the biology and management of rainforest pigeons w · rainforest pigeons also rely on rainforests...

of 71 /71

Author: others

Post on 26-May-2020

8 views

Category:

Documents


0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

  • .....,

    The biology and management of rainforest pigeons

    w • lll Harry F. Recher, Elizabeth M. Date

    and Hugh A. Ford

  • ii

    Authors

    Dr. Harry F. Recher received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in California where he studied the ecology of migratory waders. After post-doctoral studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University he came to Australia as lecturer in biology at the University of Sydney. In 1968 he joined the ecology section of The Australian Museum where he conducted studies and surveys of forest fauna throughout eastern New South Wales. Presently he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Ecosystem Management at the University of New England, Armidale. His research is primarily concerned with the ecology and management of forest wildlife. In 1994 Dr Recher received the Serventy Medal from the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union for his contributions to Australian ornithology

    Dr. Elizabeth M. Date is a Research Fellow in the Department of Ecosystem Management at the University of New England, Armidale. She completed a B.Sc. (Hons) at the University of Queensland in 1982 and received her Ph.D. in 1988 from McGill University in Canada. Her doctoral work focused on the learning of songs by passerine birds, but since returning to Australia, she has studied the ecology and behaviour of forest birds with an emphasis on endangered species.

    Dr. Hugh A. Ford is an Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology at the University ofNew England, Armidale. He received his Ph.D. in 1973 from the University of Stirling and came to Australia in 1973 as a post-doctoral Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Adelaide. He joined the Department of Zoology at the University of New England in 1977. He and his students have been particularly concerned with plant-bird interactions and the ecology of forest and woodland bird communities. In 1993 Dr. Ford was awarded the Serventy Medal by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union for his contribution to Australian ornithology.

    Acknowledgments

    Our research was supported by grants from the National Rainforest Conservation Program and the Australian Research Council. Simon Ferrier assisted with the selection of survey sites and data analysis. Many people assisted with fieldwork or provided us with their observations of rainforest pigeons. We owe a particular debt of gratitude to Bill Alley, Heather Boulton, Mary Brewer, Jim & Pat Challis, Stephen Debus, Belinda Dettman, Mark Eldridge, Phil Gilmour, Carol Helman, Harry Hines, Deenie James, Morton Kaveney, Ian Kerr, Bill Lane, Kay & Arthur Lloyd, Julie & Bob Mcleod, David Milledge, Esmae & Jack Mulholland, Nan & Hugh Nicholson, Pat & Tom Offord, David Page, Phillip & Michelle Paige, Oailan Pugh, Alan Rayward, Paul Recher, David Stewart, Ron Smith, Bill Tubbenhauer, Alison Siliakis, David Waterhouse, Beth Williams and Jack Willows.

    Editing and production: Dr Leighton C. Llewellyn. Anne Perry drew the cover figure and assisted with proof reading.

    Published l:ry the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, PO Box 1967, Hurstville, NSW 2220. Telephone (02) 5856444 Fax (02) 5856555. © NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service March 1995.

    This book is copyright. Copyright for the entire contents is vested in the authors. Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of private study, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced, stored in a retrieVal system or transmitted in any form or l:ry any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise without prior written permission. Enquiries should be made to the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent those of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service or the Government of New South Wales. ~).n.~e~ M k~~ffii,an-made 1 00% recycled paper. ~N 6~'73ltr' M34 0

  • ...L

    Preface

    One of the fundamental responsibilities of the National Parks and Wildlife Service is the conservation of the native fauna and flora of New South Wales. While successive governments have devoted a great deal of attention to the reservation of wildlife habitat in national parks and nature reserves (which today still only constitute less than 5% of the State), very little attention has been paid to the conservation of fauna and flora outside these areas. Even when areas are reserved, the conservation of plants and animals may still require active management to maintain or enhance populations. Wildlife management initiatives to date have concentrated principally on species which are agricultural or economic pests, those which have commercial value such as in the avicultural trade, and those which have a high public profile. Many of the native plants and animals which are part of our extraordinary biological heritage are at risk, threatened or endangered. The Regent Parrot, the Plains~wanderer, the Yellow~footed Rock~wallaby and the Corroboree Frog and a number of plant species are some whose survival has been neglected and are currently endangered in New South Wales.

    The Service has initiated a program to assemble available biological information that is pertinent to management of such species and groups of species and to identify important criteria for their management, which aims to ensure that they do not suddenly become extinct but continue to be a part of the biological diversity of Australia.

    Appropriately qualified people are being contracted to compile reports on the biology and status of these selected species or groups of species, and to suggest management options for consideration by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

    These reports constitute a valuable contribution to our knowledge of wildlife, and will be published and promoted to increase public awareness.

    In association with the Species management reports and based on their content, Draft management plans and/or Recovery Plans may be produced. These will identify management strategies and actions that should be implemented to ensure their survival. Comments will be sought on these draft plans where appropriate, and following revision, they will be considered for adoption by the Service and will form the basis of future management.

    This report on rainforest pigeons will help in effective management of this species group, which has come under threat because of extensive rainforest clearing particularly in the northeast of the state where they were probably most abundant. It has highlighted the lack of knowledge of some species in this group, but will certainly help significantly in the management of remaining habitat. The need for careful management of native and exotic food sources has also been highlighted.

    lU

  • lV

    Plate 1. A patch of cool temperate rainforest surrounded by wet sclerophyll forest near Pt Lookout, New England National Park.

    Plate 2. Taken from the Lismore-Bangalow road showing pastoral land with some Camphor Laurel in the background being used as shade trees for stock. 200 years ago it would have shown continuous subtropical rainforest of the former 'Big Scrub'.

  • Plate 3. Subtropical rainforest in Big Scrub Floral Reserve.

    Plate 4. A young Camphor Laurel stand (ca. 15 years old) invading abandoned pastoral land in the lower Terania Creek Valley.

    v

  • vi

    Summary

    Eight species of rainforest pigeons occur in New South Wales. These are the Wompoo Ptilinopus magnificus, Rose-crowned P. regina, Superb P. superbus, Topknot Lopholaimus antarcticus, White-headed Columba leucomela, Brown Macropygia amboinensis, and Wonga Leucosarcia cyanoleuca Pigeons and the Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica. All are dependent on the fruits or seeds of rainforest trees and shrubs and some move long distances in search of food (Blakers et al. 1984, Date et al. 1991, Frith 1982).

    Although extensive areas of rainforest are protected in state forests and national parks, rainforest pigeons also rely on rainforests and rainforest remnants outside the reserve system to find food. This is particularly so outside the breeding season when many pigeons move to lower elevations and south along the coast and dividing range where there are relatively few reserves with the kinds of habitats and food plants they require. Exotic plants, such as Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora, Lantana Lantana camara and Privet Ligustrum lucidum and L. sinense, have become an important part of the diets of rainforest pigeons in New South Wales. The development of coastal regions for agriculture and housing, eradication of exotic fruit bearing plants, and the growth of tourism has the potential to affect the long-term survival of rainforest pigeons despite the extensive reserve system at higher elevations and the protection of pigeon breeding areas.

    Additional steps are required to conserve and manage habitats used by rainforest pigeons outside reserves to ensure adequate feeding areas are maintained and to prevent disturbance by human visitors. The immediate objective is to protect remnant rainforests and replace exotic fruit trees as a major food source for pigeons with native rainforest species.

    The components of the program for the management of rainforest pigeons are: * protection of rainforest remnants from burning, clearing, pesticides and grazing

    among other adverse human and agricultural activities.

    * restoration and rehabilitation of rainforest vegetation, particularly at mid and low elevations, by expanding the area and number of remnants through the planting of appropriate native fruit-bearing species.

    * management of exotic vegetation used by rainforest pigeons so that as exotic species are removed, they are replaced by appropriate native species, so that a continuity of food supply is ensured.

    * maintenance and extension of vegetation corridors to provide a network of habitat along which rainforest pigeons can move with minimum risk of predation and accidental

    death (e.g., by collision with windows and vehicles). * monitoring and regulation of human use of rainforest reserves. * monitoring of the distribution and abundance of rainforest pigeons. * public education and involvement including advice on the restoration of rainforest

    remnants, planting of appropriate fruit-bearing natives, house and garden design to reduce risk of accidents to flying birds.

    The factors affecting rainforest pigeon distribution and abundance are broadly similar throughout the State. The program proposed can therefore be viewed as a Statewide initiative, but emphasis should be in northeastern New South Wales and perhaps the Illawarra District where rainforest pigeons were historically most abundant.

  • Group profile

    Phylum: Class: Order: Family: Genera: Species:

    Chordata Aves Colunnbiformes Columbidae Ptilinopus, Lopholaimus, Columba, Macropygia, Leucosarcia, and Chal.cophaps. Wompoo Pigeon Ptilinopus magnificus, Rose-crowned Pigeon P. regina, Superb Pigeon P. superbus, Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus, White-headed Pigeon Columba leucomela, Brown Pigeon Macropygia amboinensis, Wonga Pigeon Leucosarcia cyanoleuca, and Emerald Dove Chal.cophaps indica.

    Habitat type: Rainforest and scrubs, moist eucalypt forest, littoral rainforest.

    Distribution: World- Wompoo, Superb and Brown Pigeons and the Emerald Dove are found north of Australia in New Guinea and, except for the Wompoo, on islands in Indonesia, Polynesia and the Philippines. The Emerald Dove also occurs on the Indian subcontinent.

    Australia- generally occur in forested habitats in eastern Australia from southeastern New South Wales to Cape York; Rose-crowned, Brown and Superb Pigeons are vagrants to Tasmania and Victoria; Rose-crowned Pigeon and Emerald Dove also occur in northwestern Australia and the Wonga Pigeon is a breeding resident in Victoria.

    New &uth Wales· coastal eastern New South Wales and along the Great Dividing Range. Centre of abundance in NSW and main breeding habitats for all species except the Superb Pigeon are in the northeast of the State. There are no confirmed breeding records of the Superb Pigeon in New South Wales. The Rose-crowned and Superb Pigeons are vagrants to Sydney and the southeast of the state. Although originally described from a bird collected at Wollongong, the Wompoo Pigeon is only a rare vagrant as far south as Sydney. The Wonga Pigeon extends to the Snowy Mountains. The Emerald Dove is a breeding resident on Lord Howe Island.

    Present status: In New South Wales the species of rainforest pigeons are variously migratory and sedentary with some species moving to lower elevations along the coast in winter and returning to d1e highlands in spring and summer. Rose-crowned Pigeons move into NSW during the spring and summer from southeastern Queensland where iliey winter. Topknot, Superb and White-headed Pigeons move long distances along the coast and ranges in search of food. With the exception of the Superb Pigeon, all species have been confirmed as breeding in New South Wales. All species have declined in abundance throughout the State following habitat clearing and fragnnentation. However, there are indications of an increase in abundance for Topknot, White-headed and Superb Pigeons with more individuals being recorded in

    (Cont.)

    vii

  • viii

    Group Profile (Cont .. )

    the central and southern parts of the State since 1989. The Wompoo, Superb and Rose-crowned Pigeons are listed in Schedule 12 of the New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Act as 'vulnerable and rare' and are viewed as endangered within the State. Apart from the Christmas Island subspecies of the Emerald Dove C. indica nata/is none is considered endangered or of special concern at a national level (Garnett 1992).

    Future status in NSW: The abundance of each species depends on the extent of suitable habitat and the availability of winter food resources. Continued clearing of rainforest fragments at middle and lower elevations and along the coast will particularly threaten the sedentary Wompoo Pigeon and the rare Superb Pigeon. Presently, Topknot and White-headed Pigeons rely on Camphor Laurel Cinnamomum camphora, an exotic tree, for winter food. Control or eradication of Camphor Laurel could adversely affect the abundance of these two species. As ground foragers, the Wonga Pigeon and Emerald Dove are potentially at risk of predation from the introduced European Fox Vulpes vulpes and Feral Cats Felis catus and to disturbance and competition for food from Feral Pigs Sus scrofa.

    Estimated populations in NSW: The number of Topknot Pigeon is estimated to exceed 70,000 individuals. Numbers of Brown Pigeon exceed 15,000 birds, while those ofWompoo and White-headed Pigeons probably exceed 7000. The number of W onga Pigeons throughout the State is probably in the order of 4000 - 5000 birds with the number of Rose-crowned Pigeons being about 1600- 2000. Superb Pigeons number fewer than 500 individuals and possibly less than 100. There are no data on which to estimate the abundance of Emerald Dove, but it is generally of regular occurrence and/or common. The Lord Howe Island population of the Emerald Dove has been estimated at between 10 and 100 individuals (Fullagar et al. 1974).

    Status and estimated populations outside NSW: There are no estimates of the population sizes of any rainforest pigeons outside NSW, but it is generally considered that, apart from some island populations, none of the species occurring in NSW is endangered outside the state. Wonga Pigeons are abundant in Victoria, while the others are abundant in Queensland.

    Key planning areas: All eastern and coastal NPWS Districts.

    Key references: Crome (1975), Date et al. (1991, 1992), Frith (1982), Innis (1989)

    4fl

  • 1

    Contents

    Preface Ul

    Summary Vl

    Group profile vii

    1 Introduction 3 Problem statement 5

    2 Status 6 3 Biology 14

    Morphology 14 Habitat 14 Breeding 16 Food and foraging 17 Distribution and seasonal movements 22

    4 Biology~individual species 24 Wompoo Pigeon 24

    Rose-crowned Pigeon 25 Superb Pigeon 28 Topknot Pigeon 29 Brown Pigeon 30 White-headed Pigeon 31 Emerald Dove 32 Wonga Pigeon 33

    5 Management 34 Introduction 34 Corridors and stepping stones 35 Reserves and rainforest pigeons 36 Disturbance by people 36 Future threats: conclusions from research 39 Protection, restoration and rehabilitation 40 Staff 43

    6 Monitoring and research 44 Surveys of abundance and distribution 44 Effects of human disturbance 45

    7 Public education ' 46 8 Role of other organisations 47

    Federal Government 47 Australian Heritage Commission 47

    State Government (NSW) 47 Department of Planning 47 Conservation and Land Management 47 State Forests 47 NSW Agriculture 48

    Local Government 48 1

  • q:

    Other organisations 48 9 Bibliography 49

    Figures Figure 1. Predicted areas of habitat in Border Ranges, Nightcap and

    Mt. Warning National Parks for the Wompoo, Rose-crowned, Topknot, White-headed, Brown and Wonga Pigeons. 12

    Figure 2. The percent distribution by vegetation type of sightings of Wompoo, Rose-crowned, Topknot, White-headed, Brown and Wonga Pigeons compared with the percent distribution of vegetation types among the 109 survey sites. 18

    Figure 3. The percent distribution by elevation category of sightings ofWompoo, Rose-crowned, Topknot, White-headed, Brown and Wonga Pigeons compared with the percent distribution of elevation categories among the 109 survey sites. 19

    Figure 4. Relative monthly abundances of rainforest pigeons in north-eastern NSW at four elevational ranges; coastal, lowland, middle and highland. 26

    Plates Plate 1. A patch of cool temperate rainforest surrounded by wet

    sclerophyll forest near Pt Lookout, New England National Park. iv

    Plate 2. Taken from the Lismore-Bangalow road showing pastoral land with some Camphor Laurel in the background being used as shade trees for stock. iv

    Plate 3. Subtropical rainforest in Big Scrub Floral Reserve. v Plate 4. A young Camphor Laurel stand (ca. 15 years old) invading

    abandoned pastoral land in the lower Terania Creek valley. v

    Tables Table 1. Estimated population size of rainforest pigeons in the

    Caldera area of north-eastern NSW. 7 Table 2. The distribution and frequency of occurrence of rainforest

    pigeons in eastern Australia obtained by the Royal Australasian Ornithological Union in its survey of Australian birds from 1980 to 1982. 9

    Table 3. Sex and plumage differences of Australian rainforest pigeons. 15 Table 4. Habitat preferences of rainforest pigeons in Australia. 16 Table 5. Breeding seasons of rainforest pigeons in eastern Australia. 20 Table 6. Breeding biology of Australian rainforest pigeons. 21 Table 7. Recommendations for track closures to reduce the

    disturbance of foraging pigeons. 38

    Appendix 1. Food sources of rainforest pigeons. 56 2

  • -.L

    1 .. Introduction

    Eight species of rainforest pigeons occur in New South Wales. These are the Wompoo Ptilinopus magnificus, Rose-crowned P. regina, Superb P. superbus, Topknot Lopholaimus antarcticus, White-headed Columba leucomela, Brown Macropygia amboinensis, and Wonga Leucosarcia cyanoleuca Pigeons and the Emerald Dove Chalcophaps indica. All are relatively large and boldly or brightly coloured birds that immediately attract the attention of people. Rainforest pigeons rely on the fruits or seeds of rainforest trees and shrubs and some move long distances in search of food (Blakers et al. 1984, Date et al. 1991, Frith 1982). The Wompoo, Rose-crowned, Superb and Topknot Pigeons are obligate frugivores, while the White-headed and Brown Pigeons, which are mainly fruit-eaters also take seeds (Crome 1975, Frith 1982; Innis 1989, Date et al. 1991). The Wonga Pigeon and Emerald Dove are ground foragers which feed on fruit, seeds and ground invertebrates.

    Early accounts (Frith 1952, 1957, 1982) suggest that most of these pigeons were formerly abundant and widespread in moist forests along the coast and the neighbouring ranges. The greatest numbers probably occurred in the subtropical lowland rainforests of the Illawarra District near Wollongong and the subtropical and temperate rainforests of the Richmond, Clarence, Tweed, Nymboida, and Orara River Valleys in northeastern New South Wales. As these extensive rainforests were cleared for farming in the 19th century, the numbers of pigeons declined and concern developed for their survival. All "pigeons and doves of every species" were protected under the Bird Protection Act (1901) (L. Llewellyn pers. comm.), but this allowed hunting in season. Pigeons were declared protected fauna in 1948 under the Fauna Protection Act ( 1948) and it became illegal to hunt them for food or sport. Whether due to protection from hunting, increased awareness of rainforest fauna, or because some rainforests were allowed to regenerate, or because of the spread of fruiting exotics, pigeons appeared to have become more abundant since the 1950s. An increase in the abundance of Topknot and White-headed Pigeons was associated with the spread of Camphor Laurel on derelict farmland in northeastern New South Wales and Camphor Laurel fruits became an important winter food for these species (Frith 1982, Date et al. 1991). Recent observations of increased numbers of White-headed Pigeons in the central and southern parts of the State are during the fruiting periods of Camphor Laurel and Privet Ligustrum lucidum and L. sinense (Cooper 1990). These are probably birds that moved out of the higher elevations of the northern part of the state after breeding and began moving south in summer.

    National parks with extensive rainforest were established in the late 1970s and 80s and rainforest logging was phased out in state forests. As these initiatives coincided with the regions where pigeons were most abundant, the future of rainforest pigeons appeared secure. However, the 1980s was also a time of rapid growth and development on the North Coast and new concerns were expressed for the survival

    3

  • 4

    of rainforest pigeons. For much of the year rainforest pigeons are forced to find food outside established parks and reserves (Date et al. 1991). Even when food is available in reserves, there was some concern that pigeons might be disturbed by the increased numbers of people coming to visit the parks (G. Holloway pers. comm.).

    Some observers argued that pigeon numbers were declining and that the National Parks & Wildlife Service needed to take action to protect them (G. Holloway pers. comm.). It was suggested that the numbers of people allowed to visit parks used by the pigeons should be restricted and that walking tracks and other facilities should not proceed until it could be shown that they would not affect the use of these areas by pigeons. It was also argued that rainforest remnants outside the parks and reserves system should be protected (e.g., Date & Recher 1991; Hunter 1991; Lott & Duggin 1993).

    The seriousness of these concerns can not be disputed. The expansion of tropical fruit and nut farms in northeastern New South Wales, the expansion of residential developments and the growth of tourism along the coast have the potential to affect native wildlife, including rainforest pigeons. However, it could not be shown that pigeon numbers were decreasing or that pigeons were necessarily disturbed by people using rainforest parks for recreation. Simply, there were no data, no numbers, to support allegations of disturbance and declining numbers. In fact, there was little quantitative information on the biology of rainforest pigeons in New South Wales on which plans for the management and conservation of the species could be based.

    Accordingly the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NSW) commissioned a study at the University of New England, Armidale as part of the National Rainforest Conservation Program (Dyne 1991) to investigate the status of rainforest pigeons in northeastern New South Wales (Date et al. 1992). The objective of the study was to determine whether there was any evidence of a decline in pigeon numbers and whether or not any species were threatened. As part of the study, the distribution, abundance and movements of pigeons in northeastern New South Wales, their feeding and nesting requirements, and whether they were disturbed by people visiting nesting and feeding areas was to be investigated. This information was then to be used to advise the Service on the conservation and management of rainforest pigeon populations not only in the northeastern region but throughout the State.

    In this report we present the results of our studies. The status of each of the species is discussed and the potential effects of development and tourism on pigeon numbers is evaluated using the information obtained on their movements, feeding and habitat requirements. The purpose of the report is to assist the New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Service to develop a plan for the management of rainforest pigeons in New South Wales.

  • ._J

    Problem statement

    Eight species of rainforest pigeon occur in New South Wales. The pigeons are a conspicuous component of the rainforest avifauna and may be important for the dispersal of rainforest seeds.

    Although extensive areas of rainforest are protected in state forests and national parks, some species of rainforest pigeons travel long distances outside the reserve system to find food. This is particularly so outside the breeding season when many pigeons move to lower elevations and south along the coast and dividing range where there are relatively few reserves with the kinds of habitats and food plants they require. The development of coastal regions for agriculture and housing and the growth of tourism has the potential to affect the long~term survival of rainforest pigeons despite the extensive reserve system at higher elevations and the protection of breeding areas.

    Additional steps are required to conserve and manage habitats used by rainforest pigeons outside reserves to ensure adequate feeding areas are maintained and to prevent disturbance by human visitors. The immediate objective is to protect remnant rainforests and replace non~agricultural, exotic fruit trees as a major food source for pigeons with native rainforest species.

    1

    5

  • 6

    2. Status

    The Wompoo, Superb and Rose~crowned Pigeons are listed in Schedule 12~ Endangered Fauna of the New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Act (1974) as 'vulnerable and rare species' in New South Wales. Estimates of abundance based on the frequency of occurrence and distribution of species from the Caldera Region in northeastern New South Wales that were obtained during this study (Date et al. 1992, in prep. b) are used here as a minimum estimate of the population sizes of rainforest pigeon in New South Wales (Table 1). The estimates suggest that only the Rose~crowned and Superb Pigeons are sufficiently rare to be considered endangered. However, Wompoo, Superb and Rose~crowned Pigeons have the most restricted habitat and food requirements and are therefore particularly vulnerable to changes in their habitats. They should continue to be listed as 'endangered' in the 'vulnerable and rare' category of Schedule 12. A survey of the distribution and abundance of the Emerald Dove is required to accurately determine its status which cannot be accurately determined from results indicated in Table 1.

    Another measure of the abundance of rainforest pigeons is the frequency with which each species was recorded during the national study of bird distributions coordinated by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union early in the 1980s (Table 2) (Blakers et al. 1984). In this program volunteer observers reported all records of birds, including rainforest pigeons, in 1 o squares across the continent. Breeding records were analysed separately (Table 2). The latitudinal distribution of species can be analysed to show where rainforest pigeon species were recorded most frequently. Table 2 presents information on the latitudinal distribution of rainforest species (breeding and non~ breeding) and the percent of 1 o squares in which each species was recorded on more than 1 in 10 visits (10% frequency of occurrence) by observers and on more than 4 in 10 visits (40%). White~Headed, Topknot and Brown Pigeons were the most frequently recorded species and were recorded on more than 10% of visits in more than 50% of the squares, and on more than 40% of visits in more than 20% of squares, within their latitudinal range (Table 2). The Wonga Pigeon had the narrowest latitudinal range (23~39°S) and is a more southern species than the other rainforest pigeons. The main part of its breeding distribution (24~38°S) is in New South Wales. The Superb Pigeon was recorded over the widest latitudinal range (9~41°), but, along with the Rose~crowned Pigeon (17~19°), has a northern breeding distribution (12~19°) (Table 2). The Superb Pigeon has not been recorded breeding south of northern Queensland, but the Rose~crowned Pigeon nests in northeastern New South Wales (Date pers obs., Frith 1982; Morris 1993a). They are also the most conspicuous of the rainforest pigeons. The Wompoo Pigeon was the least frequently recorded species in the national survey.

    As only one individual was observed during counts, an estimate of abundance of the Emerald Dove was not obtained during the survey of rainforest pigeons in

  • 5 -.i..__

    Table 1. Estimated population sizes of rainforest pigeons in the Caldera Area of northeastern New South Wales. The area of suitable habitat for each species of pigeon was calculated from information on the distribution and area of forest types. The area of suitable habitat actually occupied was calculated from the proportion of the number of one hectare survey sites occupied by each species of pigeon divided by the number of sites sampled in habitats suitable for that species. Population sizes for each pigeon species were then estimated by dividing the number of individuals detected during surveys by the number of one hectare sites occupied to obtain a measure of population density and multiplying by the total area of habitat predicted to be occupied. The procedure assumes that the density of birds is even throughout the area of habitat occupied and is intended only to provide an index of numbers. As the table indicates, only a small proportion of the suitable habitat for each species is occupied. Area is in hectares. (Adapted from Date et al1992)

    '

    Species No. Area Area %of Estimated individuals/ of suitable of suitable suitable population hectare habitat habitat habitat size

    occupied occupied

    Wompoo 1.3 26742 4828 18 6700

    Rose-crowned 1.2 7133 1320 19 1600

    Superb 0 0 0 - 0 Topknot 13.1 21795 5525 25 72100

    White-headed 1.4 18756 5049 27 6900

    Brown 0.5 29114 11524 40 5800

    Emerald 0.4 1171 167 14 70

    Wonga 1.0 14779 2189 15 2200

    ----

    7

  • 8

    northeastern New South Wales (Table 1). The frequency with which the Emerald Dove was recorded during the Atlas Program of the RAOU suggests that it has a wide latitudinal distribution within which it is regularly recorded. However, as a ground~foraging species, the Emerald Dove may be vulnerable to increasing predation from the European Fox and Cats. Predation by European Foxes and disturbance and food competition from Feral Pigs may also be a concern in the long-term conservation and management of the Wonga Pigeon, another ground~foraging species.

    Within New South Wales rainforest pigeons occur in rainforest, littoral rainforest, and moist eucalypt forest from the Queensland to Victorian borders (Blakers et al. 1984, Frith 1982). All species are most abundant in northeastern New South Wales from the Border Ranges south to Dorrigo and Coffs Harbour. This is largely the modem distribution of subtropical and warm temperate rainforests, although moist eucalypt forests (wet sclerophyll) are also important habitat. Prior to the clearing and fragmentation of rainforests for farming in the 19th century, rainforest pigeons were also abundant along the central coast of New South Wales and the Illawara District near Wollongong (Blakers et al. 1984, Frith 1982), although there were probably fewer species in the southern than northern areas.

    Although formerly occurring in the Illawarra District (Frith 1982), the Wompoo is presently restricted to central and northeastern New South Wales. The Rose~ crowned and Superb Pigeons occur in southern and central New South Wales as vagrants and are most abundant along the Queensland coast (Blakers et al. 1984, Frith 1982, Morris 1993a). There appears to be an influx of Rose~crowned Pigeons into northeastern New South Wales from Queensland in late spring and summer and a return movement in autumn (Frith 1982), but Frith ( 1982) cautions that this species is very difficult to detect outside the breeding season when calling is at a minimum. Superb Pigeons disperse widely during the autumn and winter with the majority of records for central and southern New South Wales occurring between March and August (Morris 1993a). Topknot Pigeons are resident in northeastern and.central New South Wales (see Morris 1993 b,c) with large numbers now recorded most years south of Sydney in the Illawarra District (see annual bird reports in Australian Birds for details). Large numbers of White~ headed Pigeons also move into central New South Wales and the Illawarra during the winter and spring, but are absent from this area from November to April (Morris 1990). There are an increasing number of records of White-headed Pigeons in the southeastern part of the State (see Australian Birds). Wonga Pigeons are resident in appropriate forest habitats throughout eastern New South Wales including the Snowy Mountains (Morris et al. 1981). During the RAOU's survey of Australian birds (Blakers et al. 1984), Brown Pigeons and Emerald Dove were recorded most frequently north of Newcastle (32°S) (Table 2). The Brown Pigeon is recorded regularly, and is probably

    w

  • \0 T

    able

    2. T

    he

    dist

    ribu

    tion

    an

    d f

    requ

    ency

    of o

    ccur

    ence

    of r

    ainf

    ores

    t pi

    geon

    s in

    eas

    tern

    Aus

    tral

    ia o

    btai

    ned

    by t

    he R

    oyal

    Aus

    tral

    asia

    n O

    rnit

    holo

    gist

    s U

    nion

    in i

    ts s

    urve

    y o

    f A

    ustr

    alia

    n b

    ird

    s fr

    om 1

    980

    to 1

    982.

    The

    tab

    le s

    how

    s th

    e la

    titu

    dina

    l di

    stri

    buti

    on o

    f ea

    ch s

    peci

    es o

    f pi

    geon

    du

    ring

    bot

    h th

    e no

    n-br

    eedi

    ng a

    nd b

    reed

    ing

    seas

    ons.

    As

    a m

    easu

    re o

    f th

    e fr

    eque

    ncy

    of

    occu

    renc

    e, t

    he l

    atit

    udin

    al r

    ange

    in

    whi

    ch e

    ach

    spec

    ies

    was

    .

    reco

    rded

    on

    > 1

    0% a

    nd >

    40%

    of

    occa

    sion

    s w

    hen

    the

    squa

    re w

    as v

    isit

    ed i

    s pr

    esen

    ted,

    alo

    ng w

    ith t

    he n

    umbe

    r o

    f 1

    ° sq

    uare

    s w

    ithi

    n th

    at l

    atit

    udin

    al

    rang

    e in

    whi

    ch e

    ach

    spec

    ies

    was

    rec

    orde

    d o

    n>

    10%

    and

    >40

    % o

    f vi

    sits

    , co

    mpa

    red

    with

    the

    tot

    al n

    umbe

    r o

    f 1°

    squa

    res

    in t

    he l

    atit

    udin

    al r

    ange

    . (F

    rom

    Bla

    kers

    et a

    l. 19

    84) N

    ON

    -BR

    EE

    DIN

    G

    BR

    EE

    DIN

    G

    LA

    TIT

    UD

    E

    LA

    TIT

    UD

    E

    NO

    . S

    QU

    AR

    ES

    N

    O.

    SQ

    UA

    RE

    S

    TO

    TA

    L

    SP

    EC

    IES

    L

    AT

    ITU

    DE

    L

    AT

    ITU

    DE

    10

    % r

    ep.

    >40

    % r

    ep

    >10

    % r

    ep.

    >40

    % r

    ep.

    NO

    . ra

    te

    rate

    R

    EC

    OR

    DS

    Wom

    poo

    10

    -33

    1

    0-2

    9

    10

    -27

    1

    2-2

    1

    13/4

    1 4/

    41

    684

    =32

    %

    =10

    %

    Ros

    e-9

    -34

    1

    7-

    19

    10

    -30

    1

    0-2

    5

    33/6

    4 8/

    64

    572

    crow

    ned

    =52

    %

    =13

    %

    Sup

    erb

    9-4

    1

    12

    -19

    9

    -22

    1

    0-

    16

    13/3

    1 3/

    31

    273

    42%

    =

    10%

    Top

    knot

    1

    2-3

    7

    15

    -26

    1

    5-3

    5

    15

    -31

    27

    /50

    13/5

    0 80

    8 =

    54%

    =

    26%

    ' W

    hite

    -1

    5-3

    7

    16

    -32

    1

    5-3

    4

    15

    -32

    22

    /34

    9/34

    62

    3 he

    aded

    =

    65%

    =

    26%

    Bro

    wn

    12

    -38

    1

    2-3

    5

    12

    -37

    1

    2-3

    2

    31/6

    3 13

    /63

    2163

    =

    50%

    =

    21%

    Em

    eral

    d 1

    0-3

    6

    12

    -29

    1

    0-3

    2

    12

    -29

    32

    /69

    9/69

    12

    11

    Dov

    e =

    46%

    =

    13%

    Won

    ga

    23

    -39

    2

    4-3

    8

    23

    -38

    3

    0-3

    8

    27/5

    6 5!

    56

    1819

    =

    48%

    =

    9%

  • resident, in small numbers (1 to 10 individuals) at locations as far south as the Bega River Valley. It is rare or absent south of Bega (Blakers et al. 1984, Recher et al. 1980, 1991).

    Apart from the dispersal of young, Brown and Wonga Pigeons and the Emerald Dove are sedentary with minimal local movements of individuals. Innis (1989) and Frith (1982) also consider the Wompoo Pigeon to be sedentary with only local foraging movements. However, in northeastern New South Wales there is a movement of Topknot and White-headed Pigeons into highland rainforests during spring. This may also be true for Wompoo Pigeons (Date et al. 1991, 1992), but as with Rose-crowned Pigeons (Frith 1982), the apparent movement ofWompoo Pigeons may be the result of small numbers and seasonal differences in detectability. Altitudinal movements of rainforest pigeons occur in response to the delayed ripening of fruit at higher altitudes with the birds following the availability of food resources and returning to lower elevations and the coast in late summer as fruit becomes available there (Date et al. 1991, Frith 1982). Topknot and White-headed Pigeons form large flocks which move long distances in search of food (Date et al. 1991, Frith 1982, Innis 1989). They move south along the coast and dividing range and large flocks can be seen on the Central Coast and in the Illawarra District in winter where the birds respond to a variety of fruiting plants including figs, Camphor Laurel, Privet, and palms.

    Although rainforest pigeons may be less abundant than they were prior to the extensive clearing and fragmentation of coastal and lowland rainforests for agriculture (Frith 1982) and residential development, numbers of most species are relatively high (Table 1). Moreover, there are indications of an increase in abundance of White-headed, Topknot, Brown and Superb Pigeons since the 1950s (Frith 1982) and particularly in the last decade (see for example Morris 1993 a,b,c; also Date et al. 1992, in prep. a,b).

    Rainforest pigeons are now seen more frequently than they were in the 1970s and the numbers of Topknot and White-headed Pigeons may have begun to increase much earlier than 1970 (Frith 1982). However, the changes in abundance are not even (Date et al. 1992, in prep. a,b). Numbers appear to be unchanged in the larger rainforest fragments, especially those which are continuous with other forest habitats, but have increased in regenerating rainforest and exotic vegetation at middle to low elevations away from the coast (Date et al. 1991, 1992, in prep. a,b). At the same time it appears that fewer pigeons are being seen in small and isolated sites of mature littoral rainforest along the north coast of New SouthWales.

    The precise reasons for the changes in the abundances of rainforest pigeons are not clear and it is likely that a combination of factors are responsible. Increases in

    10 abundance are likely to be associated with an increase in the area of habitat and

  • 9

    :g

    L

    food plants as tree cover is re-established on abandoned or marginal farmlands. This includes the planting of fruit and berry bearing ornamentals and fruit trees in residential and agricultural areas accompanied by the spread of these plants as weeds (e.g .. , Coffee Coffea arabica, Loquat Eriobotrya japonica, Guava Psidium guajava) along roads, forest edges and in vegetation remnants (Dunphy 1991). The increased abundance of Topknot and White-headed Pigeons is associated with the spread of Camphor Laurel on abandoned farmland on the North Coast. Following a shift in feeding habits during the 1950s (Frith 1982, p. 135), Camphor Laurel is now an important winter food for both these pigeons (Date et al. 1991, 1992; Frith 1982; Hoskin 1991; Morris 1993 b,c). Brown Pigeons also have greater food resources in the weedy regrowth of Lantana Lantana camara, Inkweed Phytolacca octandra, and Tobacco Bush Solanum mauritianum along the edges of roads, fields and regenerating forest. Frith (1982, p. 150) describes how the weedy growth that accompanied the clearing of rainforests initially benefited the Brown Pigeon with its numbers greatly increasing and then decreasing as pasture grasses took over. The spread of Privet and Camphor Laurel along with other fruiting weeds and ornamentals may be the most significant factor explaining the increasing abundance of White-headed, Topknot and Superb Pigeons on the Central Coast and in the Illawarra District.

    Decreased hunting pressure since the 1940s, when hunting was officially prohibited, may be another factor in increasing pigeon abundances. Decreases in abundance in coastal areas are associated with an expansion of residential, urban and agricultural developments that reduce the area of habitat and further isolate rainforest fragments. As rainforest pigeons nest above the ground (Frith 1982), and with the exceptions of the Emerald Dove and Wonga Pigeon, most forage exclusively in trees and shrubs, they are not subject to predation by European Foxes and Cats to the same extent as ground-nesting and foraging birds.

    There is an uneven distribution of nature conservation reserves in northeastern New South Wales (Recher 1976, 1994) (see Whitehouse 1990 for an interesting explanation of how this occurred). Most national parks are at high elevations or are on the coast. Those on the coast are small or have relatively little habitat suitable for rainforest pigeons (Date et al. 1991, 1992, in prep. a,b). Apart from some very small rainforest remnants, there are few nature conservation reserves at middle and low elevations inland from the coast. This is the region most intensively developed for agriculture. In a survey of the Border Ranges, Nightcap and Mt Warning National Parks it was found that there were extensive areas of habitat suitable for Wompoo, Topknot, White-headed and Brown Pigeons, but only limited areas for Rose-crowned and Wonga Pigeons and Emerald Doves (Date et al. 1991, 1992, in prep. a,b, Fig. 1). Topknot and White-headed Pigeons, and possibly Wompoo, Superb, Rose-crowned and Brown Pigeons, require habitat at different elevations at different times of the year; for nesting and feeding during the breeding season and

    11

  • !

    l 12

    ~ UOMPOO II rose -c ro'"'ned

    fiD topknot @] uh i te-headed

    Border Ranges

    ~ ~ Mt. Warning

    ~-~~-~ ---------------~---'--------------~

    Figure l. Predicted areas of habitat in Border Ranges, Nightcap and Mt Warning National Parks for the Wompoo, Rose-crowned, Topknot, White-headed, Brown and Wonga Pigeons. The solid-shaded areas for Rose-crowned and Wonga Pigeons also represent predicted areas of overlap in habitat with Wompoo and Brown Pigeons respectively. The cross-hatched area for Topknot and White-headed Pigeons represents the predicted area of overlap between these two species. (After Date et al. in prep. b).

  • l

    for feeding outside the breeding season (Date et al. 1991, 1992, in prep. a,b., Frith 1982). For all species suitable habitat along the coast and at low and middle elevations may be limiting regardless of the extent of suitable habitat in national parks and state forests at higher elevations.

    Overall the numbers of rainforest pigeons appear to be stable or increasing slightly (Date et al. 1991, 1992, in prep. a,b, Frith 1982; Morris 1993 a,b,c for example). However, all species are vulnerable to changes in the area of suitable habitat including weedy regrowth. The expansion of residential, urban and tourist development on the coast and the conversion of rainforest and weedy regrowth to exotic fruit and nut plantations reduces the area of habitat available to rainforest pigeons. To some extent this may be compensated for by programs of rainforest regeneration and the planting of native and ornamental fruiting trees and shrubs. Pigeon abundance will be sensitive to the absolute area of suitable habitat and the degree of isolation of rainforest fragments at lower elevations and along the coast by pastures, orchards and urbanization. Sedentary species, such as the Wompoo and Wonga Pigeons, those which do not move across cleared areas (Wonga Pigeon), and those with narrow habitat and food requirements (Wompoo, Rose~crowned and Superb Pigeons) may be at greatest risk from these changes.

    13

  • 14

    3. Biology

    The information in this section is detailed in Date et al. (1992) and Frith (1982) (see also Crome 1975, Innis 1989; Reader's Digest 1976).

    Morphology

    The eight species of rainforest pigeon in New South Wales differ in size and appearance. The largest is the Topknot Pigeon weighing over 500 gms (Table 3 ). The smallest is the Rose~crowned Pigeon weighing just over 100 gms (Table 3). All species are brightly or boldly coloured; there are excellent colour plates in Frith (1982) and good photographs,of all the species in Reader's Digest (1976). Males tend to be slightly bigger than females, but the difference can not be picked in the field. Males also tend to be more brightly coloured than females, but only the female Superb Pigeon which lacks the purple crown and red~ brown collar of the male and the much browner female Brown Pigeon are easily told from the males in the field (Table 3). Juveniles are distinguished from adults by duller plumage (Wompoo, Superb and White~headed Pigeons, Emerald Dove), a duller iris and/or eye~ring (Rose~crowned, Superb, Topknot, and Brown Pigeons), or by having slightly differently coloured plumage (Wompoo and Wonga Pigeons, Emerald Dove) (Table 3).

    Habitat

    Although a wide range of habitats are used by rainforest pigeons, they depend on rainforests and rainforest plants for the major part of their food (Table 4, Appendix 1 ). Rainforests have a high proportion of plants which bear fleshy fruits that are attractive to pigeons. In many instances the plants rely on pigeons, other fruit~eating birds and fruit~eating mammals for the dispersal of their seeds. Pigeons move seasonally between the different kinds of rainforest and different locations according to the availability of food. Movements may be over long distances as in the case of Topknot and White~headed Pigeons or more local as in the case of Wonga Pigeons and Emerald Doves.

    The habitats used during the year include warm temperate, subtropical and tropical rainforest, littoral rainforest, depauperate rainforests along watercourses and in gullies, palm forests and wet sclerophyll or eucalypt forests with a rainforest understorey (Table 4 ). Most pigeons show preference for subtropical rainforest types at elevations

  • Tab

    le 3

    . Si

    ze a

    nd p

    lum

    age

    diff

    eren

    ces

    of A

    ustr

    alia

    n ra

    info

    rest

    pig

    eons

    . Pl

    umag

    e di

    mor

    phis

    m r

    efer

    s to

    dif

    fere

    nces

    in

    plum

    age

    colo

    urs

    and

    patt

    erns

    be

    twee

    n ad

    ult

    mal

    es a

    nd fe

    mal

    es,

    whi

    le j

    uven

    ile

    plum

    age

    refe

    rs t

    o bi

    rds

    usua

    lly l

    ess

    than

    one

    yea

    r ol

    d in

    com

    pari

    son

    to m

    atur

    e in

    divi

    dual

    s.

    (Ada

    pted

    from

    Bla

    kers

    et a

    l. 19

    84 a

    nd F

    rith

    198

    2).

    -U1

    Wei

    ght

    (g)

    Len

    gth

    (mm

    )

    Plu

    mag

    e D

    imor

    phis

    m

    Juve

    nile

    P

    lum

    age

    Wom

    poo

    328

    350-

    400

    No,

    bu

    t f.

    dull

    er

    dulle

    r,

    blot

    ched

    --

    Ros

    e-S

    uper

    b cr

    owne

    d

    112

    122

    200-

    245

    220-

    240

    Som

    etim

    es,

    Yes

    , f.

    gree

    n cr

    own

    dull

    er b

    row

    n

    gree

    ner,

    si

    mil

    ar t

    o iri

    s du

    ller

    f.,

    dul

    ler

    iris

    -

    SP

    EC

    IES

    Top

    knot

    B

    row

    n W

    hite

    -E

    mer

    ald

    Won

    ga

    head

    ed

    Dov

    e

    518

    183

    426

    172

    491

    405-

    460

    380-

    435

    380-

    420

    230-

    255

    360-

    385

    No,

    but

    f.

    Sli

    ght,

    f. Y

    es,

    f. Y

    es,

    f. N

    o

    grey

    er

    brow

    ner

    dull

    er

    dull

    er

    cres

    t du

    ller

    du

    ller

    da

    rker

    , br

    owne

    r,

    smal

    ler,

    ir

    is,

    dull

    er

    feat

    hers

    'V

    ' in

    dist

    inct

    iri

    s du

    ller

    ey

    e ri

    ng

    dull

    bar

    red

    --

    --------

    --

    ~-=-

    ---

    .;;:;bil-~<T. -

  • ,,,,, !I! ~ I :

    16

    Table 4. Habitat preferences of rainforest pigeons in Australia. (From Crome 1975; Frith 1982; Innis 1987).

    General Summer Autumn Winter Spring

    Wompoo lowland rainforest lowland & gorge & wherever lowland & and near streams highland fig lowland palm fruit trees highland fig

    communities communities occur communities

    Rose-crowned lowland larger, lowland & gorge & northern laurel lowland & denser rainforest highland fig lowland palm & basswood highland fig

    communities communities forests communities

    Superb mesophyll vine & lowland & ? ? lowland & adjacent wet highland fig highland fig sclerophyll communities communities

    Topknot forage anywhere lowland & Camphor Laurel Camphor Laurel lowland & higland fig lowlands lowlands highland fig communities communities

    White-headed in or near rainforest lowland & Camphor Laurel Camphor Laurel lowland & where fruit trees higland fig highland fig occur, prefer edge communities communities & lower trees (forest edge) (forest edge)

    Brown rainforest & sclerophyll figs as for general habitat preferences figs where fruit trees & berry (forest edge) (forest edge) bushes occur, secondary growth & forest edges

    Emerald ---------------edge & undergrowth of dense rainforest & other dense habitat------------------

    Wonga ----------deep & edge dense coastal rainforest, scrubs & some drier inland scrub ------------

    Breeding

    There are only limited data on the breeding biology of Australian rainforest pigeons. Emerald Doves and Brown Pigeons appear to nest opportunistically when food is available with a peak of breeding activity from spring to midsummer and may nest throughout the year (Table 5). Topknot, White-headed and Wonga Pigeons nest from winter (depending on food availability) to summer (Table 5). The other species nest primarily in spring and summer (September-February) (Table 5). Little nesting appears to occur during autumn (Table 5). The duration of the breeding season and the months in which nesting occurs differ between the northeastern and southern

  • l

    parts of the geographic range of each species (Table 5); nesting begins earlier and extends over a longer period in the north and at lower elevations than in the south and at higher elevations (Date et al. 1992, Frith 1982).

    Rainforest pigeons produce at most one or two young per nesting (Frith 1982) (Table 6). Nests are simple in construction, but are usually well concealed in dense vegetation above the ground. If people are nearby, the birds will not approach the nest. Incubation periods are between 14 and 24 days, but the time taken to fledge young varies significantly between species (7 to 27 days) (Table 6). It is not known how long the young of most species remain dependent on their parents after they leave the nest, with estimates of fledgling periods being less than 12 days for Emerald Dove to more than 100 days for Topknot Pigeons (Table 6).

    Pigeons produce crop milk upon which the young are fed by both parents (Frith 1982). Therefore, it is possible for the foraging and nesting sites of breeding pigeons to be well separated. For example, Superb and Topknot Pigeons forage in rainforest, but usually nest in eucalypt forest on ridges above their foraging areas. Nests of all species have been found in a variety of rainforest, wet sclerophyll and edge habitats including weedy tree regrowth and gardens.

    Food and foraging

    The principal foods of rainforest pigeons are the fleshy pericarps of fruits and berries of rainforest trees and shrubs (Crome 1975; Date et al. 1991,1992; Frith 1982; Innis 1989) (Appendix 1). Wompoo, Rose~crowned, Superb and Topknot Pigeons are almost entirely dependent on rainforest fruits and berries whereas Emerald Doves, and Brown, White-headed and Wonga Pigeons also feed on seeds. The latter species have a muscular gizzard, much like a chicken, but other rainforest pigeons do not and seeds that are ingested with fruit pass through undigested. As a result, the purely frugivorous species are believed to be important in the dispersal of the•seeds of rainforest trees and shrubs. They also disperse the seeds of exotic fruit bearing plants.

    The fruits of figs (Moraceae), quandongs (Elaeocarpaceae), laurels (Lauraceae), basswoods (Araliaceae) and palms (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana, Livistonia australe) are important in the diets of rainforest pigeons in northeastern New South Wales (Date et al. 1991,1992; Frith 1982; Innis 1989) (Appendix 1). In the absence of detailed studies of pigeon foraging behaviour there appears to be considerable overlap in the diets of pigeons in New South Wales, but in northeastern Queensland rainforest pigeons tend to select different plant species on which to feed (Crome 1975). This is also true of rainforest pigeons in New Guinea where species select different sized fruits and forage in different parts of the canopy according to the weight and agility of the species (Diamond 1975, Frith et al. 1976). In broad terms

    17

    \[~

    lr 1'~ I

  • , kA

    4!iiliiM

    &i:1IT

    &B ,g

    ,h;;J

    F<'c>

    ';

    .......

    00

    >-

    70

    60

    50

    ~40

    L...J

    ::::

    :> 0 L..

    .J e:

    30

    ~

    20

    10 0

    I A

    l o

    ._

    o._

    a.

    . c

    '--2

    E

    E ·

    c; ~

    __

    .C

    l>

    Q)'-

    -v

    ..

    .0

    __

    . _

    _.

    >-.

    (/"

    ) ~EO-DID

    ....

    0 "

    0 u

    "' WOM

    PO

    O

    I il

    a..

    o..

    .o..

    .ca

    ; 2

    E

    E ·2

    u

    ::o 2

    ~ c~

    =>

    E

    o -o

    cv

    (f)

    '..

    ~ 0

    ~

    u u

    " R

    OS

    E-c

    RO

    WN

    ED

    I J

    CL

    CL

    CI..

    .CQ

    j 2

    E

    E ·2

    c::;

    ::o

    2 ~ c~

    5i§g-o~

    0 u

    " TO

    PK

    NO

    T

    ~

    l)l

    Cl.

    ..C

    ...C

    LC

    ,_

    2

    E

    E ·

    c; ~

    _.Q

    )Q

    .>

    '--v

    ..

    .0

    __

    . _

    _.

    >-.

    (/

    ) ~EO-DID

    ~ 8

    "

    I I

    WH

    ITE-

    HEA

    DED

    \ ~

    Ill

    C..

    .CL

    CL

    CQ

    ) 2

    E

    E ·2

    u

    ::o 2

    ~ c~

    ~§g-o~

    0 u

    3:

    BR

    OW

    N

    I IU

    a..

    a..

    o..

    .ca

    ; o

    E

    E ·

    c; c

    ::;

    ..!::::;

    (l

    ) v

    ~(/)

    -g

    E ==

    g -a

    9J

    en

    '--~

    0 u

    "' W

    ON

    GA

    0 ve

    geta

    tion

    type

    bird

    de

    tect

    ion

    s

    Fig

    ure

    2. T

    he

    perc

    ent d

    istr

    ibut

    ion

    by v

    eget

    atio

    n ty

    pe o

    f sig

    htin

    gs o

    fWom

    poo

    (n=

    12),

    Ros

    e-cr

    owne

    d (n

    =5)

    , Top

    knot

    (n=

    18),

    Whi

    te-

    head

    ed (

    n=14

    ), B

    row

    n (n

    =38

    ) an

    d W

    onga

    (n=

    8) P

    igeo

    ns c

    ompa

    red

    wit

    h th

    e pe

    rcen

    t dis

    trib

    utio

    n of

    veg

    etat

    ion

    type

    s am

    ong

    the

    109

    surv

    ey s

    ites.

    Dat

    a w

    ere

    no

    t av

    aila

    ble

    for

    Supe

    rb P

    igeo

    n.

    Onl

    y th

    e di

    stri

    buti

    on o

    f sig

    htin

    gs o

    f Whi

    te-h

    eade

    d Pi

    geon

    s w

    as s

    igni

    fica

    ntly

    di

    ffer

    ent f

    rom

    the

    dis

    trib

    utio

    n of

    veg

    etat

    ion

    type

    s (p

    0.05

    ). (

    Aft

    er D

    ate

    et a

    l. in

    pre

    p. b)

    .

    j

  • I

    80

    70

    60

    >-5

    0

    u :z

    w 54

    0

    w

    0::

    ....

    ....

    ~

    30

    20

    10 0

    00

    00

    0

    00

    0

    n c.

    o O

    "l m

    V

    I

    I A

    0

    0

    00

    n

    c.o

    WO

    MP

    OO

    00

    00

    0

    00

    0

    n c.o

    m

    m

    VI

    I A

    88

    n

    c.o

    00

    00

    0

    .0

    00

    t"]

    <.0

    0

    1 0

    )

    V

    I I

    A

    00

    0

    0

    n c.

    o

    RO

    SE

    -cR

    OW

    NE

    D

    TO

    PK

    NO

    T

    00

    00

    0

    00

    0

    n c.

    o m

    m

    V

    I

    I A

    88

    n

    c.o

    00

    00

    0

    00

    0

    n c.

    o m

    m

    V

    I

    I A

    0

    0

    00

    n

    c.o

    WH

    ITE

    -HE

    AD

    ED

    B

    RO

    WN

    00

    00

    0

    00

    0

    n c.o

    m

    m

    V

    I I

    1\

    00

    0

    0

    n c.o

    WO

    NG

    A

    0 el

    evat

    ion

    cate

    gory

    • bi

    rd d

    etec

    tions

    Fig

    ure

    3. T

    he p

    erce

    nt d

    istr

    ibut

    ions

    by

    elev

    atio

    n ca

    tego

    ry o

    f sig

    htin

    gs o

    fWom

    poo

    (n=

    l2),

    Ros

    e-cr

    owne

    d (n

    =5)

    , Top

    knot

    (n=

    18),

    W

    hite

    -hea

    ded

    (n=

    14),

    Bro

    wn

    (n=

    38)

    and

    Won

    ga (

    n=8)

    Pig

    eons

    com

    pare

    d w

    ith

    the

    perc

    ent d

    istr

    ibut

    ion

    of e

    leva

    tion

    cat

    egor

    ies

    amon

    g th

    e 10

    9 su

    rvey

    site

    s. D

    ata

    wer

    e no

    t av

    aila

    ble

    for

    Sup

    erb

    Pig

    eon.

    No

    ne

    of th

    e di

    stri

    buti

    ons

    of si

    ghti

    ngs

    was

    sig

    nifi

    cant

    ly d

    iffe

    rent

    from

    th

    at o

    f the

    ele

    vati

    on c

    ateg

    orie

    s (p

    >0.

    05).

    (A

    fter

    Dat

    e et

    al.

    in p

    rep.

    b.) .

    ......

    \0

    ..r7:

    " • .5Z,77~~:-:s.=---""'"--;--~""'-

    =-""-.,.-;;;-~--v::>:-~---"-~--:-

    ... ~

  • N

    0

    Tab

    le 5

    . B

    reed

    ing

    seas

    ons

    of R

    ainf

    ores

    t P

    igeo

    ns i

    n E

    aste

    rn A

    ustr

    alia

    . A

    ster

    isks

    sho

    w f

    requ

    ency

    of n

    esti

    ng;*

    inf

    requ

    ent,

    **fr

    eque

    nt a

    nd r

    egul

    ar,*

    ** a

    bund

    ant,

    pea

    k ne

    stin

    g se

    ason

    .~ i

    ndic

    ates

    no

    nest

    ing

    was

    rec

    orde

    d. (

    Ada

    pted

    from

    Fri

    th 1

    952,

    19

    82 w

    ith

    addi

    tion

    al i

    nfor

    mat

    ion

    obta

    ined

    from

    R.A

    .O.U

    . N

    est R

    ecor

    d S

    chem

    e).

    SE

    AS

    ON

    Spec

    ies

    Sta

    te

    Sum

    mer

    A

    utum

    n W

    inte

    r S

    prin

    g B

    reed

    ing

    (Dec

    -Feb

    ) (M

    ar-M

    ay)

    (Jun

    e-A

    ug)

    (Sep

    t-N

    ov)

    Hab

    itat

    Wom

    poo

    N.Q

    ld

    **

    -*

    ***

    Dee

    p ra

    info

    rest

    ,pre

    f.

    NS

    W

    **

    --

    * o

    n c

    oast

    or

    stre

    ams.

    Ros

    e-cr

    owne

    d N

    .Qld

    . **

    * -

    * **

    D

    ense

    vin

    es i

    n de

    nse

    NS

    W

    ***

    --

    **

    rain

    fore

    st .

    Sup

    erb

    N.Q

    ld

    **

    * -

    ***

    Oft

    en i

    n ha

    rdw

    ood

    away

    fro

    m r

    ainf

    ores

    t.

    Top

    knot

    N

    .Qld

    . -

    --

    **

    On

    tall,

    d~ r

    idge

    s N

    SW

    **

    -

    ***

    ***

    abov

    e ra

    in o

    rest

    .

    Whi

    te-h

    eade

    d N

    .Qld

    -

    -**

    **

    * D

    ense

    scr

    ub i

    n or

    nea

    r N

    SW

    **

    *

    ***

    ***

    rain

    fore

    st.

    Bro

    wn

    N.Q

    ld.

    **

    -*

    ***

    No

    t res

    tric

    ted

    to

    NS

    W

    **

    * *

    ***

    rain

    fore

    st.

    Em

    eral

    d N

    .Qld

    . **

    -

    * *

    Rai

    nfor

    est

    or s

    cler

    ophy

    llous

    hab

    itat

    , N

    SW

    **

    *

    * **

    * la

    rge

    bran

    ches

    , vi

    nes,

    tre

    efem

    s, p

    alm

    fr

    onds

    , ep

    iphy

    tes.

    Won

    ga

    NS

    W

    **

    * *

    ***

    Rai

    nfor

    est o

    r sh

    lero

    phyl

    lous

    tre

    es

    Vic

    -

    -**

    * **

    of

    ten

    in o

    pen

    situ

    atio

    ns &

    on

    ridg

    es.

    j

  • ~~

    Tab

    le 6

    . B

    reed

    ing

    Bio

    logy

    of

    Aus

    tral

    ian

    Rai

    nfor

    est

    Pig

    eons

    . In

    form

    atio

    n ab

    out

    nest

    siz

    e, t

    he n

    umbe

    r o

    f eg

    gs l

    aid

    or

    clut

    ch s

    ize,

    the

    len

    gth

    of

    the

    incu

    bati

    on,

    nest

    ling

    and

    fle

    dgli

    ng p

    erio

    ds,

    and

    the

    tim

    ing

    of

    the

    bree

    ding

    sea

    son

    for

    rain

    fore

    st p

    igeo

    ns i

    s li

    mit

    ed b

    y t

    he s

    mal

    l nu

    mbe

    r o

    f ne

    sts

    that

    ha

    ve b

    een

    foun

    d an

    d th

    e st

    ill

    few

    er n

    ests

    tha

    t ha

    ve b

    een

    foll

    owed

    fro

    m t

    he l

    ayin

    g o

    f eg

    gs t

    o w

    hen

    the

    youn

    g fl

    edge

    and

    lea

    ve t

    he n

    est.

    The

    in

    form

    atio

    n in

    thi

    s ta

    ble

    is b

    ased

    in p

    art

    on f

    ield

    rec

    ords

    and

    in

    part

    on

    obse

    rvat

    ions

    of

    nest

    ing

    in c

    apti

    vity

    . T

    he l

    engt

    h o

    f th

    e br

    eedi

    ng s

    easo

    n is

    for

    th

    e m

    ain

    nest

    ing

    seas

    on i

    n ea

    ster

    n A

    ustr

    alia

    and

    wou

    ld d

    iffe

    r in

    tim

    ing

    and

    dura

    tion

    wit

    h la

    titu

    de a

    nd e

    leva

    tion

    . If

    con

    diti

    ons

    are

    favo

    urab

    le,

    som

    e bi

    rds

    may

    nes

    t out

    side

    the

    tim

    es s

    how

    n. (

    Ada

    pted

    fro

    m B

    lake

    rs e

    t al.

    1984

    ; F

    rith

    198

    2).

    SP

    EC

    IE

    S

    Wom

    poo

    Ros

    e-S

    uper

    b T

    opkn

    ot

    Bro

    wn

    Wh

    ite-

    Em

    eral

    d W

    onga

    cr

    owne

    d he

    aded

    D

    ove

    Nes

    t 15

    0 50

    -70

    70

    250

    max

    . 15

    0-20

    0 12

    5-20

    0 18

    0 15

    0-25

    0 D

    iam

    eter

    (m

    m)

    50-7

    0 th

    ick

    50 t

    hick

    15

    thi

    ck

    Clu

    tch

    Siz

    e 1

    1 1

    1 1

    (2)

    1 2

    2

    Incu

    bati

    on

    ? 16

    -18

    14

    22-2

    4 16

    -18

    19-2

    2 14

    -16

    17

    Per

    iod

    (day

    s)

    Nes

    tlin

    g ?

    11-1

    4 7

    +

    21+

    ?

    21-2

    2 ?

    26-2

    7 P

    erio

    d (d

    ays)

    Fle

    dgli

    ng

    ? ?

    50

    100-

    130

    < 7

    0 >

    60

    <

    12

    ? P

    erio

    d (d

    ays)

    Bre

    edin

    g Ju

    n-

    Jan

    Au

    g-

    Feb

    S

    ept

    -Mar

    Ju

    n-

    Jan

    Au

    g-

    Jan

    Jun

    e-M

    ar

    Oct

    -F

    eb

    Jun

    -Ja

    n S

    easo

    n

    ---

    --

    ---

    --

    --

    ---

    ----

    -

    N

    ,......

    I

    ".,.-~~~~-=-;;c--~""-=----

    ~,;:'=-__,-

    -~~~.;;;;,.-,:::--~~;~--~

    J

  • 22

    the smaller pigeons feed on smaller sized fruits and can forage further out on branches than the larger species (Crome 1975). This probably occurs in New South Wales, but, as mentioned, the necessary studies have not been done.

    Pigeons also appear to be conservative in their diets and are reluctant to feed on new species. Feeding on the fruits and seeds of Camphor Laurel represented a significant addition to the diet of Topknot and White~headed Pigeons (Frith 1982). White~ headed Pigeons began feeding on Camphor Laurel soon after it became established in the 19th century, but Topknots did not use Camphor Laurel until the 1950s (Frith 1982). Camphor Laurel and other exotic fruit bearing species are now important food resources for rainforest pigeons (Date et al. 1991, 1992; Frith 1982; Innis 1989). The seeds of introduced weeds, such as Lantana, Wild Tobacco, Phytolacca octandra, and Physalis sp., are important in the diet of Brown Pigeons and may allow these birds to extend their distribution and travel between rainforest remnants.

    Wonga Pigeons and Emerald Doves are primarily ground foragers, while the White~ headed Pigeon forages mainly in trees, but occasionally takes seeds and fruit from the ground, especially Camphor Laurel. The other pigeons forage entirely in trees and shrubs.

    Distribution and seasonal movements

    Brown, Wompoo, and Wonga Pigeons, and the Emerald Dove are mainly sedentary or locally nomadic (Date et al. 1991; Frith 1982; Innis 1989). In northeastern New South Wales they occur at high (>300m a.s.l.), middle (200~300 m a.s.l.) and low elevations (

  • ..J

    south in summer. Although neither White,headed or Rose,crowned Pigeons are common south of Newcastle and the Hunter Valley, White,headed Pigeons may be extending their range south (e.g .. Morris 1993c). Recher (pers. obs.) often sees White,headed Pigeons along the lower Hawkesbury River. Although rare, Wompoo Pigeons may also move south in the summer with individuals recorded in recent years from the Dorrigo Plateau south to Sydney (Date et al. 1992; Frith 1982; Hoskin 1991, Cooper 1989).

    In northeastern New South Wales some pigeon species move seasonally between the coast and the mountains (Date et al. 1991, 1992). Rose,crowned Pigeons are present at all elevations in spring, summer and autumn. The few individuals that remain during the winter are found at low elevations and in coastal habitats. Wompoo Pigeons are recorded at high elevations in spring and early summer, but disappear in late summer. They are present at middle to low elevation sites throughout the year, but occur at coastal sites only in winter. The small number of records for Superb Pigeons for northeastern New South Wales are during the spring, summer and autumn at middle and low elevations (Date et al. 1992). In contrast, records in Morris (1993a) for central and southeastern New South Wales are mostly (28 of 31) from lower elevations and coastal habitats from late summer (March) to late winter (August).

    Because of their large size, abundance and flocking behaviour, the seasonal movements of White,headed and Topknot Pigeons are especially noticeable (Date et al. 1991, 1992). These pigeons are most abundant at high elevations during the late spring and early summer, at middle elevations during the autumn and at low elevations during the winter. They are absent from lower elevations at other times.

    The movements of rainforest pigeons north and south along the coast and from high to low elevations appear to be in response to the ripening of the rainforest and exotic fruits on which they feed (Crome 1975; Date et al. 1991, 1992: Frith 1982; Innis 1989). Nesting appears to occur at all elevations that the species frequent and may be a response to an abundance of food.

    1

    23

  • I I I

    I 4. Biology ... individual species

    Unless otherwise indicated, these accounts are based on information in Blakers et al. (1984), Crome (1975), Date et al. (1991, 1992), Frith (1982), Innis (1989) and Morris et al. (1981). The plant species used by the different pigeons are presented in Appendix 1.

    Wompoo Pigeon (Ptilinopus magnificus)

    Other names: Wompoo Fruit-dove, Magnificent Fruit Pigeon, Purple-breasted Fruit Pigeon

    Distribution: Historically in eastern Australia from the Illawarra District north through Cape York, islands in the Torres Strait, and New Guinea to about 800 m a.s.L Presently extremely rare or absent from the part of its range south of Coffs Harbour and the Dorrigo Plateau in New South Wales. The last recorded sighting in the lllawarra was at Port Kembla in the 1920s.

    Movements: Sedentary or locally nomadic. In northeastern New South Wales it is present at middle and lower elevations throughout the year, moving into higher elevation rainforest in spring and early summer where it is absent during autumn and winter (Fig. 4a).

    Habitat: Confined to rainforest and adjoining wet sclerophyll habitats. Most commonly encountered in mature forest, but uses remnant vegetation.

    Feeding: An obligate frugivore, the Wompoo Pigeon uses a wide variety of rainforest fruits including palms, figs, laurels, Lilly-Pillys, White Cedar Melia

    . azaderach, and Lawyer Vine Smilex australis. Most foraging is done high in the forest canopy.

    Reproduction: In northeastern New South Wales nesting extends from late winter (August) to midsummer (January). The nest is a simple stick platform on which a single egg is laid. Nests are generally below 10m and may be within 2m of the ground.

    Abundance: There are no estimates of abundance outside New South Wales. The New South Wales' population probably exceeds 7,000 individuals. The Wompoo Pigeon was considered uncommon (1,000-10,000 individuals) by Morris et al. (1981).

    Status in New South Wales: The Wompoo Pigeon is listed in the National Parks and Wildlife Act as vulnerable and rare. Its status as an endangered species is

    · 24 based on the relatively small population, its requirements for mature rainforest and the small amount of this habitat that remains, particularly at lower elevations.

  • Rose .. crowned Pigeon (Ptilinopus regina)

    Other names: Rose,crowned Fruit,dove, Red,crowned Pigeon

    Distribution: Eastern and northeastern Australia from about ·Port Stephens in New South Wales north to Cape York and west to the Kimberleys wherever there is rainforest. Also occurs north of Australia on the Banda and Kai islands and the Lesser Sunda islands. Vagrant to New Guinea in the north and Tasmania in the south.

    Movements: Considered to be a partial migrant in northeastern New South Wales and southern Queensland with most of the population moving north in winter. Southern vagrants occur mainly in winter. Elsewhere sedentary or locally nomadic. Occurs at all elevations in northeastern New South Wales during spring, summer and autumn with some birds found in remnant vegetation at low elevations and on the coast in winter (Fig. 4b).

    Habitat: The Rose,crowned pigeon is restricted to rainforest habitats in southern and eastern Australia. In northeastern Australia it can be found in eucalypt woodland with scattered small patches of rainforest and also in mangrove forest, where it breeds.

    Feeding: An obligate frugivore, the Rose,crowned Pigeon forages mainly in the canopy of mature trees. It eats a wide variety of fruits including figs, Lilly,Pilly Eugenia smithii, and laurels (Lauraceae) and has been recorded feeding on the fruits of exotics such as Lantana and Wild Tobacco.

    Reproduction: Nests during spring (October, November) and summer (December, february) in northeastern New South Wales. The nest is a simple platform of sticks and vines placed mainly in dense vegetation within 6 m of the ground, but may be as high as 30 m. A single egg is laid.

    Abundance: The New South Wales population is estimated at 1,600,2,000 individuals. No estimates available for other parts of its distribution. Considered moderately common (10,000, 100,000 individuals) by Morris et al. (1981).

    Status in New South Wales: Listed as vulnerable and rare in the National Parks and Wildlife Act in New South Wales. Its endangered status is based on its small population size and restriction to rainforest habitats which have been greatly reduced in area by clearing.

    25

  • 26

    a) WOMPOO PIGEON

    20~--------~----------------------------------------------~

    ~ h1gh

    • m1d (/) IIIII low UJ 15 t:( --o- coast :;E ~ (/) w 10 w (.) z co

  • c) TOPKNOT PIGEON

    1500 2000 750 3500 200~----------------------------,---------~--------------~-------,

    en w 1

  • 28

    Superb Pigeon (Ptilinopus superbus)

    Other names: Superb Fruit,dove, Purple,crowned Pigeon

    Distribution: From about Rockhampton north through Cape York to New Guinea, the Solomons and islands of the eastern parts of the Indonesian Archipelago. Vagrant in southeastern Australia south to Tasmania.

    Movements: Primarily sedentary or locally nomadic with irregular irruptive dispersal outside its normal range. May be a regular migrant to southeastern Australia.

    Habitat: Rainforest, but may nest in nearby eucalypt forest.

    Feeding: An obligate frugivore that forages primarily in the canopy of mature trees. In northern Queensland laurels were the most important source of fruit, but figs, palms and a wide range of other plants were used.

    Reproduction: There are no confirmed breeding records south of northeastern Queensland where nesting may occur from June to February depending on location. A single egg is laid on a stick platform nest placed mostly within 10m of the ground.

    Abundance: There are no estimates of abundance outside New South Wales where the numbers of birds are certainly fewer than 500 and possibly less than 100, almost all of which would be vagrants from the north. Morris et al. ( 1981) list the Superb Pigeon as a scarce (100 ,1,000 individuals) migrant or visitor.

    Status in New South Wales: Considered endangered in New South Wales where the Superb Pigeon is listed as vulnerable and rare in the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Its endangered status is based on the small population size and limited areas of rainforest suitable for this species.

    1 I

  • f \,

    [

    \

    '!

    Topknot Pigeon (Lopholaimus antarcticus)

    Other names: Flock Pigeon

    Distribution: Eastern Australia from southeastern New South Wales to Cape York. It is a vagrant to Victoria and Tasmania.

    Movements: A nomadic species with pronounced seasonal movements from high to low elevations and along the coast in response to the availability of fruiting trees. In northeastern New South Wales the Topknot Pigeon occurs at high elevations in late spring and early summer where it breeds, moving to lower elevations in autumn and winter (Fig. 4c). Southward movements are most common during the summer. Recently it has been present in coastal environments on the Central Coast throughout the year (Morris 1993c), but northern birds may winter on the Central Coast.

    Habitat: Occurs in tropical, subtropical and temperate rainforests and wet sclerophyll forest. Uses remnant rainforest including paddock trees.

    Feeding: A frugivorous species taking a wide range of rainforest fruits and berries including figs, palms, Lilly~Pilly, Ironwood Cryptocarya microneura and Pigeon~berry Ash Elaeocarpus kirtonii. It feeds extensively on the fruits of the introduced Camphor Laurel.

    Reproduction: Nests from winter (June) to summer (December). Few nests have been reported and these were mainly high in the canopy (20m+). A single egg

    is laid.

    Abundance: Forms large and conspicuous flocks that formerly exceeded 2,000~ 3,000 birds. Most flocks now contain fewer than 200 individuals, but the New South Wales population is estimated to exceed 70,000 individuals. Estimates of numbers for Queensland are not available. Described as moderately common (10,000 ~ 100,000 individuals) by Morris et al. (1981).

    Status in New South Wales: An abundant and widely distributed species along the coast in New South Wales that appears to have partially recovered from its initial decline following the extensive clearing of rainforests earlier this century.

    29

  • i }Ill' 11111

    ~: : : ~: : :

    30

    Brown Pigeon (Macropygia amboinensis)

    Other names: Brown Cuckoo~dove, Pheasant Pigeon, Brownie

    Distribution: Eastern Australia, from Victoria north to the Philippines, Borneo, Sumatra and nearby islands.

    Movements: Locally nomadic. Birds tn northeastern New South Wales occurred at low, middle and high elevations throughout the year with no evidence of seasonal changes in distribution.

    Habitat: Rainforest and moist eucalypt forest. Most frequently encountered along forest edges, along tracks and in weedy clearings. Abundant in early regrowth and regenerating rainforest.

    Feeding: Often found feeding in low shrubs and small trees, but also forages in the canopy of mature trees, the Brown Pigeon takes a variety of fruits and seeds including figs, Native Raspberries Rubus spp., and Celery Wood Tzeghemopanax spp .. Exotic species, such as Lantana, Privet, and Wild Tobacco are important food sources.

    Reproduction: In northeastern New South Wales the main breeding season is spring and summer (September~ January), but nesting also occurs in autumn and winter.

    Abundance: The population in New South Wales exceeds 15,000 individuals. There are no estimates for other areas. Morris et al. (1981) consider the Brown Pigeon to be common(> 100,000 individuals).

    Status in New South Wales: An abundant and widely distributed species in New South Wales that possibly benefits from habitat disturbance by logging and track construction. It is abundant north of about Newcastle, but uncommon further south.

  • I ,

    White .. headed Pigeon (Columba leucomela)

    Other names: Baldy Pigeon

    Distribution: Eastern Australia from the Bega River Valley in New South Wales to Cooktown, Queensland.

    Movements: Locally nomadic with evidence of a southward dispersal from late summer (March) to spring (October). In northeastern New South Wales White~ headed Pigeons are abundant at high elevations in spring and summer moving to middle and lower elevations in autumn and winter (Fig. 4d).

    Habitat: Rainforest, moist eucalypt forest, Camphor Laurel thickets and road edges.

    Feeding: The White~headed Pigeon feeds on fruits and seeds. As well as foraging in the canopy, it is often encountered feeding on the forest floor or under trees along roads and in gardens. Native laurels are an important food source and the introduced Camphor Laurel is possibly the most important winter food for this species. White~headed Pigeons also feed on Lilly~Pilly, Wild Tobacco, Blush Walnut Beilschmiedia elliptica and Privet.

    Reproduction: The main breeding season is spring (September) through summer (December), but nesting may occur in any season. The nest is usually a simple platform of twigs and vines on which a single egg is laid. Nests are placed in dense vegetation from 2 to 20m above the ground.

    Abundance: The New South Wales population exceeds 7,000 individuals. There are no estimates of abundance for Queensland. Listed as moderately common (10,000 ~ 100,000 individuals) by Morris et al. (1981).

    Status in New South Wales: An abundant and widely distributed species east of the divide that has probably benefited from the regeneration of abandoned fields and road edges by rainforest plants and the proliferation of Camphor Laurel and Privet. The increased incidence of the White~ headed Pigeon south of Sydney may be the result of the increasing abundance of these two introduced weeds.

    31

  • 32

    Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica)

    Other names: (Jreen,winged Pigeon, Green Dove, Little Green Pigeon, Common Emerald Dove

    Distribution-: Various sub,species occur from eastern and northeastern Australia through New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines to Taiwan, Southeast Asia, Ceylon and eastern India. In eastern Australia the Emerald Dove occurs from Cape York to Narooma on the southeast coast of New South Wales. It also occurs on Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.

    Movements: The Emerald Dove is sedentary or locally nomadic, though its presence on oceanic islands suggests that long distance movements (dispersal) also occur.

    Habitat: The Emerald Dove occurs in a wide range of forest and shrub habitats including rainforest, littoral rainforest, eucalypt forest, paperbark forest, Callitris scrub, heathlands, monsoon forest, and the edges of mangroves.

    Feeding: This is a ground,foraging species that feeds primarily on seeds, but also takes fruits and invertebrates. Fruits and seeds eaten include those of Lantana, Wild Tobacco, wattles Acacia spp., White Cedar and figs.

    Reproduction: Nesting occurs throughout the year, but peaks from spring (September) to midsummer (December). A platform nest is built from 4 to 11 m above the ground and two eggs are laid.

    Abundance: There are no estimates of abundance for mainland Australia, but the Lord Howe Island population has been estimated at 10 to 100 individuals (Fullagar et al. 1974). Considered to be moderately common (10,000, 100,000 individuals) in New South Wales by Morris et al. (1981).

    Status in New South Wales: A widely distributed and moderately abundant bird throughout its range in northeastern New South Wales and on Lord Howe Island. Nonetheless rainforest clearing has depressed its numbers and the species may prove vulnerable to predation by Cats and European Foxes. It is less common south of Newcastle. It is confined to lowland forest on Lord Howe Island.

    1

  • "'

    Wonga Pigeon (Leucosarcia cyanoleuca)

    Other names: Wonga Wonga

    Distribution: Eastern Australia from near Melbourne in Victoria to Rockhampton in Queensland.

    Movements: The Won