This is the status of the White-fronted Chat in New
South Wales as per your recent enquiry to me.
In 1981, the status in NSW as per Morris, McGill
& Holmes 1981 "Handlist of the Birds in New South Wales" NSWFOC, was as
"Common. Partial nomad. Eggs June-February and
All regions except Northern Tableland. East to
Moree, Bingara, Gunnedah, Quirindi and Manning River. Also isolated population
at lower Macleay River. Recorded nesting near Kyogle in 1963. Absent from
extreme north-west and above 900m *. Mainly low shrublands and grasslands near
From information obtained from the NSW Annual Bird
Reports since 1981, the situation remains much the same except that the bird has
declined in coastal NSW being only present where large tracts of saltmarsh and
mangroves remain. The lower Macleay River, up river to Jerseyville,
remains the northernmost coastal limit where they occur in small numbers, less
than 10 birds in a group, however they do occur at Lake Cathie, Wallis
Lake and the lower Manning River.
South of the Manning resident in numbers up to 28
in Port Stephens near Lemon Tree Passage, 60+ lower Hunter at Kooragang Ash
Island, Hexham Swamps, rarely Lake Macquarie (Belmont Lagoon 22/1/95), and
rarely Tuggerah Lakes where common up to 1984. Resident populations of c.50
birds at Bicentennial Park-Silverwater NR on Parramatta River, 50+ Towra Point
in Botany Bay, small numbers Lake Illawarra, and then at a variety of coastal
lakes south to Victoria. Recently recorded at 920 m Lake Jinabyne 23/7/95 (see *
The range in inland NSW remains as stated but since
1981 there have been four records in far North-west NSW, viz Nocholeche NR
Wanaaring August 1981 & Tongo Lake, Paroo River 3/11/81, 8 Lake Bancannia
4/9/85 and 10+ Fort Grey 16/10/90 so obviously they get there in good seasons;
regular and probably resident in the Macquarie Marshes, recorded from Narran
Lake in 1992 and on the Central Tablelands at Munghorn Gap and Cowra in recent
times. Good numbers on the Southern Tablelands at places like Lake Bathurst.
Regularly recorded at other large wetland areas like Fivebough Swamp, Leeton and
the Menindee Lakes. Basically associated with large permanent wetlands but in
periods of good seaonal conditions extend their range to other temporary
wetlands. Probably overall still declining however where the protection of
mangroves and saltmarsh on the coastal areas has been achieved, they still
appear to be resident.
There have been no recent records for Moree,
Bingara, Gunnedah & Quirindi that I am aware of so that I have sent a copy
of this to Birding-aus to see if any of the subscribers have any recent records
for those locations.
Records Officer, NSWFOC