Category Archives: Wattlebird

Little Wattlebird calling, mate unimpressed

A male Little Wattlebird does its best to impress (or intimidate) the bird sharing its branch. The other bird is unimpressed. In fact, its reaction seems to be, “Oh, please, are you really going to keep doing that?”

The call of a Little Wattlebird is strange. It often starts with a click-clack, as if the calling mechanism is turning over before getting into full gear. Then out comes the harsh bray that’s characteristic of the male bird. It seems to take a fair bit of effort to make this noise, as you can see in the video:

I went back to the same spot a day later, and snapped a picture of this male Little Wattlebird. It’s probably the same bird, given their fierce territoriality:

Common name: Little Wattlebird

Scientific name: Anthochaera chrysoptera

Approximate length: 30 cm

Date spotted: 7 July 2018 (Winter)

Location: Manly Dam National Park, New South Wales, Australia: 33°46’36.9″S 151°15’10.4″E

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Red Wattlebird nest may be in peril

My previous post introduced the nest that a pair of Red Wattlebirds have built in a tree fern in my garden. Things are looking a little perilous for the nest. The tree fern has put in a growth spurt, its new fronds lifting parts of the nest into an untidy jumble.

This is what the nest looked like yesterday. Notice the new, brown fern fronds unfurling in the midst of the grey matter that forms the birds’ nest:

Compare that with the photo I took a week earlier, on 22 December, as shown in my previous post:

The parents still seem attentive. I’ve seen them flit in and out of the nest. Here’s one of them grabbing nourishment yesterday, from the nearby Banksia that seems to be their principle source of nourishment while nesting. The ghastly noise in the background is the cicados, who are out in full force this summer:

Birds are quite handy with their beaks and feet. I hope they manage to push the nest and eggs into a safe place as the fern tree grows.

Common name: Red Wattlebird

Scientific name: Anthochaera carunculata

Approximate length: 35 cm

Date spotted: 29 December 2017 (Summer)

Location: Allambie Heights, near Sydney, Australia

Red Wattlebird nesting in a tree fern

Red Wattlebirds are the second largest honeyeaters in Australia. They’re noisy, aggressive, and sleekly pretty. And now we have a couple nesting in our garden.

I’d noticed recently that a Red Wattlebird was more aggressive than usual. It started swooping at me when I was hanging up washing. At the best of times, hanging the washing is a precarious activity in my backyard. It involves a bit of rock climbing and a skilled balancing act. Add a fierce bird, and things get interesting.

A few days later, I noticed the bird land on a high branch, take a careful look around while trying to appear nonchalant, then duck quickly into the top cover of a tree fern. Interesting. So I got out my zoom lens to take a look.

The nest is in the right-most tree fern in this photo. I’ve put up my washing line on the left, for local colour:

(In case you’re wondering: the house up above belongs to the neighbours. Mine is below, not in the picture)

A closer view of the tree fern:

Even closer, you can see the nest with a bird’s tail pointing out to the right:

Occasionally the parents leave the nest unattended. I haven’t spotted any movement, so I think the eggs haven’t hatched yet:

The birds have picked up some of the Spanish Moss from our garden, and used it to decorate the nest. This is our supply, handily positioned just a few metres from the tree fern:

Sitting on a nest is demanding work. One of the parents emerged for a good stretch:

And a bit of grooming:

Then dived down to sip some nectar from a Banksia tree, which we’ve also positioned just a handy few metres from the fern tree. In this picture you can see the two red wattles below the beak that give the bird its name:

Here’s a picture of one of the local Red Wattlebirds on a nearby tree a few days earlier. It’s likely to be one of the nesting birds, though I don’t know for sure:

Common name: Red Wattlebird

Scientific name: Anthochaera carunculata

Approximate length: 35 cm

Date spotted: 22 December 2017 (Summer)

Location: Allambie Heights, near Sydney, Australia

Little Wattlebird plumage like shooting stars

This shy Little Wattlebird led me a merry dance before letting me snap a picture. It has an intricately patterned plumage. The little bursts at the end of each stripe remind me of shooting stars.
Little Wattlebird

Common name: Little Wattlebird

Scientific name: Anthochaera chrysoptera

Approximate length: 30 cm

Date spotted: 25 September 2016

Season: Spring

Location: Manly Dam National Park, Sydney, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’30.7″S 151°15’09.1″E

Little Wattlebird croaking

This Little Wattlebird appears quite drab when seen from afar, but from close up has a sleek coat of streaks with chestnut touches on its wings. Wattlebirds are one of the many types of honeyeaters found in Australia. As well as nectar, they eat berries and insects. And they’re noisy and argumentative.

In the video, the bird is uttering its characteristic scratchy croak.

From behind:

Wattlebird

In full song:

Wattlebird

Common name: Little Wattlebird

Scientific name: Anthochaera chrysoptera

Approximate length: 30 cm

Date spotted: Saturday 22 November 2014

Season: Spring

Location: Manly Dam National Park, Sydney, Australia

Latitude/longitude: 33°46’40.3″S 151°14’58.5″E