Friday, 6 October 2006

New Holland honeyeaters

The world's second worst birdwatcher (that's me) saw a few species today at Sandy Point. Apart from the introduced black birds and spotted turtle doves, there were also plenty of superb blue wrens feeding in the thickets and a lively mob of New Holland honeyeaters.

New Holland honeyeaters (Philidonyris novaehollandiae) are not usually coy birds but they were playing hard to get. I managed to take a couple of artistic shots (where 'artistic' is a value less than or equal to 'crap').

They are abundant along the southern coast of Australia from Brisbane to Perth. Although they do occur inland, they are very common on in coastal heathland. The Australian Museum has an MP3 file of the call.

Part of its range overlaps with that of the very similar white-cheeked honeyeater (Philidonyris nigra). They're distinguished by the amount of white on the face. The New Holland honeyeater has small patches on the cheek and chin, whereas the white-cheeked honeyeater looks as if it's been slapping on the pancake for a turn in the panto.

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