Unusual Figbird

To: "Birding-Aus" <>
Subject: Unusual Figbird
From: "Terry Pacey" <>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 10:50:44 +1000
Yesterday (Monday) afternoon, at about 4:45, I was examining the Silky Oak
behind my place.  It is in full flower now and is a massive drawcard for the
local nectar (and insect) eaters.

There were the usual occupants - Figbirds, Noisy Friarbirds, Little
Friarbirds, Little Wattlebirds, Magpie Larks, Rainbow and Scaly-breasted
Lorikeets, Magpies,  etc.  But one bird stood out.  It was a figbird with
strange colouring.  The eye patch was red depicting a male.  The back was
similar to a female but with more subdued colouration, the throat and upper
breast was grey with some black streaking while the belly was pale yellow
with some grey streaking.  I observed the bird for about ten minutes before
it flew off with the flock.

I have consulted all the books I have available at the moment (most are in
storage) and are more puzzled than ever.  Morcombe states that there are
intergrades between the northern and southern races but these would not
usually occur this far south.  All references show immatures as not having
red eye patches or grey throat and breast but this bird had no green (olive)
on the back either.

Has anyone an explanation or do I put this one down as one of the
"unexplainables" and stay off the white?  I must also explain that I am on
antibiotics at the moment and so I was completely sober at the time.  Any
other state would have provided a satisfactory explanation.

Terry Pacey
27°57'02"S  153°24'12"E
Gold Coast
SE Qld

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