Last Monday afternoon, being fine and sunny for a change, I decided to go
for a walk along the south shore of Narrabeen Lagoon on Sydney's Northern
Beaches. The birds were pretty ordinary, the best being: White-bellied Sea
Eagle, Striated Heron and a female Rose Robin.
However the feeding habits of a couple of species attracted my attention.
Firstly a Red-wiskered Bulbul taking seeds or insects from the dry,
partially opened seed pod of a feral cassia( probably C. corymbosa ) I
assumed seeds as the bird repeatedly dipped it's beak into the pod and
surely there were not enough insects in the pod to justify so many dips.
Whatever, it was too small to identify. My books do not tell me much about
Bulbul's diet but I have always considered them mainly fruit eaters,
certainly around my way they seem to form colonies in areas where feral
lantana is well established. Do they also eat seeds?
The second interesting behaviour was of a pair of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos
feeding from an arboreal termites nest, one was attacking the top of the
nest and the other the bottom, it was only small and between them they had
it partially demolished. They were repeatedly removing something with their
bills and apparently eating it. Forshaw, when referring to the food sources
of Sulphur-cresteds in his book "Australian Parrots" nominates the
following: ".....and insects and their larvae" and again several paragraphs
later ".....and from the ground, they dig up ant's eggs and eggs of the
plague locust" I originally thought they were eating the termites but, from
the above, now believe they were eating the termite's eggs. Has anyone
seen similar behaviour or alternatively like to make a comment?
48 Rangers Retreat Rd. Frenchs Forest.
Sydney. 2086. Australia.
Phone:--02 9451 5394.
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