Recently, Regent Honeyeaters have been spotted inside the grounds of Taronga Western Plains Zoo on two separate occasions. A pair was sighted feeding in the flowering Ironbark trees on the edge of the White-handed Gibbon Lake in the centre of the zoo, and then a few days later another solitary bird was spotted in the same spot.
The Regent Honeyeater is a nationally endangered bird species, favouring the Box or Ironbark Forests of south-eastern Australia, with their strongholds in Capertee Valley in New South Wales and Chiltern Forest in Victoria. However, the Regent Honeyeater is a nomadic bird following the flowering box/ironbark trees. At the moment there is a massive bloom of the ironbarks within the Zoo grounds, with a great range of nectar feeding birds, such as Little and Musk Lorikeets, Little and Noisy Friarbirds, Red Wattlebirds and the always present White-plumed Honeyeaters, enjoying the blooms.
These sightings are significant for a number of reasons, firstly Dubbo is one of the farthest west the Regent Honeyeaters travel to in their range. Secondly, they have not been recorded in the region for a few years now and thirdly the number of sightings in New South Wales this year is down in numbers compared to previous year.
So for all those avid bird watchers, come on out to the Zoo and see if you can spot this beautiful and rare species of Honeyeater before it decides to move on to the next forest bloom.
By Keeper, Andrew O’Brien.