Posted on 03rd August 2021 by Media Relations
The second breeding season for the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater has commenced at Taronga Western Plains Zoo and keepers are already seeing positive signs.
“We started putting pairs together in late June and have been seeing positive breeding behaviour since then, with two females currently sitting on eggs,” said Regent Honeyeater Keeper, Kara Stevens.
The Regent Honeyeater breeding season is from June to January each year and during this time females can generally have one or two clutches of chicks.
This year the Zoo has eight Regent Honeyeater breeding pairs, which are all new pairings. The new pairings will ensure the continued growth in genetic diversity of the zoo-based insurance population for the national breeding program.
“Last year was such a great start for our first year’s involvement in the Regent Honeyeater conservation breeding program. Our team learnt so much about the species as well as achieving such a great breeding result,” said Kara.
“This year in our second breeding season we hope to once again have a 100% success rate for our breeding pairs. If we can have every pair hatch at least one clutch of chicks each we’ll be very happy, anything above this is an absolute bonus.”
The ultimate goal of the conservation breeding program is to increase insurance population numbers, with the aim to release into the wild to bolster numbers in key habitat areas in the future.
“Regent Honeyeater numbers are at critically low levels across all of its range. It is estimated that there are as few as 400 Regent Honeyeaters remaining in the wild, so every chick hatched in zoos like ours is so important,” said Kara.
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.