This is the third post demonstrating changes in the status and distribution of birds in South-East Queensland over the 40 years between 1979 - when my booklet The Birds of South-East Queensland was published – and 2019. The list covers only those species where a significant change has been noted over the intervening period. Some changes are doubtlessly influenced by an increased number of observers and technological advances (especially with playback) but many can not be explained by these factors. See here for Part 1 (emu to storm-petrels) and here for Part 2 (boobies to hawks).
Red-backed Buttonquail. In 1979 it was recorded as “rare”, known from agricultural crops in the Lockyer Valley and rank vegetation near Gin Gin. It is today still regarded as scarce but has been recorded regularly from mid-to-tall grassland, wallum heathland and crops, especially sugarcane, in several areas including Maryborough, the Sunshine Coast and Lake Samsonvale.
Lewin's Rail. In 1979 it was thought to be “rare”, with specimens and sightings from a small number of sites. It is now known to be uncommon generally and moderately common in some areas. It is also known to frequent a much wider range of habitats than was previously thought to be the case.
Banded Stilt. In 1979 the occurrence of this species in the region was unconfirmed, with reported sightings “almost certainly” immature Pied Stilts. There has since been a single confirmed record, from Lake Clarendon.
Ruff. Another “vagrant” in 1979, it was known from a single sighting at Dyers Lagoon. Although still fairly described as vagrant, there have since been a number of sightings from the region.
Long-tailed Jaeger. Considered “rare” in 1979, with several autumn sightings from North Stradbroke Island, it is today seen uncommonly but regularly in offshore waters.
Pacific Gull. Records of the species in 1979 were unconfirmed in the region but it is now confirmed as a vagrant.
White Tern. It was a “vagrant” in 1979, known from four sightings. Many more sightings have since been recorded, though it still is regarded as a rare visitor.