Re: South Island Pied Oystercatcher at Ballina NSW

Subject: Re: South Island Pied Oystercatcher at Ballina NSW
Date: Fri, 25 Jan 2002 10:47:00 +1000
Bob Inglis wrote "This would suggest the possibility that this species has 
established a route to Australia and that even more are present and that a 
pure, non hybridised
population could establish itself in Australia in the near future.

What this would mean for the viability of the Pied Oystercatcher is 
to contemplate."

To date South Island Pied Oystercatchers have only been reported from two 
locations.  I'm sure many birders are now aware of this species and are 
looking for them.  If significant numbers were present I would expect more 
reports of possible South Island Pied Oystercatchers.  I'm not convinced 
that a route has been established - this suggests a regular migration.  Is 
it not possible that a couple of birds were caught up in a weather event 
and ended up in Australia?  This could well explain why the two records 
are relatively close together and not in southern Australia which is 
closer to New Zealand.

If this is the case then the species might be short lived in Australia 
unless further supplemented by more birds from NZ.  I'm not up on 
Oystercatcher taxonomy.  Is there likely to be hybridisation between these 
and Pied Oystercatchers?  Even if this was the case I think Pied 
Oystercatchers would be secure.  The occasional hybridisation between 
Little and Fairy Terns seems to be having no impact on these species.

David Geering

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