A nationally endangered native bird has surprised wildlife researchers after it was photographed five years after it was released from Chiltern.
The captive-bred male Regent Honeyeater, known as Blue-Yellow Red-Metal thanks to his unique colour leg bands, was spotted recently in Coongulla, in Gippsland, by a local resident.
BirdLife Australia Woodland Bird Program leader and national Regent Honeyeater recovery coordinator Dean Ingwersen said the bird was one of 77 captive-reared birds released in April 2015 into the Chiltern-Mt Pilot National Park as part of the species' recovery program.
"While regents are known to live in the wild for up to 11 years, this is the first time a captive-bred bird has been sighted five years after release," he said.
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"He was two years of age when released into the wild, which means he is now seven.
"This particular bird has not been seen since late 2015, so it appears he has been wandering the landscape before being re-discovered and photographed in Gippsland."
Chiltern to Coongulla is approximately 190 kilometres.
According to Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's Glen Johnson, several Regents released into the wild at Chiltern have made their way across or around the Great Dividing Range to Gippsland.
"This sighting is a positive sign for the species, which has become threatened due to a loss of woodland and competition with Noisy Miners," he said.
To report sightings contact BirdLife Australia on 1800 621 056.