Why are Red-lored Whistlers patchy in NSW?

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Why are Red-lored Whistlers patchy in NSW?
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 19:47:20 +1000
Hello Birdos,

I've got a question for mallee afficionados.

On the weekend I conducted some more searches for Red-lored Whistlers in Round Hill and Nombinnie NR. Out of 12 locations that I tried I only found them at two locations and these weren't new spots. I managed to snap off a few hurried photos this time but I'm not expecting anything special. Between John Brickhill, David Egan and myself we have searched in quite a few spots now with little success. While there are still vast areas that haven't been looked at they are certainly seeming to be very patchy. I've got two theories as to why the Red-loreds are so patchy in central NSW and I'd love to know what people think or if they have any other theories.

One is that they are very restricted by habitat, possibly requiring undergrowth of a very specific type, height and structure. Fire is the most likely cause of habitat heterogeneity providing suitable patches of habitat among the unsuitable patches.

Second theory is that Gilbert's Whistlers might be outcompeting them or just simply driving them out of certain habitats. Certainly Gilberts respond very well to Red-lored playback. I often find the two calls difficult to differentiate and am not game to ID Red-lored on call alone. So far in my observations (admittedly limited!) I haven't found Gilberts anywhere that there are Red-lored and visa versa. Does anyone familiar with these species in SA and Victoria have any feelings or observations about this?

If I get enough responses I'll summarize them and present them.


Mick Todd
Griffith, NSW

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