Congratulations and many thanks to Marion for this report.
I ventured to the spot today (Sunday) and having not found the WBCS, chose to walk back home on the side of Red Hill rather than on the main tracks that skirt the suburb. So I walked along the Rutidosis track from west to east and was fortunate to find the bird.
There is a series of Telstra work stations along the track demarcated by red and yellow webbing. Around the position of the second station, there is a fairly deep gully on the side of the hill orthogonal to the track. It was about 100m up and around that gully that I watched the bird for 20 minutes or so. It was in the company of two Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes which I had seen earlier. Some observations:
· The bird had clear plumage pattern of the dark phase bird but with a couple of grey patches on the crown. HANZAB notes that intermediate plumage is common.
· The WBCS foraged exclusively arboreally in low bushes up to about 5 m. It was very active, catching caterpillars (only prey I actually saw clearly).
· The BFCSs which were nearby the whole time, perched near the tops of trees and foraged mainly aerially.
· The WBCS is a wing-flicker like its cousins. Even hopping just 20cm or so along a branch, it flicked at least one wing.
· The WBCS kept to a quite tight area. When it ventured 50-100m away, it seemed to keep coming back to the area where I first saw it.
· The bird did not call in the period I was watching.
Other observations in the area:
· Dozens if not hundreds of little birds in MFFs, including:
o Spotted Pardalotes
o Striated Pardalotes
o Striated Thornbills
o Brown Thornbills
o Immature Golden Whistler
o Grey Fantail (which danced in front of my face so close that I thought it was trying to land on my glasses)
o White-eared Honeyeater heard nearby.
· A light-phase Little Eagle being strongly harassed by three magpies. I judge a male bird by its size relative to the magpies. It hung around over the edge of Red Hill for a few minutes and then departed northwards towards Lake Burley-Griffin.
Again, thanks to Marion for her excellent observation.
From: Marion Jones [
Sent: Saturday, 28 May 2011 8:08 AM
To: chat line
Subject: [canberrabirds] White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
On my regular walk yesterday, behind Deakin, I was delighted to have a beautiful sighting of a white-bellied cuckoo-shrike (dark morph). Just behind the track at the top of Strickland Crescent. Another first (for me, anyway) in that same area was a group of quail - I think brown but couldn't make a positive id due to their hasty departure when I inadvertently intruded on their play area. Marion Jones