By Neil McKilligan
This is often the 1st booklet to deal completely with the Australian family members Ardeidae (herons, egrets and bitterns). It offers a entire, easy-to-read account in their origins, category and biology, and explains the good points that distinguish them from different birds.
The ebook devotes a massive bankruptcy to the 14 Australian species, overlaying their distribution and routine, feeding, breeding, inhabitants dynamics and conservation. a few of Australia’s herons became very scarce within the southern 1/2 the continent and are liable to nationwide or neighborhood extinction. In northern Australia heron habitats and assets are principally pristine and hence this quarter comprises huge numbers of yes species.
A ultimate bankruptcy on inhabitants and conservation offers an invaluable precis of the current prestige of the Australian herons, a few of whom are thriving and others who're in a truly precarious place.
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Extra resources for Herons, Egrets and Bitterns: Their Biology and Conservation in Australia (Australian Natural History Series)
Regurgitates literally rain down from chicks in their tree-top nests, landing on researchers and for several metres distant. This raises two questions: (1) Why do chicks that are not immediately threatened waste so much food? and (2) Why is it mostly undigested items in the pellets? (Given the heron’s ability to digest its food completely within a few hours). Regarding the first, these chicks are big enough to flee the nest and their regurgitates may distract a predator long enough to allow them to escape.
The climatic regions along the central part of the eastern seaboard have a more even distribution of rain over the year but somewhat wetter summers. Inland areas, such as the Channel Country of south-west Queensland, depend largely on summer and autumn monsoonal rainfall in their headwaters to create the flood conditions attractive to waterbirds, but benefit from occasional local falls too. In the tropical north herons typically nest from about mid-summer (January) through to autumn or early winter.
The differences in the physical and behavioural attributes of heron species, although seemingly small, may mean that each has its own unique feeding niche. The combination of a heron hunting in a particular way, in a particular habitat at a preferred time of day and accessing a particular subset of potential prey, defines its feeding niche. The species’ suite of niche adaptations is the product of evolutionary processes over a long period of time. The result of this specialisation is probably reduced inter-species competition and achieving the most favourable ‘rate of return’ for the time and energy invested in feeding.
Herons, Egrets and Bitterns: Their Biology and Conservation in Australia (Australian Natural History Series) by Neil McKilligan