A Mistletoebird pays a quick visit

Male Mistletoebird

Male Mistletoebird

Yesterday my wife and I were taking a short break from the jobs we had been doing. Sitting on our back veranda we were enjoying the lovely sunny spring weather we have had this week. It was afternoon tea time and we were enjoying a well deserved cup of tea. The back veranda has been a bit of a mess over the winter months and the weather has been too cold to spend too much time cleaning it up. Now that the spring weather is here we had a renewed enthusiasm for being outside.

While we sat there we enjoyed the constant parade of birds hopping around in the garden nearby. Many others were calling and we enjoy trying to identify them by call alone, a good way of honing one’s identification skills. Our resident Superb Fairy-wrens entertain us every day, as do the Mallee Ringneck parrots, the Eastern Rosellas and the Galahs. We can’t work out if the Galahs are actually nesting or not. The Spotted Turtledoves often join in the chorus and in recent days we have had the delight of Peaceful Doves also hanging around near the house.

As we sat there we were delighted to have a female Mistletoebird fly in and alight on a bush in full view just three metres from us. We were able to see the soft, dull grey colours of the feathers on her back, a stark contrast with the blue-black feathers of the male (see photo above). I didn’t have the camera handy, and the bird flew off after less than a minute, so I have shared a photo of the male taken some years ago. I do have one photo of the female, but unfortunately it is not in focus. Sigh.

I cannot categorically say that this is a resident species in our garden and on our 5 acre property, but it is certainly a regular visitor. I hear its call almost every week. Many years ago this was the first species to nest in one of the trees we planted after moving here. There may have been other species before it, but this was the first one we positively recorded doing this. The nest is a delicate pear-shaped container with a small entrance near the top. It is made primarily from spiders’ webs, small leaves, lichen and other soft materials, and hangs from small twigs or leaves. They are just coming into their breeding season, so I need to keep an eye open for a nest. This species is found throughout mainland Australia except in the driest regions. It is not present in Tasmania.

Further reading:


Beautiful Mistletoebird


One of my favourite birds is the colourful little Mistletoebird, shown in today’s photo. I can’t say it is a resident species in our garden, but it is a frequent visitor. In our district here in Murray Bridge, South Australia, it is a widespread species occurring in small numbers. They are usually only seen singly, occasionally two.

Today my wife and I were working in our garden and a male landed briefly in a nearby Eremophila bush. It stayed only a few seconds before flying off. The male, as shown in the photo, is far more brightly coloured than the female. In the female, the red is a washed out colour and only present under the tail. She also lacks the dark blue-black colour of the male, being mainly plain brown instead.

As I didn’t have my camera with me today, the photo shown above was taken some years ago, also in our garden.

This species has a special place in our records for our home block. Over the 30 years we have lived here we have planted hundreds of trees, shrubs and bushes. The mistletoebird was the first species to make a nest in a tree we had planted. At least – it was the first one we noticed.




I was sitting outside in the sunshine the other day. I was taking advantage of a few hours of sunshine in an otherwise fairly bleak winter here.

While I was reading my attention was caught by the call of a Mistletoebird in one of the trees in our garden. It brought to mind the fact that I hadn’t seen or heard this species around our house for quite a few weeks. Lovely little bird to have around, too.

My first Blog entry

I am a first time Blogger. This is my very first entry having successfully stepped through the setup process.

I am reasonably familiar with the world of blogging because I regularly read the blogs of my daughter Rose in England and son Simon in Sydney (when he’s home), mainly to keep up with what they are doing and where in the world they are!

I plan to include recent interesting sightings of birds in and around our garden and property on the fringe of the rural city of Murray Bridge in South Australia. Our home is situated on 5 acres (2 hectares) of land. We have about two acres of mallee scrub and have planted several thousand trees and small plants on the rest.

I will also include reports on any trips I take here in South Australia and in other parts of Australia – and overseas when that happens. I also plan to include photos of birds (and other interesting things) taken with my new digital camera, a Canon Powershot S2 IS. The 12x zoom facility is great for birds shots. (Update: I updated my camera in 2011 to a Canon Powershot SX20 with a 20x zoom. Photos from the latter part of 2011 were taken with the new camera.)

Crested Pigeon

It has been raining steadily here all morning so we are confined to the indoors. The bird life has been very quiet during the rain, but when I went to check the rain gauge a few minutes ago I observed five rather wet Crested Pigeons on a nearby power line. Sometimes I have observed up to 30 or 40 of these beautiful birds all perched on the power lines that run along the side of our property. Above is a photo of a Crested Pigeon taken yesterday. It was quietly sunning itself near the house. I was able to sneak up to within about 4 metres from it.



Yesterday I also managed to get a good photo of a male Mistletoe Bird. These delightful little birds are quite common around here and are frequent visitors to our garden. About 15 years ago this was the first species I recorded nesting in a plant we had planted on this property.

This post was updated on 2nd September 2015.

Good birding.