About 75% of its habitat has been cleared for agricultural and residential development. Much of the preferred lowland habitat on the most fertile and productive sites has been cleared or substantially modified and this has resulted in poorer and unreliable nectar-sources through the reduction of large mature trees (C. Tzaros in litt
. 2003). Remnants, including much of what currently exists in the conservation reserve system, have been heavily cut-over and degraded, and this practice is continuing in many areas, including hardwood production forests. These remnants are highly fragmented and often degraded by removal of larger trees and ongoing declines in tree health (Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team 1998, C. Tzaros in litt
. 2003, Garnett et al.
2011). The Lower Hunter Valley Important Bird Area, a critical site for this species, is currently under threat from the proposed development of an industrial park in the area - the Hunter Economic Zone (HEZ) (Roderick et al.
2013, Vine and Dutson 2014). The site contains the most important area of foraging habitat for the species in the Lower Hunter Region (Roderick et al.
2013) and a significant breeding event in 2007-2008, where a total of 19 nests were located (additional nests may have been missed), demonstrates the site contains significant breeding habitat as well. Despite this, in 2009 the New South Wales Government has a precinct development proposal within HEZ (Roderick et al.
2014), even though assessments have shown that development of the area would disastrous for this species (Biosis Research 2008). The recent dramatic population decline coincides with a 12-year period of reduced rainfall in south-eastern Australia. Fragmentation has apparently advantaged more aggressive honeyeaters, particularly Noisy Miner (Manorina melanocephala
) and Noisy Friarbird (Philemon corniculatus
) which may be excluding the species (Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team 1998, C. Tzaros in litt
. 2003, Garnett et al.
2011). In 2013 previously unrecorded internal and external parasites were found on captive-bred birds; when released, these could endanger wild populations (Jakob-Hoff et al.
2015). What was once a very large population has declined so quickly that a severe loss of genetic variability must now be a threat (Garnett et al.