>I can find no reference suggesting that BFHEs indulge in cooperative
>breeding, but their general lifestyle is one of a loose group of 8-10
>birds, so I guess the possibility is there.
>Any similar observations out there?
Yes Lawrie, I came across what seemed to be cooperative breeding of BFHEs
I was visiting a property at Mt Kilcoy, SEQ (behind the southern part of
the Sunshine Coast) about two months ago. The owner called us across to
look at "something", which turned out to be a nest of BFHEs at chest height
in an epiphyte on a tree. We had no idea what we were being shown until we
startled the two nestlings, which immediately jumped out of the nest.
Naturally we were mortified. The owner was also surprised, because he had
been checking the nest daily, and until that point there had been no such
response from the nestlings. We spent the next few minutes trying to
replace the traumatised nestlings in their nest, amid a cacophony of about
7-10 adult BFHEs. They kept jumping out again, and hiding in the grass. We
knew they could not survive on the ground. The adult birds bombed us
repeatedly, without making contact. The owner then added that he had
watched a good number of adult individuals feeding the nestlings and
removing faeces. I was surprised because I had never realised BFHE's
indulged in such practice. I stress that this was the observation of an
untrained and unskilled person, but he seemed certain of the cooperative
There was a happy ending. The nestlings fledged successfully a few days later.
Sunshine Coast, Qld
26º 51' 152º 56'
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