Category Archives: Pardalote

Pardalotes nesting and dancing

Pardalotes are tiny, neat little birds that usually spend very little time in one spot. So when I was walking along a bush path this morning, I was surprised when a female pardalote kept flitting up to a branch near me and stopping to peer at me. She’d also twitch from side to side, as if dancing.

Then a male bird arrived and fluttered from branch to branch around me. Then another female.

They didn’t seem worried, just attentive.

It dawned on me that I might be near their nest. Pardalotes are unusual in that they nest in holes just above ground level, usually dug into in a bank of earth. So I looked down towards my feet. Sure enough, there was a series of entrances dug into the bank near my ankles.

The nesting tunnels are nicely shored up by a strong wooden pole provided by some obliging person. Just the ticket for a pardalote home!

I moved a few steps further down the path, then stopped to watch. Now that I was out of the way, the birds were happy to visit their homes again. I saw birds popping in and out of two of the tunnels. The short clip below shows one of the female birds balancing on the slope outside a nesting hole, then flying away:

The video below shows the female flying away from the tunnel entrance, then returning and going inside, then there’s some footage of the male bird on a nearby branch. This is the only shot I managed to get of the male:

Another shot of one of the females:

And another, from a different angle:

Here’s a general shot of the bushland around the birds. An open forest of eucalypts and banksia. What a lovely place to live, even in the midst of a Sydney winter:

Common name: Spotted Pardalote

Scientific name: Pardalotus punctatus

Approximate length: 10 cm

Date spotted: 1 July 2018 (Winter)

Location: Manly Dam National Park, New South Wales, Australia: 33°46’26.9″S 151°15’00.3″E

Advertisements

Pardalote eating lerp

Pardalotes are very small, compact birds. They move fast, so it’s hard to catch one on film. This one is hanging upside down, snapping up lerp (I think) off a leaf.

Update on Tuesday 11 November: I originally wrote that the bird was snapping up insect eggs. But since then I’ve started reading Where song began by Tim Low. He describes how Pardalotes and other Australian birds scrape lerp off leaves. Lerp is a sweet carbohydrate excreted by tiny insects called psyllids.

I couldn’t get a good angle to see the whole bird all at once, but this short video gives a good idea of what it looks like.

Common name: Spotted Pardalote

Scientific name: Pardalotus punctatus

Approximate length: 10 cm

Date spotted: 2 November 2014

Season: Spring

Location: Manly Dam National Park, New South Wales, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’36.3″S 151°15’14.9″E