Subject: blackbirds
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2000 09:15:30 +1000
John Leonard wrote:

> However I have never seen a Blackbird in any area of undisturbed Wet Forest
> in se Australia, and note that Carol Proberts points out that in the Blue
> Mountains it is doubtful if they inhabit such habitats.

I have.  They occur in many places in the Otway Ranges in Victoria (where
blackberries are common enough in parts - though seldom deep in the forest).
And as I mentioned yesterday, in the South-West wilderness area of Tasmania -
where exotic fruiting plants are not present.  If they can colonise dry forests
as they have done in Victoria, where exotic or native fruiting plants are rare
or absent, then where would their limit be?  Blackbirds occur in a variety of
undisturbed natural habitats where they are the sole exotic bird species.
Despite claims to the contrary about Song Thrushes in Australia (v. NZ), they
also occur marginally in natural habitats in the Otway Ranges (though currently
are extremely rare there).

The Eurasian Blackbird occurs naturally over a very wide range of habitats and
climates.  I saw them recently in Tashkent and the Ferghana Valley in
Uzbekistan, and throughout Kyrgyzstan.  They are indigenous there, and though
some of that is mountainous and wet, much of it is hot, dry and low-medium

The birds introduced to Australia were from the Northern European gene pool,
but the species has great ecological flexibility in the Northern Hemisphere,
and hasn't finished its work in Australia yet.  They've been here for well over
a century & a half, but continue to break new ground (bad pun) in areas which
might be considered their strongholds, as well as to colonise new and more
northern areas.


L A W R I E   C O N O L E
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