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Birds of a feather…

March 17, 2014

The interesting thing about watching a bird bath is not only the different species of birds that visit, but the way in which they do it. Some birds are solitary visitors such as the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo or the White-throated Treecreeper. Some visit with their partner (and offspring in the right season). The Scarlet Robin and Grey Currawong fall into this category. And then there is what we call at our place ‘the tribe’, a mixed group of wrens, robins, fantails and thornbills that roam the bush as a wandering flock.

red browed finch IMG_0343What are particularly interesting to watch are the species that travel in extended family groups. As with most families there are obvious dynamics at play and definite pecking orders. Recently we posted a blog about the White-winged Choughs (click HERE to view). Lately Red-browed Finches (Neochmia temporalis) (from the Greek neokhmos meaning new as in ‘new bird’ and the Latin word temporalis meaning to do with the temples  – on the head)  have been visiting en masse. Highly social, these finches are usually seen in parties of 10 to 20 birds in autumn and winter. They feed on grass seeds and insects and build domed nests in prickly shrubs.

brown headed honeyeater IMG_0972Another family of birds currently visiting are the bespectacled Brown-headed Honeyeaters  (Melithreptus breirostris) (from the Greek word melithreptos meaning ‘honey-fed, and the Latin words brevis meaning short and rostrum meaning bill). These birds feed on insects and breed cooperatively. Groups of juveniles and adults will all help to incubate eggs and feed the young. Juveniles sport a blue eye-ring. As with humans the young are just tooo trendy.

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