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Wattlebird wars

January 1, 2013


From our bedroom we look out on a Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta). For most of the year it is an unremarkable tree. The birds think so too as they seldom perch in it. However for 5 or 6 weeks at the end of the year this tree comes to life and puts on an amazing yellow–orange floral display. Now it is time for the Wattlebird Wars.

The Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculata), called so because of the striking red wattles that hang from the cheeks, is a loud and aggressive honeyeater. It is very territorial and for most of the year will harass any bird that strays within the vicinity of the various grevillea shrubs on the property. In December the flowering Silky Oak is prized territory and throughout the daylight hours up to a dozen wattlebirds will tirelessly (and noisily) chase each other up, down and around the branches — an avian version of snakes and ladders.

We have noticed a definite territorial pecking order among the other bird species. The Red Wattlebirds trump the smaller Eastern Spinebills and Superb Fairy-wrens and will even drive off the larger Pied Currawongs. The big kid on the block though is the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita). When a group of them decide the Silky Oak flowers need shredding there’s not a Wattlebird in sight.

Boss cocky!

Boss cocky!


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    January 5, 2013 9:23 am

    Some more great photos – must be the great camera!?

    The silky oak, the flowers and white cockies are nature’s Christmas tree – green tree, golden tinsel and white candles.


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