Posted on 05th November 2020 by Media Relations
Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s Regent Honeyeater conservation program has had a successful first year with a 100% breeding success rate, with all six pairs hatching offspring.
To date 23 chicks have been hatched with all six Regent Honeyeater pairs now on to their second or third clutches.
The Regent Honeyeater breeding season runs 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.
“Having all six pairs breed this year is an amazing achievement and to see the pairs now on to their second or third clutches is such a great result,” said Regent Honeyeater Keeper, Kara Stevens.
“We couldn’t be happier with our first breeding season here in Dubbo, it has been extremely successful which the team are all thrilled about,” said Kara.
“There is estimated to be 350 Regent Honeyeaters remaining in the wild, so these chicks are vital to help bolster the zoo-based insurance population for this critically endangered species, and may one day be released into the wild,” said Kara.
Once fully fledged and self-feeding, the chicks are moved into a neighbouring crèche aviary. Here they continue to grow and develop, learning the necessary skills to become adult Regent Honeyeaters.
Prior to the chicks moving to the crèche aviary, keepers catch and weigh the chicks and assign each individual with coloured legs bands for identification.
“Each chick will have a leg band attached that is the same colour as their mother, so that we know who each chick belongs to and then a second different colour so they can be identified individually from the other chicks,” said Kara.
Taronga Zoo, Sydney has also continued its breeding success for Regent Honeyeater this year with 10 chicks fledged so far and two chicks still in the nest. There is more positive breeding behaviour being observed so likely more chicks will hatch soon.
The Regent Honeyeater Recovery Program is supported by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (NSW), Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Victoria), Australian National University, Bird Life Australia and a number of zoo and wildlife parks in Australia.
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.