Slaty-backed Thornbills at Cunnamulla (W Qld)

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Slaty-backed Thornbills at Cunnamulla (W Qld)
From: Lloyd Nielsen <>
Date: Mon, 09 Jun 2003 22:19:07 +1000
 Tom, Grev and all,

Regarding the Slaty-backed Thornbill about Bowra/ Cunnamulla etc, I did many trips into that area from about 1965 until about 1985 and never recorded the species. We went much further west on a number of occasions - Nockatunga, Innaminka etc etc. We thought we had it at Adavale at one stage but it turned out to be a rather odd Inland Thornbill ("Broad-tailed" in those days). I camped near Eulo Bore for a few days in 2000 and again in 2001 mostly to try to find it after it having been recorded from there in the early 1990s but no luck.(The first I had heard of it being recorded in the Cunnamulla-Thargomindah area was about late 1980s - from Yowah from memory).

Monty Schrader lived at Cunnamulla for close to 30 years and was very active over that period - and knew his area extremely well. I am sure he never recorded it despite the fact that his work took him onto properties up to 150 km from Cunnamulla. He sometimes accompanied us when we did trips further west.

It would be interesting if the species is establishing itself or extending eastward. I always rekoned the dry mulga country west from Cunnamulla was probably suitable habitat and half expected to come across the species eventually.

Hanzab says "Few records" (for Qld). There is a small scattering of records listed - from much further W, e.g. Windorah, Jundah, and NW near Sandringham Station (near the NT border), as well as the one from Eulo Bore. A single specimen was collected 26 km W of Eromanga (ref. "Notes on Recent Sightings of Slaty-backed Thornbills in South-western Queensland", Inglis, Smyth, Joseph - Sunbird 22:46 - this paper summarises SW Qld records until about 1991).

Lloyd Nielsen,
Mt Molloy
Nth Qld

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