Tag Archives: Victorias’s Riflebird

Busy birds

I have managed to take a better photo of the Macleay’s Honeyeater – its not perfect but I am improving!  The birds enjoy our well sheltered bird baths but it does make photography more challenging in the low light.

20140606_Wild_Wings_Swampy_Things_Macleay's Honeyeater on birdbath

Macleay’s Honeyeater after enjoying a bath

Victoria’s Riflebirds have been seen feeding all about the property recently, all those sighted (so far) have been female or immature birds and most commonly eating fruit of the Bleeding Heart tree, Homalanthus populifolius.   However, we have also watched a Victoria’s Riflebird  feeding on the fruit of the native Costus,  Costus potierae,  which we have planted in our house garden.  Yellow-spotted Honeyeaters have also been eating the Costus fruit, so this plant is not only an attractive ornamental but a useful food plant for the birds.

Victoria's Riflebird, female or immature

Victoria’s Riflebird, female or immature

This male Double-eyed Fig Parrot was sitting on a branch close to my vegetable garden.  It had been feeding on the fruit of Red-leaf Fig, Ficus congesta. 

20140606_Wild_Wings_Swampy_Things_DE Fig Parrot

Double-eyed Fig Parrot race macleayana, male.

While this particular tree had obviously been visited by a number of fruit eating birds, it is not often the fruit of choice.  Many times we see the fruit quite untouched when other, more desirable, fruit is in abundance.  Red-leaf Figs are common pioneer species in areas of regenerating rainforest and provide a reliable source of food at times when the fruit of preferred species is unavailable.

20140606_Wild_Wings_Swampy_Things_Ficus congesta fruit

Red-leaf Fig, Ficus congesta. Detail of fruit on tree trunk.

After several different ‘poses’ on the branch this gorgeous little parrot stretched his jaw open wide, probably necessary after much processing of the tiny fig seed, although I confess it did look to me like a yawn.  And then he moved up higher in the tree out of sight and our photo session was over.

Double-eyed Fig Parrot stretching his jaw

Double-eyed Fig Parrot stretching his jaw

Rifling fruit

Fine weather, lots of time outdoors but hands full of gardening tools so not many opportunities recently to spend time with a camera.

There are however, many birds to enjoy while working outside – the Double-eyed Fig Parrots frequently call as they fly through the garden, they are quiet when feeding and only announce their presence as they take to the air.  They seem to be mainly feeding on Cheese trees (Glochidion species) and there are plenty of them around.   Metallic Starlings are increasing in number (early again this year) as they return to commence their nest renovations in the large Ficus species on the hill.

Mixed  flocks foraging for insects include Rufous and Grey Fantails (winter birds for us) along with Little Shrike-thrush, Spectacled Monarch, Grey Whistler, Fairy and Large-billed Gerygone and Victoria’s Riflebird.  There are also great numbers of Brown Cuckoo-Dove enjoying the fruit of Bleeding Hearts (Homolanthus populneus) and the pictured Victoria’s Riflebird was feeding with them.  Although the Riflebird spends a lot of time probing under bark looking for insects and grubs with that tremendous bill it also enjoys fruit.  In fact just prior to this photo it was sharing a ripe banana with a Macleays Honeyeater – one fruit had fallen on the ground when the bunch was picked and it took the birds only a few minutes to notice it.

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