Regent Honeyeater population size

Subject: Regent Honeyeater population size
From: "David Geering"<>
Date: Tue, 12 May 1998 14:32:28 +1000
I see that Simon has answered your question re. Swift Parrots.  It is
extremely difficult to come up with a population estimate for Regent
Honeyeaters.  This has always been put down to their nomadic existence.
It is now reasonable to say that there are three known major breeding areas
remaining.  These are Chiltern in NE Victoria, Capertee Valley, central
western NSW and the Bundarra area, northern NSW.  Breeding also regularly
takes place at other locations but not each year.  These include the
Munghorn Gap-Wollar area east of Mudgee, Warrumbungles National Park and
Canberra.  Following breeding most Regents disappear from the face of the
earth - or so it seems.  The pattern appears to be one of birds breaking
into small parties and wandering around the countryside.  Preliminary
results from last weeks survey adds weight to this.  Whether this is a
result of a reduction in population size or always happened is, at this
stage, uncertain although there are historical reports of "immense" numbers
of birds.  This pattern is still apparent at times - the 400+ Regents in
the Capertee Valley prior to the 1997 breeding season being a case in
Back to the question regarding the size of the Regent Honeyeater
population.  An estimate of 500 to 1500 birds was suggested by  Webster and
Menkhorst (1992) based on surveys  from 1988 to 1990 although the maximum
number of birds they could account for at any time was far less than this.
The best population estimates we have come from counts at the three major
breeding areas.  70-100 birds would be a reasonable estimate of the
Victorian population.  We have to be very concerned about this situation.
A range contraction from the south-west has occurred and appears to be
continuing.  The regular reports from Bendigo, for example, have stopped.
The northern NSW population may be around the same size based on regular
surveys.  The Capertee Valley population is probably the most "important"
with at least 400 in the valley prior to the 1997 breeding season.  The
past three breeding seasons in the Capertee Valley have been good ones.
The real actual size of these populations may be larger but a total
population size of 1000 birds may not be far wrong.
The loss of Regent Honeyeaters from areas where they were formerly common
is of real concern. The long term viability of the two populations towards
the limits of their current range is unknown.  The Capertee Valley
population may be secure for now but their primary breeding habitat is
being lost through non-replacement of old and dying trees.  This is being
addressed through active management and community education by the local
Operations Group of the Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team.
I would like to encourage all birders to make their Regent Honeyeater
records available to the Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team to help piece
together the mystery surrounding Regent movements.
David Geering
Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator

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