SWIFFT - State Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams

SWIFFT - State Wide Integrated Flora and Fauna Teams
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Regent Honeyeater Captive Release 2017

Image taken 2015: Catarina Gregson 

This page builds on information regarding the Regent Honeyeater captive release program. For more details on previous years activities See: Regent Honeyeater Captive Release 2015 - 2016


Update No. 3 & 4, 19 April 2017 ( 8 days post first releases)

Update No. 5, 29 April 2017 (17 days post first releases)

Update No. 6, 3 May 2017 (21 days post first releases)

Update No. 7, 8 May 2017 (26 days post first releases  & day 10 post 2nd release)

Update No. 8, 22 May 2017 (40 days post first release & 24 days post 2nd release)

Update No. 9,  5 June 2017 

Update No.10, 19 June 2017

Update No. 11, 3 July 2017

Update No. 12, 19 July 2017

Update No. 13, 1 August 2017

Update No. 14, 15 August 2017

Update No. 15, 29 August 2017

Update No. 16, 12 September 2017

Update No. 17, 26 September 2017

Update No. 18, 9 October 2017

Update No. 19, 26 October 2017

Update No. 20, 7 November 2017

Update No. 21, 21 November 2017 

Update No. 22, 5 December 2017

Update No. 23, 18 December 2017

Regent Honeyeater Captive Release 2018


Update No. 1, February 2017

2017 releases

The captive breeding of Regent Honeyeaters at Taronga Zoo has been very productive over the last 2 years. The Zoo is set to provide a record number of birds (90+) for the 2017 release (well in advance of the 77 birds released in  2015).

Update No. 2, March 2017

Release dates: Wednesday April 12th and Sunday 16th April (Easter Sunday) in the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park.  Exact numbers have not been made available yet but 2017 will be the largest cohort of Regent Honeyeaters ever released into the wild. 

The releases will provide a unique opportunity for the community to witness the world's largest Regent release to date.

Opportunities to view or monitor

There are a number of ways you can be involved but all require pre-registration which must be done by Wednesday April 5th.  Please Email Liz Wemyss or  Glen Johnson  to indicate whether you:
1)        Wish to attend the Wed 12th April and/or Sun 16th April captive releases.  Please indicate:
a)        Viewing only - not participating in monitoring on the day(s); or  BYO
b)        Viewing and able to participate in monitoring on the day(s) see pt 2 below

2)        Can assist in post-release monitoring during the initial 10-12 week tracking period (and potentially up to 30 weeks of Regents in the            park while flowering resources last this season).  Please also indicate the potential level of participation:
a)        One-off day(s) - please advise date(s) if possible
b)        Regular one day per week - pleases advise likely day
c)        Two or more days per week - please advise likely days or whether weekend available.

When you RSVP - Please ensure you provide your full name, email address, mobile phone number.  
It is essential that volunteers who wish to assist in surveying register their interest as above.  We'll then provide essential information including links to free phone apps that must be undertaken/downloaded prior to arriving on site.

Regent Honeyeater captive releases 2017 - volunteer FAQ pdf

Release process – what happens on the day?

On both the 12th and 16th of April, the Regent Team require those coming to view the releases to be at the release site by 7:30am in order to complete sign- in's, safety & project briefings and allocating people to post-release monitoring groups. Everyone needs into place by 8:45am as the tents will be opened at 9:00am sharp!  Don’t miss your chance to see this amazing sight.

Volunteer monitoring opportunities

Post release monitoring is a critical part of the Regent Honeyeater conservation effort.

The 2017 project will once again provide a opportunity for volunteers to have a unique hands on role in a threatened species monitoring program.  The main activity is radio tracking and associated visual confirmations of released (and any wild) Regents, however there are also opportunities to help with radio communications, data collation, office based roles and even moving equipment around.

Monitoring will be undertaken over an extended three to more likely six month period (mid April onwards).  In the first couple of weeks post release the Regent team will probably be running a daily monitoring program (8.30am starts) but will scale back progressively over the weeks.  At least one weekend day/week will be included.  Great opportunities exist for those that can undertake monitoring on a regular basis e.g. each Monday or for several days at a time.

This year volunteers will be able to use electronic monitoring via use of some Apps for smart phones and tablets – Survey123 and HandyGPS.

Regent Honeyeater research continues

A PhD research project identified new factors influencing breeding success (or lack thereof) during the 2015 season.  Research will continue in the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park this year to assist again with the monitoring program including investigating breeding outcomes and trial techniques that aim to reduce nest predation and increase the recruitment of fledglings into the population.

Update No. 3 & 4, 19 April 2017 (8 days post first releases)


Over 100 privileged participants plus assembled media were present for the release of 50 captive bred Regent Honeyeaters on Wednesday 12 April.  A further release of 51 Regent Honeyeaters planned for Saturday 16 April was postponed until further notice due to a high mortality of released birds.

Despite a higher than usual level of mortality on the first release for 2017 these releases totalling 101 Regent Honeyeaters will provide a significant injection into this critically endangered species population.

View release video https://www.facebook.com/DELWPHume/videos/1015590018573668/

Regent release 2017

Neville Bartlett's great post release shots show Regent's once again dominate at least a small patch of the Chiltern Mt. Pilot National Park.
- pick those wearing transmitters (aerials showing)  (read bands left leg 1st:  this bird is known as "Orange Metal Blue Red"). Image: Neville Bartlett.

Regent release 2017

The first wild bird record for the season (above) was obtained by volunteers who noted two released birds interacting with a wild Regent. This demonstrates the value of great volunteers and the release program. Image: Neville Bartlett.

Tracking results        

All 24 birds with transmitters were recorded safe and well by the end of day two and many of the remaining birds (with no transmitters - but wearing their unique coloured leg bands ) were also confirmed three days after release. These results were in line with previous releases however, by the end of the first five days of monitoring a total of 12 (24%) of the 50 released birds, all wearing transmitters and harnesses, were found dead. This was very unexpected as all four previous Chiltern releases (2008, 2010, 2013 and 2015) had 95% or better survival in the first week.

Early indications are that some of the dead Regents had lost body condition possibly due to starvation as there may have been sub-optimal nectar flow despite seemingly adequate Mugga Ironbark flowering (similar to the 2015 release).  It is also known that birds in poor condition, particularly those wearing transmitter and antennae, are susceptible to increased (Goshawk/Sparrowhawk) predation or starvation risk.

No further mortalities

Since the initial mortalities in the first week there have been no further deaths or bird welfare issues in the days since. All remaining Regents are feeding well from Ironbark flowers, plus gleaning insects from foliage or aerial hawking and more recently dunking into water to wash excess, sticky nectar off their plumage nectar (all good signs).

Food availability

Since the first release the monitoring team have noticed an increasing abundance of other nectivorous birds within the release area and rapidly improving Mugga Ironbark flowering abundance.

There is a favourable forecasts of an extended flowering season through winter into at least early spring.

Project support

The 2017 Regent Honeyeater Captive Release and Community Monitoring Project is collaboratively funded by the Victorian Government’s Icon Threatened Species Program (part of the recently launched 'Protecting Victoria's Environment - Biodiversity 2037'), North East Catchment Management Authority (NECMA) through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, BirdLife Australia and NSW's Office of Environment and Heritage's Saving Our Species Project.

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Update No. 5, 29 April 2017 (17 days post first releases)

Second release

A second release 59 Regents (including 9 recaptured birds retained for bird welfare checks post the first release) were released on Friday 28 April 2017. The second release was carried out after assessments determined a significantly improved flowering abundance and nectar availability.

The has been on-going daily monitoring since 16 April 2017 with no further deaths recorded and all nine remaining first release birds wearing transmitters being alive and foraging well amongst a host of other nectivores.

Discovery of 2015 release Regents

Two Regents from the 2015 releases were detected on 28 April 2017.

  • 585 days have elapsed since a male with 'Green/Black Red/Metal' bands was last seen alive.
  • 229 days since a male 'White/Mauve Red/Metal' was last seen alive.  

   2015 green black

Released in 2015 - observed 28 April 2017. 'Green/Black & Red/Metal' bands. Image: Dean Ingwersen    

2015 white mauve

Released in 2015 - observced 28 April 2017  'white/ mauve' bands. Image  Dean Ingwersen 

These observations means the monitoring team have now confirmed eight (>10%) birds at least 12 months post their 2015 release.

Both of the 2015 release birds were recorded interacting with 6 of the first release 2017 birds (with only two of those wearing transmitters, demonstrating the value of accurately recording/photographing band combinations). Interestingly all eight birds were recorded in an area 4km from the release site that was burnt during the December 2015 wildfire that sliced through part of the Chiltern Mt. Pilot National Park


There are a total of 26 birds with transmitters to track and many many more banded only birds out there to record i.e. there's heaps of opportunities for volunteers to assist in the monitoring.

hamilton group

An enthusiastic group of Hamilton BirdLife Australia members  helping to monitor over the Anzac Day long weekend.  


Update No. 6, 3 May 2017 (21 days post first releases  & day 5 post 2nd release)

As at 3 May 2017 no deaths have been recorded from either the first or second releases.

There are almost daily observations of Regents. The number of Regents with transmitters has dropped from to 26 to 22 because some of the transmitter birds appear to have moved outside of the roughly 7,500ha area that the team is monitoring and some transmitters are faulty.

Good numbers of banded only birds (over 30) have also been recorded alive and well in the last week.  These are obviously harder to locate compared to the transmitter wearing birds.

Other interesting observations

Both 2015 birds reported in the last update are actively interacting with 2017 birds (from both release cohorts). In fact one has already established a strong pair bond with a 2017 release female.

A wild (no leg bands) male was recorded recently. It too has already formed a pair bond with a 2017 female within only four days after that birds release.

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Update No. 7, 8 May 2017 (26 days post first releases  & day 10 post 2nd release)

pink orange glen johnson

A beautiful image of one of the 2017 released birds (pink & orange bands)  Image: Glen Johnson


  • No reported deaths since 16 April.
  • 73 individual Regents (including 70 of the 2017 release birds) were recorded alive last week (this is a fantastic effort from everyone that contributed records).
  • 23 transmitter birds recorded (almost daily). 
  • 47 band only birds (that's a fantastic effort given it's a hard ask tracking down transmitter wearing birds let alone those without).
  • 2 Regents from the 2015 release.
  • 1 Wild bird.

Nectar flow

With overnight temperatures getting down near zero this could be good for nectar flow.  Apiary studies show that Mugga Ironbark nectar flow increases during frosty conditions like those being currently experienced.

Hybrid Box-Ironbark (another Regent favourite) is looking good for flowering later in the year.

Did you know?

  • 868 individual Regent Honeyeater records have been submitted in the post release monitoring period to date.
  • 63% of these observations were of Regents actively foraging for nectar from flowering plants (insect hawking, dipping in water, preening etc. accounted for the other records) flowering Mugga Ironbark accounts for 99.9% of those records.

Volunteers - Thank you!

The Regent Honeyeater Team acknowledges the generous contribution of over 80 volunteers that have participated in at least one day on the Regent Honeyeater Community Monitoring Project to date - well done you!

Movement of released Regent Honeyeaters to 8 May 2017

regent movement May 2017

One of the 2nd release Regents has ranged well to the North (black line).  Unlike almost all others tracked down which have remained in the vicinity of the release site (yellow dots). Map compiled by Vanessa Giles.



Update No. 8, 22 May 2017 (40 days post first release & 24 days post 2nd release)

On average 45+ individual Regents are being observed each monitoring day which includes 24 birds fitted with transmitters recorded almost daily.

82 individual Regents were recorded alive in the two weeks since the last update, that includes

  • 79 of the 2017 released birds (78% of the original 101 birds released).
  • 55 band only birds  
  • 2 Regents from the 2015 release
  • 1 Wild bird

One dead bird was recorded this week (transmitter & antennae with Regent feathers found on ground - likely predation by bird of prey) - although this bird had been missing since (last recorded on) the 24th April.

regent honeyeater 1 for update 8

Image of Regent Honeyeater (black green) on right leg. This is the same bird which had no tail feathers when released 28 days earlier. It demonstrates the bird survived without tail feathers and the time it takes for Regents to re-grow tail feathers. Image: Jun Matsui.

regent update 8 image 3 neville bartlett

Regent Honeyeater 2017 release (yellow yellow) fitted with transmitter. Image:  Neville Bartlett.

regent update 8 image 2 neville bartlett

Regent Honeyeater 2017 release (pink-orange) fitted with transmitter. Image:  Neville Bartlett             

Smart adaptations

Vanessa Giles, DELWP Wodonga GIS Officer has developed a Regent specific smart phone app and mapping systems now being used by observers. This has assisted greatly in the collection of data. Over 1,400 individual Regent Honeyeater observations been lodged on the system so far.

View the clip - DELWP


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Update No. 9,  5 June 2017 (55 post 1st release 39 days post 2nd release)

The Regent Team have reported very wintery conditions in the Chiltern – Mt Pilot area with freezing overnight minimum temperatures and cool, sometimes sunny days. The cold weather has had little effect on the Regents as they feed on the nectar produced by the Mugga Ironbark.

Summary of records from the Community Monitoring Project

  • On average 54 individual Regents have been recorded each monitoring day.
  • Sightings of the 2017 released Regents remains strong with 61 of the 2017 release birds being recorded on a single day.
  • Over the previous two weeks the Community Monitoring Project has assisted in recording 80 individual Regent Honeyeaters.
  • 78 of the 2017 release birds have been recorded including one bird which had not been seen for 42 days.
  • One transmitter bird was recorded dead (it's the only bird known to have died from the '2nd release cohort')
  • 22 transmitter birds are still being recorded on a regular basis.

July regent image

One of 2 Regent Honeyeaters released in 2015 still regularly observed in 2017. Image: Neville Bartlett.  

July 2107 Regent feeding

Mugga Ironbark continues to be the Regent Honeyeater's nectar of choice. The above image beautifully captures the importance of this species of Eucalypt (and shows there's still plenty of bud yet to open). Image: Neville Bartlett.  

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Update No. 10,  19 June 2017 (68 days post 1st release 52 days post 2nd release)

Monitoring of 70 individual regent honeyeaters has continued.

A major task has been to ensure Regents fitted with transmitters can continue to be monitored. As the batteries are starting run out the team has embarked on a recapture to replace transmitters.

The re-capture of Regents has not been an easy task. The team focused on identifying roosting sites and other sites that the birds use during the day. Eventually 11 birds were captured (4 fitted with replacement transmitters; 5 fitted with new transmitters for the first time and 2 were not fitted because they were below the minimum body weight threshold).

June 2017 regent mist net

Specially designed mist net used to capture Regents.

2015 "Yellow Yellow" returns!

The Regent Honeyeater "Yellow Yelllow" from the 2015 release was recorded 270 km from the Chiltern release site at Outtrim in East Gippsland in November 2016. In a remarkable turnaround the same Regent returned to Chiltern and was photographed on 7 June 2017.

See November 2016 update


Map showing where the Regent Honeyeater “yellow yellow” was released at Chiltern in 2015 and observed in East Gippsland in November 2016 only to be photographed back in Chiltern on 7 June 2017 (line does not represent route of travel).

June 2017 of 2015 regent yellow yellow

Regent Honeyeater “yellow yellow” a 2015 release bird photographed on 7 June 2017. Image: Dean Ingwersen.

Update No. 11,  3 July 2017 (82 days post 1st release)

At the end of June two days were spent undertaking the second phase of recapture to fit transmitters and undertake health checks on captured Regents. Dean Ingwersen confirmed the good news, there were no discernible impacts from birds wearing transmitters and on average all birds (including those with transmitters) gained weight following their release.

20 Regent Honeyeaters were captured:

  • 18 birds from the 2017 release (8 were fitted with new transmitters). One of the birds was identified from leg bands as being a bird that had no tail feathers on release. It survived well and now has a transmitter attached. See Update 8.
  • 2 birds from the 2015 release (one fitted with a new transmitter).
  • 1 wild male bird (fitted with a transmitter) banded with Green Metal Blue Blue.


wild regent honeyeater with new band

A wild male bird (fitted with a transmitter) banded with Green Metal Blue Blue by the Regent Team. Image: Phillip Dubbin.          

regent honeyeater head

This close up image highlights why Regents were formerly known as the "Warty-face Honeyeater" Image: Dean Ingwersen.

Field monitoring

A total of 70 individual 2017 release birds were recorded since the previous update (this included a wild bird and four 2015 release birds). The Regent Team acknowledge this is a fantastic effort from all involved in the monitoring program.

To-date, 9 of the 2015 release birds have been have been confirmed to survive 12 months post release. A recent sighting becomes the 4th bird to have survived 2 years. It has been 804 days since this bird was last recorded. The good news is that it is a female (six of the nine returnees are male). It is hoped that more birds from the 2015 cohort are yet to be re-discovered.

Tree climbing training undertaken - this training is necessary to deploy video surveillance equipment that will allow monitoring of breeding events later in the year.

How you can get involved with monitoring.    

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Update No. 12, 19 July 2017 (96 days post 1st release)

A total of 69 individual Regents have been recorded (confirmed alive) since the last update.

  • 22 Regents have working transmitters.
  • 4 Regents from the 2015 release (one wearing a working transmitter) have been observed.
  • One wild Regent (now banded and wearing working transmitter) observed.

regent 19 July

Regent Honeyeater,  black on black bands. Image: Neville Bartlett.

regent pink black Neville Bartlett

Regent Honeyeater,  pink and black bands. Image: Neville Bartlett.

regent red mauve

Regent Honeyeater,  red and mauve bands. Image: Phillip Dubbin.

None of the transmitters attached at the time of the original April releases are now working (their 10-12 week battery life has expired).

Small groups of Swift Parrots are also being heard (& seen) in the Park.

monitoring map 19 JulyMap

The monitoring program has found there are two groups of Regent Honeyeaters in the south of the park with a recent breakaway small group being recorded back in the north   Map source: Vanessa Giles, DELWP Wodonga GIS Officer.

Update on flowering (Regent Honeyeater food source)

Mugga Ironbark: the mainstay of Regent Honeyeater food so far post release is officially on the wane.  Regent's are still finding later flowering trees and there are some small stands of trees still coming into flower.

White Box:  after an amazing (rare) four consecutive years of good flowering  - there's barely a bud in bloom in 2017 in the Chiltern – Mt Pilot National Park)

Hybrid Box Ironbark:  unfortunately there's relatively low "hybrid" tree numbers in the Park.  Fortunately, those present are budded up really well with flowering to commence in a month or so.  Hybrid flowering is arguably a Regent's preferred nectar source (at least in this Park) - so while few in number our past experience is that it will be perfect for Regents to transition into following the decline of Mugga Ironbark flowering.

Red Box: already commenced flowering in the Park. This species is considered a more marginal nectar source for Regents, however several birds observed only yesterday feeding from blossom - and it's also an exceptional insect resource when flowering.

Yellow Box: prolific early flowering in neighbouring districts e.g. Boorhaman roadsides  - another preferred Regent resource but minimal of this species in the Park.

Golden Wattle:  the first observation of a Regent in the flowering of our national floral emblem -  Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) occurred in the Park on the 1st July.    

Update No. 13, 1 August 2017 (week 16 - post 1st release)

A total of 69  individual Regents have been recorded (leg bands confirmed/birds alive) since the last report:

  • 21 Regents with working transmitters
  • 44  additional Regents (2017 release cohort with leg bands only)
  • Three returnee Regents (2015 release birds - one with a working transmitter)
  • One wild Regent (now banded and wearing a working transmitter)

Update No. 14, 15 August 2017 (week 18 - post release post 1st release)

A total of 66  individual Regents have been recorded (leg bands confirmed/birds alive) since the last report:

  • 21 Regents with working transmitters
  • 41  additional Regents (2017 release cohort with leg bands only)
  • Three returnee Regents (2015 release birds - one with a working transmitter)
  • One wild Regent (now banded and wearing a working transmitter)

A 2017 release "Orange Metal Yellow Yellow" is well travelled.  It was one of the first birds recorded north of the freeway and has since traversed all parts of the north side of the park.  But in recent times it had gone missing (it's not wearing a transmitter). Fortunately, Dave Hancock recently confirmed it is alive and well 52 days since its last observation - - having joined a small group again on the north side.

15 August 2017 Phillip Dubbin regent with insect

Image courtesy Philip Dubbin, which shows that insects (& bugs) are an important component of a Regent 'Honeyeater' diet.                

15 August 2017 Phillip Dubbin pair of regent honeyeaters

Image courtesy Philip Dubbin, with spring approaching Regents are starting to pair up. 

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Update No. 15, 29 August 2017 (week 20 - post 1st release)

A total of 61 individual Regents have been recorded (leg bands confirmed/birds alive) since the last report:

  • 19 Regents with working transmitters (but that number will rapidly drop down to the most recent five newly fitted Tx's)
  • 38  additional Regents (2017 release cohort with leg bands only)
  • Three returnee Regents (2015 release birds - one with a working transmitter)
  • One wild Regent (now banded and wearing a working transmitter)

Two Regents were recorded dead since the last update. A male (transmitter wearing bird) was found dead - marking the first recorded death in almost 3 months. The second mortality was observed in the talons of a Goshawk. It was a (non transmitter wearing) female mate of one of the 2015 release birds.  Subsequent observations found the male bird had re-paired with another Regent.

start of nesting

Transmitter update

The number of trackable Regents has reduced due to batteries running out.  The Regent Team managed to capture 7 Regents and fit new transmitters to the five males caught.

August 29 2017 transmitter being fitted

Regent team preparing to fit a new transmitter. Image: Glen Johnson. 

Regents on the move

The Regent observers have noticed the population has split into numerous smaller widespread groupings making monitoring more challenging (especially given the anticipated reduction in the number of birds with working transmitters).  

The much travelled 2015 Yellow Yellow Red Metal (YYRM) has, for the last 80 or so days since it's Gippsland return, bunkered down in one relatively small area on the south side of the Park. This week it was recorded with its mate (female Orange Metal Red Pink) over seven kms away on the north side of Chiltern.


Update No. 16, 12 September 2017 (week 22 - post 1st release)

A total of 59 individual Regents have been recorded (leg bands confirmed/birds alive) since the last report:

  • 56 Regents from the 2017 release
  • 3 Regents from the 2015 release

There are currently 17 birds with working transmitters although the majority have batteries which are due to cease operation soon.

regent map 12 September 2017

The 5000th individual Regent Honeyeater observation since the April release was clocked up recently - all logged with GPS coordinates via the Regent phone app. - thats help to generate distribution maps, (yellow dots indicate observation). Thanks to Vanessa Giles, DELWP Wodonga.


Multiple pair bonds have been established and there's plenty of preliminary nest construction attempts being recorded.

regent with spider web nest material

Spider webs are key nest binding material collected along with sticks and bark. Image: Glen Johnson.

regent collecting twig for nesting

Twigs beging collected to construct nest. Image: Greg Hardham.

Unfortunately to-date nests have been abandoned at an early (pre  egg/incubation) stage - a likely combination of:

  • frequent adverse weather events (high wind, rain and cold) -  Regents seem to abandon nests that get wet early in construction.
  • inexperience (all birds were relatively young at time of release and none have nested before)
  • interactions with other animals? (including other honeyeaters pinching nest material?)

As in past releases, pairs may have three or more attempts before they get to incubation and chick feeding stages (presumably gaining valuable nest building and defence experience along the way?).

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Update No. 17, 26 September 2017 (week 24 - post 1st release)

A total of 42 individual Regents have been recorded (leg bands confirmed/birds alive) since the last report:

  • 38 Regents from the 2017 release
  • 3 Regents from the 2015 release
  • 1 wild banded Regent

There are now only five birds with working transmitters which means it is more difficult to detect birds.

There have been multiple nest attempts  - again all abandoned at early construction stage - but for one that was abandoned (despite no predation) following the last of a three egg clutch being laid.

Update No. 18,  9 October 2017 (week 26 - post 1st release)

A total of 43 individual Regents have been recorded (leg bands confirmed/birds alive) since the last report:

  • 38 Regents from the 2017 release
  • 3 Regents from the 2015 release
  • 1wild banded Regent
  • 1  NEW wild un-banded Regent.  This stunning (vividly yellow and black coloured large) male  has rapidly paired with one of the 2017 release females.  

Only 5 Regents have working transmitters (all are in one location).

10 October wild male Philip Dubbin

Multiple nest are being monitored and many have progressed to the incubation period. Image: Philip Dubbin.

10 October 2017 wild un-banded male David Hancock

A new observation of a wild un-banded male Regent Honeyeater. Image: David Hancock

10 Oct 2017 wild un-banded male regent honeyeater Philip Dubbin

A new observation of a wild un-banded male Regent Honeyeater (same bird as above). Image: Philip Dubbin


  • Mugga Ironbark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon) blossom which has been the key Regent nectar resource for the last eight months is rapidly coming to a season end.
  • Red Box and limited Hybrid Box-Ironbark is currently flowering in the park, but there is also a high chance of Regent Honeyeaters feeding in remnant vegetation on private land, particularly native gardens containing flowering bottlebrush and grevilleas.
  • Patches of remnant Yellow box (Eucalyptus melliodora) is heavy bud or already flowering in nearby regions.

Now is the time to keep eyes (and ears) peeled for Regents in your native garden and flowering patch of bush. Also watch bird baths and farm dams for dipping Regents as the weather continues to warm!

Update No.19, 26 October 2017 (week 28 - post 1st release)

A total of 36 individual Regents have been recorded (leg bands confirmed/birds alive) since the last report:

  • 31 Regents from the 2017 release
  • 3 Regents from the 2015 release
  • 2 wild Regents (1 banded and 1 un-banded)

A new transmitter was attached to one of the few single (un-paired) males still being monitored. Transmitters on the remaining five birds have only one week or so of battery life remaining.


Volunteers and coordinators are monitoring multiple nesting attempts (several at chick feeding and others still at incubation stages). Unfortunately, 2 nests both containing chicks were found to have failed due to avian predation (in one case a raven was detected by 24 hour surveillance camera as part of Gem's research).

October 26 2017 Regent Honeyeater feeding chick at nest - Glen Johnson

Regent Honeyeater feeding one of the chicks in a nest. Image taken one day prior to the nest being raided by a raven resulting in nest failure. Image: Glen Johnson.

Regent Honeyeater at water point showing leg bands Image Greg Hardam

Regent Honeyeater identified as OMRN (Orange Metal/Red Navy) at watering point displaying bands. Image: Greg Hardam.

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Update No. 20, 7 November 2017 (week 30 - post 1st release)

28 individual Regents have been recorded since the last update:

  • 25 Regents from the 2017 release
  • 1 Regent from the 2015 release
  • 1 wild banded and 1 wild unbanded Regent

The number of Regents recorded are down due to only 2 birds with working transmitters. Also there has been increased movement due to nesting and changing food resources (flowering) in the region.

Regent Honeyeaters on the move

There has been a noticeable movement of Regent Honeyeaters away from the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park as Mugga and hybrid Ironbark flowering comes to an end. The Park has provided important food and shelter for Regent Honeyeaters over the last seven months but seasonal declining in flowering coupled with a seasonal bounty of flowering native plants in parks and gardens throughout the region (including incredible remnant Yellow Box flowering) has resulted in Regents becoming scarce in the Park.

A nest building pair was detected in Wangaratta (approx. 40km straight line distance from Chiltern). One of the pair is from the 2015 release.

First fledgling

Regent Honeyeater fledgling Nov. 2017 Image: Neville Bartlett

The season’s first fledgling was recorded last week. Above image was taken on day one of fledging. Images: Neville Bartlett.

Regent Honeyeaters with fledgling Nov. 2017 Image: Neville Bartlett

Five days later the season’s first fledgling is still going strong - actively flying from tree to tree to take insects from its parents (the wild unbanded male and one of the 2017 release females).

Update No. 21, 21 November 2017 (week 32 - post 1st release)

9 individual Regents have been recorded since the last update which is not surprising given the seasonal movement of Regent Honeyeaters out of the Park and dispersing throughout the landscape.

  • Two remaining birds with working transmitters have not been located – despite widespread searches beyond the park.
  • A nesting the pair in Wangaratta are now being routinely observed.
  • Reports have been received of a pair of Regents in Glenrowan and a single bird in Carboor (55 & 60km respectively from Chiltern).

Nest failure

One of the last nests to be monitored in Chiltern came to a familiar ‘nest failed’ end. The Regent Honeyeater 'Orange/Metal Yellow/Black' had been diligently incubating for a couple of weeks but around the time its eggs were due to hatch last week she went missing (despite the male still being observed in the nest area). She was found dead in the middle of Chiltern township - approximately 5km from the nest area. The bird’s death coincided with a rain event – she was found drowned – unwittingly unable to get out of a bucket positioned under an overflow gutter that she’d chosen to dip into. Nest monitoring video will be looked at to see if predation also played a part in the nest failure.

A huge volunteer effort

The Regent Honeyeater Community Monitoring Project Coordinating Team extends thanks to over 210 members of the community that have contributed over 3000 volunteer hours in the past 32 weeks. Over 6,200 individual Regent Honeyeater observations have been logged into the Regent Honeyeater app over that time.

Update No. 22, 5 December 2017 (week 34 - post 1st release)

A pair of nesting Regent Honeyeaters is still being monitored in Wangaratta.

One of the two birds with working transmitters is still being periodically detected in farm land towards Mt. Pilot but it appears that all other Regents have moved beyond the park boundary.

Update No. 23,  18 December 2017 (week 36 - post 1st release)

The Regent Honeyeater nest being monitored at Wangaratta unfortunately failed last week – just several days prior to chick fledging date. For the male (one of the returning birds from the 2015 release) this marked its fifth and ultimately unsuccessful nest attempt for the season.

One of the two birds with working transmitters, the banded wild male, last seen in Chiltern on 30 October was recently rediscovered when detected by a vehicle mounted scanning receiver at Bethanga Bridge (approx. 40km from Chiltern).  The bird was spotted in Silky Oaks that were in peak flowering on the Lake Hume foreshore in this area.   After ‘disappearing’ again for more than a week, the Regent was again detected a further 10km north at Talgarno on the southern shoreline of Lake Hume.

Regent Honeyeater in Silky Oak December 2017

A rediscovered Regent Honeyeater detected in Silky Oaks that were in peak flowering, its blossom appeared to provide the primary nectar source for this solo Regent.


Assist with monitoring

The five days per week volunteer monitoring program is closed now due to the dispersal of Regents out of the Park.

Report any sightings

Please let the Regent Team know ASAP if you spot any or hear of Regents observations (so they can help follow-up to check for further birds etc).  Reports of incidental sightings have proven to be very valuable in the past. Remember to check for bands with binoculars and take & forward photo's were possible.

Land-holders and community groups are requested to keep an eye and ear open for Regents around flowering bottlebrush, grevillea etc. in native gardens with bird baths or farm dams.

Contacts: Glen Johnson  (DELWP Wodonga) 02 6043 7924 or Dean Ingwersen, (Woodland Bird Program Manager and
Regent Honeyeater recovery coordinator, BirdLife Australia), 03 9347 0757 ext 247 


See also

Regent Honeyeater Captive Release 2018

Regent Honeyeater Captive Release 2015 - 2016

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