Re: Red-lored Whistler in New South Wales

To: "Alan Morris" <>
Subject: Re: Red-lored Whistler in New South Wales
From: Michael Todd <>
Date: Thu, 15 Nov 2001 19:02:55 +1100
Hello Alan and other birdos,

There is a record for Red-lored Whistler from Yathong NR in the NPWS Wildlife Atlas, but it is difficult to trace and may be an error. There are a whole clump of records for Yathong all from exactly the same spot that is almost certainly someones estimate of where Yathong is from a very broadscale map of NSW or something similar. I think they may have been from a birdwatchers club outing or similar. I'll look it up for you Alan if you are interested.

I've got some good news re the Red-lored Whistler in NSW. Yesterday and today, staff from Griffith NPWS (John Brickhill, David Egan, Michelle Ballestrin, Tim Sides and myself) located Red-lored Whistlers in 3 possibly 4 new locations. Whatsmore these locations were approximately 40 km from the regularly visited sites in Round Hill NR. There were multiple birds at each site, with Gilberts Whistler in two of the same sites as the Red-loreds. Other birds found at all or most of the same sites included Shy Heathwren, Southern Scrub-robin, Grey-fronted honeyeater and White-fronted honeyeater with Chestnut Quailthrush at one site. I haven't found Shy Heathhwrens to be so vocal before. This morning it was very still and overcast making conditions for hearing calls perfect. Whether the birds call more because of this I don't know, but it certainly makes them easier to find.

I was also treated to a few minutes of close observation of what I assume was an immature heathwren foraging with an immature scrub-robin. The heathwren was duller than others I've seen while still being far more clearly marked than the Chestnut-rumped Heathwren. It lacked the white spot on the wing, however. The scrub-robin had rufous feathers in among the standard grey-brown reminding me of the way immature Eastern Yellow Robins can look. Both birds were foraging through leaf litter under Broombush and were curious about me, both scolding me in their respective tones. After a couple of minutes an adult Scrub-robin appeared and started singing and scolding, seemingly dragging the youngster away from the big bid bogeyman (i.e. me).

That Red-lored Whistlers are extant somewhere other than the seemingly small area at Round Hill NR is a big relief and raises hopes that they may still have a future in central NSW.

As for why they were only discovered in central NSW in 1963, could it be that no-one had looked for them in mallee in central NSW until then?

Very relieved,

Mick Todd
Griffith, NSW

At 09:03 PM 13/11/01 +1100, Alan Morris wrote:
Hi Birders,
Michael Todd raised some questions about habitat requirements for Red-lored Whistlers in NSW. He raised the point that Yathong, Nombinnee and Round Hill Reserves may never have been important for them being too marginal but rather maybe all the important mallee areas were cleared early on.
The question that interests me about the RLW is that it was not known from NSW until November 1963 when Richard Shodde found the bird at Pulletop Nature Reserve near Griffith. RLW were not found at Round Hill NR until October 1969 and in Nombinnie NR until 24 April 1991. As far as I am aware there has been no records from Yathong NR. The only other record away from Pulletop/Round Hill/Nombinee is an immature male recorded near Cobar 6 April 1980 (Aust. Birds 16, 17). Where were RLW prior to 1963 and why were they only found then?
Alan Morris
Records Officer, Birding NSW (used to be NSWFOC)
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