Olive-backed Sunbird and the Wallace Line

To: Patrick Scully <>, "" <>
Subject: Olive-backed Sunbird and the Wallace Line
From: Peter Ewin <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2015 11:12:31 +0000
There is at least one other sunbird species in New Guine (Black Sunbird) that 
extends as far west as Sulawesi and a couple of close relatives of the 
Olive-backed are in the Lesser Sundas.
There are large numberso species in Africa (including South Africa) but 
relatively few on the subcontinent (many more in the tropical areas of south 
east Asia). Wallace's Line may be a barrier, but it may just be that the Asian 
species require more tropical conditions and that suitable habitat is limited 
in Australia to the east coast, and that perhaps the large number of nectivores 
that evolved in Australia (i.e. Meliphagid honeyeaters) outcompeted any other 
species that tried to settle here.
No science in, just my gues based on basic knowledge of biogeography.

> Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2015 10:26:29 +1000
> From: 
> To: 
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Olive-backed Sunbird and the Wallace Line
> Hello Fellow Birders,
> I may be going to a wedding in Thailand and so as birders do, I looked up
> the bird list for Thailand and to my amazement discovered that Thailand has
> a larger bird list (1017) than us.  I also discovered that Thailand has
> some really lovely Sunbirds including our Olive-backed Sunbird.  I know
> that none of us can possibly know but I'm sure that others have pondered on
> why the Olive -backed Sunbird is all over Asia and also Australia and yet I
> suppose that the other Sunbirds have stopped at the Wallace Line.  Any
> ideas or theories on how we managed to get just one Sunbird would be
> appreciated.
> Happy birding,
> Patriick
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