Regent Honeyeater with delusions of grander ugliness.

To: "birding aus" <>
Subject: Regent Honeyeater with delusions of grander ugliness.
From: "Philip A Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 28 Aug 1998 22:09:45 +1000
Well it has happened again. One Regent Honeyeater in isolated splendour
indulging in incessant vocal mimicry of an uglier cousin. Once again a new
example of what appears to be the world's only bird species that uses vocal
mimicry for deception. In an uninspiring, busy car park in Canberra, (call
Canberra uninspiring - shame on me) full of flowering ironbark trees, for
the past week, there has been one RH mimicking Red Wattlebirds. This time,
over two days, I managed to get about 45 minutes film of the bird, including
lots of this mimicry. Maybe it will be possible to put video clips on the
internet (if anyone who reads this knows how to do this, I'd appreciate some
Some points on the behaviour:
They only mimic wattlebirds and friarbirds, they only do this from May to
October and they only do this when surrounded by wattlebirds or friarbirds
and away from their own species.  The quality of the mimicry is excellent,
though nowhere near as loud as the model.
I think most of you out there would be aware of the information I have
published about this (in Australian Bird Watcher 14(5):180-189 and
15(6):250-259) and I am still interested in any further observations. The
Bird Observers Club library have a video of the talk I did for the RAOU
scientific day (May 1992), followed by the film of the bird in Canberra on
11-10-1992. In two weeks I intent to visit Melbourne and I hope to add on
this latest bit of video evidence of this fascinating behaviour to the video
that the BOCA have in their library.
It is of great concern to be rare,
terrific to get all the attention,
but to really get noticed,
it helps to do something extra special.

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