Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Broad-billed Flycatcher at Queensland's Corio Bay - a Southerly Extension of Range


Last week I found a total of five Broad-billed Flycatchers - a party of three birds and a pair - in north-west Corio Bay, near Yeppoon in central coastal Queensland. The two groups of birds were about one kilometre apart from each other in tall mangroves. This is the most southerly site at which this species has been recorded; a specimen was taken at Sabina Point, about 50 kilometres north of here in Shoalwater Bay, and Henry Nix has told me of his occasional observations of birds in that area in the 1980s.
The two birds above, presumably males, show the strongly graduated tails which distinguish this species from other Myiagra flycatchers. The identification problems surrounding these flycatchers were the subject of an earlier discussion on this blog, which centred around whether Broad-billed Flycatcher may occur in southeast Queensland, not so far south of Corio Bay.
Tail aside, these images show how strikingly colourful this species is - with both the blue upperparts and the orange appearing brighter than female Leaden and Satin Flycatchers. The white around the eye also appears to be a good feature. On the basis of these sightings, I believe that one or two birds I saw but failed to photograph at Pumicestone Passage on the Sunshine Coast may have been Broad-billed, but confirmation is required.

The pair of Broad-billed Flycatchers at Corio Bay were alone. However, the three other Broad-billeds were in the company of a pair of Shining Flycatchers and three Leaden Flycatchers - 1 male and 2 females.
This was one of the female Leaden Flycatchers, where the features and differences referred to above can be clearly discerned.
The Broad-billed Flycatchers were in the tall mangroves shown in this image. I reached this site by kayak after travelling down Water Park Creek from Corbett's Landing to the western end of Corio Bay. I had beached the kayak and was walking the edge of the mangroves when I found the birds.
There had long been controversy about whether Broad-billed Flycatcher occurred along Australia's eastern seaboard. They have not been found in areas such as Cooktown where there is ample suitable habitat, despite intensive searches. Some people continue to be sceptical, but these images are difficult to get around.

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