Eastern Whipbird, Artarmon, Sydney

Last weekend I went with my 4yo grandson to a nearby playground in Artarmon Reserve, Sydney. we’d been there a number of times over recent years and I’ve always taken my camera in case I saw an interesting bird or two. The usual suspects were present: Pied Currawongs, Australian Magpies, Noisy Miners, Rainbow Lorikeets and a few other species from time to time.

On this occasion, I was delighted to hear an Eastern Whipbird in the well vegetated gully below the playground. This gully is the creek bed running along a walking and cycling track (Cordia Way). This waterway drains many of the surrounding streets and eventually drains into Sydney Harbour.

The bird in question called infrequently over the half hour we were there, and I never saw it out in the open. I stalked it for the whole period, but never had a chance to take a photo. This is quite a secretive species, and will stay in thick vegetation most of the time. One day I might get lucky.

Until I can show a photo of my own here, you will have to go here to see one, as well as find out more about the species.

UPDATE: Searching through my bird photos today I discovered this photo of an Eastern Whipbird taken in 2007. I must admit I cheated with this one – the bird is one of the large collection of birds kept in the Adelaide Zoo.

Eastern Whipbird in the Adelaide Zoo


10 Responses to “Eastern Whipbird, Artarmon, Sydney”

  1. Megan says:

    Hi Trevor,

    The only time I have seen a whipbird is when I have been crawling around in dense coastal heath….. When you make the effort the whipbirds will oblige some good views of them.

    Good luck!


    • Trevor says:

      Thanks for your comments, Megan. At my age I think I will forget about crawling around in the undergrowth. I’ll just let the whipbirds scratch around in peace.

      (Sorry it has taken so long to respond – your comment was one which slipped through without a reply.)

      • Megan says:

        🙂 the sighting I was thinking of was about 25 years ago, so I’m leaving them in peace also! I no longer live in a whipbird area, but would love to again one day.

        • Trevor says:

          Hehehe…I understand. For me, any sighting of a whipbird or even hearing one is special. We don’t have whipbirds where I live in Murray Bridge, South Australia. In fact, I always look forward to visits to Sydney and anywhere in NSW because of the different birds I see. Oh… I also enjoy seeing our grandchildren (ages 5 and 2).

  2. Alison says:

    Eastern Whipbird knocking at my door!!!

    I have heard it’s call for years and now I have one waking me up AND then knocking on the glass of my front door at dawnand throughout the day. I have never witnessed the behaviour OR seen the bird in the flesh before

    Why would this very private bird be knocking at my door??? It appears to be seeing something in the glass – reflection?? I have photos as I just could not believe my eyes.


    • Trevor says:

      Hi there Alison,

      You are correct – it is attacking its own reflection in the glass. It sees the reflection as an “enemy” and attacks it. Many species which are territorial will do this, and even some which are not so highly territorial will display this behaviour as well.

      Some species – such as wrens, magpie larks and even willie wagtails will attack the mirrors on cars for the same reason.

  3. Alison says:

    Alison here. Forgot to say that I live in Thirroul NSW and that is where the Eastern Whipbird is door knocking.


  4. Alan says:

    Hi Trevor,

    I heard a whipbird in Cremorne Reserve this morning.


    • Trevor says:

      Thanks for commenting Alan. This species is probably more widespread and common throughout the Sydney region than most people realise. There are so many small and medium pockets of natural vegetation, including their preferred habitat of moist, overgrown gullies.

  5. Alan says:

    I only commented because it seems to me that there are more birds and more species here than previously. I am not much of a twitcher but I notice more butcher birds and more cuckoos each year. Big fights with the Channel-bills. Unfortunately I have not seen much of a return of the small species.

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