The fourth and largest release of captive bred Regent Honeyeaters (Anthochaera phrygia) will commence today in the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park in Victoria’s north-east.
Around 80 birds bred at Taronga Zoo will be released today and this coming Saturday.
The release will add to the wild population in north east Victoria and southern New South Wales, and increase community awareness and participation in the post-release monitoring program.
Three previous releases of captive bred birds (2008, 2010 and 2013) have confirmed relatively high post-release survival and this round will provide a further boost to the species.
Around half of the birds will be fitted with radio transmitters, which will track their movements for 10 to 12 weeks.
All birds are also fitted with unique colour leg band combinations to assist with individual identification in months and years to come, as part of two annual bird surveys and continual volunteer monitoring.
The Regent Honeyeater is listed as 'Threatened' under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Vic) and as ‘Critically Endangered’ under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth).
One of their biggest threats is loss of habitat as they rely on the threatened box-ironbark forests in Victoria and NSW, and feed mainly on nectar from a small number of eucalypt species.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Environment, Lisa Neville
“We’re supporting this project, which is an important part of on-going plans to save this beautiful but threatened breed.”
“BirdLife Australia, Taronga Zoo and over 100 skilled volunteers have been involved in this project. They have been dedicated and hard-working in their efforts to save this species, and should be congratulated.”
“The wider community can get involved too by reporting sightings of banded Regent Honeyeaters or by becoming a volunteer.”
Quotes attributable to BirdLife Australia’s National Regent Honeyeater Recovery Coordinator, Dean Ingwersen
“The box-ironbark section of the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park consistently yields sightings and is considered Victoria’s key habitat location for the species, with only 50 or so left in Victoria and may be as few as 400 mature individuals remaining in Australia.”
“We know from re-sightings of previously released birds that the captive bred Regent Honeyeaters can successfully breed with and recruit new fledglings into the wild population.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020