Re: Garden Birds

Subject: Re: Garden Birds
From: Peter Woodall <>
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 09:40:11 +1000
At 16:43 18/11/97 +0800, you wrote:
>The question was asked :
>> Why does Harare have many native seed-eaters coming into the gardens,
>> while very few of the Australian finches do?
>Perhaps because very few Australian gardens have native seeds????
>I am aware of the following finches that can be common (or at least
>regular) in suitable gardens, although in some cases it is more for the
>water than the seed.  In most cases, the houses border onto suitable native
>Red-browed Finch - O'Reilly's Qld; Phillip Island Vic
>Red-eared Firetail - Albany WA
>Star Finch - Kununurra WA; Paraburdoo WA
>Crimson Finch - Kununurra WA
>Zebra Finch - many places
>Double-barred Finch - Kununurra WA; Argyle Diamond Mine WA
>Masked Finch - Lake Argyle WA
>Long-tailed Finch - Lake Argyle WA
>Chestnut-breasted Mannikin - Kununurra WA
>Nutmeg Mannikin (introduced) - Cairns Qld
>Gouldian Finch - Wyndham WA; Timber Creek NT

Thanks for your input.  I don't know much about the garden birds
of WA.  I wonder what the situation is like in a big city like
Perth?  Are any native seedeaters common in the suburbs there?

I don't think that its any lack of seeds, native or otherwise, that
 keeps them out of Brisbane - the House Sparrows and
Spotted Turtle-doves (and more recently Crested Pigeons) do very
well in suburban Brisbane and my (untidy) garden in Brisbane has
no fewer seeding grasses than did our garden in Harare.  Certainly
on the fringes of Brisbane (like the University farm) Bar-shouldered
and Peaceful Doves come down to grain but in the suburbs its: sparrows,
sparrows, turtle-doves, plus a few more sparrows. [Unless of course
you have Noisy Miners ,.... but thats another story]

Your list of species shows that there are plenty of native seedeaters
around (not to mention the doves, etc) which sometimes venture into
gardens but my point is that in most suburbs they are not a common,
dominant part of the garden bird fauna - unlike the situation in

On another point, Ronald beat me to the punch with the indigo birds.
They were a real taxonomic problem until Payne realised that the
different species had distinctive species recognition songs, learnt
from their hosts.  The palate markings of the nestlings also closely 
mimic those of their hosts.

Dr Peter Woodall                          email = 
Division of Pathobiology                
School of Veterinary Science              Phone = +61 7 3365 2300
The University of Queensland              Fax   = +61 7 3365 1355
Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4072          WWW  =
"hamba phezulu" (= "go higher" in isiZulu)


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