correction re: Brush Turkeys & Koel hosts

Subject: correction re: Brush Turkeys & Koel hosts
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 13:34:51 +1100
Ian McAllan sent me a polite e-mail pointing out several of the things
I said about historical Brush Turkey observations were doubtful.  I was
paraphrasing a recent paper (details appended).
The Cape Howe "record" stems from Gould saying:

"How far the range of the Wattled talegallus may extend over Australia
is not yet satisfactorily ascertained; it is known to inhabit various
parts of New South Wales, from Cape Howe to Moreton Bay"

Ian suggests Gould had little information about the NSW far south coast -
so the most plausible explanation would be a mis-statement by Gould.

The Goulburn (Wollondilly) 1834 report seems to distinguish
brush-turkey from bustard - but they do get confused in early
accounts and its far from impossible thats what happened. The
observer for the 1920s Jindabyne/Thredbo report seems  reliable
but its a long way from any other records. There is a discussion
here with respect to an possible historical ACT record here:

Anyway  historical occurrence of brush-turkey south of Sydney, apart
from Illawarra-Shoalhaven, is at best debatable.

Ian was also doubtful about historical records for Sydney itself so
 brush-turkey may be invading rather than reoccupying Sydney.

And while I'm making corrections, I mentioned Figbirds & Magpie-larks
as koel hosts. I was misremembering e-mail to birding-aus from
Alan Morris. Koels apparently do not parasitize these species in
the Newcastle-Sydney-Wollongong area.  Which seems strange as they do
further north.  Instead they parasitize Red Wattlebird, Noisy Friarbird
and Little Wattlebird.

Also someone asked about currawongs, personally I haven't noticed much
change in Pied Currawong abundance in the last 25 years in inner Sydney
(not that is saying much - and other people do seem to have noticed
increased abundance) but apparently in the preceding 25 years they went
from non-breeding vistors to common breeders, a major change in host
availability for CBCs.  I have the vague impression raven numbers have
increased in my part of Sydney over the last 2 decades too.


"Present and Past Distribution of Australian Brush-turkeys Alectura lathami in 
New South Wales-Implications for Management", Goeth, A. and Nicol, K.P. and 
Ross, G. and Shields, J.J., Pacific Conservation Biology, 12(1), 2006

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