Overview

Distribution

Range Description

Xanthomyza phrygia is endemic to south-east Australia, where it now has an extremely patchy distribution within a range stretching from south-east Queensland to central Victoria. Most sightings come from a few sites in north-eastern Victoria, along the western slopes of the Great Dividing Range, New South Wales, and the central coast of New South Wales. It has become extinct in South Australia and has declined to vagrant status in central and western Victoria, and Gippsland. Historically, the species occurred from Adelaide to 100 km north of Brisbane within 300 km of the coast, and was formerly very numerous with 'great' or 'immense' numbers recorded in the 19th century (Higgins et al. 2001). Birds concentrate at a small number of sites when breeding, but numbers fluctuate greatly between years and sites, and movements outside the breeding season are poorly understood. Key breeding areas are the Chiltern section of ChilternMt Pilot National Park, in northeastern Victoria (Menkhorst 2003), Capertee Valley in central eastern New South Wales and Bundarra-Barraba region in northern NSW (Oliver and Lollback 2010) with a few birds breeding in other areas, such as the Wangaratta-Mansfield region in Victoria, Warrumbungle National Park, Pilliga forests, the Mudgee-Wollar region, and the Hunter and Clarence Valleys (NSW Scientific Committee 2010). In 1997 the population in New South Wales was estimated at a maximum of 1,000 birds but far fewer birds have been recorded since, with maxima of just 40 there in 2009 and 80+ in the Hunter Valley in 2012 (BirdLife Australia 2012), while in Victoria there are probably fewer than ten pairs (Garnett et al. 2011). While the species has regional variation in calls (Powys 2010), banded birds have been recorded moving between all main sites so the species is considered to have a single subpopulation (Garnett et al. 2011).

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Range

SE Queensland to s and central Victoria; se South Australia.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It is usually observed within box-ironbark eucalypt associations, seeming to prefer wetter, more fertile lowland sites. It also uses riparian forests of river she-oak (Casuarina cunninghamiana) in New South Wales, especially for breeding. The other major environment used regularly is wet lowland coastal forests dominated by Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta) or Spotted Gum (Corymbia maculata). It requires a diet of nectar, principally from a few key species such as Yellow Box (E. melliodora), White Box (E. albens) and Mugga Ironbark (E. sideroxylon), as well as insects, particularly when breeding (Regent Honeyeater Recovery Team 1998, C. Tzaros in litt. 2003). It also feeds on sugary exudates. In poor years, it is not clear whether birds fail to nest or shift elsewhere to breed. Nests are usually built in the crowns of tall trees, mostly eucalypts and sometimes among mistletoe (Garnett et al. 2011).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Source: IUCN

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
CR
Critically Endangered

Red List Criteria
A2bce

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2015

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Tzaros, C.

Justification
The species is classified as Critically Endangered because its population is inferred to have undergone extremely rapid declines over the past three generations (24 years). These declines have been driven primarily by drought, compounded by habitat loss caused by historic clearance for agriculture, and possibly competition with other native species, particularly Noisy Miner.


History
  • 2013
    Critically Endangered (CR)
  • 2012
    Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Threatened (T)