Thanks for that and I would
appreciate more information on the described mimicry in this very typical
situation for this behaviour. From anyone with anything to add. Actually Chris,
you mention "(well documented and summarised in HANZAB)", as the
person who first described this phenomenon, I was disappointed that although
HANZAB does mention it in passing, it does barely mention the significance and
uniqueness of this behaviour (as acknowledged by various international experts
on bird vocalisations such as Peter Slater of University of St Andrews, Clive
Catchpole, David Dobkin and Peter McGregor). Mimicry of Little Wattlebird by the
Regent Honeyeater is standard in those parts. The references with full
explanation are as follows: (and I apologise a bit to David Geering and others,
for being repetitive).
Veerman, P.A. 1992, ‘Vocal mimicry of larger honeyeaters
by the Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia’, Australian Bird
Watcher 14: 180–189.
Veerman, P.A. 1994, ‘Batesian acoustic mimicry by the
Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia’, Australian Bird
Watcher 15: 250–259.
There have been several additional incidents of this behaviour
since those described in my two reports and is worth collating
-----Original Message-----Dear all,
Chris Tzaros <>
Wednesday, 11 June 2003 10:21
Subject: [BIRDING-AUS] Regent
Honeyeater at Newstead, Vic.
John Harris for reminding me to post my observations of the Regent
Honeyeater at Newstead. At the time it was reported to me, I followed
it up almost immediately and my partner and I were lucky enough to see the
bird (almost certainly the same one). As soon as I could, I also
informed numerous local Castlemaine, Bendigo, Ballarat and Newstead birdos
and field nats. who have flocked to see it.
Now to the bird.
The following is snippet of facts that I've sent to numerous people.
The Regent HE was first seen in the township of Newstead (near Castlemaine)
by Joe Hubbard outside his son's (Cameron) motel (Whispering Gums Motel) on
17th May. The sighting was reported to me on the 21st and I saw it on
the 24th, in same tree! Four weeks later, the bird is still there (in
the same 3-4 trees) and I've checked up on it several times. Trees are
Red Ironbark (E. tricarpa) in heavy flower, and the regent has been seen
feeding on the flowers of these trees. Yellow Gums (E. leucoxylon)
nearby are also flowering well but I've only seen the bird in there on one
occasion. The district was hard hit by the drought but recent rains
have brought the area back to life. There are numerous species of
honeyeaters in the area including Red Wattlebird, New Holland HE,
White-plumed, Fuscous, Yellow-tufted, White-naped, Brown-headed and Eastern
Spinebill. Apart from the regent, other more unusual (or scarce
visitors) include Noisy Friarbird and Crescent HE (this is the first
Crescent I've ever seen in the box-ironbark). There has been
unconfirmed report also of Yellow-plumed from nearby area of forest.
Records of Regents are few and far between in this area. The last
sighting in the district was 5-6 years ago, and prior to that, there was a
record in 1989. These are the last two records of regents in that
entire region for some time. They were once common around the towns of
Maryborough and Bendigo, and probably in the areas surrounding Maldon,
Castlemaine and Newstead, but now they are incredibly rare visitors from
???? So far, it is estimated that over 100 people have visited the
'tree' and seen the regent. My guess is that it will stay around for a
while, as long as those trees keep producing food. Red Wattlebirds are
very aggressive towards it but on the same token, the Regent has been
dishing a bit back! Also very interesting is the Regent's calling
behaviour. It is mimicking Red Wattlebird and occasionally Little
Wattlebird. Reports of Regents mimicking are not unusual (well
documented and summarised in HANZAB), but I am intrigued as to where this
bird has come from considering it speaks the language of Little