Merri Creek Management Committee

Little Button Quail 18 01 19Merri Creek Management Committee staff and visitors were amazed to see a Little Button Quail in the native grassland garden at the front of MCMC's office in East Brunswick on 18 January 2019 (photo left). This species is usually associated with more inland grasslands. Its presence, even only for a couple of days, clearly shows the value of planting indigenous plants in suburban gardens.

Around the same time in January a number of people reported hearing the distinctive call of a lone male Eastern Whipbird in nearby Merri Park, Northcote and across Merri Creek in Phillips Reserve south of Blyth St in Brunswick East. It was heard by the Friends of Merri Creek bird surveyers in mid February and was still calling in mid March. Whip Birds are usually associated with wet habitats, including rainforest, eucalypt forest and dense scrub near watercourses along the coastal band of Eastern Australia.

This is the first record of an Eastern Whip Bird in recent years on Merri Creek. The species wasn't found in a 1993 fauna study of the length of Merri Creek between Cooper St and the Yarra River and nor did the first ten years of Friends of Merri Creek bird surveys record. Although we don't know if a female will join the lone male and whether the species will persist in this location, the fact that a Whip Bird finds it attractive is testament to the transformative effect of revegetation of this part of Merri Creek and the importance of the well-established thick bushy understorey for bird habitat.

We know anecdotally from a reliable source that Eastern Whip Birds lived by Darebin Creek many decades ago. If you have any historic knowledge of Whip Birds from Merri Creek, please let us know.