Monday, 31 August 2009

Wompoo in the quandong

A pair of wompoo pigeons (Ptilonopis magnificus) visit the quandong (Elaeocarpus) late each afternoon. They are big, colourful pigeons that specialise in a fruit diet. Now the quandongs are ripening, the birds are turning up earlier and staying longer. It's probably not a good idea to walk under the tree at that time.

Wompoos have a large gape, which means they can deal with chunky fruit. Quandongs give them no problems. Because of this, they play an important role in dispersing seeds throughout rainforests. (Not all of the fruit-eaters are so beneficial. Many of them crush the seeds when they feed.)

Unfortunately, wompoos aren't fond of rainforest fragments and regrowth, preferring larger expanses. There is evidence that they are declining in dissected landscapes, which may have implications for the quandongs and other fruiting trees (such as Cryptocarya). However, figbirds appear to be increasing in the habitats that the wompoos dislike, so it may not be all bad news for the trees.



7 comments:

Neil said...

Very beautiful bird the Wompoo I love their call.

Snail said...

They're not keen on getting their portraits taken!

The call is amazing. It sounds quite human to me. I've been known to stand in thr front garden and mimic them. (When there's no one else around, of course.)

Tyto Tony said...

Wollack-a-woo!

Lulu Stader said...

Lovely colours, wow! Thanks for your patience with taking their pictures, Snail.

Snail said...

Tony, they sound to me like ham actors who haven't quite got the hang of elocution: "Ah-wom, ah-POO!"

Lulu, they are spectacular birds and quite big too --- about 40cm. Problem is, they are either in the forest where I can hear but not see them, or sitting at the top of the huge quandong. I'm sure it's deliberate!

Dave Coulter said...

You guys have the best animal names, period!

Snail said...

:)

We did drop the ball on 'green tree snake', though.