Helmeted Friarbird races in NT

To: martin cachard <>
Subject: Helmeted Friarbird races in NT
From: Bruce Roubin <>
Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2011 23:20:48 +1100

Good thing that the friarbirds are made to wear their helmets in these races. There have been a lot of fatalities on NT roads.


On 10/12/2011, at 7:14 PM, martin cachard wrote:

Hi Russ & others The sandstone bird (ammitophila) is fairly easy to see atop of Gunlom in Kakdu NP & I also had them in nearby Koolpin Gorge. I didn't see them at Nourlangie Rock to the north, but did see some at nearny Gubara. So I guess you could say that it is fairly widespread on the escarpment areas. The coastal/mangrove bird (gordoni) I found to be quite common around Darwin at a great deal of sites. However, I wouldn't say that this bird is anywhere near as common as the Hornbill Friarbird (yorki) is around Cairns where I live. I have a question though - why is it that the NE Qld bird yorki has been split as a full species, especially from the coastal NT gordoni? I am no taxonomist, but I would have thought that the escarpment frequenting ammitophila was more distinct when compared to both gordoni & the newly split yorki, which at least structurally to my eye, appear more closely related to one another... Any thoughts anyone ...?? Cheers Martin Cachard,Cairns, 0428 782
To: ; 
Date: Sat, 10 Dec 2011 12:37:18 +1000
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Helmeted Friarbird races in NT

David & birding-ausers,
Wanting to be absolutely clear about what races of Helmeted Friarbird are believed to occur in the NT under the
IOC classification.
Am I right in thinking that Philemon buceroides gordoni ( Matthew's Melville Island friarbird) is the more widespread across the coastal Top End, and that P.b. ammitophila (? Sandstone Friarbird?) is confined to sandstone escarpments? Are they the only two races in the NT? Am I right in believing that the nominate race P. buceroides buceroides does
not appear on the Australian mainland.
Would be interested in peoples' views as to the relative abundance of these two races in the NT. A thorough search of my records for two visits to the Territory shows I've missed Helmeted Friarbird both times (along with White-lined H/E, but at least I was actively looking for that and knew I
didn't have it!!)
          Don't you just hate it when you've missed an airchair tick.

Russ Lamb, Maleny, SEQ

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