern Australia – October 1988. NSW Nat. Parks & WildL Serv. Occ. Paper No.8.
    Kingsford, R.T., Porter J.L., Smith J.D.B. & W. Lawler. 1990. An Aerial Survey of Wetland
    Birds in Eastern Australia – October 1989. NSW Nat. Parks & WildL Serv. Occ. Paper
    No.9 (in press).
    Vestjens, W.J.M. 1977. Status, Habitats and Food of Vertebrates at Lake Cowal, NSW.
    CSIRO Div. Wildl. Res. Tech. Mem. No.12.
    Wayne Lawler, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 84, Lyneham, ACT, 2602.
    The Black -eared Cuckoo Chrysococcyx osculans, a rare species in Sydney, usually
    parasitizes the nests of birds that build covered nests. The Speckled Warbler Chthonicola
    sagittata, the cuckoo’s most frequent host in Sydney, builds a covered nest on the ground in
    shale areas.
    December 1989 Page 35At Longneck Lagoon, on 15 December 1987, my wife and I observed a young Black –
    eared Cuckoo on a branch of a eucalypt at least 17m fron the ground being fed by two adult
    White -breasted Woodswallows Artamus leucorhynchus. This suggested the woodswallows
    reared the cuckoo which would be contrary to the usual habits of the Black -eared Cuckoo.
    The woodswallows were in the process of building a nest which was an open cup -shaped
    structure of dried grasses in a shallow hollow in a dead tree.
    A similar situation occurred in Victoria. J.V. Ryan writes in The Bird Observer, No
    586… ‘On 23 November 1961, came across a young Black -eared Cuckoo being fed by a
    pair of Yellow Robins in thick scrub just over the railway. knew there were several pairs of
    Chestnut -tailed Heathwrens in this particular spot. A pair of these birds must have been the
    foster -parents. When the fledgeling left the nest, it decided to stay put on a perch about four
    feet from the ground. Heathwrens expect their own young to follow them around in their
    quest for food, quite often over a wide area. Apparently, the Cuckoo was abandoned by the
    heathwrens leaving the friendly Yellow Robins to satisfy the hungry chirping youngsters’.
    There is no positive proof the Heathwrens reared the Cuckoo, but the writer did say
    There is also a possibility, in both cases, of the suggestion by A.H. Chisholm in
    January 1959 (reference obscure), he writes… ‘the egg having been placed in a certain nest
    in some instances (as is often the case with other cuckoos) because nothing more desirable
    was available at the time’. Also, there are many instances of young cuckoos being fed by
    birds other than their hosts.
    Assumptions can only be verified when a full study is made of the various life
    histories of incidents relating to cuckoos and their hosts.
    E.S. Hoskin, 44 Patricia Street, Eastwood, NSW, 2122.
    (Editors Note. In the most recent complete summary of Australian Cuckoos M.G. & L.C.
    Brooker 1989 Cuckoo Hosts in Australia. Aust. Zool. Reviews No 2 1989, it is confirmed that
    the major biological hosts of this species are the Redthroat Sericornis brunneus and
    Speckled Warbler S. sagittatus. However the White -breasted Woodswallow is classified as a
    “potential host” in respect to rearing the young.)
    Page 36 Australian Birds Vol 23 No 2SIGHTING OF A NORTHERN SHOVELER AT LAKE COWAL,
    During the week 14-21 October 1989, members of the Illawarra Bird Observers Club held a
    campout at the property “Lakeside” on the north-western shore of Lake Cowal in central
    NSW (33°40’S.147°30’E). The northern end of the lake has areas of lignum Muehienbeckia
    cunninghamii, with cane grass Eragrostis australasica, and other aquatic vegetation between
    the clumps, changing to large patches of cane grass and then clear water with the odd
    standing dead tree. The shore has areas of River Red Gum Eucalyptus camaldulensis, cane
    grass and cleared areas of flooded pasture (Vestjens, 1977). During our stay the water level
    was estimated to be falling at about 20mm per week (T. Bolte pers.comm.)
    On the 17th October, we were observing waterfowl from two small outboard dingies,
    in the north western section of the lake. We were travelling in a westerly direction about
    800m from the shore between a large lignum stand and an area of cane grass in about
    600mm of water. Large numbers of waterfowl were present in the area following heavy winter
    rains and all species typical of this region were present, (Vestjens, 1977). Birds were
    constantly rising and diving in our path and about midday a particular individual caught my
    attention when it rose from the lake about 300m from the dingy. It flew north for a few
    seconds, belly -banked to me, continued in a south westerly direction for nearly 500m, then
    turned north again to cross our path just over 500m away before continuing northwards and
    out of sight. At the time of observation was using Soligor 8X32 binoculars and had the bird
    within my view for approximately 45 seconds.
    My first impression was a flash of white, then as focused on the individual, noticed a
    I I
    duck about the same size of a Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa. It had a distinctive profile
    of a long dark bill; dark head and upper neck; white lower neck, breast and across the upper
    back; and a dark belly. As the bird banked the underwings exhibited a large white patch at the
    inner leading edges similar to the Australasian Shoveler A. rhynchotis. While flying directly
    away at a low angle some white could be seen on the back but could not determine if this
    was the upper back or another part of the bird and was left with the impression of a generally
    dark back. As the bird crossed our path again, these initial impressions of the bird’s colour
    pattern and jizz were confirmed.
    During the trip back to Lake Cowal my sighting of the Freckled Duck Stictonetta
    naevosa, completed my sightings of all resident Australian duck species and this bird was
    new to me. At the time of observation consulted Slater (1986) and came to the conclusion
    December 1989 Page 37that the bird was a Northern Shoveler A. clypeata, in the adult male breeding plumage.
    Unfortunately none of the other members heard my call over the noise of our engine and
    there were problems with the engine failing on the other dingy. Two trips around the area on
    subsequent days failed to detect the bird again.
    Upon returning home again I consulted other references, field guides by Simpson &
    Day (1984), Anon (1983) and Ali & Riply (1983) and text in Frith (1982), Campbell (1974) and
    National Photographic Index (1983). These corraborated my initial conclusion that the bird
    was a Northern Shoveler. However the references checked gave varying descriptions of the
    extent of the white on the back from all white with only a central dark line (Ali & Ripley, 1983)
    through “back brown with lighter edges to the feathers” (Frith, 1967) to “back and rump
    black” (Nat. Photographic Index of Aus. Wildlife, 1983). This sighting appears to be the third
    record of this species in NSW, the others being from central NSW in 1839 and Louth in 1975
    (Morris, McGill & Holmes, 1981).
    would like to thank Trevor Bolte of “Lakeside” for allowing us access to his property
    and the use of his two dingies and Chris Chafer for his constructive comments on the
    prepartion of this paper.
    Anon. 1983. Field Guide to the Birds of North America Washington D.C. National Geographic
    Ali, S & S.D. Ripley. 1983 A Pictorial Guide to the Birds of the Indian Subcontinent. Delhi:
    Bombay Natural History Society.
    Campbell, B. 1974. The Dictionary of Birds in Colour. London: Peerage Books
    Frith. H.J. 1967. Waterfowl in Australia. The Natural Science Edition. Sydney: Angus &
    Morris A.K., McGill A.R. & G. Holmes. 1981. Handlist of Birds in NSW. Sydney: NSW Field
    Ornithologists Club.
    National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife. 1983. The Waterbirds of Australia.
    Sydney: Angus & Robertson.
    Simpson, K. & N. Day. 1984. The Birds of Australia, A Book of Identification. Sth Yarra: Lloyd
    O’Neil Pty. Ltd.
    Slater, P., Slater P. & R. Slater. 1986 The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds. Dee Why:
    RPILA Pty. Ltd.
    Vestjens, W.J.M. 1977. Status, Habitats and Food of Vertebrates at Lake Cowal.NSWCSIRO
    Wildl. Res. Tech. Mem. No. 12:1-87.
    Chris Brandis, 10 Charlton St, Mt. Warrigal, NSW, 2528.
    Page 38 Australian Birds Vol 23 No 2RECENT BREEDING RECORDS OF THE BARRED CUCKOO –
    Observations were made on adult Barred Cuckoo -shrikes Coracina lineata at Macquarie
    Nature Reserve, Port Macquarie, in January 1983. On 8 January a juvenile was present and
    was being fed by the adults. On 14 December 1985 I observed an adult Cuckoo -shrike
    feeding a nestling in a nest in a Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora. I made daily
    observations on these birds until 17 December, although no birds were located on 16
    December. The nestling fledged on 15 December. (The details of these breeding records
    are to be published elsewhere). These observations constitute the first confirmed breeding
    records for the state since 1909, and the first breeding records to date south of Alstonville
    (28050’S, 153°26’E). N.P. North (1913-14) detailed the nesting attempts of the species at
    Alstonville during the period 1905-09, where most clutches were collected. Eggs were
    collected during the months of December and January with the exception of a clutch located
    in November 1909. The Atlas of Australian Birds (Blakers et al. 1984) contains no breeding
    records for New South Wales. D. Gosper (pers. comm.) recorded the species in 1980-81 at
    Cherry Tree North State Forest, near Mallanganee, west of Casino. Eight birds, apparently
    paired, were present on 23 November 1980. Nine birds, including a pair with a fledged
    young still begging, were present in a fruiting fig on 1 March 1981. Two adults and a juvenile
    were present in the same fruiting fig on 5 April 1981. The juvenile lacked the yellow eye of
    the adults and had a pale coloured upper breast.
    D. Secomb (pers. comm.) has observed the species at the Nambucca Heads Golf
    Course. Birds were present in figs on 1 February 1986 and 6 & 16 March 1986. On the first
    and last dates one young bird was present, identified by mottling on the head and fine
    barring on the breast. Differences in plumage details suggest that two different birds were
    involved. Both were being fed by an adult. These observations suggest that breeding may
    have occurred in the Casino and Nambucca Heads areas but, as the young birds observed
    were free -flying, the possibility that they had travelled some distance from their natal area
    cannot be dismissed.
    wish to thank Ern Hoskin (The Keith Hindwood Bird Recording Service), Dennis
    Gosper and David Secomb, who provided records of the species for this paper.
    December 1989 Page 39REFERENCES
    Blakers, M., Davies S.J.J.F. & P.N. Reilly. 1984. The Atlas of Australian Birds. Melbourne:
    Melbourne University Press.
    North, A.J. 1913-14. Nests and eggs of birds found breeding in Australia and Tasmamia.
    Vol.4. Aust. Mus. Spec. Cat.1.
    Greg. P. Clancy, 56 Armidale Road, Coutts Crossing, NSW, 2460.
    S.G. LANE
    The food of the Regent Bowerbird Sericulus chrysocephalus is usually described as insects,
    native berries and fruits, including cultivated ones.
    On 28 September 1989. at Boambee near Coffs Harbour, a fully plumaged male
    Regent Bowerbird was observed feeding, for about ten minutes, on the seeds from the
    opening seed pods of the Coast Wattle Acacia longifolia var. sophorae. While watched by
    four observers from a distance of about 20m the bird appeared to obtain the seeds from
    pods within reach of his perching spot, and then it moved to another part of the tree to repeat
    the process. An examination of the pods afterwards revealed open pods without seeds.
    Unopened pods were evident and some pods beginning to open, contained green seeds.
    This is the first time have observed this species feeding on such seeds.
    S.G. Lane, Lot 6 Fairview Road, Moonee, via Coffs Harbour, NSW, 2450.
    J.N.S. TARR
    Warburn Drainage Reserve (34°12’S,145°56.E) 15km N.W. of Griffith, normally almost dry
    through the winter months had filled and overflowed onto adjacent farmlands due to
    abnormally heavy rainfall during autumn and winter of 1989.
    At 0930hrs on 13 September 1989, while pumping water out of our property I was
    suprised to see three adult Magpie Geese Anseranas semipalmata, swimming away from me
    at a distance of about 60m. On examining them through binoculars I could see at least seven
    goslings around one adult. The goslings appeared very young, being grey with rusty -red
    heads and only very small and consequently hard to count among the reeds and pin -rush.
    They moved further out into the drainage reserve and out of sight among the Cumbungi
    Typha orientate.
    On 19 September 1989 chartered a light aircraft and together with John Brickhill
    (N.P.W.S.), John Tarr Jnr. and Peter Little, pilot, flew over the drainage reserve and located
    four adult geese. We couldn’t see any goslings due to the height and speed of the aircraft.
    Nothing more was seen of them until again chartered an aircraft on 8 November. Together
    with Dr. H.B. Deas, Michael Tarr and Ron Gibbons, pilot, we flew over the drainage reserve
    and located two adult geese with the goslings now nearly fully fledged. Michael Tarr counted
    eleven geese but once the aircraft had passed over them the goslings were hard to count in
    the grass (water couch Paspalum paspalodes) and pin -rush.
    J.N.S. Tarr, “Brendon”, R.M.B.1305, Griffith, NSW, 2680.
    December 1989 Page 41BOOK REVIEW
    by Graham Pizzey
    Published by Viking O’Neil, Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood,
    Victoria, 1988, 342pp ,51 B&W photographs, 32 colour photographs & 19
    B&W Illustrations by Richard Weatherly, $A50.
    What better way is there to encourage those many thousands of Australian gardeners to also
    become interested in our Australian birds, than through this book.
    Graham Pizzey shows that not only has he a wealth of knowledge on the
    identification, jizz and habits of birds, but also he has much knowledge of and experience of
    Australian flora.
    This book explores Graham’s own garden on the Mornington Peninsula. He takes us
    back into the history of Australian flora with the development period of Australian gardens
    that were based on the traditional English garden.
    He provides information about relationships between plants, birds and insects that
    will encourage gardeners to provide habitat for Australian birds.
    A chapter is devoted to the “Escape of Garden Exotics” that deals with introduced
    species that are causing immense damage to the Australian bush.
    Through descriptions of gardens of well known Australians along coastal South-
    eastern Australia, information for many and varied situations is provided.
    The authors’ fine photographs, both colour and black and white, are enhanced by
    Richard Weatherly’s sketches at the commencement of each chapter.
    This book has appeal to a broad spectrum of people, not only the avid birdwatcher
    but also the keen gardener.
    Graham Pizzey has produced a high quality book that is bound to serve as a “coffee
    table” book for quick reference, or for indepth reading.
    Rona Bolton.
    Page 42 Australian Birds Vol 23 No 2BOOK REVIEW
    by M.G. Brooker and L.C. Brooker
    Published by Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales 1989, Australian
    Zoological Reviews Number 2. 67pp, 30 tables and 14 figures. Cost $5 from
    the Society.
    This publication identifies the major hosts of the ten species of Australian parasitic
    cuckoos and examines their record of parasitsm. The data is used to rank host species in
    order of importance, to map the breeding distribution of each cuckoo and to determine their
    laying periods. All the literature pertaining to parasitic behaviour is reviewed. The publication
    lists the potential host species and compares parasitised and unparasitised potential hosts,
    as well as describing the factors which may influence host selection.
    Michael and Lesley Brooker are ideally suited to write this review as they have
    specialised in research into the behaviour of the Shining and Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoos in
    the vicinity of their property at Gooseberry Hill, a Perth outer suburb, since 1984. Their
    interest however embraces all the Australian parasitic cuckoos and has culminated in this
    In order to obtain the information for the book, they have culled all the historical
    ornithological literature, reviewed the RAOU nest record cards, and examined all the best
    private and museum oological collections. From this vast amount of information, plus their
    own extensive research (which between1984-87 resulted in 179 instances of parasitism
    being recorded for the aforementioned cuckoos), they have brought together a vast amount
    of data on which to base the Review.
    The study highlights what is known and what is not known about our cuckoos. It is
    most useful in confirming for example, that the major brood hosts for the Black -eared Cuckoo
    is the Speckled Cuckoo and Redthroat, but many unrelated species will feed the young
    cuckoo and other species could be potential hosts. There are still many gaps in our
    knowledge of the behaviour of our parasitic cuckoos, and this valuable booklet certainly
    indicates where future research can be carried out by both amateur and professional
    ornithologists. congratulate the authors on their achievements and commend the book to all
    serious bird -watchers and encourage them to record their observations.
    Alan Morris.
    December 1989 Page 432
    -.2ntributors are requested to observe the following points when submitting articles and notes
    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.
  2. Articles or notes should be type written if possible and submitted in duplicate. Double
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  11. 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
  12. Acknowlegements to other individuals should not include Christian names or initals.AUSTRALIAN BIRDS
    Corriegenda 25
    S.Marchant Apparent out -of -season breeding by Pallid Cuckoo 28
    B.J.Lepschi A note on the birds of the Monaro Region 30
    W.Lawler Waterbird breeding at Lake Cowal, NSW 32
    E.S.Hoskin A Black -eared Cuckoo and White -breasted Woodswallows 35
    C.Brandis Sighting of a Northern Shoveller at Lake Cowal, central NSW 37
    G.P.Clancy Recent breeding records of the Barred Cuckoo -shrike at 39
    Port Macquarie, NSW
    S.G.Lane Unusual food for the Regent Bowerbird 40
    J.N.S.Tarr Magpie Geese breeding on Warbum Drainage Reserve, 41
    Griffith, NSW
    R.Bolton Book Review: A Garden of Birds, Australian Birds in Australian 42
    Gardens by Graham Pizzey
    A.K.Morris Book Review: Cuckoo Hosts in Australia by M & L Brooker 43
    Registered by Australia Post – Publication No. NBH0790
    Printed by Drummoyne Printing, 56 Thompson Street, Drummoyne. 811888.