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Young plumage

December 23, 2014

Immature Eastern SpinebillImm. Eastern SpinebillEastern Spinebill (m)At this time of year, there are plenty of juvenile and immature birds around, some of which have plumage that differs quite markedly from that of their parents. An example is seen at left, which could qualify for a “name the mystery bird” competition because of its unfamiliar colouring. Its identity is only revealed in profile (see photo below) when its unmistakable fine-curved bill is seen.

It is an immature Eastern Spinebill, which lacks the white throat and chestnut “bib”, flanked by a black crescent, of the adult birds. The photo below is of an adult male – the female has a grey crown instead of black. Click on any of the photos for a close-up look.

The Eastern Spinebill is one of the commonest and most colourful honeyeaters of this district.

In surveys conducted as part of the Strath Creek Biodiversity Project, its frequency of occurrence was only exceeded by Red Wattlebird and Yellow-faced Honeyeater.

It seems to be constantly active, darting around, hovering and probing flowers with its long bill and tongue.
It is also noisy, not only vocally (click on audio below) but with its clip-clop sounding wing-beats as well.

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