Nightcap N P - N. NSW; lyrebird distribution

To: "Ekerlogic Consulting Services (ECS)" <>, <>
Subject: Nightcap N P - N. NSW; lyrebird distribution
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2004 10:08:01 +1000

In response to  Colin Reid's posting about lyrebirds in the Nightcap NP and
Whian Whian State Forest, Peter Ekert wrote, 8 June, 2004:

> As for Superb Lyrebirds, there are no
> Superbs in the region, from my understanding  the Superb range heads a
> little inland and the coast ranges of the north east support Albert's with
> some overlap around the Tenterfield region ...

Peter is right.  I find the lyrebird distribution in that region to be
somewhat strange.  

As both species are (with few exceptions) so shy as to be rarely seen, it is
still possible that they may turn up in some place where they have not been
previously recorded, but apart from that possibility the situation in broad
terms is this:

(Sorry, no attachments permitted, so I can't provide a map.)  The Richmond
Range running approx. north/south separates the drainage of the Richmond
River from that of the Clarence.  To the west of the Clarence, Superbs only;
to the east of the Richmond, only Albert's.  And on the Richmond Range?  Now
there's the strange part.

The source of the Richmond is on the southern side of Mt Lindesay on the
Q/NSW border.  It flows east from there before turning south.  And south
from Mt Lindesay on the southern side of that part of the Richmond, there is
a very interesting elevated area (up to about 370m) which is a northern
extension of the Richmond Range.  When I tape recorded Albert's Lyrebirds
there in '86 and '87, it was State Forest.  I think it is now National Park.

There is a gap in the Range just south of that NP/SF area, then what I have
regarded as the Richmond Range proper runs south for another 50 km or so
before swinging east and north.  Much of that 50 km is State Forest and has
substantial areas of high quality rainforest, eminently suitable habit for
Albert's or Superbs, but I could not find either.  More to the point, the
ornithologist Glen Holmes who was then living in the district, assured me
that there were no lyrebirds on that main part of the range.

The present southern limit of Albert's Lyrebirds appears to be the Blackwall
Range, just south of Ballina.  It runs roughly parallel to the coast and is
about 8 km inland.  The Uralba Nature Reserve, toward the northern end, has
Albert's, and they are in quite atypical habitat:  Eucalyptus forest with
Casuarinas and grass-trees in the under-storey.  Glen suggested that they
had been forced into this area by the clearing of The Big Scrub and have
managed to hang on.  I feel sure they'll still be there.  ("The Big Scrub"
was an extensive area of lowland rainforest, cleared for dairying pre-1900.
The type locality for M. alberti was within The Big Scrub.)

I don't know the current status of another Albert's population which Glen
told me he found on Boundary Creek, some 15 km south-east of Kyogle, in
1983.  I have not been there and don't know what the tenure is.  I don't
think it was a reserve of any kind, and if freehold, the habitat may not
have survived.

To complete the picture where Albert's are concerned, the species occurs in
Mt Warning NP; wherever there is suitable habitat along the McPherson Range
and then north along the Dividing Range and up to Mt Mistake; and Tamborine
Mountain, inland from Southport on the Gold Coast, has an isolated
population.  Reports indicated that early last century there were Albert's
north of Brisbane on the Blackall Range and in the Mary Valley, but it seems
they are no longer there.

Superbs, as Peter has pointed out, are further inland in this northern part
of their range.  Their northern limit is on the Divide east of Stanthorpe.
There is an interesting population of Albert's in the Carabeen Nature Refuge
on Spring Creek east of Killaney, which I make to be about 60 km north-east
of the Stanthorpe Superbs and is the closest the two species come together
that I know of.

[BTW, a tributary of Emu Creek which flows west from the Divide, a little
north of Killarney, is called Menura Creek.]



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