Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Update : Unidentified olive backed and aqua blue winged bird

Its a new species of honeyeater that has yet to be recorded.

There was this one day when I was walking about 8 feet passed these birds when they were on the ground and they were feeding with a family group of King Parrots. One of these unidentified birds looked straight at me. I suddenly got very confused because it's face was almost identical to that of the Blue-faced Honeyeater.

This species face had very similiar markings on it to the Blue-faced Honeyeater. Instead of the top of it's head being black it was the bronzey/brown colour you see on Blue-faced Honeyeaters. The bronzey/brown colour went from the beginning of the beak to the eyebrow ridge above the eyes, then down over the nape which then joined up with the back, which was also the same colour. It had a bare patch of skin around it's eyes but it wasn't the same colour as an adult or juvenile Blue-faced Honeyeater. I believe it may have been a dull green colour - meaning it wasn't metallic looking. It's throat was white. The sides of it face was not like the Blue-faced Honeyeater. It had no black colouration on the sides of it's face: it was just white instead. The eyes looked like a Blue-faced Honeyeater but there was something different about them that I still can't figure out.

The head colourations of these two species were unusually similiar to each other. It certainly made me remember this unidentified species face when I took a closer look at it. I now believe this unidentified blue winged bird is a subspecies of, or a new species of honeyeater, and is somehow related to the Blue-faced Honeyeater.

As this species appears to be endemic to Tenterfield, New South Wales, it might be helpful to research the species from this immediate area. I am currently trying to find any kind of bird records that involve bird sightings from Tenterfield that go back 30 or so years. Hopefully someone else may have spotted this species in Tenterfield at some point in the past. I am also thinking of putting a notice on the local Post Office board to see if any local people have photos of this bird at Jubilee Park, Manners Street , between the years of 2001 and 2004. (I haven't done that yet and am not sure if I will either.) That's when I remember seeing them at Jubilee Park all the time.

I ended up by contacting the Australian Museum to get help with identifying this new bird species. The information I provided (written only) of this species was then sent to Dr. Walter Boles and I am currently waiting on a reply back from Dr Walter Boles, the former Collection Manager for Ornithology at The Australian Museum in Sydney.

It is my hope that come September 2013 the bird will return to Tenterfield in order to breed. Only then can I get a video and photos of it. If it doesn't return I can only assume there are small numbers of these birds not far from Tenterfield somewhere breeding in other areas.

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