birding-aus RFI White-gaped Honeyeater

Subject: birding-aus RFI White-gaped Honeyeater
From: David James <>
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 1999 17:44:52 +1000

Hi Birders,

I'm quite puzzled/curious about the distribution of White-gaped Honeyeater
(WGHO) in eastern Qld. Around Townsville they are locally common in two
isolated restricted populations: (1) within the suburbs on the north bank
of ross river; and (2) in the eastern? drainages of Mt Elliot.

Aparently they occur south of Townsville in Ayr, but not Bowen. They don't
seem to occur to the north of Townsville in the coastal forests and lowland
or upland rainforests of the wet tropics. I've never seen them for instance
around Ingham, Cardwell, Tully, Innisfail, Cairns, Daintree, Atherton,
Malanda, Julaten or the Eastern Cape.  Most people I've talked to haven't
seen them in too many palces either.

The Atlas shows records in every block along the coast from about Bowen to
Princess Charlotte Bay. I find that hard to beleive. Storr (1983, revised
list of Q Birds) has a more reasonable distribution in three populations:
(1) Gulf, (2) Southern Cape York S to Mareeba and E to Helenevale; and (3)
Townsville to Inkerman. However, there is only one record from Hellenvale,
1948-49 (see Mclean 1995 Sunbird 25:69). 

Something is fishy. Why such big gaps in the range? There's nothing
obviously perculiar about their habitat preferences: mesic, riparian
forests and gardens. No problems with "development". They seem to need
permanent water. They can co-exist with other honeyeaters like Yellow and

I'm intertested to know were other birders have seen White-gapeds in Qld,
apart from in the far NW.  I'm not after details, just districts and
whether recent or long ago.

Please reply direct to me, and I'll summarise for birding Aus.

thanks in advance,

David James
PO BOX 5225
Townsville Mail Centre 4810

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