Vol. 23 No. 3-text

PDF version available here: Vol. 23 No. 3

Journal of the
Volume 23, No.3 March 1990
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: 1 Wombat St, Berkeley Vale NSW 2259.AMUWILMA
Volume 23, (3) March 1990
A.K. Morris, V. Tyler (deceased), M. Tyler, H. Mannes, and J. Dalby.
A systematic account is given of the waterbirds recorded during censusof the wetlands of
the Parramatta River, Sydney, New South Wales (33 51’E, 151041’S.) from October 1983
to June 1986 (29 surveys). Seventy-three species of waterbirds were recorded of which 37
species occur regularly. Five habitat types were distinguished: estuary inter -tidal zone,
mangroves, saltmarsh, freshwater wetlands and sheltered rocky shores. These habitats are
used primarily for feeding and roosting by waterbirds. The study area has important
conservation values for Chestnut Teal, Pied Stilt and certain migratory waders.
A census of waterbirds inhabiting the wetlands of the Parramatta River from Iron
Cove to Homebush Bay, was carried out on a monthly basis from October 1983 to
December 1985 and then intermittently to June 1986, a total of 29 visits. Map 1 indicates
the location of the Parramatta River study area and Map 2 indicates the waterbird habitat
Page 44 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3types. The census including Homebush Bay estuary was carried out at mid -time on the
falling tide, when the birds would be feeding on the exposed estuary inter -tidal zone mud
flats. However the timing of the visits to Homebush Bay freshwater wetlands and
saltmarshes was not so critical. Census was carried out on weekdays when disturbance to
the birds by recreational boatmen and visitors to the foreshore generally was lowest. The
counts were carried out to assess waders (Order Charadriiformes) on the Parramatta River
and the recording of other waterbirds was secondary to the count. The waders were being
counted as part of the National Wader Surveys, 1981 to 1985 (Lane & Jessop 1984). On
four occasions there was no count of birds other than waders but this is taken into account
when assessing frequency of observation. Note also that the actual numbers of birds was
not always recorded.

0 S km

12 km to Harbour Bridge we-
20 kimn to Tasman Sea
33° 50’s
151° 08’t
Newington Kissing
Haslams Bay Kendall
Powclls Majors Bay
Creek Bay Fra Bn ac ye Abbotsford Fivedock
(Stormwater CONCORD Boy Bay
Canada Rodd
Bay Point
MAP 1 Location of Parramatta River Study Area
March 1990 Page 45Mangroves
Freshwater Wetlands
Fregenied Intertidal Zones
MAP 2 Waterbird Habitat Types in he Study Area.
The five main waterbird habitat types of the Parramatta wetlands as described by
Thompson & McEnally (1985) are as set out below.
Many waterbirds feed on the extensive inter -tidal sand and mud flats that occur in
the bays on the southern side of the Parramatta River. These estuarine mud flats were
formerly much more extensive but in the 1930’s 1940’s and 1950’s, unemployment relief
work reclamation programmes which took place in Iron Cove, Canada Bay and Homebush
Bay, primarily to provide playing fields, drastically reduced the inter -tidal habitat e.g. Haines
(1963) gives details of the birds that occurred in Canada Bay prior to reclamation in the
1950’s and there were far more species and numbers then there are today; while The
Glebe Newspaper of 29 January 1986 gives details of the areas of Iron Cove that have been
reclaimed. Only 10% of the foreshore of Iron Cove is natural, the rest having been
reclaimed or despoiled by seawalls built to provide access roads.
The inter -tidal zone in these bays consists mainly of silt run-off from the surrounding
suburbs via the storm water drain, and of sand spits in the bays. The micro fauna of the
estuarine inter- tidal mud flats is important for its role in marine communities and in human
economies. Several insect larvae, annelid worms and molluscs enter the estuary from
freshwater; most nearshore marine phytoplankton can also be found part way into the
estuary, as well as many types of plankton that are the larvae of a whole range of marine
Page 46 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3animals from shrimps and crabs to fishes. In the Parramatta River, there are however, no
seagrass beds (an important waterbird feeding habitat), but there are plenty of algae beds
(Thompson & McEnally /oc cit).
Lynch et. al. (1976) and Thorogood (1985) state that the mangrove community is
recorded to have once extended in a continuous strip for at least 60 km up the Parramatta
River and its bays stretching southwards. In the Parramatta River estuary the vegetation of
the tidal zone is predominantly Grey Mangrove Avicennia marina, a tree 5 to 9 m in height.
Another mangrove species is the River Mangrove Aegiceras corniculatum, a shrub about
2m in height and much less common. Aegiceras has a greater tidal range than Avicennia,
occurring further out into the estuary, sometimes almost covered by the tide, and extends
further inland, lining drainage channels. It has spasmodic distribution and is near its
southern distribution limit at Sydney.
In all only 20 km of mangroves still exist along the River in various states of health,
but overall there is now rapid colonisation and rejuvenation, particularly in the Homebush
area. The best remaining areas are around the shores of Yaralla Bay and Majors Bay. Some
replanting of mangroves is also taking place to restore habitats lost to foreshore
developments in earlier years. Some species of waterbirds prefer to feed in the inter -tidal
zone adjacent to mangroves particularly Spoonbills and some palaearctic waders.
The seaward mangroves are bounded on the landward margin by a series of zoned
communities of saltmarsh plants, grasses, sedges and trees. The species distribution in
these areas is closely related to variations in physiography, which also determine patterns of
tidal flooding, salinity of the soil solution and water table fluctuation. In the Parramatta River
Valley, however, the size and geological structure of the catchment produces little surface
run-off and consequently low sediment yields. These factors make the area unfavourable
for the development of large tracts of marsh and swamp. The most extensive areas
remaining are at Homebush Bay and the Newington Naval Armaments Depot. Diversity of
species in the saltmarsh is limited by the harsh conditions of this environment i.e. salinity,
intense insolation, imperfect drainage and tidal movement. Elsewhere, little saltmarsh
remains in the Parramatta River (West et. al. 1985).
Saltmarsh plants invade the landward margin of the mangrove area. The first to
invade are Glasswort Salicornia quinqueflora, Seablite Suaeda australis and Samolus
repens. Salicornia is dominant and frequently occurs as an almost continuous carpet.
Beyond the influence of tides, the Sand Couch Sporobolus virginicus forms a dense sward,
in which scattered tufts of other grasses establish themselves. The next invader is the rush
Juncus maritimus which forms a dense sward. Juncus is succeeded on the landward margin
by the sedge Baumea juncea; both species form ribbon communities which intermingle at
March 1990 Page 47their junction. The sedge is followed by the Swamp She -oak Casuarina glauca, of which
there are extensive stands in the Newington wetlands.
Both at Homebush Bay and Newington, large open brackish -wetlands surrounded
by these plant associations occur, depending on the length of time since the last rain. The
saltmarsh is an important contributor to the estuary, and its drainage channels provide part
of the environment for juvenile stages of some marine fish and mollusc species. It is an
important habitat for a number of Australian wildfowl and waders.
All the present freshwater wetlands are man-made and have come about primarily
because of the construction of reclamation banks in the saltmarsh and mangroves of
Homebush Bay, with the subsequent reversion to freshwater from storm water entering the
embayments. However the Homebush Bay Bi-centennial Authority has created two
freshwater lakes in place of some naturally occurring freshwater reed swamps. The fringing
vegetation of the freshwater wetlands is characterised by Cumbungi Typha domingensis
and the Common Reed Phragmites australis. These freshwater wetlands are an important
habitat for waterhen, coot and some wildfowl.
Rocky shores occur at Prince Edward Park, on the western side of Hen and
Chicken Bay and at Kissing Point, Mortdale Point, Cabarita Point and Rodd Point (in Iron
Cove). Some are used as high tide roosting sites for waders, gulls and terns, while others
provide inportant feeding habitats for Grey -tailed Tattler, Lesser Golden Plover and Red –
necked Stint.
Regular monthly censuses were commenced in October, 1983 by M. Tyler and V.
Tyler until 1984 from which time H. Mannes and B. Mannes took over census of the River
from Iron Cove to Hen and Chicken Bay, while J. Dalby surveyed Homebush Bay. Because
of their proximity, Yarralla Bay and Horseshoe Bay are treated as one site in the text.
Counts at the bays were carried out at midpoint of the receding tide to better locate
the feeding birds and to note the location of the more favoured roosting sites. The
Homebush Bay count was conducted on the same day or as close as possible to the other
count. Regular checks of high tide roosts at Prince Edward Park, Cabarita Point, Mortlake
Point and Kissing Point were made to see if the species and numbers were consistent with
species and numbers seen on the feeding locations. Only one visit was made to the
Newington Armaments Depot wetlands as access is not normally permitted by the Navy by
non -naval personnel. The information from the counts was collated by Alan K. Morris who
also carried out some of the monthly censuses.
Page 48 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3CONVENTIONS
The convention system used in this report is in accordance with Gosper (1981) in
that a summary of the occurrence of species recorded during the surveys (excluding land
birds utilizing non -wetland components of the habitat, ie. mangroves, tea -tree, and she -oak
swamps, forest tree layers) is given in the systematic list.
Frequency of observation (ie. percentage of total surveys that each species was
observed) follows the system adopted by Gosper and is given in the following terms: scarce
(<10%), uncommon (10-29%), moderately common (30-59%), common (60-80%), very common (>80%).
An indication of range in numbers of birds recorded at any one time may be given,
eg. six records (1 to 4) or, common (1 to 220), meaning ‘six records of from one to four birds’
or ‘frequently encountered in numbers varying from 1 to 220’ respectively.
Extreme dates for migrants (ie. first and last date of occurrence) are given for the
duration of the survey. Breeding information is given where nests were found, dates being
for the months in which clutches were found, unless otherwise indicated.
Survey sites are referred to by location for example Wangal Reserve near Yaralla
Bay is simply given as Yaralla Bay; the Newington Naval Armaments Depot as Newington.
The many sections of Hen and Chicken Bay are all referred to as Hen and Chicken Bay
unless a specific section needs to be indicated.
Species, names and the order in which they occur are in accordance with the
checklist of the Birds of Australia; Part 1, 1975 and of Interim List of Australian Songbirds,
Passerines, R. Schodde (RAOU 1975) and Recommended English Names for Australian
Birds Emu 77 Supplement (1978) for English names.
Appendix 1 lists the birds recorded previously at Homebush Bay wetlands but not
observed during survey, the information coming from the Keith Hindwood Bird Recording
service per E.S. Hoskin.
March 1990 Page 49SYSTEMATIC LIST
Hoary -Headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus
Common (36%) although common non -breeding winter visitor (May -Aug) where
present in small flocks 8 to 38 (ay.26) mainly in Iron Cove and Canada Bay. V. Tyler
and M. Tyler (pers. comm.) in 10 counts during 1981 and 1982 recorded a winter
average of 81, max 110, which may indicate that the over- winter population is
declining. Occasionally in summer eg. Homebush Bay ,3 November 1985.
Australian Little Grebe Podiceps novaehollandiae
Moderately common (46%). Only inhabits the freshwater wetlands at Homebush
Bay where it occurs in small flocks 1 to 8, but 17 were present 21 July 1985.
Breeding: Eggs February and November 1985, pair with downy young 27
December 1985.
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus
Common (71%), mostly in small numbers (1-64), roosting in saltmarsh at Homebush
Bay or Mortlake Point and feeding in Yaralla Bay and Hen and Chicken Bay in
shallow water. The average in summer (14) is greater than winter (4).
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo
Moderately common (36%), present in small numbers (1 to 3), resting on piles in
Homebush Bay or on rocky points, occasionally flying over.
Pied Cormorant P. varius
Moderately common (32%), present in small numbers (1 to 11), but mostly in
groups of two and three, roosting in Homebush Bay, and on swimming baths and
piles in Hen and Chicken Bay. No apparent seasonal fluctuations.
Little Black Cormorant P. sulcirostris
Moderately common (40%), present in small to medium numbers (1 to 40) feeding
in a flock upstream of Gladesville Bridge or roosting on piles or moorings. No
apparent seasonal pattern.
Little Pied Cormorant P. melanoleucos
Common (76%). present in groups of 1 to 62 the summer average (15) comparable
with the winter average (12). Most birds are observed feeding by themselves in the
bays, but roosting communally with other cormora5i-i on piles, wharves, boats and
swimming baths. Mostly associated with estuarine areas.
Pacific Heron Ardea pacifica
Scarce, only recorded on two occasions 19 November 1983 and 19 March 1985
inhabiting a freshwater swamp at Homebush Bay.
White-faced Heron A. novaehollandiae
Very common (100%), present in small numbers (3-24); more often found in the
saltmarshes and freshwater wetlands of Homebush Bay, less common in the
mangrove -fringed section of Yaralla and Majors Bay, rare elsewhere.
Great Egret Egretta alba
Moderately common (38%), present either singly or in small numbers (1 to 12), most
observations in the period June to November favouring the saltmarshes and
mangrove areas of Homebush Bay. Rare elsewhere.
Page 50 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3Little Egret E. garzetta
Scarce, one record 29 December 1984 in saltmarsh at Homebush Bay, another
present 24 October 1982 to 6 November 1982 prior to survey, also at Homebush
Plumed Egret E. intermedia
Scarce, one recorded 13 August 1985 at Iron Cove feeding in the inter -tidal zone,
a most unusual observation and locality.
Striated Heron Butorides striatus
Uncommon (12%), three recorded as single birds feeding near mangroves
(February- March) in Hen and Chicken Bay and Majors Bay.
Rufous Night Heron Nycticorax ca/edonicus
Scarce, one recorded 17 February 1985 in mangroves at Homebush Bay and
another 14 November 1982 just prior to survey. Breeding: previously recorded
January and December 1966 at Homebush Bay but none since.
Sacred Ibis Threskiornis aethiopica
Common (80%), present in groups of to 37 at the edges of mangroves of Hen
and Chicken Bay, Yaralla Bay and Majors Bay, with smaller numbers elsewhere.
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia
Common (62%), present in groups of 1 to 24, although usually in small flocks (5 to
10) roosting in the Homebush Bay saltmarshes, and feeding in the inter -tidal zone
at the edge of mangroves at Homebush Bay, and Exile Bay.
Yellow -billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes
Not recorded during survey but occasional birds recorded in the past at freshwater
wetlands at Homebush Bay, the most recent record being one, 14 November
Black Swan Cygnus atratus
Uncommon (21%) , present in small numbers (1 to 4) feeding in the saltmarshes of
Homebush Bay with a single bird at Exile Bay on 30 April 1985. All records were for
the period April -November, indicating a winter bias. Breeding: Pair with 2 cygnets
July, 1986 at Homebush Bay.
Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa
Scarce, one present Homebush Bay saltmarsh 3-9 November 1985.
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosus
Common (76%), present in groups of 4 to 17, numbers highest in summer.
Feeding in the saltmarshes and freshwater wetlands of Homebush Bay, with
occasional birds at Hen and Chicken Bay on the exposed mud flats. Breeding:
Homebush Bay, 8 downies September 1984.
Mallard A. platyrhynchos
Scarce, single males 15 April 1984 off Prince Edward Park, Hen and Chicken Bay,
and another at Homebush Bay 7 February 1986.
March 1990 Page 51Grey Teal A. gibberifrons
Very common (84%), present in groups of 9 to 300 often feeding and roosting at
the Homebush Bay saltmarsh, with regular occurrence at Iron Cove, Canada Bay
and Exile Bay, often in company with Chestnut Teal.
Chestnut Teal A. castanea
Very common (100%), present on all visits in group of 50 to 1028 and the most
abundant waterbird apart from the Silver Gull. Feeds in the saltmarsh, inter- tidal
zone and mangroves of all the bays but particularly common at Newington (max 550
on 17 February 1986), Homebush Bay (660 on 11 June 1986), Majors Bay (179 on
16 May 1985) and Yaralla Bay (84 on 13 August 1985). No seasonal pattern is
evident. Five Dock Bay is not used by Chestnut Teal. Breeding: None recorded
during survey but known to have bred prior to that time.
Australasian Shoveler A. rhynchotis
Scarce (8%), recorded on two occasions 22 June 1985 (4) and 21 July 1985 (6) at
Homebush Bay. Roosting on saltmarshes but possibly feeding on adjoining
freshwater wetlands at night.
Pink -eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus
Uncommon (24%), present generally in small numbers (2 to 5) but 41 on 21 July
1985 is exceptional. Roosting and feeding in the saltmarsh and brackish water of
the embayments at Homebush Bay. The numbers are usually higher on the coast
during inland droughts (Morris et.a/.1981). Breeding: None during survey, but
found breeding first 14 January 1966, pair with 6 half-grown young (E.S. Hoskin
pers. comm.),and again 6 May 1967 and December 1967 (Colemane 1968).
Hardhead Aythya australis
Moderately common (45%), present in the freshwater wetlands of Homebush Bay
and roosting in the sattmarsh at times with other ducks. Small numbers (1 to 10)
throughout the year. Breeding: One half grown young, 17 February 1985, three
immatures 22 June 1985 and three young again 20 January 1986.
Maned Duck Chenonetta jubata
Uncommon (12%), in small numbers (2 to 6) usually feeding or resting around the
newly completed freshwater lake in Homebush Bay Bi-Centennial Park. There is
some evidence to suggest that the birds are resident at this location and were
overlooked during the survey.
Musk Duck Biziura lobata
Scarce, three records, one a male, 28 May 1983 at Canada Bay, and two others,
immature or females, 22 August 1984 at Homebush Bay freshwater wetland and on
18 January 1985 at Hen and Chicken Bay off Prince Edward Park. Breeding: early
records for Homebush Bay.
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus
Scarce visitor. One observed Homebush Bay 7 February 1986, two records since
Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus
Scarce visitor. One observed flying over and perched in mangroves, hunting on 8
February 1986 and 17 February 1986. Recorded irregularly prior to survey since
Page 52 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3White -bellied Sea -eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster
Uncommon (12%). Single birds observed at Homebush Bay 18 August 1984
(imm.) and 22 September 1984, and one over Yaralla Bay 22 July 1985.
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Scarce visitor. Female on 29 December 1984 at Homebush Bay, 3 records 1965-
Australian Hobby F. longipennis
Scarce visitor. Single bird on 20 October 1984 at Homebush Bay, 4 records 1966-
Brown Falcon F. berigora
Scarce. Single bird 2 June 1985 at Homebush Bay over saltmarsh, 2 records 1966.
Australian Kestrel F. cenchroides
Scarce. One record, single bird consuming prey on rock overlooking Bi-Centennial
Park February to March 1984 at Homebush Bay.
Australian Spotted Crake Porzana fluminea
Scarce visitor. Pair in freshwater marsh at Homebush Bay 1 June 1986, previously
recorded 18 May & 8 June 1957, probably the same bird? E.S. Hoskin (in litt.).
Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa
Very common (100%), present in small to medium numbers (2-35) in the freshwater
and brackish wetlands of Homebush Bay. More present during summer average 22
compared with winter average seven. Breeding: chicks present on five occasions
from October to February.
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio
Moderately common (56%), present only in freshwater wetlands at Homebush Bay
in small numbers (1 to 11). Not recorded during 1983 to 1984, possibly
overlooked, but also construction by the Bi-centennial Park Authority may have
temporarily destroyed their habitat. Breeding: two downy young
29 December 1984.
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Very common (100%), present in groups from 3 to 200+ in the freshwater wetlands
and saltmarshes of Homebush Bay. More prevalent in winter (average 80)
compared to summer (average 19). Breeding: downy young present June –
November (6 records).
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles
Very common (96%), present in small numbers (1-33) but usually only in pairs in the
various bays. Feeds on inter -tidal areas adjacent to playing fields and saltmarshes.
A flock of 24 on 15 April 1984 at Hen and Chicken Bay was the largest group. No
breeding records during survey but three nests in 1966 at Homebush Bay and one
on 9 October 1983 Mason Park.
Lesser Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica
Moderately common (57%), present in group for 7 to 67 frequently the intertidal
zones of Iron Cove and Hen and Chicken Bay, and using high tide roosts at Rodd
Point and Prince Edward Park. Favourite feeding areas include Kings Bay, Canada
Bay and Exile Bay. The average of 10 summer counts 1981 to 1982 was 16
March 1990 Page 53maximum 26, so that there may be an increase since then due to a possible
improvement in habitat.
Red -kneed Plover Erythrogonys cinctus
Uncommon (14%), recorded on five occasions in small numbers (2 to 8) in saltmarsh
at Homebush Bay. The occurrence of this bird in coastal wetlands is usually
attributed to inland droughts. The first occasion that the bird was recorded at
Homebush Bay was 15 June 1965 (Hindwood 1969) with occasional visits since.
Breeding: First record Homebush Bay 3 November 1985 nest with three eggs.
Red -capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus
Uncommon 17%, pair recorded only 29 October 1985 at Homebush Bay saltmarsh,
but previously the birds were much more common; Colemane (1969) recorded 11
in January 1968, and Haines (1969) records that in 1937 the back waters of Iron
Cove still retained stands of mangroves and saltmarsh, and Red -capped Plover
nested there and at other places. Breeding: Pair with 2 eggs 3 November 1985
Homebush Bay; three nesting records 1963-66 and two nesting records October
1986 Homebush Bay.
Black -fronted Plover C. melanops
Common (69%), present in small numbers (2 to 13) mostly at the freshwater
wetlands and saltmarshes at Homebush Bay, but a pair generally are present on the
rocky shoreline at Prince Edward Park.
Black -winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
Common (76%), present in groups from 2 to 462 frequenting mostly the shallow
saltmarsh and brackish water swamps of Homebush Bay and Newington, on the
inter -tidal zone where small numbers frequent Majors Bay, and Hen and Chicken
Bay in particular. The maximum number of 462 was recorded on 16 February 1986
when 330 were at Newington and 132 in Homebush Bay. Breeding: nesting only
at Homebush Bay SeptemberDecember, maximum 10 nests on 20 October 1984,
but in 1964 nesting Wentworth Bay. Immature birds often seen.
Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Uncommon (18%), present in small numbers (2 to 9). Summer migrant (September –
February). Frequents the inter -tidal zone on the eastern shores of Hen and
Chicken Bay, and roosts at Prince Edward Park. Many records for Homebush &
Wentworth Bays, max four birds, prior to survey.
Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis
Scarce,summer visitor, recorded only on 26 February 1984 when a single bird was
feeding in the inter -tidal zone near mangroves in Majors Bay and another on the
eastern shore of Hen and Chicken Bay.
Whimbrel N. phaeopus
Scarce, summer visitor, single bird on 22 September 1984 at Homebush Bay
Little Curlew N. minutus
Scarce, summer visitor, not recorded during the survey but nine present at Iron
Cove in January 1958 (Hindwood & McGill 1958).
Page 54 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola
Scarce, summer visitor. Not recorded during the survey but recorded 18 February
1986 (Green 1967) at Homebush Bay.
Grey -tailed Tattler T. brevipes
Uncommon (11%), summer visitor, present in small numbers (1 to 2) during
November -February, frequenting the inter -tidal zone on the eastern shore of Hen
and Chicken Bay and amongst the rocks at Prince Edward Park.
Common Sandpiper T. hypoleucos
Scarce, summer visitor. Not recorded during the survey but recorded on four
occasions at Homebush Bay (November -March) since 1964 (Stockton 1965) and at
Iron Cove in 1958 (Hindwood & McGill 1958).
Greenshank T. nebularia
Uncommon (14%), present in small numbers (1 to 2) throughout the year. Most
records for the inter -tidal zone of Majors Bay with two on 16 February 1986 at
Newington saltmarshes.
Marsh Sandpiper T. stagnatalis
Scarce, summer visitor. Single bird Homebush Bay saltmarsh 9 February 1985 and
two were present Homebush Bay 20 November 1982 (Lindsey 1983). Recorded
regularly at Homebush Bay November 1965 to April 1966, and December 1966,
max four birds (A.K. Morris 1973).
Latham’s Snipe Gallinago hardwickii
Uncommon (21%), summer migrant (November -February). Present Homebush Bay
and Newington in small numbers (1 to 7) feeding on muddy margins of freshwater
wetlands and roosting on the edge of the saltmarsh. In the past up to 30 have been
recorded at these localities (Colemane 1969).
Black -tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
Scarce, summer visitor. Two records, five birds in saltmarsh at Homebush Bay 20
October 1984 and two on Kissing Point inter- tidal zone 28 December 1985.
Recorded at Homebush Bay on two occasions prior to survey, 11 birds on 25 March
1969, and two on 28 August 1982.
Bar -tailed Godwit L. lapponica
Very common (100%), present in groups of 2 to 306. Primarily a summer migrant
with smaller numbers over wintering. At Homebush Bay, 166 roosting in a saltmarsh
on 11 June 1986 is an exceptional winter concentration for the Parramatta River.
The major summer feeding locations are the inter -tidal zones at Hen and Chicken
Bay east (maximum 128), Major Bay (maximum 88) and roosting at Prince Edward
Park (maximum 77). Occasionally recorded Five Dock Bay, Kissing Point and Iron
Red Knot Calidris canutus
Uncommon (14%), a summer migrant (Nov -Feb) in small numbers (1 to 39) feeding
in the inter -tidal zone of eastern Hen and Chicken Bay and Kings Bay, roosting at
Prince Edward Park.
Sharp -tailed Sandpiper C. acuminata
Moderately common (38%), summer migrant (Nov -Feb) present in groups 1 to 150.
The largest concentrations occur spasmodically at the saltmarshes of Homebush
March 1990 Page 55Bay and Newington. Small numbers frequent inter- tidal areas of Hen and Chicken
Bay. Previously much more common at Homebush Bay, Canada Bay and Iron
Red -necked Stint C. ruficollis
Common (65%), summer migrant (Oct -Apr) and present in groups of 1 to 147
frequenting both the saltmarsh of Homebush Bay and the inter -tidal areas of Hen
and Chicken Bay. Kings Bay, Exile Bay and the rocky shores of Prince Edward Park
are the most favoured. Small numbers (1 to 27) occasionally in winter.
Curlew Sandpiper C. ferruginea
Moderately common (58%), summer migrant (Sept -March) present in large numbers
(71 to 860), frequenting the inter -tidal zones of Hen and Chicken Bay, roosting at
high tide at Prince Edward Park. Also regularly present at Kissing Point, Homebush
Bay and Newington saltmarshes. Small numbers occasionally overwinter, but 71
present Homebush Bay 11 June 1986.
Silver Gull Laws novaehollandiae
Abundant (100%), the most common bird on the river and frequenting playing
fields, picnic areas, parks, inter -tidal zone, saltmarsh and freshwater wetlands. No
attempt was made to survey the numbers present. Breeding: small numbers nest
on piles in Homebush Bay (Dalby et al 1984).
Whiskered Tern Childonias hybrida
Rare, an irregular visitor to freshwater wetland and saltmarsh at Homebush Bay (E.H.
Hoskin pers.comm.) but not recorded during the survey, possibly overlooked.
Irregular summer migrant Oct -Mar, three birds present in breeding plummage 5
October 1986.
Common Tern Sterna hirundo
Moderately common (28%), non breeding migrant (Oct -Mar) feeding in the bays
and roosting on rocky shores and wharf timbers, particularly Kissing Point, Rodd
Point and Prince Edward Park. Present in groups from 4 to 64. Numbers highest
December -January, more common Hen and Chicken Bay than elsewhere.
Between 1981-1983 on 10 occasions during summer the average was nine birds
per count, maximum 20. (M. Tyler pers.comm.). The larger numbers seen during
this survey may indicate that numbers are on the increase on the Parramatta River.
Prior to the 1950’s Common Tems were not recorded on the Parramatta River (A.R.
McGill pers.comm.). At times during rough weather at sea, greater numbers shelter
in the bays, with 166 at Rodd Point, Iron Cove, 13 March 1973 (Rogers 1974).
Little Tern S. albifoms
Uncommon (20%), summer migrant (Oct -Feb). Feeding in small numbers (1 to 3) in
the Bays and roosting on the rocky shores. Breeding: one bird feeding flying
young in Iron Cove 18 January 1985 but it is not known whether the young was
fledged in the study area. Previously nested at Homebush Bay on a sandspit, the
last occurrence 1964 to 1965 when a pair nested and reared two young (Morris
Crested Tern S. bergii
Uncommon, present in small numbers (1 to 4) feeding in the Bays.
Page 56 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3Sacred Kingfisher Halycon sancta
Uncommon, a bird of the mangroves where single birds can be found throughout
the year, particularly in winter. All observations at Homebush Bay.
Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena
Common, present in large numbers (maximum 1000) frequenting the freshwater
wetlands, saltmarshes and mangroves, and in lesser numbers, feeding over the
inter -tidal zone. Breeding: nests in buildings.
Fairy Martin Cecropis ariel
Common, summer migrant (Sept -Mar). Present in small flocks at Homebush Bay,
frequenting fresh and brackish water wetlands. Breeding: nesting under road
bridges in small colonies each year, and under soffits of buildings in Newington
Reed Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus
Uncommon, summer migrant (Aug -Mar) frequenting freshwater wetlands and
saltmarsh reed swamps at Homebush Bay. Breeding: no details kept.
Little Grassbird Megalurus gramineus
Uncommon resident, frequents freshwater wetlands, saltmarsh and reed swamps,
only at Homebush Bay. No breeding records during survey but a nest 20 January
1966 in mangroves.
Golden -headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis
Uncommon resident, frequenting freshwater marshes and saltmarsh reed swamps
at Homebush Bay. Breeding: no details kept.
White -fronted Chat Ephthianura albifrons
Uncommon, a small flock (maximum 40) frequent saltmarsh, playing fields and
mangrove edges at Homebush Bay and Newington. No breeding records during
survey, but seven nesting records 1964-1977.
Magpie -lark GraIrina cyanoleuca
Common, small numbers frequent muddy margins of wetlands and Bays.
Australian Raven Corvus coronoides
Very common (100%), small numbers present all areas, feeding on the tide line and
edge of wetlands. No breeding records during survey but nest in Transmission
Tower, Homebush Bay 6 November 1982.
A total of 65 species of waterbird were recorded during the survey of which 37
species were found to occur regularly.
Seventeen species of birds were found to have bred during the survey or in recent
times, and all are known to nest in the wetlands of Homebush Bay or fringing vegetation.
All habitats were extensively used by birds. The sheltered bays, fringed with
mangroves, particularly Majors Bay and Yaralla Bay, attracted the larger wading birds such as
Ibis, Spoonbills and Egrets, perhaps because there was a greater diversity of crustacea and
molluscs. In addition there is less human disturbance in these bays, and the mangroves
March 1990 Page 57screen human activity. Pelicans and cormorants commonly ted in these Bays suggesting
that fish stocks may be higher there than elsewhere.
Prince Edward Park and Kissing Point were favoured high tide roosting sites for
waders and terns. Mortlake Point was previously more favoured but the development of the
Wangal Bushland Reserve, while more attractive than what was previously there, has
brought development and proximity of the bush closer to the point, both of which waders
find undesirable. They like their high tide roosts to be flat and open so that they can see
when their predators are coming towards them! Similarly the landscape development at
Prince Edward Park has encouraged people to walk past the rocky foreshores where the
birds roost, thus making it most unattractive to waders on busy weekends.
The Homebush Bay saltmarshes have now come under the control of the Bi-
centennial Park Authority. These saltmarshes are very attractive to migratory waders and
waterbirds generally. Their attraction for the birds is based upon the saltmarshes being kept
shallow and open. The planting of screening vegetation all the way around the banks of the
main pond could cause the birds to desert the area because this only gives more cover to
mammal predators, particularly cats.
The survey shows that Five Dock Bay is of little interest to waterbirds at this stage,
and that Iron Cove, once very important for migratory waders is now of little value. The most
important bay for migratory waders, is Hen and Chicken Bay, particularly along its eastern
shores, in Kings Bay, Canada Bay and Exile Bay. Some birds particularly favour that stretch
from Bayview into Exile Bay where there are fringing mangroves.
The saltmarshes under the radio towers of 2GB and 2SM are very important
waterbird habitat, are in good condition, and must be retained at all costs.
The Newington Armament Depot wetlands with their fringing Casuarina and
Eucalyptus woodlands are prime habitat. The saltmarsh is rich in food for migratory waders,
particularly Curlew Sandpiper, Sharp -tailed Sandpiper and Red -necked Stint, while
Latham’s Snipe use the reeds as a daytime roost. The small colony of White -fronted Chats
that inhabit the Homebush Bay – Newington wetlands is one of only two colonies in the
Sydney Region, the other colony is at Towra Point in Botany Bay. The Newington marshes
should be preserved as a Nature Reserve under the control of the National Parks and
Wildlife Service because of their significant wildlife and botanical values.
Based on the information published from the National Summer Wader count from
1982 to 1985 the Parramatta River wetlands are important for migratory waders. However of
the five most common species of migratory waders present, only the Lesser Golden Plover
population represents more than 1% of the total population visiting Australia (see Lane and
Jessop 1984, and Lane1985) as shown in the Table below.
Page 58 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3TABLE
Status of the more common migratory waders In the Parramatta River
Lesser Golden 4,630 67 1.4%
Bar -tailed 131,900 306 0.23%
Sharp -tailed 129,700 150 0.18%
Red -necked 260,200 143 0.05%
Curlew 139,500 860 0.62%
Australia is a signatory to “The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
especially as Waterfowl Habitat” (The Ramsar Convention 1971), having ratified it on 8 May

  1. Under the Articles of the convention an area can be included if it supports more than
    one percent of the known Australian population of certain wading birds that regularly
    migrate to Australia. It is not suggested that the Parramatta River wetlands should be
    included on Australia’s list of important wetlands under the Ramsar Convention, but the
    Rivers’ international significance should be recognised. The Parramatta River wetlands
    rank sixth in importance in New South Wales for wader usage after the Hunter, Port
    Stephens, Clarence, Botany Bay and Shoalhaven estuaries (Morris 1984). This fact has
    been overlooked in the past.
    Twenty of the waterbirds regularly occurring in the Parramatta River wetlands are
    listed on the Schedule of the Japan Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA). This agreement,
    between the Government of Japan and the Government of Australia, for the Protection of
    Migratory Birds in Danger of Extinction and their Environment, was signed in 1974 and
    ratified 30th April 1981. The agreement seeks to protect certain species that are common
    to both countries, and also to encourage the protection of the birds’ feeding and roosting
    March 1990 Page 59Of the 18 species listed on JAMBA, 17 are listed in Category 1 “Species of Special
    Concern” on the Endangered Fauna Schedule (12) of the National Parks & Wildlife Act
    1974 as amended. The 18th species, the Little Tern, is listed in Category Ill “Threatened
    Fauna”. In addition the White -bellied Sea -Eagle is also listed in Category while the
    Peregrine Falcon is listed on Category II “Vulnerable and Rare Fauna”. Species scheduled
    in JAMBA are set out in Table II.
    List of Migratory waders and terns present In the Parramatta wetlands that
    are scheduled on the Japan -Australia Migratory Bird Treaty.
    Great Egret Latham’s Snipe
    Lesser Golden Plover Black -tailed Godwit
    Ruddy Turnstone Bar -tailed Godwit
    Eastern Curlew Red Knot
    Whimbrel Sharp -tailed Sandpiper
    Little Whimbrel Red -necked Stint
    Grey- tailed Tattler Curlew Sandpiper
    Common Sandpiper Common Tern
    Greenshank Little Tern
    The wetlands are also important for the large number of Chestnut Teal that occur.
    Together with those frequenting the Newington Saltmarshes, there are over 1000
    Chestnut Teal utilising the bays and mangroves. This is at present one of the largest
    population in N.S.W. The number of Black -winged Stilt (200-400) is also of regional
    Even though the freshwater wetlands are very small, there are none between
    Centennial Park and Parramatta except at Homebush Bay. It is important therefore that
    these are retained and enhanced.
    The loss of saltmarshes in the Sydney Region has already been commented upon
    and it is therefore important that these be retained. Their value for wildfowl and waders alike
    cannot be over emphasised.
    Finally Hen and Chicken Bay has been subject to a considerable number of
    development proposals such as “Peoples” marinas, new reclamation etc. Consequently
    any proposed development of the foreshore or inter- tidal zones must take into account the
    value of area for wildfowl and waders.
    Page 60 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3For these reasons it can be demonstrated that overall the Parramatta River wetlands
    provide an important waterbird habitat in New South Wales, having not only Regional but
    International Significance. Every effort should be made to resist any developments that will
    affect wildlife values.
    The following recommendations are made for the conservation of the waterbirds and
    wetlands of the Parramatta River.
  2. Known hightide roosting sites or rocky promontories should be protected from
    further development.
  3. Planting and shrub regeneration at the Homebush Bay wetlands should not be
    carried out around the wader/duck ponds at the roadside.
  4. The Newington and Homebush Bay saltmarshes should be dedicated as a Nature
    Reserve under the provisions of the National Parks & Wildlife Act. Joint
    management between the Bi-centennial Authority and the National Parks and
    Wildlife Service should be undertaken for these important saltmarshes.
  5. Any development application for the shoreline of Hen and Chicken Bay, Majors
    Bay, Horseshoe and Yaralla Bays must consider the effects of the development on
    the waterbird population.
  6. The Bi-centennial Authority should actively discourage the release of mallards and
    other exotic ducks in the Homebush Bay wetlands.
    Colemane,A. 1968. Waterbird Observations. Birds 2:33.
    Colemane,A. 1969. Wader Records Jan -June. Birds 3:32-34
    Dalby,J., Hoskin,E. & V. Tyler. 1984. First Breeding Records for the Silver
    Gull in the County of Cumberland. Aust. Birds 18:87-88.
    Evans,R.R. ,Goss-Custard,J.D. & Hale,W.G. 1984. Coastal Waders & Wildfowl in Winter.
    Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
    Gosper,D.G. 1981. A Survey of Birds on Flood Plain -Estuarine wetlands of the Hunter & Richmond
    Rivers in Ncrthern N.S.W. CoreIla 5:1-18.
    Green,P. 1967. Homebush Bay Excursion. Birds 1(5):2.
    Haines,L.C. 1963. The Birds of Canada Bay, N.S.W. Aust. Zoo/. 13: 33-39.
    Haines,L.C. 1969. The Red- capped Dotterel. Birds 3:29-31.
    Hindwood,K.A. & E.S. Hoskin.1955. The Waders of Sydney.Sydney: K.A.Hindwood.
    Hindwood,K.A. & A.R.McGill. 1958. The Birds of Sydney. Sydney:Royal Zoological Society.
    March 1990 Page 61Hindwood,K.A. 1969. The Red -kneed Dotterel in Coastal New South Wales. Birds 3:31-32.
    Lane,B & Jessop,A. 1984. National Wader Count Summaries, 1984.Report to participants.
    Lane,B. 1987. Shorebirds in Australia 1987. Melbourne: Nelson Publishers.
    Lindsey,T.R .1983. 1982 Annual Bird Report. Aust. Birds.18:50
    Lynch,C.M.A. Spence,M.M. & Pearson,W.C. 1976. Parameters of the River. Sydney:National Trust
    Morris,A.K. 1973. Status of the Little Greenshank in New South Wales. Birds 7:81-82.
    Morris,A.K. 1979. The Declining Status of the Little Tern in New South Wales. CoreIla 3:105-109.
    Morris,A.K. 1984. N.S.W. Nature Conservation Report No. 54. The conservation status of Waders,
    Gulls 8 Terns. Sydney: National Parks & Wildlife Service.
    Morris,A.K. McGill,A.R. Homes,G. 1981. A Handlist of Birds in New South Wales. Dubbo: NSW Field
    Ornthologist Club.
    Rogers,A.E.F. 1974. 1973 Annual Bird Report Birds 8:109.
    Stockton,E.H. 1965. The Common Sandpiper near Sydney. Emu 64:324.
    Thompson,G.B. & J.M. McEnally . 1985. Coastal Resource Atlas for Oil Spills in Port Jackson.
    Sydney: N.S.W. State Pollution Control Commission.
    Thorogood,L. 1985. Changes in the Distribution of Mangroves in the Port Jackson-Parramatta River
    Estuary from 1930-1985. Wetlands 5:91-96.
    West, R.J. Thorogood,C.A. Walford T.R. & R.J. Williams.1985. An Estuarine inventory for New South
    Wales. Fisheries Bulletin 2. Dept. of Agriculture NSW.
    A.K. Morris 1 Wombat St, Berkeley Vale, 2259.
    M. Tyler 24 Manly View Rd, Kilcare Heights, 2256
    H. Mannes130 Stoney Creek Road, Bexley, 2207
    J. Dalby 13 Lakeview Pde, Umina, 2257.
    (Information provided by Keith Hindwood Bird Recording Service per E.S. Hoskin)
    Cattle Egret Ardeola ibis
    Observed 7 May 1966 (A.R. McGill) & 26 September 1981 (E.S.Hoskin).
    Little Bittern lxobrychus minutus
    Occasionally recorded 1949-1970 (K.A.Hindwood).
    Australasian Bittern Botaurus poiciloptilus
    Observed 19 July 1964 (E. Stockton) & 15 February 1981 (E.S. Hoskin).
    Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus
    Nine birds 15 November 1964, staying for three months (K.A. Hindwood)
    Page 62 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3Straw -necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis
    Recorded on few occasions 1960-67, maximum 100, April -July.
    Black -shouldered Kite Elanus scriptus
    Recorded in the winter of most years.
    Banded Landrail Rallus philippensis
    Recorded on an early K.A. Hindwood list but no details.
    Double -banded Plover Charadrius bicinctus
    Recorded on a few occasions April -June 1964-80, max 12 birds.
    Wood Sandpiper Tringa glaresla
    Recorded on five occasions, max three on 3 April 1966 (A.R. McGill).
    Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris
    Two birds 20 November 1965 (K.A. Hindwood).
    Western Sandpiper C. mauri
    Single bird 22-24 November 1978 (J. Pegler et. al.)
    Broad -billed Sandpiper Limicola lalcinellus
    Single bird 3 November 1978 (J. Pegler).
    Azure Kingfisher Ceyx azureus
    Recorded by M. Goddard as being numerous in the 1940’s.
    Brown Honeyeater Lichmera indistincta
    Recorded as being numerous in the mangroves in the 1940’s & one nesting record (M.
    Goddard) & one bird 28 April 1973 (E.S. Hoskin).
    March 1990 Page 63APPENDIX II
    Frequency of observations of individual species in each littoral habitat zone i.e. percentage of total censuses of
    each habitat that each speciess was recorded. No adjustment is made for species seasonally present i.e. migrants.
    x (<10%) – Occasional xx (10-30%) – Uncommon xxx (31-60%) – Frequent xxxx (>60%) – Extensive
    LITTORAL HABITAT ZONES 1. Intertidal 2. Mangrove 3. Saltmarsh
  7. Freshwater 5. Rocky shores
    SPECIES 1 2 3 4 5 SPECIES 1 2 3 4 5
    Hoary -headed Grebe xxx Eurasian Coot xxxx xxxx
    Australasian Little Grebe Masked Lapwing xxx xx x
    Australian Pelican Lesser Golden Plover
    Great Cormorant Red -kneed Plover xx
    Pied Cormorant Red -capped Plover x
    Little Black Cormorant Black- fronted Plover xx x xx
    Little Pied Cormorant Black- winged Stilt xxx xxx xxxx xx x
    Pacific Heron Ruddy Turnstone xx xx
    White-faced Heron Eastern Curlew x
    Great Egret Whimbrel
    Little Egret Grey -tailed Tattler
    Intermediate Egret Greenshank
    Striated Heron Marsh Sandpiper
    Rufous Night Heron Latham’s Snipe
    Sacred Ibis Black- tailed Godwit
    Royal Spoonbill Bar -tailed Godwit
    Black Swan Red Knot
    Freckled Duck Sharp -tailed Sandpiper
    Pacific Black Duck Red -necked Stint
    Mallard Curlew Sandpiper
    Grey Teal Silver Gull
    Chestnut Teal Common Tern
    Australasian Shoveler x x Little Tern
    Pink -eared Duck x x Crested Tern
    Hardhead xx xxx Sacred Kingfisher
    Maned Duck xx Welcome Swallow
    Musk Duck x Fairy Martin
    Whistling Kite Clamorous Reed- warbler
    Brown Goshawk x Little Grassbird
    White -bellied Sea -Eagle Golden -headed Cisticola
    Peregrine Falcon White -fronted Chat
    Brown Falcon Australian Magpie- lark
    Australian Hobby Australian Raven
    Australian Kestrel
    Australian Crake
    Dusky Moorhen
    Purple Swamphen
    Page 64 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3GREY BUTCHERBIRD MIMICRY
    S.G. LANE
    While working in the back garden of our residence at Moonee near Coffs Harbour, New
    South Wales on 5 March 1990, heard what sounded like mimicry by a Satin Bowerbird
    Ptilonorhynchus violaceus. was not concentrating on the calls but on the job in hand. The
    mixture of call notes could be likened to a pianist or organist extemporizing, using
    numerous pieces from various composers. However, after listening casually for some time,
    suddenly realised that there were no “churring” calls of the bowerbird which invariably occur
    with mimicry by Satin Bowerbirds. The calls were coming from high up, some 35-40 meters,
    and then suspected an Olive -backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatus, but these birds had been
    very scarce in the area for some time, and had been absent for more than a month.
    collected my binoculars and searched for the bird. The only bird could locate was
    I I
    a Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus. As my wife and watched it, the butcherbird
    commenced calling again and continued for nearly ten minutes, giving the same type of
    mimicry with partly opened bill. Notes or part calls of five species were identified – Black –
    faced Cuckoo -shrike Coracina novaehollandiae, Grey Shrike -thrush Colluracincla
    harmonica, Magpie -lark Grallina cyanoleuca, Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen and Pied
    Currawong Strepera graculina.
    At no time while being observed did the bird raise its head and point its bill upwards
    in the manner adopted when giving its characteristic melodious piping call. Its head
    remained in the same position throughout with the bill, partly open and horizontal. Although
    the Grey Butcherbird is recorded as a mimic, it is the first time had experienced this
    behaviour with them.
    S.G. Lane, Lot 6 Fairview Road, Moonee, via Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450.
    J.N. HOBBS
    On 22 August 1988 at Dareton, New South Wales banded a Pallid Cuckoo Cuculus
    pallidus in the nest of a Singing Honeyeater Lichenostomus virescens using a band
    supplied by the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service. It left the nest on 26 August.
    On 11 September kept this cuckoo under observation for about an hour. When 15
    days out of the nest, it was a strong flier but it made no effort to feed itself and was flying
    from perch to perch from which it called incessantly, fluttering its wings whenever a bird
    came near. Its Singing Honeyeater foster parents were nearby but took little interest in it
    probably because they were already working on a new nest in which the first egg was laid
    on 14 September. saw them feed the cuckoo twice only.
    The cuckoo was being fed by a succesion of White -fronted Honeyeaters
    Phylidonyris albifrons with at least six individuals involved. The honeyeaters had arrived in
    the area on 11 August attracted by flowering Native Fuchsia Eremophila maculata. Seven
    pairs nested, the first egg being laid on 14 September. These honeyeaters were flying
    directly from the Eremophilas to the cuckoo. They were not carrying insects and could find
    no insects in the many flowers examined. It seemed very likely that they were feeding the
    cuckoo on nectar which was flowing freely in every flower. This might not be considered an
    ideal food for an insectivorous cuckoo but it was readily accepted. Another possibility is that
    the honeyeaters were feeding the cuckoo with pollen but think nectar is the more probable
    as the honeyeaters immersed the whole beak into the Eremophila flowers right into the pool
    of nectar at the base of each flower.
    The cuckoo also approached two White -plumed Honeyeaters Lichenostomus
    penicillatus and a Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis. Both White -plumed viciously
    attacked the cuckoo and the Friarbird ignored it. Neither of these honeyeater species were
    breeding in the area nor did they subesquently breed. Is it possible the breeding condition
    of the approached birds could influence their reaction to the soliciting cuckoo?
    A female Red -capped Robin Petroica goodenovii was also regularly feeding the
    cuckoo with beakfuls of caterpillars and various insects. She had lost her four young the day
    before, taken by an unknown predator which had thrown the nest to the ground. (A clutch
    of four is most unusual, have not found one before in over 300 neats of this robin that
    I I
    have recorded.) The robin was collecting some food herself but was obtaining most of it
    from her mate. The cuckoo was outside the robins’ breeding territory but this did not deter
    the female. The male however would not cross his boundary. He perched on a tree at the
    edge of his territory, called the female, who then collected the food and conveyed it to the
    cuckoo. It is my experience that male robins usually feed the female throughout the
    breeding period and are also mainly responsible for feeding the young after they leave the
    nest. It is questionable if the male was aware of what was happening to the food he
    Page 66 Australian Birds Vol.23 No.3supplied. The next day, 12 September, the female had returned to her territory and was
    building a new nest. Once the cuckoo flew to her at this nest and solicited food. She
    attacked it and drove it away. The cuckoo then flew to a nearby tree where a Blue Bonnet
    Northiella haematogaster, with a distended throat, was calling its incubating mate out from
    the nest hole to be fed. As the cuckoo fluttered its wings begging food the parrot climbed
    up the trunk away from the nest hole and remained there until the cuckoo flew away.
    On 15 October 1988 at Dareton a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo fostered by Singing
    Honeyeaters and being fed by them was seen to fly to a nest of a Red -capped Robin which
    contained two three-day old chicks. The cuckoo squatted on the nest and solicited food
    from both parent robins as they returned with food. Both robins attacked the cuckoo. The
    cuckoo resisted their attacks for several minutes, alternatively crouching lower into the nest
    or wing fluttering and soliciting food with wide-open beak. Eventually it flew away, unfed,
    and sought out its Singing Honeyeaters who had not remained nearby. Two days later the
    young robins had gone, the nest remaining intact. A similar interception at the nest of a
    Red -capped Robin by a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo has been described (Woodell 1985) and the
    possibility of removal of the young by the cuckoo discussed.
    On 7 November 1989 at Dareton a juvenile Red -capped Robin which had left the
    nest on 5 October was watched attacking a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo which had been fostered
    by Willie Wagtails Rhipidura leucophrys and had left the nest on 2 October (identification
    confirmed by bands). The cuckoo, which was no longer accompanied by its foster parents,
    completely ignored the attacks and the robin desisted. The robin could feed itself and was
    probably independent although its male parent had been feeding it the day before. On this
    day the adult male was more interested in his female who had just started her fourth nest.
    The cuckoo had been in the robins’ territory for several days. It had not aroused the interest
    of either adult robin and neither had fed it or attacked it. If the adult robins did not perceive
    the cuckoo as a threat, which it certainly was not in its state of immaturity, why did the
    juvenile robin attack it? In six years of study of up to 14 pairs of robins each year have not
    found evidence that the Pallid Cuckoo parasitises the Red -capped Robin. doubt a robin
    could incubate the large egg of the cuckoo. Brooker & Brooker (1989) in their review found
    the Red -capped Robin not to be a biological host of the Pallid Cuckoo. Apart from the two
    instances here recorded have no records of Red -capped Robins attacking Pallid Cuckoos.
    Brooker, M.G. & L.C.Brooker. 1989. Cuckoo Hosts in Australia. Aust. Zool. Reviews No. 2.
    Woodell, S.R.J., J.D. Woodell & R. Woodell. 1985. Interactions of a juvenile Pallid Cuckoo
    with three other species. Emu 85;126-127.
    J.N. Hobbs, 12 Hume Street, Dareton, NSW 2717.
    March 1990 Page 67NOTICE TO CONTRIBUTORS
    Contributors are requested to observe the following points when submitting articles and notes
    for publication.
  8. 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.
  9. Articles or notes should be type written if possible and submitted in duplicate. Double
    spacing is required.
  10. Margins of not less than 25mm width at the left hand side and top, with similar or
    slightly smaller at the right hand side of the pages.
  11. No underlinings or no abbreviations except as shown in the examples.
  12. Photographs should be glossy finish and not too small.
  13. The Style Manual, Commonwealth Government Printing Office, Canberra (1966) and
    subsequent editions will be the guide for this Journal.
  14. Diagrams will be on plain white paper drawn with india ink. Any lettering is to be
    ‘professional style’ or lightly penciled.
  15. Dates must be written “1 January 1975” except in tables and figures where they may
    be abbreviated.
  16. The 24 -hour clock will be used, times being written 06:30, 18:30 for 6.30am and
    6.30pm respectively.
  17. Mr, Mrs, Dr are not to be followed by a full stop.
  18. In text, numbers one to ten are spelt: numbers of five figures or more should be
    grouped In threes and spaced by a thin gap. Commas should not be used as
    thousands markers.
  19. 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
  20. Acknowlegements to other individuals should not include Christian names or Initals.Volume 23, No.3 March 1990
    A.K. Morris, A waterbird survey of the Parramatta River wetlands, Sydney, 44
    V.Tyler, M. Tyler, New South Wales.
    H. Mannes &
    S.G.Lane Grey Butcherbird Mimicry 65
    J.N. Hobbs Interactions of juvenile Pallid Cuckoos with Red -capped Robins 66
    and other species.
    Registered by Australia Post – Publication No. NBH0790
    Printed by Drummoyne Printing, 56 Thompson Street, Drummoyne. 811888.