Re: birding-aus habitat partition

To: John Leonard <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus habitat partition
From: Andy Burton <>
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 10:29:36 +1000
>I'm thinking about the way that closely related spp partition habitats
>where they occur together.
>Particularly I'm thinking of Superb and Variegated Fairy-wrens in the
>eastern coastal strip (Sydney or Brisbane areas say). What would people say
>the difference in the areas in which these spp hold their territories are,
>in this coastal strip? ie what are the characteristics of places where
>Variegateds are found compared to the places where Superbs are found, or do
>they occur in the very same places?
>John Leonard

Hi John,

        For some time now I have identified these two species in central,
coastal Sydney on the basis of habitat whenever I have been uncertain of
the calls. Usually the identification can be subsequently confirmed by
seeing the birds.

        For instance in homogenous areas of native forest/woodland/heath
along the shores of Middle Harbour or for that matter forest further away
in the north western suburbs the species will be the Variegated Fair-wren.
This species is in fact surprisingly common in remnants of basically
undisturbed, native bush reserves. However as soon as the habitat becomes
weed infested or has disturbed open areas then the Variegated F-w is
replaced by the Superb F-w. The latter is therefore more likely to be found
in eg an open paddock with a pile of cut timber and other rubbish or they
can be found in sports ovals fringed with shrubs be they native plants or
introduced weeds. Weed infested creeks bordered by open areas are also
popular as are small picnic areas set within areas of native bush. In this
latter habitat the two species are most likely to be seen close together.

        Whilst there are always occasional observations to prove one wrong
I believe that the above comments are fundamentally sound.

        And while on the subject I saw a group of at least 10 V F-ws on the
shores of Middle Harbour the other day containing a minimum of 8 freshly
plumaged (breeding plumage) males in a group; there were probably more.
These were at 33° 47.770´ S   151° 13.150´ E

Regards, Andy

Andy Burton
Andy Burton's Bush Tours
21 Karabil Cr.,

Ph. 61 2 9686 4610

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