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In a hole in the ground there lived a …

December 11, 2018

These opening words of Tolkien’s The Hobbit could equally apply to the little Spotted Pardalote that arose apparently out of nowhere from the grass in front of us while we were trying to photograph a White-winged Triller for a previous post on this blog.
In fact the pardalote emerged from the insignificant hole in the ground, pictured left, that marks the start of its nesting tunnel. The nest itself is made of shredded bark lined with softer material in a spherical chamber at the end of the tunnel, which can be as much as one metre or more long. The bird pictured here is a male with its rich yellow throat, but both parents are involved in nest construction and incubation.

The other pardalote in this district, the Striated Pardalote, sometimes also burrows into the ground, usually a creek bank, to build its nest, but more often it nests in a tree hollow.

So keep your eye out this summer, not just for snakes on the ground, but even for tiny colourful birds!

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 11, 2018 11:29 am

    A great find indeed. They are such beaut little birds to photograph. The tunnel goes back for quite aways, and to think it is only dug with that tiny beak and a lot of pushing earth with the feet its truly astonishing.

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