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An ecological study of the Blue-faced Parrot-Finch (Erythrura trichroa macgillivrayi) near Yungaburra, Australia

Craig, M.D (2003) An ecological study of the Blue-faced Parrot-Finch (Erythrura trichroa macgillivrayi) near Yungaburra, Australia. Emu, 103 (4). pp. 363-368.

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The subspecies macgillivrayi of the Blue-faced Parrot-Finch (Erythrura trichroa) is confined to north Queensland where it is considered rare and of uncertain conservation status. One reason that its status is so poorly known is that almost nothing is known of its ecology. I investigated the habitat preference and foraging behaviour of E. t. macgillivrayi as well as the potential for competition with other finches at a site near Yungaburra, north Queensland. Data suggested that the species displayed a preference for rainforest edges and that dense grassland, the presence of woody plants among the grass and rainforest may be important habitat features. E. t. macgillivrayi foraged primarily by perching on Lantana camara while consuming the seeds of the introduced grass Brachiaria decumbens. This dietary preference suggests that the subspecies is not specialised in its dietary requirements. There appeared to be little potential for competition to occur between finch species as they partitioned food resources spatially. The study could find no explanation for the rarity of E. t. macgillivrayi. Future research should attempt to determine the ecological requirements of the subspecies during winter, when it migrates to the lowlands, as this will enable its true conservation status to be better evaluated.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © Royal Australian Ornithologists Union 2003
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