Musk Lorikeets in Sydney and species diversity

To: Chris Lloyd <>
Subject: Musk Lorikeets in Sydney and species diversity
From: Andy Burton <>
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2016 01:37:22 +0000
Hi Chris, the increase in Muskie numbers is interesting. 

In much of northern Sydney they were a rarity in my experience, and then in the 
late summer and autumn of 1995 they appeared throughout much of the area. Since 
then they have been seen annually at that time of year. We moved to Roseville - 
Lindfield in Jan 2001 and Muskies have been visitors to the garden every Autumn 
since. They appear to be following the flowering eucs.. Then during the summer 
of 2014 -2015 (from memory) they appeared for much of the summer, for the first 
time, and stayed on through autumn. Last year they weren’t noticeably present 
in Summer.  This year for the second time during summer we had the first first 
local records at the end of Spring or early December. Whilst I haven’t birded 
widely in northern Sydney recently I can confirm that I have seen Muskies at 
home in the Lance Cove catchment on the borders of Roseville and Lindfield, 
Sydney Olympic Park, Macquarie Uni, and last weekend quite good numbers at 
Barton Park in North Parramatta.

I suspect that recently there has been an increase in euc canopy cover in 
northern Sydney and this has provided a food resource for this species and also 
partly accounts for the annual sightings of Pacific Bazas these days. Bazas 
have been annual visitors to our garden for a good number of years and almost 
certainly nest locally. A big change from the 1970s when they were virtually 
unknown in Sydney.


> On 17 Dec 2016, at 11:12 am, Chris Lloyd <> wrote:
> I live on the Georges River on the south side of Sydney and have been bird
> watching the sandstone headlands along the river for a few decades. Over the
> last five years I have coordinated a group volunteers to watch Powerful Owls
> along the river leading to extensive observation on any of the 25+
> territories from Campbelltown to Tom Ugly's. All this has meant walking the
> suburbs and river sides for a couple days of each week. What both my partner
> and I have noticed this year is the dramatic increase in the number of Musk
> Lorikeets which APPEAR to be present. Not only do their numbers seem
> significantly higher but they are coming much lower in the foliage to feed.
> In previous years this species could frequently be heard high flying or in
> the tops of eucalypts. This year, and on more than one occasion, we have
> been able to literally walk up to eye level and about an arms length away
> for one or a number of birds. Are we imagining this or are others seeing
> Mush Lorikeet numbers increase?
> Arguments about species numbers seem to have a long history and I vaguely
> recollect Darwin suggesting a number above 30k. Cracraft and others of the
> PSC bent came up with similar figures in there endless polemic with Meyer
> and BSC crowd and, of course, there are "ultrataxon" sleights of hand.
> Having spent a fair bit of life playing with seabirds I have often wondered
> about the shearwaters in general and the Wedgetail in particular. I think
> these may be the second most common species but in the hand birds from one
> part of the Pacific seem different to others. One of the seabirder's party
> tricks is calling up birds and I note that what works on the Cap-Bunker
> islands is not effective on the NSW south coast. Just sayin'
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