High hopes for Regent Honeyeaters

High hopes for Regent Honeyeaters

#Conservation, #Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Posted on 13th August 2020 by Media Relations

Keepers caring for Taronga Western Plain Zoo’s Regent Honeyeater population have high hopes for a successful first year, as the first breeding season commences in Dubbo.

The Regent Honeyeater conservation breeding program welcomed an additional two pairs of adult birds from Taronga Zoo in June 2020. Taronga Western Plains Zoo is now home to 12 Regent Honeyeaters in a behind-the-scenes breeding facility.

“All the birds have settled in really well, especially the new additions. We have already seen the two new pairs initiating nesting which is really positive to see,” said Regent Honeyeater Keeper, Kara Stevens.

“All of the birds are now paired off and we are hopeful that at least four pairs will produce young in this our first breeding season for this species,” said Kara.

Regent Honeyeater breeding season is from July through to January. Regent Honeyeaters can have up to three clutches throughout the breeding season with generally two successful chicks per clutch being the norm.

“We already have a couple of birds incubating eggs on nests, so we are patiently waiting to see the outcome from these.”

“So far we have seen some form of breeding behaviour from all six pairs, a really positive sign so early on in the breeding season,” said Kara.

Regent Honeyeaters make cup shape nests in the fork of trees generally, using dried grasses, casuarina needles and spider web to hold the nest together. Zoo Keepers collect spider web for the birds daily to assist with this process.

Male Regent Honeyeaters will generally choose the nesting site, while females are the ones who incubate the eggs. Males will help to feed the chicks once they hatch.

Parents will visit the nestlings up to 40 times an hour to feed them until they are juveniles at which point they will separate from their parents and crèche together.

Regent Honeyeaters are medium-sized black and yellow birds feeding on nectar, obtained mainly from eucalypts and mistletoe. Once widespread across Australia, they now exist in small numbers across limited sites from north-eastern Victoria to south-eastern Queensland.

Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Regent Honeyeater conservation breeding program is part of the NSW Government Saving Our Species program and is supported by the NSW Government Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and in partnership with BirdLife.