New Holland Honeyeaters in my home and office gardens have at least two
distinct alarm calls that I can decipher. One is for raptors (also
marauding Magpies and Kookaburras). The other (I can hear it as I type) is
for cats and snakes on the ground.
I was interested in the lack of alarm calls when I lived in a leafy
neighborhood in Tanzania recently. None of the resident species (as far as
I could tell) would sound the alarm when one of the numerous raptor species
popped in for a visit. The first I knew was when the garden suddenly went
On Tue, Dec 17, 2013 at 10:07 AM, <> wrote:
> Hi All,
> There are also different calls for sitting versus flying raptors of the
> same species. What we hear as "urgency" greatly increases when a Hobby gets
> off its perch and starts raking the 'burbs. Mick I agree there seems a very
> high level of urgency relating to hobbies, and I think this may be because
> they have a habit of flying rapidly over the suburbs/tree tops trying to
> flush things. Everything gets very suddenly scared. You can definitely
> track a Hobby by listening to the wave of alarm calls and fleeing birds. If
> the hobby is below the tree/roof tops, and you can't see it, look for the
> lorikeets flying above it, and the pied butchebirds going up and down, dive
> bombing, as it passes thtrough their territory.
> Also, not only miners, but many other species have different bird calls
> for different raptor species - ones that I've observed regularly enough to
> be sure of this include BF honeyeaters (honorary miners anyway), various
> Melithreptus (esp. white-throated honeyeaters), drongos, woodswallows,
> swallows, fork-tailed swifts, little friarbirds, grey, pied and BB
> butherbirds. I'm sure there's more I've forgotten.
> Most species recognise other species' alarm calls I think, and
> respond/join in accordingly. Peaceful doves seem especially challenged
> though in this respect and hence the regularity on hobby's menu.
> Great topic, a favourite of mine.
> Eric Vanderduys
> Technical Officer
> CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences
> Phone: +61 7 4753 8529 | Fax: +61 7 4753 8600 | Mobile: 0437 330 961
> | www.csiro.au |
> Address: CSIRO, PMB PO, Aitkenvale, Qld 4814. Deliveries: CSIRO, ATSIP,
> Bld 145 James Cook Drive, James Cook University Douglas Campus, Townsville
> Qld 4814, AUSTRALIA
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [mailto:
> On Behalf Of Mick Roderick
> Sent: Tuesday, 17 December 2013 8:49 AM
> To: Shirley Cook; Messages Birding-aus
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Fw: Fw: Alarm calls
> I totally agree with Stephen and have been trying to nut this out at home.
> Here at Shortland (on the edge of Hexham Swamp, Hunter Estuary, NSW) we are
> blessed with a good variety of raptors. I have had 18 species fly over my
> house during the past 12 months (I work from home so spend a lot of time
> here!). We are also "blessed" with an uber-aggressive mob of Noisy Miners
> (I have seen them near-kill a White Ibis and have brought egrets down to
> the ground).
> As Stephen says, one can tell which type of raptor is approaching by the
> pitch and 'urgency' of the Noisy Miner alarm calls. The most frantic calls
> occur when an Accipiter approaches (less so for a Grey Gos), followed by
> Hobby, Peregrine then maybe other falcons. The Hobby can really get the
> neighbourhood going though and is possibly the only bird that causes every
> antenna-perched pigeon to leave their perches in a panic. You can almost
> track a Hobby by listening to the wave of alarm calls and fleeing birds.
> I was first alerted to this (pardon the pun) by when my first Little Eagle
> flew over the house. The alarm was completely different to any of the
> others I had heard and sure enough, a 'different' raptor appeared.
> They do not bother sounding off at Whistling Kites and only do so at Black
> Kites because they're a rare visitor here.
> The alarm for Corvids (there are resident Aussie Ravens and Torresian
> Crows here) is completely different. It's hardly an 'alarm' at all but is
> that relentless 'near near near' that Noisy Miners are famous for. It's
> probably the same for the cuckoos.
> On Tuesday, 17 December 2013 9:25 AM, Shirley Cook <
> > wrote:
> DEar all
> Here is a very interesting comment from Stephen Debus.
> Shirley Cook