Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.

Habitat of the Regent Honeyeater Xanthomyza phrygia and the value of the Bundarra-Barraba region for the conservation of avifauna

Damon L. Oliver, Andrew J. Ley, Hugh A. Ford and Beth Williams

Pacific Conservation Biology 5(3) 224 - 239
Published: 1999


Five types of woodland and forest in the Bundarra-Barraba region of northern New South Wales were surveyed for Regent Honeyeaters Xanthomyza phrygia and other birds over two years. Regent Honeyeaters were found in 24 of the 93 transects, at a density of 0.09 birds/ha. Most were found in box-ironbark woodland (34% of 62 sites), with single records from box-gum woodland, box-stringybark woodland and dry plateau complex woodland. No Regent Honeyeaters were found in riparian gallery forest during censuses, but they were found breeding there at other times. All habitats contained a high density of birds, compared to other wooded regions in southern Australia, with riparian gallery forest and box-ironbark woodland being particularly rich in species and numbers. These habitats had greater flowering indices, larger trees and more mistletoes than other habitats. Sites used by Regent Honeyeaters supported significantly more birds and bird species than unoccupied sites. The region supports a total of 193 species, four of which are nationally threatened and seven which are threatened in New South Wales. The richness of the bird community in the region is partly because it retains a higher proportion of native vegetation cover (43%) than many other parts of rural Australia. Protection and rehabilitation of box-ironbark woodland and riparian gallery forest is of high priority in a regional conservation plan. However, all habitats in the Bundarra-Barraba region should be protected from clearing and degradation, because they are also used at times by Regent Honeyeaters and support a wide range of bird species. Wise management should retain many sensitive bird species that have disappeared from or declined in other regions of southeastern Australia.

© CSIRO 1999

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