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Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters

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Presentation on theme: "Swift Parrots and Regent Honeyeaters"— Presentation transcript:

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

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 Need for this project One third of Australia’s woodlands are cleared
80% of temperate woodlands have been lost Over a third of Australia’s 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 Introducing the Swift Parrot

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

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 Movements September: Southward migration

9 Abundance 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)

10 Introducing the Regent Honeyeater

11 Distribution

12 Movements 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

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 Threats 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 Competition with other large nectar feeders for patchy and unpredictable resources Climate change and drought

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 Jacky Winter Insectivorous Ground and trunk foraging
Favours slightly open areas

17 Brown Treecreeper Insectivorous Ground and trunk foraging
Hollow breeder

18 Diamond Firetail Granivorous Ground foraging
Dependant on healthy grassy woodlands

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

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

22 Identifying the Swift Parrot

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

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

25 Identifying the Regent Honeyeater

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

28 Swiftie and Regent surveys
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

29 Swiftie and Regent surveys
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

30 Woodland Bird Surveys 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

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

32 The survey sheet

33 The survey sheet

34 Other activities to assist Swifties and Regents
Lurg revegetation project Ray Thomas Phone: (03) Fax: (03) Web: 8-9 August 22-23 August 5-6 September 19-20 September

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

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