First breeding season for rare bird a success

First breeding season for rare bird a success

#Conservation, #Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Posted on 20th April 2021 by Media Relations

The first breeding season for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater has finished at Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo with 33 chicks born in total to six pairs of birds.

“We had a 100% success rate with all six pairs producing two or three clutches, which is an amazing result for our first breeding season for this critically endangered species,” said Regent Honeyeater Keeper, Kara Stevens.

“The success of the first breeding season for the Regent Honeyeater has far exceeded the team’s expectations,” said Kara. 

There is estimated to be 350 Regent Honeyeaters remaining in the wild, so these chicks are vital to help booster the zoo-based insurance population for this critically endangered species, and may one day be released into the wild.

At the end of the breeding season all 33 chicks underwent a veterinary health check at the Zoo’s Wildlife Hospital. This involved each individual chick being weighed and measured, having an overall body condition assessment and a blood and feather sample taken for DNA testing.

“It was a lengthy process to conduct health checks on all 33 chicks but each one passed the check up with flying colours and were then released into the behind-the-scenes flight aviary at the Zoo.”

The flight aviary at Taronga Western Plains Zoo is a large area that can accommodation a large number of birds of various different species. The flight aviary allows birds to learn behaviours necessary for the wild such as foraging, flight training, interactions with other species and predator awareness.

“There are now 56 Regent Honeyeaters in total including the 33 chicks in our flight aviary, which is also home to a couple of Malleefowl and White-winged Choughs.”  

“After such a successful first breeding season we are now turning our attention to the next breeding season and we will start pairing off birds in June this year with the hope of achieving similar success for this species,” said Kara.

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-east Victoria to south-western Queensland.

To help support Taronga’s conservation breeding program for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater donate at