Tag Archives: Metallic Starling

Feathered Palm with Feathered Friends

Alexandra Palms (Archontophoenix alexandrae) provide a valuable food source for many fruit eating birds in the wet tropics of the Daintree region.  Native to this area the palms germinate easily and a fruiting palm usually has many young palms at its base.  For many months Alexandra palms have been providing a source of fruit, so for a long period our garden has been full of colour, movement and the soft ‘wuk, wuk’ of Wompoo Fruit-doves as they enjoy the plentiful fruit along with Fig birds and Orioles.   There was a regular Wompoo visiting some palms in front of our verandah where we enjoy morning coffee so it was quite entertaining to watch its reaction to the other birds eating from the same panicle of fruit.

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Wompoo with female Figbird above, male Figbird below

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Figbird grabs fruit while upside-down

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Wompoo gulps down another

However, in the last few weeks the dynamics of the garden have changed dramatically since the return of Metallic starlings from their winter sojourn further north.  The fruiting palms in our front garden have been stripped by flocks of these voracious feeders as the slower eating Wompoos made hopeless attempts to discourage them.

The Wompoos are now making the most of the fruiting Quandongs (Elaeocarpus angustifolius) – their blue fruit is also popular with Top-knot pigeons and Cassowarys,  and being much larger in size it is not consumed by Metallic Starlings.

Australia’s smallest parrot

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Male Double-eyed Fig-Parrot enjoying a little sun while consuming fig seeds

  Our Daintree Christmas-tree is traditionally a living tree well established in a pot.  Of course this means that we have trees of varying sizes but this is half the fun.  Ficus benjamina, a well known native fig, is often a popular choice as they survive so well in pots.  One of our very favourite Ficus benjamina started life here doing its duty in a pot for several years but since  it was planted out approximately 20 years ago it has ‘hit its straps’ and turned into a magnificent specimen which often fruits three times in a year.   The fruit of this fig are popular with a large number of bird species; but for the last two weeks the dominant species have been Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica) and Double-eyed Fig-Parrot (Cyclopsitta diophthalma race macleayana). Continue reading