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Chris Tzaros & Dean Ingwersen Woodland Bird Conservation Project Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters Icons of our woodlands.

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Presentation on theme: "Chris Tzaros & Dean Ingwersen Woodland Bird Conservation Project Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters Icons of our woodlands."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chris Tzaros & Dean Ingwersen Woodland Bird Conservation Project Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters Icons of our woodlands

2 2 Woodland Bird Conservation Project background Swift Parrot/Regent Honeyeater funding crisis Current phase based on Commonwealth Recovery Plan implementation for swifties and regents Initiate other projects targeting declining and threatened species - research - monitoring - on-ground restoration - knowledge brokering Plan is to work with project partners in Vic. (Trust for Nature), Tas. (Tas Land Conservancy) and NSW (Nature Conservation Trust) Emphasis on private woodland conservation such as strategic covenanting

3 3 Need for this project One third of Australias woodlands are cleared 80% of temperate woodlands have been lost Over a third of Australias land birds are woodland dependant One in five of these is listed as threatened (over 40 species) Birds of south-east temperate woodlands have suffered most

4 4 Introducing the Swift Parrot

5 5 Distribution Widespread across the temperate south-eastern woodlands, including Tasmania where it breeds Migrates across Bass Strait for autumn-winter (longest migrating parrot in the World)

6 6 Movements October – December: Breeding Eastern Tasmania in Blue Gum forest January: First year birds are mobile Disperse through central and northern Tasmania

7 7 Movements February - April: Arrive on mainland May - August: Nomadic throughout central, southern and north-east Vic, NSW south, central and north coast, south-west and central slopes, occasionally south-east Qld

8 8 Movements September: Southward migration

9 9 Population: breeding pairs breeding pairs Swift Parrot population estimated to be no more than 1000 breeding pairs - Swift Parrot Recovery Plan 2001 Conservation status: Endangered Nationally (listed under Commonwealth EPBC Act 1999) Abundance

10 10 Introducing the Regent Honeyeater

11 11 Distribution

12 12 Highly mobile but appear to have regular patterns of movement Late summer-winter - disperse widely in small groups Late winter-spring - concentrate back into core breeding areas: Capertee Valley, central NSW Bundarra - Barraba, northern NSW Chiltern, Vic Movements

13 13 Changes in abundance Contraction in range (from SA, western Victoria and parts of Qld) Reporting rates have declined and flocks observed are smaller - until early this century the Regent Honeyeater congregated from time to time in large flocks, described enthusiastically as containing immense numbers (1866) and thousands (1909). Very difficult to estimate current numbers: Reporting rate is very low for a species that inhabits a largely agricultural landscape

14 14 Loss of habitat and reduction in quality (particularly fragmentation) Clearing for agriculture Forestry and cutting for firewood Continuing decline of trees in agricultural landscape Lack of regeneration Threats Competition with other large nectar feeders for patchy and unpredictable resources Climate change and drought

15 15 Flagships for woodland conservation Actions to reverse the declines of these two high profile species will have flow- on benefits to a host of other threatened and declining woodland birds

16 16 Jacky Winter Insectivorous Ground and trunk foraging Favours slightly open areas

17 17 Brown Treecreeper Insectivorous Ground and trunk foraging Hollow breeder

18 18 Diamond Firetail Granivorous Ground foraging Dependant on healthy grassy woodlands

19 19 Speckled Warbler Insectivorous Ground foraging Often in mixed-species foraging flocks

20 20 Habitat in Victoria Box-ironbark forests and woodlands Lowland vegetation communities on fertile sites are preferred These sites have important drought refuge characteristics Trees at such sites flower more frequently and abundantly

21 21 Forage trees in Victoria Grey BoxEucalyptus microcarpa Early autumn flowering White BoxEucalyptus albens Mid-late winter flowering Yellow GumEucalyptus leucoxylon Mid-late winter flowering, abundant nectar, good lerp loads Red IronbarkEucalyptus tricarpa Mid-late winter flowering, abundant nectar but severely drought affected Red BoxEucalyptus polyanthemos Occasional lerp infestation Yellow BoxEucalyptus melliodora Late spring-early summer flowering, occasional lerp loads, good for insects River Red GumEucalyptus camaldulensis Reliably harbours insects and regular lerp loads Golden WattleAcacia pycnantha Racemes in winter important for swifties

22 22 Identifying the Swift Parrot

23 23 Identifying the Swift Parrot Plumage differences include: - Red under wings and tail Purple-crowned Lorikeet LittleLorikeet Rainbow Lorikeet Musk Lorikeet Scaly-breasted Lorikeet

24 24 Identifying the Swift Parrot Similar species and calls Little Lorikeet Musk Lorikeet Purple-crowned Lorikeet Swift Parrot

25 25 Identifying the Regent Honeyeater

26 26 Identifying the Regent Honeyeater Other yellow-winged honeyeaters: New Holland HE smaller and have white on face Painted HE white underparts and pink bill White-fronted and Crescent very rare Note that field guides incorrectly illustrate a pink or red face

27 27 Identifying the Regent Honeyeater Similar species and calls Regent Honeyeater New Holland Honeyeater Painted Honeyeater

28 28 The winter surveys were set up to track these highly mobile creatures They have been successful in telling us a great deal There is still much to be learned by continuing them Swiftie and Regent surveys

29 29 A good way to cover lots of ground is to drive through suitable habitat listening for bird activity Upon finding a good patch, stop and survey/wander the area looking and listening for the target species Swiftie and Regent surveys

30 30 20 min x 2 Ha transect 500m area search - these are often the best methods for locating threatened and cryptic species, like Swifties and Regents Woodland Bird Surveys

31 31 Traditional survey dates: 3rd week of May (this year, May) 1st week of August (this year, 1-2 August) Swiftie and Regent surveys However, we also seek opportunistic information outside these periods necessary

32 32 The survey sheet

33 33 The survey sheet

34 34 Ray Thomas Phone: (03) Fax: (03) Web: 8-9 August August 5-6 September September Other activities to assist Swifties and Regents Lurg revegetation project

35 35 Contact: Chris Tzaros & Dean Ingwersen Woodland Bird Conservation Project (03) For more information, visit:

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