Tag Archives: Black Butcherbird

Feathered Friends

In recent months at least two pairs of Black Butcherbirds have produced 3 offspring in the vicinity of our house garden.  Of course the adults have been very busy hunting – frogs, lizards, snakes and fledgling birds are all on the menu – which means that the diminutive Sunbirds, like many of our small birds, are faced with quite a challenge to find a sufficiently camouflaged nesting site.

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In our early years here, prior to our revegetation efforts, the rather sparse garden supported very few birds so we delighted in the Sunbirds nesting close to the house, often on our verandah.  Sunbirds build beautiful hanging nests with a side entrance and they will suspend them from anything that takes their fancy.  The plastic coated clothes-line proved impossible (thank goodness as it would have been most inconvenient) but any rope left hanging was irresistible to them.

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In recent years, as our general bird population has increased, it has become too risky for the Sunbirds to use such an exposed area as the verandah, which is regularly patrolled by Butcherbirds who have taken advantage of many unwary frogs and lizards.  Although we don’t find sunbird nests near our house now, they are breeding successfully and this year we have been enjoying the sight of a young male who has been feeding on Heliconia ‘Sexy Pink’ which is adjacent to our outdoor shower – we have also observed him drinking from the shower rose when a few drips remain.

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This is the only Heliconia allowed to grow in our garden, which is in the residential exclusion zone of the Wild Wings & Swampy Things Nature Refuge.  It does take some maintenance to look its best but it is not as rampant as some varieties  …. and the flowers’ popularity with the Sunbirds makes it worthwhile.

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Hopefully the young fellow will manage to avoid predators and live long enough to gain the glorious colours of a mature male.

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Punk or Puberty?

Returning from a stroll around the ponds I saw movement on the ground under the bamboos; although obviously a Black Butcherbird (Cracticus quoyi)  I thought, at first, that it must have a bamboo leaf stuck on its face.

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However, it was just beautifully camouflaged amongst the fallen leaves, which it was picking up and throwing aside while looking for insects, worms, or whatever unsuspecting creature might be hiding under this damp carpet.

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As several pair of Black Butcherbird have successfully raised young in the last few months and the juvenile birds were a rufous morph, we presume that this one is in an eclipse phase.   And in spite of  the Black Butcherbird’s voracious appetite there are still large numbers of reptiles, small birds, frogs and insects living here so the property seems quite able to support them.

wild_wings_swampy_things_dragonflies_Striped Swampdragon

And now for something completely different – a Striped Swampdragon (Agrionoptera longitudinalis biserialis) Continue reading