Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Location of Pied Butcherbirds

There has recently been discussion on the COG Chatline on the whereabouts and status of Pied Butcherbirds in the vicinity of Canberra.  The most recent post, at the time of composing this, included the statement:
"Very clearly, ‘Bird Info’ shows most of COG’s records of this species are from the north of the ACT. "
I wouldn't argue with this statement, but include a snip of the distribution map shown in the COG BirdInfo page for this species to start off with.
Looking at the distribution more closely I have used information from eBird.  (Following a comment on birding-aus  that there were issues with the Birdlife Australia (BLA) maps, resolving which was a lower priority for BLA, I wouldn't rely on them as being too up to date.)

Here is the current (at time of writing) eBird distribution map for Pied Butcherbird in Australia.  I clearly shows that the range of the species stops in the extreme SE.
 Zooming in to that corner of the wide brown (and apparently about to get browner) land reinforces the idea that the ACT is about the edge of the current range.
The two spots on the South Coast are Murrumurang NP and Narooma: I don't know the observers but would note that a number of observations of Pied Butcherbirds reported on the COG chatline have been withdrawn as being Grey Butcherbirds that had been identified.

Zooming in to reveal the individual hotspots involved reveals few surprises.
The darkest mauve cell in the SE map is equivalent to the area around Urriara Village where a bird appears to be resident (or at has been seen by many observers over a long time period.  The Tin Hut Dam bird was reported by a number of people to COG but the observation (in October 2014) in eBird is by an interstate birder (who I know to be reliable)..

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