NZ Shining Bronze and Hawkesbury rarities

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Subject: NZ Shining Bronze and Hawkesbury rarities
From: "Dion Hobcroft" <>
Date: Wed, 24 Oct 2001 12:20:11 +1000
Had an excellent birding session this morning starting off with the
Black-tailed Native-hen at Pitt Town at 0600 in the NW corner in front of a
clump of reeds to the right of a dilapidated tower. Followed by Rufous
Songlarks at the dog leg in Cornwallis Road to the north of a major grove of
poplars (closer to Richmond than Baker's Lagoon). At Mitchell Park were
three very confiding Bassian Thrush.

Finally for the third year in a row a male New Zealand Shining Bronze-cuckoo
is present in the largest right hand fig on the escarpment behind the
ranger's house at Cattai National Park. It is easily identified by the
emerald green crown and back, large white rectangular ear covert patch and
complete green barring on underparts against pure white background. A smart
looking bird. I also suspect there is a female present on the basis of broad
bill base and white ear coverts but like the Australian birds plagosus it
has coppery bronze crown. These cuckoos are not calling but several plagosus
are present in the vicinity calling frequently.

A debate has long raged about whether these two taxa should be split.
Personally I am in favour when you realise the NZ birds are the only cuckoos
in the world to hatch with natal down. The Australian population has been
recorded parasitising 65 passerine species, the NZ birds only one but then
they do not have that much choice I suppose. Well worth a look anyway.

Thanks to Keith Brandwood, Edwin Vella, Chris Gladwin, Tony Palliser for
information and particularly Bruce Cox for finding the native-hen. Brings
the Sydney County list to 355.


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