RFI Brown Gerygone (Vict.)

Subject: RFI Brown Gerygone (Vict.)
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2005 09:17:59 +1000

A request for birdos on the distribution of this species in Victoria.

At the weekend trip (10 September 2005) by the Bird Observers Club of Australia to Uralla Reserve (Trafalgar, West Gippsland) and then later, Morwell National Park (near Churchill) the group recorded Brown Gerygone (Gerygone mouki ssp. richmondi) at most locations of wet forest at these two conservation reserves.

We were guided around Uralla Reserve by members of the Latrobe Valley Field Naturalists Club who mentioned to me that they species had rarely been recorded in their patch until recent years.  In their view, reports of the species had been increasing.

All the current bird identification books mention that the western limit of Brown Gerygone distribution in Australia is '..about Sale' (eg. Pizzey 1999).  This is over 100km further east of Trafalgar.  A check of the Atlas of Victorian Wildlife records indicates that Brown Gerygone's have been recorded west of Sale in recent years but only as vagrants it appears.

The old Atlas of Victorian Birds (Emison et al. 1987, p. 209) notes the species '...are the only Victorian bird species dependant on Lilly Pilly-Kanooka rainforest gullies, to which they are virtually confined to while breeding.'  On Saturday we recorded the species mainly in gullies of wet forest in the above two reserves.  Lilly Pilly (Acmena smithii) was certainly present at these locations and the Victorian Flora Information System (FIS) shows this to possibly be an isolated patch of Lilly Pilly habitat in Victoria.

Interestingly Schodde and Mason (1999) show the western limit of Gerygone mouki ssp. richmondi in Victoria as just east of Lakes Entrance, presumably due to a lack of collection material further wets of this locality.

To my question.  Would those people with Brown Gerygone records they have NOT forwarded to either of the atlases, please contact me with their observations?  Especially the habitat they saw the species in and where.

I am also interested generally in people's thoughts about the possible westward extension in range of the species in Victoria in recent years (there is the odd record around Melbourne for example) they is not identified in bird literature.

cheers, Martin

Martin O'Brien
Threatened Species & Communities Section
Department of Sustainability and Environment
2/8 Nicholson St., East Melbourne  3002

Tel: 9637 9869
(prefixes: Interstate 03 International 613)

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