Backyard Bird Surveys - 2008

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Results Update on a State by State Basis

While the types of birds we find in our urban landscapes are quite similar – parrots, big honeyeaters, and omnivores being the common ones, we have entirely different species inhabiting different cities.

We thought we would show you what birds Backyard Birders are seeing in each state.

Queensland

Queensland has recorded a total of 134 different bird species. The Peaceful Dove was the most common bird observed by Birds in Backyards members, turning up in 41% of surveys. This little bird is thought to be declining along the coast line due to urbanisation and clearing for farming, so it is great that they are popping up so often in our surveys.

Also seen in more than 25% of surveys were the Magpie-Lark, Brown Honeyeater, Rainbow Lorikeet and Spotted Turtle-dove, all typical urban birds.

Queensland also had some interesting and unusual sightings including the Grey-Crowned Babbler (7% of surveys), 8 records of Bush Stone-Curlews (1% of surveys) and a single record of a Beach Stone-Curlew. There were even some nice sightings of some raptors including Black Kites (5 records), Pacific Baza (3 records), 2 records each of Black-Shouldered Kites and Peregrine Falcons and a single sighting of a White-Bellied Sea Eagle, Brown Falcon, Red Goshawk, Brown Goshawk and Collared Sparrowhawk.

Percentage of surveys in which the top 10 bird species in Queensland were seen

Species

Percent of Surveys

Peaceful Dove

41.2

Magpie-lark

37.5

Brown Honeyeater

36.6

Rainbow Lorikeet

31.0

Spotted Turtledove

25.5

Australian Magpie

23.1

Figbird

20.1

Common (Indian) Myna

20.1

Crested Pigeon

19.8

Willie Wagtail

19.8

New South Wales

Currently NSW is our most recorded state, with 4253 surveys submitted and 223 different bird species seen. The Rainbow Lorikeet was the most commonly seen urban bird (35% of surveys), followed closely by the Noisy Miner (34%). Australian Magpies, Pied Currawongs, Common Mynas and Red Wattlebirds were also abundant (29%, 27%, 26% and 25% of observations respectively).

There were some nice observations of nocturnal birds in NSW. Tawny Frogmouths were seen in 62 surveys (1.4%). It is a popular misconception that they are owls, but, while they are related, they are in a separate family. They are more closely related to the nightjars. Australian owlet-nightjars were also seen in 6 surveys. Powerful Owls were spotted in 11 surveys (0.2%), Southern Boobooks in 7 surveys, Barn Owls in 3, and Barking Owls were observed twice.

Percentage of surveys in which the top 10 bird species in NSW were seen

Species

Percent of Surveys

Rainbow Lorikeet

36.4

Noisy Miner

35.7

Australian Magpie

29.2

Pied Currawong

27.1

Common Myna

26.2

Red Wattlebird

25.4

Spotted Turtledove

20.4

Crested Pigeon

20.4

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

17.3

Grey Butcherbird

15.1

ACT

There are a total of 85 species seen by ACT backyard birders. Australian Magpies, Crimson Rosellas and Crested Pigeons were recorded in their highest frequencies in the ACT compared to the rest of the country (70%, 68% and 61% respectively). Rainbow Lorikeets were much less common than elsewhere in Australia, observed in just 10 surveys (2% of observations).

There were some interesting sightings in the ACT. Grey Fantails, not traditionally an urban bird, were seen in 22% of surveys and Red-Browed Finches were seen most frequently in the ACT, recorded in 11% of surveys. Jacky Winters were in 7% of observations and White-Browed Scrubwrens in 4%. Again, these were the highest recordings for these species.

Percentage of surveys in which the top 10 bird species in the ACT were seen

Species

Percent of Surveys

Australian Magpie

70.4

Crimson Rosella

67.9

Crested Pigeon

61.3

Red Wattlebird

57.4

House Sparrow

55.6

Common Blackbird

50.8

Magpie-lark

50.3

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

48.7

Pied Currawong

46.7

Silvereye

43.1

Victoria

There have been 88 different bird species sighted in Victorian surveys. Red Wattlebirds and Australian Magpies were seen in over 50% of these surveys. Two introduced birds, the Common Starling and Spotted Turtledove were also very common (49% and 48% of surveys respectively). Interestingly, they were more prevalent than the Common Myna (18% of observations), who was the most frequently seen introduced bird in Queensland and NSW but only the 5th most frequently seen introduced bird in Victoria.

With the exception of the New Holland Honeyeater (found in 45% of surveys), small birds were not commonly seen in Victorian surveys. Willie Wagtails, a small bird who is thought to do well in urban habitats because of their preference for foraging on open lawn space, was seen in only 9% of surveys. Other small insectivores like the Spotted Pardalote, Superb Fairy-wren and Welcome Swallow were also relatively uncommon (10%, 4% and 3% of observations).

Percentage of surveys in which the top 10 bird species in Victoria were seen

Species

Percent of Surveys

Red Wattlebird

58.6

Australian Magpie

52.0

Common Blackbird

49.7

Spotted Turtledove

48.3

New Holland Honeyeater

45.0

Rainbow Lorikeet

32.1

House Sparrow

30.1

Common Starling

28.8

Pied Currawong

27.5

Common (Indian) Myna

18.2

Tasmania

While there are only 30 surveys completed in Tasmania, their list of 25 bird species is very different to other states. The majority of the Tasmania surveys were conducted on non-urban or bush-block habitats. New Holland Honeyeaters, were the most commonly observed bird, seen in 33% of surveys. House Sparrows, very uncommon nearly everywhere else (except South Australia), were the second most frequently seen bird species, seen in 23% of surveys.

There were also sightings of birds restricted only to Tasmania and Bass Straight Islands. Green Rosellas, Tasmanian Thornbills and Black Currawongs were all observed by Tasmanian Backyard Birders.

Percentage of surveys in which the top 10 bird species in Tasmania were seen

Species

Percent of Surveys

New Holland Honeyeater

33.3

House Sparrow

23.3

Green Rosella

23.3

Forest Raven

16.7

Spotted Turtledove

16.7

Little Wattlebird

13.3

Silvereye

13.3

Yellow Wattlebird

13.3

Laughing Kookaburra

13.3

Common Blackbird

10.0

Australian Magpie

10.0

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

10.0

South Australia

South Australians recorded 50 different bird species in their urban habitats. House Sparrows and New Holland Honeyeaters were the most common bird species seen, similar to Tasmania (39% and 37% of surveys respectively). Crested Pigeons, Magpie-larks and Australian Magpies were all also observed in more than 30% of surveys.

Though there were 10 different species, parrots seem to be much less common in South Australia than in other states. The Rainbow Lorikeet was still prevalent (25% of surveys), but other species such as the Galah, Adelaide Rosella and Musk Lorikeet were only seen in 10% of surveys. There were only 2 records of Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos and Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos and only single sightings of Eastern Rosellas, Little Corellas, Red-Rumped Parrots and Swift Parrots.

Percentage of surveys in which the top 10 bird species in South Australia were seen

Species

Percent of Surveys

House Sparrow

38.8

New Holland Honeyeater

37.3

Crested Pigeon

35.8

Magpie-lark

34.3

Australian Magpie

34.3

Red Wattlebird

29.9

Common Blackbird

28.4

Willie Wagtail

26.9

Spotted Turtledove

25.4

Rainbow Lorikeet

25.4

Western Australia

There were 108 species recorded in the 112 surveys submitted by Western Australians. Here, the Willie Wagtail was the most commonly seen bird (44% of surveys) followed by, once again, the Australian Magpie (38% of surveys). Magpies have been in the top ten most observed bird in nearly every state.

Interestingly, honeyeaters also appear to be very successful in Western Australia. The Brown Honeyeater, Red Wattlebird, Singing Honeyeater and New Holland Honeyeater were seen in between 34% and 38% of surveys. There were a further 12 honeyeater species, mostly small, that were found in less than 10% of surveys.

Percentage of surveys in which the top 10 bird species in Western Australia were seen

Species

Percent of Surveys

Willie Wagtail

43.8

Australian Magpie

38.4

Brown Honeyeater

38.4

Red Wattlebird

35.7

Singing Honeyeater

34.8

New Holland Honeyeater

34.8

Magpie-lark

33.0

Australian Raven

30.4

Laughing Turtle-Dove

30.4

Galah

28.6

Northern Territory

In the 28 surveys submitted from the Northern Territory, Magpie-larks were observed in 53% and White-Plumed Honeyeaters in 43%. Other common birds were very different to what has been observed elsewhere. Australian Ringnecks, Spiny-Cheeked Honeyeaters, Pied Butcherbirds, Western Bowerbirds, Yellow-Throated Miners and Black-Faced Cuckoo-Shrikes were all observed in more than 25% of surveys. Introduced birds were nearly absent from the surveys, only the Common Myna has been recorded.

Percentage of surveys in which the top 10 bird species in the Northern Territory were seen

Species

Percent of Surveys

Magpie-lark

53.6

White-plumed Honeyeater

42.9

Australian Ringneck

32.1

Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater

32.1

Pied Butcherbird

28.6

Western Bowerbird

25.0

Yellow-throated Miner

25.0

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike

25.0

Grey-crowned Babbler

21.4

Crested Pigeon

21.4

 

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