Mistletoebird - brainteaser

To: "Birding-aus (E-mail)" <>
Subject: Mistletoebird - brainteaser
From: Lawrie Conole <>
Date: Thu, 12 Aug 2004 09:55:38 +1000

Agree with Andrew re Mistletoebirds in Tasmania. The fact that Lyrebirds, that are supposed to be one of the oldest passerine families don't exist in Tasmania suggests to me that the bridge during the glacial periods didn't have enough suitable habitat, or didn't exist long enough, for certain species to colonise. Both Lyrebirds and Kookaburras survive in Tassie after being introduced, but never made it across naturally.

2 x $0.20 worth ...

Further to that, the theory of island biogeography talks about the concept of species turn over. Species which may have been present before the isolation become extinct on the island, and others colonise. It's not simply a case of keeping everything that was there before the sea level came up! Plus Tassie is a long way south, and species diversity could reasonably be expected to taper off a bit down there.

The family Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers), which contains the genus Dicaeum (the Mistletoebird and many others - 38 spp in all) and genus Prionochilus (6 spp), is very diverse in SE Asia - PNG. Only one species occurs in Australia (not counting the Torres Strait). This suggests they got here late, but I'd be surprised if it was as late as only 16,000 years BP.


Lawrie Conole
Senior Ecologist
Ornithology & Terrestrial Ecology

Ecology Australia Pty. Ltd.
Flora and Fauna Consultants
88B Station Street
FAIRFIELD VIC 3078 Australia
Ph: (03) 9489 4191; Mob: (0419) 588 993
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