A local birdwatcher made the find of a lifetime when she noticed a pair of yellow-and-black birds at Poppethead Park, Kitchener.
Hunter Bird Observers Club member Shelly Zvingulis found pair of critically-endangered Regent Honeyeaters, accompanied by a juvenile bird, at the park on November 18.
The age and behaviour of the juvenile bird indicates that it fledged from a nest locally, possibly very close to Poppethead Park itself.
“It was exciting enough to have found such a rare and endangered bird, but to know that they have bred in the area is amazing,” Ms Zvingulis said.
The Regent Honeyeater is one of Australia’s most threatened bird species, with recent population estimates between 350-400 adult birds.
The species is listed the critically endangered under all threatened species legislation and international conventions, meaning that it is at extremely high risk of extinction in the immediate future.
The forests of the Cessnock area have been recognised as a key biodiversity area based on their importance to Regent Honeyeaters (and Swift Parrots).
BirdLife Australia monitors the population of Regent Honeyeaters with funding from the NSW Government’s Saving Our Species program and maintains a national database of sightings.
BirdLife Australia’s Woodland Birds for Biodiversity project coordinator Mick Roderick, says it is a very important find.
“We have not been able to confirm successful nesting in the Lower Hunter since the well-documented breeding event that occurred in the Hunter Economic Zone (Tomalpin Woodlands) in 2007–2008,” Mr Roderick said.
“We have recorded significant numbers of birds in the area in recent years and have seen nests being built.
“We strongly suspected breeding has occurred, but we've had no proof until now.
“Shelly has made a very important observation and is to be commended for reporting it.”
BirdLife Australia is working to recover populations of the Regent Honeyeater as part of broad, multi-jurisdiction recovery team.
Anyone who sees one is encouraged to call (03) 9347 0757 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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