Spotted Pardalotes

While working in the garden yesterday I was aware of several Spotted Pardalotes (Pardalotus punctatus) in the mallee trees near me. It is always a delight to hear their “pip pip” calls all around us. They are a resident, breeding species in our garden here in Murray Bridge, South Australia. Sometimes their calls are like the squeaking of a rusty gate, so my wife refers to them as the “Squeaky Gate Pardalote.” A subspecies (xanthopygus) is the Yellow Rumped Pardalote. Their rump is a really bright yellow! This subspecies is also present in this area.

Spotted Pardalote with nesting material in beak

Spotted Pardalote with nesting material in beak

Distribution and Breeding

The Spotted Pardalote is found in suitable habitat throughout southern and eastern Australia. These habitats include woodlands, gardens, parks, scrubs, forests and mallee. I have recorded it breeding in our garden, both in a burrow in the sand and in the hollow of a tree. They have also been known to nest in the gaps of brickwork.
Close encounter

One individual I saw yesterday was in the branches just above where I was doing some weeding. He came down closer and closer to me as I made soft kissing noises trying to attract his attention. Eventually he was within a metre of my head – of course I didn’t have my camera with me! Both of us received a sudden jolt when a honeyeater – presumably a New Holland Honeyeater – came rocketing past, snapping its beak at the pardalote who retreated rapidly into the foliage of a nearby tree.

Striated Pardalote

The other species of Pardalote resident in our garden is the Striated Pardalote (Pardalotus striatus).


13 Responses to “Spotted Pardalotes”

  1. […] Pardalote – a close encounter with this species some months ago. < Leave a comment >   […]

  2. magenta says:

    hi i was just wondering if you could tell me what genrally attracts these bidrs as we are making a wetland and the information could be usefull

  3. Trevor says:

    Hi Magenta. Pardalotes feed mostly on the insects found on Eucalyptus trees. Here in our garden these are mostly the mallee forms but they also love a wide variety of trees in forests, woodlands, parks and gardens.

    My advice would be to find a local native plant nursery and ask for advice on the types of plant species suitable for your area. Tell them you are developing a wetland area because this will influence the types of plants that will be suitable.

    Look for plants that produce nectar as this will attract honeyeaters and lorikeets. The nectar also attracts insects which will attract the pardalotes, flycatchers, whistlers and other insectivorous birds. Nectar also attracts the possums and gliders. Seed producing plants will attract parrots.

    John Dengate has written an excellent book called “Attracting Birds to Your Garden in Australia.” It is available from the Bird Observers Club bookshop and possibly other bookshops too.

  4. Ruth says:

    Hi Trevor
    we have a family taken up residence in our roof where we had a very small hole from where we removed a light fitting. Can’t cover it over now as we welcome these beautiful birds to our home. The male sits in the large gm tree at the back of the house pipping constantly. The comes flying in with food for the babies. It is a beautiful sight to see. I have taken photos of our new neighbors and look forward to many more nestings. Do they use the same nesting place constantly as do the ibis in the gum trees at the back?
    Oh Mt BArker is a great place to live and observe the birds.

  5. Trevor says:

    Hi again Ruth.

    Pardalotes will reuse hollows a number of times so you may have plenty of ‘grandchildren’ growing up literally ‘in’ your house.

    I think I told you the story of when we had them nesting in our house in Port Augusta when Rose was quite young.

    They also make little burrows in the ground for nests. I’m not sure but I think they’d make a new tunnel every time they nest in the ground.

    Here we’ve had them nesting both in the ground and in small hollows in the older mallee trees.

  6. I live in Tasmania, I have a pardalote back this spring entering my eaves , posible to nest, it was in and out last year , but no transporting of nest building stuff

  7. Trevor says:

    Hi Lindsay,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments.

    It is quite possible that they have nested in the eaves of your house. They may well have used the insulation (if you have it there) and so didn’t need any nesting material. They can also be very sneaky and line their nest when you aren’t watching. Another possibility is that it is still a juvenile searching for a suitable nesting site.

  8. Kevin Pollard says:

    I work for Alcoa in the Jarrah forrest at Wagerup (130 km Sth of Perth WA). For the past week I have been observing a male and two female Yellow Rumped Pardalotes from my office window. They regularly land on a strand of barbed wire 500 mm from the window and then flit to a nearby hanging basket, and are tunneling up into it from the bottom. They may be trying to build a nest in the bottom,though I hope not as the retic waters it daily and it’s mighty damp. The three of them dispatched a Golden Whistler that was getting too close yesterday, so they’re claiming ownership. I’ve been able to get some marvelous photos, though only through the glass. I have worked for more than 30 years in the Jarrah forrest of WA and these are the first I have seen. Have there been many others reported sightings in Western Australia, and if so, what areas.

  9. Trevor says:

    Hi Ken,

    Thanks for your comments – they sent me searching through my field guides for more information.

    The Yellow Rumped Pardalote is a race of the Spotted Pardalote. The Spotted has a reddish-chestnut rump and is widespread in the SW of WA in eucalypt forests, dry woodlands and especially mallee.

    The Yellow Rumped is quite distinctly yellow on the rump – we have them in our garden here in Murray Bridge (80km SE Adelaide). It is primarily a mallee bird, so your sighting is probably a significant one and worth reporting. Try reporting it to the following site and see what response you get:

  10. ken says:

    I have had a couple of Striated Pardalotes arrive recently at our place in Bairnsdale Vic of which i have not seen here before. They have pecked a hole in a large Stagfern and look to be nesting there. The stagfern is attached to the house and i have been able to get some excellent photos as i can see them from a bedroom window which is about 10 feet away. We had a blackbird nesting in a wall mounted plant pot but a cat got them all one night. I am concerned that the pardalotes will suffer the same fate as the stagfern is only 6 foot above the ground although they are in burrow which may protect them. I have tried to catch the cat with a cat trap but this has not worked. Anybody got any ideas of how to get rid of the cat?

  11. Trevor says:

    Hi Ken,

    I’m assuming that it is not your cat.

    Does it come visiting often? If so, one effective and harmless way worth trying is to give it a healthy squirt with the hose every time it comes near. Hopefully it will get the message that it is not welcome.

  12. Andre Mountford says:

    Hi All,
    I have done some major landscaping in sunny Queanbeyan NSW and have a pair of spotteds take up residence in the dirt wall before I built a retaining wall infront of it. I have had to modify a retaining wall to allow them to finish raising at least one young. That one is now out of the nest and feeding independantly.
    I have left a hole in my retaining wall and would like to know if they will stay all year in this nest, or will they move on and come back.
    They are now very human savvy as I have been building around them and can now be standing less than 3 feet away from their comings and goings from the hole in my retaining wall. The male appears to have been much braver than the female, and over time both have come to be very tollerent of visitors to the construction site.
    I have also been able to get some excellent photographs and video footage with less than perfect camera equipment.
    I really enjoyed reading that others have been as faciniated with these birds as we have been and do hope the take up perminent residence with us.

  13. Trevor says:

    Hi Andre, Thanks for visiting my site about birds, and for leaving your own story about birds in your garden. They are both precious and wonderful.

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