Factors affecting the distribution of the Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) in the Northern Sydney Region

Introduction
The Superb Lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae) is an iconic, charismatic bird endemic to Australia. It is the symbol of the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and features on the Australian 10 cent coin. Accordingly, the Superb Lyrebird is of significant cultural and ecological value to Australia. In the Northern Sydney region, lyrebirds predominantly inhabit areas within the National Parks but were also once part of the fauna of the Lane Cove River catchment. The Lyrebirds poor flying ability and the isolation of Lane Cove River catchment have been identified as factors limiting recolonisation of the area. The Kur-ring-gai Council, with jurisdiction over part of the Lane Cove River catchment, has proposed reintroducing Lyrebirds into this area.
 
In 2004, a study was conducted by Masters of Conservation Biology students at UNSW. The primary aim of this study was to determine whether suitable lyrebird habitat exists in the Lane Cove River catchment. A comparative habitat analysis was conducted between three sites within the catchment and three contiguous sites where lyrebirds are present. It was concluded that suitable habitat does exist and lyrebirds could be reintroduced into the catchment if foxes, cats and dogs are adequately controlled. This report builds on the preceding study by providing a preliminary assessment of the factors which affect the distribution of the Superb Lyrebird in the Northern Sydney region and will thus contribute to a determining whether or not lyrebirds can be successfully reintroduced into the Lane Cove River catchment.
 
Objectives

  •     To determine factors which affect the distribution of the Superb Lyrebird in the Northern Sydney Region
  •     To discuss factors influencing the short term survival of a founder group introduced to the Lane Cove River catchment including the number, composition and source of a founder group
  •     To evaluate post-release monitoring and provisioning of an established Lyrebird population in the Lane Cove River catchment

Methodology

Study Site:
The Lane Cove River catchment area is located approximately 11km north-west of Sydney city and incorporates the Lane Cove National Park and adjoining bush land areas managed by Ku-ring-gai, Lane Cove, Ryde, Willoughby and Hornsby Councils (NPWS 1998). The area provides an almost continual link between Sydney Harbour and the Hawkesbury River and is thus considered an important wildlife linkage (NPWS 1998). 17 creeks feed directly into the Lane Cove River and the catchment area supports a variety of remnant vegetation communities, predominated by Blackbutt (Eucalyptus andrewsii) and Sydney Peppermint trees (Eucalyptus piperita) (Figure 1).

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