Date of Award

1997

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science Honours

Faculty

Faculty of Science, Technology and Engineering

First Advisor

Prof Harry Recher

Abstract

The foraging ecology and habitat selection of the Yellow-plumed Honeyeater was examined using observations and vegetation surveys at Dryandra Woodland, Western Australia. Foraging ecology data was collected over three seasons (autumn, winter and spring) in 1997 at three sites within Dryandra. Habitat selection studies involved 156 sites being surveyed for the presence or absence of the Yellow-plumed Honeyeater. The vegetation characteristics of the site were measured. Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters foraged by gleaning foliage most of the time. Bark and aerial foraging were also common. Birds clearly selected for tree height, preferring to forage on larger (older) trees which may be because of the proportionality larger amount of resources available on older trees. This has major implications for management as most remnants are severely degraded and have had the larger trees removed. There was no significant trends observed in the foraging behaviour over the seasons, although birds at one of the sites demonstrated a seasonal change. Therefore, it is not possible to judge the exact preferred foraging behaviours or substrates used as they fluctuate over time and space. Habitat selection studies showed Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters have a clear preference for areas with over 70% wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo) trees. They were present at 25 of the 156 sites surveyed and did not occur in areas with over 30% powderbark wandoo (E. accedens). The resources provided by the two areas are different, and I suggest that it is the absence of a continuous bark resource which prevents Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters residing in powderbark wandoo areas. Apart from a high abundance of wandoo trees and low abundance of powderbark wandoo trees, there were no vegetation characteristics which were significant in distinguishing areas where the bird was present from areas where they were absent. Clearly, the birds require large areas of wandoo woodland and the retention and management of areas large enough to support the Yellow-plumed Honeyeater is the best option for the conservation of the species.

Included in

Ornithology Commons

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