Friday, 22 June 2012

Little brown birds

Not all rainforest birds are filed in the guide under the heading 'bleedin' obvious'. More than a few of them are in that other well-thumbed section marked called 'little brown birds'.

This little brown bird is a scrubwren. I think it's an Atherton scrubwren (Sericornis keri), although it might be a large-billed scrubwren (S. magnirostris). Both species are common in this block of rainforest, along with the much-easier-to-identify yellow-throated scrubwren (S. citreogularis) and brown gerygone (Gerygone mouki). Atherton scrubwrens are endemic to the Wet Tropics; the other species are widespread along the east coast.

Scrubwrens are industrious birds, spending their days inspecting every leaf along the forest edge for tasty insects. (This one has found a treasure trove of aphids.) Between their activities and those of the Lewin's honeyeaters, which come into the living room to pluck spiders out of the window frames, my house and garden should be gleaming and tidy. I can't imagine what's gone wrong.


Stiletto said...

The contributions of these little brown birds to housekeeping however small is an added bonus.

Snail said...

It is! I will have to persuade the Lewin's honeyeaters to stop pooping inside the house, though. Luckily, they don't make much of a mess. :)

Anonymous said...

lbjs and dycs are so much more than that.
One year the silvereye migration failed locally and many garden ornamentals were lost to small insects with sucking mouthparts.
There isn't enough insecticide in the world that will do the lbj job.

Snail said...

[Sorry. For some reason, your comment went into the spam filter.]

We've had a bumper native wasp season, so the combined forces of wasps and the birds are doing a great job. (Although the birds tend to eat the wasps too, so there's an uneasy tension between them!)