Recruitment of the Black-chinned Honeyeater Melithreptus gularis gularis in a Fragmented Landscape in Northern New South Wales, Australia

The Black-chinned Honeyeater Melithreptus gularis gularis is an uncommon species that may be declining in numbers in New South Wales. One possible reason for this decline may be a low fledgling rate and lack of recruitment of juveniles into the population. This study examined the production of young by this species in the fragmented woodlands of the Bundarra-Barraba region of northern New South Wales. At the end of the 2003–2004 and 2004–2005 breeding seasons, 46 per cent and 47 per cent of groups contained independent young, respectively and contained an average of 0.7 young per group. The finite rate of increase of the population was estimated using the recruitment data and varying levels of adult and juvenile annual survival. For the local Black-chinned Honeyeater population to remain at least stable, minimum adult annual survival was estimated at 0.7 and minimum juvenile survival was estimated at 0.6. Based on values for similarly sized Australian passerines, the former value is possible but the latter is unlikely to be the case. There was no evidence that recruitment was poorer in smaller patches of native vegetation, in comparison with large patches.

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