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Well spotted

August 1, 2016

spotted pardalote DSCN0467Even though winter is still with us the LBJ (little brown job) brigade of birds is starting to make an appearance. Although this group commonly contains birds that are actually brown – thornbills, treecreepers, scrub-wrens and the like – a recent addition to the gang, hanging out in the Western Australian hakea currently flowering in our yard has been a pair of Spotted Pardalotes. And they are anything but brown (see picture left).

Spotted Pardalotes are small birds distinguished by distinct spots on the head and wings. The males have a bright yellow throat and an orange rump. The related Striated Pardalote has stripes on its head and no spots on the wings.

spotted pardalote DSCN0453The scientific name of the Spotted Pardalote, Pardalotus punctatus, is derived from the Greek words pardalotus meaning spotted like a leopard and punctus meaning sting hence spot. They are distributed along the east and south of Australia. Pardalotes are insectivorous and feed on psyllid insects and lerps, the sugary houses that psyllid exude to live in.

The pardalote pair have spent some time darting from the hakea to a patch of long grass on the edge of the vegetable garden. It seems a bit early but I’m hoping they are constructing a nest, which is usually a bark and grass lined tunnel dug into a bank or heap of dirt. It is time for the motion sensing camera to be deployed.  Watch this space.

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