Musk Lorikeets

To: Birdingaus <>
Subject: Musk Lorikeets
From: Helen Horton <>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 2004 16:45:50 +1000
Hi all

I am wondering if someone can help a friend of mine.  A good birdo and a member of the Qld Naturalists, he made an observation recently that has left him (and me) puzzling.  It was near the town of Barraba in north-eastern NSW (near Mt Kaputar and the Nandewar Range).  He watched a Musk Lorikeet come down to what looked like an old wound in the trunk of a sheoak and work its bill up and down along the wound for about 20 minutes.  The wound was about 15-20cm long.  After it had gone he went and investigated the spot, touching it.  It was quite dry -- no sign of any moisture of any sort coming from the bark or trunk -- just still looked old.  There were other trees with similar marks on them and Musk Lorikeets were coming down from the flock to them too, doing the same thing.  He didn't know the species of sheoak but from the situation (by a creek) I would say it was probably a River Sheoak, Casuarina cunninghamiana, although another possibility is Belah (C. cristata).

It seems that the birds were not getting any liquid from the site, one can't imagine insects being the object, with lorikeets -- perhaps, to be a bit facetious, they were sharpening their bills for some dastardly action!

Seriously, though, if anyone can give some explanation, it would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks

Helen Horton
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