Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Yellow Chat
Ephthianura crocea
(Viewing 4 of 8 photos)

Yellow Chats like wet places - low vegetation bordering swamps, floodplains, boredrains, saltpans and sewage ponds are all good examples. The provision of boredrains to water cattle have allowed Yellow Chats to spread widely through the arid inland of northern Australia and in these areas they tend to be nomadic, their presence dictated by the presence or absence of suitable vegetation along the drains. In recent years, there has been a move to cap these bores and pipe the water underground, both to conserve water from evaporation and also to control a major weed, prickly Acacia. Bad news for Yellow Chats, but there are still a number of natural wetlands out in these areas for them to retreat to.

Yellow Chats are also known to occur in coastal regions where the wetlands tend to be permanent and in those areas, the birds appear to be resident or to move only locally. Near Broome in W.A. on Roebuck Plains, they occur in saline grassland and on the Alligator River floodplain where I took some of these pictures, they inhabited a reedbed which actually became flooded by very high tides. In recent times another population has been found and studied in samphire just south of Rockampton in Queensland and on nearby Curtis Island.

Photo: 451021

451021 ... Yellow Chat, adult male, South Alligator River, N.T.

Photo: 451022

451022 ... Immature male, Coorabulka Qld., May 1985, white irides distinguish this from a winter Orange Chat which has red irides.

Photo: 451201

451201 ... Yellow Chat, breeding male, South Alligator River, N.T.

Photo: 451202

451202 ... Preferred habitat in N.T. tall sedges usually near water. This area flooded during very high tides.

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