The regent honeyeater (Anthochaera Phrygia) is listed as a critically endangered animal in NSW. The regent honeyeater is a striking black and yellow bird, it has a sturdy, curved bill and its flight and tail feathers are edged with bright yellow. It feeds mainly on insects, eucalypt nectar and mistletoe nectar and fruit.
The regent honeyeater habitat
The regent honeyeater mainly inhabits the temperate woodlands and open forests of the inland slopes of south-eastern Australia. The regent honeyeaters’ range has been reduced in size dramatically in the past 30 years and NSW has two of only three known breeding regions that remain – at Capertee Valley and in the Bundarra-Barraba region.
The regent honeyeater’s distribution is very patchy and mainly confined to these two breeding areas (of dry open forest, woodland and riparian forests) and surrounding fragmented woodlands. In some years, flocks converge on flowering coastal woodlands and forests.
Threats to the regent honeyeater
Clearing for agriculture, residential development and inappropriate forestry management has resulted in the loss, fragmentation and degradation of the regent honeyeater’s habitat. Over-grazing and firewood harvesting have removed natural vegetation entirely or prevented it from recovering. Competition from larger, aggressive birds has also proved costly.
Solutions – What can be done?
The regent honeyeater is a flagship threatened woodland bird whose conservation will benefit a suite of other threatened and declining woodland animals. It depends on woodlands with a large number of mature trees, high canopy cover and an abundance of mistletoes, so private land owners need to protect and enhance such key breeding and foraging habitats. Removing stock from sensitive riparian breeding sites and encouraging natural regeneration will also help.
The Nature Conservation Trust’s conservation work on private lands is helping to protect habitat for the regent honeyeater.