Earlier this week John Duranti, Colin Scouler and I stayed for a couple of
nights at a cottage in the Capertee Valley about 150 K. west of Sydney. The
birding was fairly quiet as there was very little flowering in the valley.
I was taken by the behaviour of two Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoos feeding on
the ground for appreciable periods of time. The birds were taking black
grubs (caterpillars?) from no more than 3 cm. above the ground.The grubs
were about the same size as the birds bill and one bird I watched from about
10 m. was taking one every 10 to 30 seconds. Between grubs the bird adopted
an erect, stretched neck posture, looking for possible threats. This posture
reminded me of a Brown treecreeper's on ground posture. Both birds continued
ground feeding until I flushed them. When I moved on they returned to the
ground. The area where they were feeding was a grazed gully bottom paddock
with short cropped grass, low herbs (attracting Turquoise Parrots) and some
moss. There was also a higher, largely dead weed which apparently harboured
the grubs as a variety of birds were feeding where it was prevalent. (Hooded
Robins, Jacky Winters, Willy Wagtail and Superb Fairy-wrens.)
Last July we again stayed on the same property and then observed a HBC
acting as above in the same gully. In January 1995 I observed two HBC ground
feeding on a swamp verge at Lake Wyangan just north of Griffith, NSW.
Possibly this is a normal practice for Horsfields, although none of my books
mention it, the closest is Pizzey and Knight "forages low". The Readers
Digest book refers to "perch and pounce" while Pizzey and Doyle says "feeds
in foliage, perches watchfully on overhead wires fences."
Has anyone observed this behaviour?
48 Rangers Retreat Rd. Frenchs Forest.
Sydney. 2086. Australia.
Phone:--02 9451 5394.
Birding-Aus is on the Web at
To unsubscribe from this mailing list, send the message
"unsubscribe birding-aus" (no quotes, no Subject line)