I apologise for the poor quality of the above photo. I only had a few seconds to take it before the bird flew away, not to return. If it does, and I get a better shot, I’ll replace it.
This morning was very hot. It reached 45C (113F) just before lunch time, with a strong, hot northerly wind blowing up dust everywhere. Not a pleasant day by any measure.
New Home Block species
Despite the atrocious conditions I was able to add a new bird species to my home block list, a juvenile White-fronted Honeyeater. I had previously seen this species less than a kilometre away on several occasions, so it seemed inevitable that I’d record it here someday. Today was that day. It brings my home list to 110 species; adding new species doesn’t happen often these days.
Distribution of White-fronted Honeyeaters
This species is widespread throughout inland Australia west of the Great Dividing Range. It is absent throughout the northern parts of Western Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland as well as the south-western tip of western Australia, southern Victoria and Tasmania. Here in Murray Bridge is near the southern-most part of South Australia it can be found. It can occur in the Coorong area and once I saw one bird near Lucindale in the south east of the state.
Habitat and breeding
The White-fronted Honeyeater prefers dry inland scrubs, mallee and eucalypt woodlands. It usually breeds in the latter half of the year but will also respond to rain and breed at other times. The one I saw was an independent juvenile. It probably fledged sometime in the last two months.
Normally they lay 2-3 eggs in a cup shaped nest comprised of bark, grass, or spider’s web and is usually located low in a bush or even on the ground.
Pizzey, G and Knight, F, 1997, The field guide to the birds of Australia, Sydney, Angus and Robertson.
Rainbow Lorikeets would have to be one of Australia’s most beautiful birds. They are aptly named. As they fly overhead in a flash of colour they light up their little patch of the azure blue sky. Their feathers are a brilliant blend of bright reds, greens, blues and yellows. As they screech overhead – and that is an accurate description of their harsh calls – their stunningly red underwings are like a blood-streak across a blue backdrop.
Rainbow Lorikeets are widespread along the northern, eastern and southern coastal regions of Australia. Their preferred habitats include woodlands, rainforests and wherever eucalyptus trees are numerous. They are easily seen in parks and gardens throughout many of our towns and cities.
Despite being quite common I have had some difficulty getting reasonably clear photographs of this species. When flying they seem to be going too fast to focus on them. When feeding they are often well hidden in the thick foliage of a eucalypt tree as they search out nectar from the flowers.
A single tree, if heavily in flower, can be host to twenty or thirty of these stunning beauties, their contact calls a never-ending chorus of murmurings and chattering. Yet, despite the numbers, most remain hidden amongst the leaves, usually near the top and out of sight – but not out of earshot. In large numbers their screeching can be deafening, especially near sunset as they squabble and jostle for roosting spots.
Since writing this article I have managed to take several good shots of this beautiful bird, so I ‘ve added one of them below. Click on the image to enlarge it.
This article was further updated in July 2015.