couple of questions

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Subject: couple of questions
From: "Tony Lawson" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 13:19:30 +1000
A friend recently posed these questions.  Does anyone have a good answer?


Both were questions asked yesterday at a course I'm teaching, and I can't satisfactorily answer either.

1. Why are NZ birds generally less brightly coloured than east coast Australian ones?

A couple of possible responses occur to me:
a. It's a false premise - there are too few terrestrial native NZ species to make a valid comparison. b. NZ species tend to be dense forest dwellers, where colour is less relevant in communication than in the open forests and woodlands of eastern Australia. But since I haven't even set foot in our nearest Gondwanan neighbour I'm not even sure if my starting point is correct.
In any case I don't find either response very satisfactory.

2. What is it about WA that 'fades' birds?! eg Yellow-tailed to White-tailed Black-cockies; Eastern Yellow to Western Yellow and White-breasted Robins.

It's such a small sample size that I'm forced to concede that it's probably coincidence, but that doesn't satisfy me either.


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