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Critically endangered regent honeyeater bird has started to lose its song
There are now just 300 regent honeyeaters remaining in the world.

Loss of communication could seriously impact future of the species.

According to new research from The Australian National University (ANU),  populations of the critically endangered regent honeyeater are declining so rapidly that the species is losing its 'song culture'.

The regent honeyeater was once abundant in south-eastern Australia, but now just 300 individuals remain in the world. The rarity of adult male regent honeyeaters is seriously impacting the species' ability to communicate with one another, as younger males have no way of learning to sing correctly.

The new study – published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B – found that in places where there were larger numbers of regent honeyeaters, males sang 'rich and complex songs'. However, where the birds were more rare, the males sang more simplified or, in some cases, 'totally incorrect' songs.

"18 male regent honeyeaters - or around 12 per cent of the total population - were only able to copy the songs of other bird species," study co-author Dr Dejan Stojanovic said.

"This lack of ability to communicate with their own species is unprecedented in a wild animal. We can assume that regent honeyeaters are now so rare that some young males never find an older male teacher."

The research team also found that regent honeyeaters born in captivity sing completely different songs to wild birds. They believe that this could reduce the birds' attractiveness to wild birds when they are released; Impacting their ability to find a mate and causing further population decline.

Lead author Dr Ross Crates said: "We've devised a new strategy to teach young captive regent honeyeaters to sing the same song as the wild birds by playing them audio recordings.

"Loss of song culture is a major warning sign the regent honeyeater is on the brink of extinction and we still have a lot to learn about how to help them."

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Webinar to focus on equine worm control

News Story 1
 Vets, veterinary nurses and RAMAs are being invited to join a free CPD webinar on late winter and early spring equine worm control.

Hosted by Zoetis vet Dr Wendy Talbot, the webinar aims to help prescribers understand which parasites are of most concern at this time of year. It will also cover how to assess parasite risk, selecting a suitable wormer and spring wormer plans, concluding with a Q&A session.

The webinar takes place on Thursday, 18 March at 10 am and will be repeated at 7 pm for those unable to listen during the day. To book the 10 am webinar, click here, and to register for the 7 pm webinar, click here

Click here for more...
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Avian influenza confirmed in Lancashire

A case of highly pathogenic (HPAI H5N8) avian influenza has been confirmed in two captive peregrine falcons on a non-commercial, non-poultry premises near Skelmersdale, West Lancashire.

Following a risk assessment, APHA has declared that no disease control zones have been put in place surrounding this non-commercial, non-poultry premises.

Eighteen cases of HPAI H5N8 have now been identified in poultry and other captive birds in England. A housing order for poultry and captive birds introduced by Defra to control the spread of the disease expired on 31 March, although bird keepers in England are still required by law to comply with biosecurity measures.

For more information, please click here.