birding-aus Mystery Birds

To: "bird oz" <>
Subject: birding-aus Mystery Birds
From: "Michael Todd" <>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 13:08:24 +1100

Hello everyone,

Not quite on extinct birds but certainly on mystery birds, I thought I might
bring to peoples attention a number of birds that have been seen in the past
that were never identified. Some of you might already know of these birds or
at least of their recorded sightings. John Leonard, the Blue Regent might
fit into your extinct bird question.

Unfortunately, being a bit out of the way up here on Cape York I don't have
the actual articles with me but they are an interesting read for anyone who
can get access to them.

Blue Regent Bowerbird

I think that there was actually a specimen of this bird that was collected
in the Suttor River Valley in Queensland but that subsequently went missing.
It is essential for there to be missing specimens for any good mystery as
any who watch the X-Files would agree. I believe that there might have been
a sighting at Eungella also. The missing specimen was illustrated in a book
on bowerbirds by Gillard?? The suggestion since is that it may have been a
Regent -Satin Bowerbird hybrid. However, I think that the original site
where the specimen was collected has long since been converted to sugarcane,
so if there was an undiscovered species of bowerbird it probably became
extinct long ago. See Chisholm (1966) and Chisholm (1965).

Purple-crowned Honeyeater

I think that this was a type of Lichenostomus honeyeater that had a purple
crown and was seen a numberof times in Lamington National Park. Among the
observers I think was the original O'Reilly from O'Reilly's Guesthouse. They
were seen in small flocks of about 8 birds I think. A suggestion was that it
could have been staining from fruits. See Chishol (1965).

Red-tailed Quail

I believe that it was first seen by E.A.R. Lord in south-east Qld in the
1930's. From memory it was about the size of a King Quail but had
differences in plumage. I think that there were a couple of articles on this
mystery quail in early Emu's. See Chisholm (1965) who might reference the
original articles.

I apologise if I've made any large blunders in the details but as I said
it's all off the top of my head except for the actual reference details that
I keep in a database. On the topic of explorers natural history notes, I'm
sure that I have read some fascinating accounts of marsupials that explorers
encountered last century that are either long extinct or can't be placed
into currently existing species "boxes". Who knows there may be some bird
ones also. Does anyone know more about these mystery birds?



A. H. Chisolm. Some Queensland "mystery birds". Queensland Naturalist
17:87-90, 1965.
A. H. Chisolm. The "Blue Regent" Mystery. Queensland Naturalist 18:29-30,
Lord,E.A.R. (193?), Emu

Michael Todd
Finch Researcher,
Dept.of Environment and Heritage,
Pormpuraaw, Qld, Australia, 4871

-----Original Message-----
From: David James <>
To: John Leonard <>; 
Date: Wednesday, 24 February 1999 8:37
Subject: Re: birding-aus references to extinct birds in early explorers'

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