White cheeked and new Hollands

To: "'Mick Roderick'" <>, "'Stephen Ambrose'" <>, "'Russ Lamb'" <>, "'Wayne Ellis'" <>, <>
Subject: White cheeked and new Hollands
From: "Alan Stuart" <>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2012 16:22:07 +1100
Mick asked me to comment about White-cheeked Honeyeaters in the Hunter
Region of NSW.  They are a very common bird within an eastern (near-coastal)
strip around here, where they co-occur with New Holland H/E but in far
greater numbers generally except where there is heath - then the New Holland
becomes the dominant species. White-cheeked Honeyeaters are much less common
inland (about 98% of the local records of them in the BA Atlas are from the
eastern part of the Region). I have never seen them in the Gloucester Tops
and in nearly 200 surveys by birdwatchers in the Tops in the past two years
(as part of our Rufous Scrub-bird studies) they have not been recorded. So
they are very uncommon in the high country, and are relatively infrequently
reported from elsewhere outside of the near-coastal strip. Mick is correct
about New Holland H/E being found in the high country. Their numbers up
there vary from year to year.

Alan Stuart

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Mick Roderick
Sent: Tuesday, 17 January 2012 1:08 PM
To: Stephen Ambrose; 'Russ Lamb'; 'Wayne Ellis'; 
Subject: White cheeked and new Hollands

This is an interesting topic, and I wasn't aware of the Recher article,
thanks Stephen.
I know the original question was in relation to SE Qld but I was surprised
to read that they hardly overlap there and in NE NSW. In the Hunter we see
both species together at a number of sites and not always in the same
Both occur in the coastal heaths seaward of Lake Macquarie and the Myall /
Great Lakes. In the areas of coastal heath where "heath specialists" like
Tawny-crowned HE's occur, the New Holland often dominates (and the text in
Pizzey's field guide about the coastal distribution of the New Holland is a
little bit out).
Both are recorded at high altitudes in Gloucester Tops (>1100m), though I'm
not certain which is recorded more often - I would imagine that it is New
Holland, but Alan Stuart might like to comment on that. That same area is
pretty much the northern limit for another Phylidonyris species - the
Crescent HE - which only regularly occurs at that altitude in our region.
Both are found in the lower altitudes of the sandstone country on the
northern edge of the Wollemi NP escarpment (in dry woodland), and perhaps in
close relation, both are found in the sands-dominated lowland woodlands of
the Cessnock-Kurri region. When there is significant blossom in this area it
is not unusual to see White-cheekeds feeding in the canopy of prolific
flowering Ironbarks and sometimes Spotted Gums amongst masses of Little
Lorikeets (this is happening right now actually). The New Hollands are very
localised, but they co-exist with White-cheeks in the heathy-woodlands
dominated in the understorey by Proteaceous vegetation (Banksias, Grevilleas
etc). Yellow-tufted HE's are co-dominant in these areas as well, but usually
only where taller open forest is in the vicinity.
Both species also occur in suburban parks and gardens in Cessnock and Kurri
(great for Twitchathons!).

From: Stephen Ambrose <>
To: 'Russ Lamb' <>; 'Wayne Ellis'
Sent: Tuesday, 17 January 2012 12:04 PM
Subject: White cheeked and new Hollands


You may be interested in the following article by Harry Recher:

Ecology of Co-existing White-cheeked and New Holland Honeyeaters

HF Recher 

Emu 77(3) 136 - 142 


The ecology and breeding biology of White-cheeked Phylidonyris nigra and New
Holland P. novaehollandiae Honeyeaters has been studied since 1967 in the
Brisbane Waters National Park north of Sydney, NSW. This is an area where
the ranges of the two birds overlap and in one study plot, a heath, both
nest close to each other. Only the White-cheeked occurs in a second plot, a
dry sclerophyll woodland, near the heath. Breeding bird censuses have
revealed that during most years similar numbers of honeyeaters nest during
the autumn and spring but there can be considerable variation in numbers
between years. The number of nesting pairs may be related to weather and to
long-term changes in vegetation but there is no consistent pattern and
numbers may be determined by environmental factors outside the study area.
Both species forage in similar ways and take insects and nectar from the
same places. It is suggested that the presence of both on the heath for part
of the year is related to the abundance of nectar. In other places where the
species overlap they are separated by habitat. Data on clutch size, nest
sites and breeding success are presented and discussed.

Full text doi:10.1071/MU9770136 

C CSIRO 1977

Kind regards,

Dr Stephen Ambrose
Ryde, NSW

-----Original Message-----
 On Behalf Of Russ Lamb
Sent: Tuesday, 17 January 2012 11:18 AM
To: Wayne Ellis; 
Subject: White cheeked and new Hollands

            No it's not common, in fact quite rare, to see these species 
together. I've only seen them together (well, within 100 m ) at the same 
site once in 18 years on the Sunshine Coast, in 2010 near Baroon Pocket Dam,

North Maleny. White-cheeked inhabit mostly coastal banksia heath and 
adjacent lowland scrub with taller banksia, whilst New Holland H/E is less 
frequently seen, and then usually on the Blackall Range in euc. woodlands 
(though I have seen New Hollands on the lowlands, near Landsborough).

Russ Lamb, Maleny,SEQ

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