Speckled Warblers in urban gardens

To: 'Con' <>, "" <>
Subject: Speckled Warblers in urban gardens
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 2021 01:43:09 +0000

Thanks for that.  With not a lot of information available 20 years ago, these are the two relevant extracts from The GBS Report. What Con describes is fully consistent with the intent of my text.  First in the introduction section: General comments on bird conservation in suburban Canberra, on page 48,


Many species are residents and for a habitat to support them, it needs to provide all their living needs, not just those for part of the year. It is instructive to note a few examples. Of the Robins, the migrants (Flame, Scarlet and Rose Robins) successfully use the Canberra winter environment, yet the story is very different for the residents. The Jacky Winter and Hooded Robin are uncommon and apparently declining in woodland and the Eastern Yellow Robin is common in surrounding forest. The scarcity of GBS records indicates that these three species barely infiltrate the suburbs. They move out as suburbs overrun their habitat. This is likely to continue. It is only the margins of the suburbs and those close to major reserve areas that will support these species near the suburban habitat. There is probably not much that can be done to preserve them within the city but it indicates the importance of maintaining their habitat where it occurs. The common thread is that the suburban habitat does not provide the breeding needs of any of the Robins. There are many species that appear to cope poorly with loss of woodland habitat. These include ground-feeding species that appear to be in decline: Brown Treecreeper, Speckled Warbler, Southern Whiteface, Hooded Robin and Diamond Firetail. None of them cope well with disturbed or suburban habitat. The Regent Honeyeater is another declining species of importance. They will come briefly into suburban areas to feed on flowering trees and shrubs.

And the species text.


Speckled Warbler Chthonicola sagittata

This little bird is an inhabitant of grassy woodland and was recorded from few sites on the edge of suburbs and adjacent to woodland reserves. Many of the records have repeat observations of small numbers over several months. Any seasonal variation is not easy to assess as changes are minor and for most years the bird was insufficiently recorded to show a trend. When all years are combined, there is a peak in June, declining to a minimum in August and building up to the June peak again. As a species that is at best marginal in the suburban environment, it is uncommon, so the small variations could be random. Changes in long-term numbers appears to be an artefact. The species abundance was especially high in Years 8, 9, 10 & 17 and very low in Years 11 & 12. This matches the participation then cessation in the GBS of Site 65 and in Year 17 at Site 241. Breeding records are only a nest building December Year 7 at Site 22 and a dependent young November Year 13 at Site 28.
Graphs on page: 97, Rank: 103, Breeding Rank: 73, A = 0.01225, F = 5.50%, W = 15.2, R = 0.654%, G = 1.87.




From: Canberrabirds [ On Behalf Of Con           Sent: Sunday, 26 September, 2021 11:27 AM         To:        Subject: [Canberrabirds] Speckled Warblers in urban gardens


I have been told by a reliable observer that, following removal of weedy shrubs from Red Hill Nature Reserve, Speckled Warblers moved into adjacent gardens. They don't seem to be able to maintain this presence and are progressively becoming locally extinct in the inner-north nature reserves.

kind regards

Con Boekel

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