Martin, we all respect your decision of course, but, as you have ventilated the issue publicly, may I ask whether, given that the reported behaviour seems unusual and that such behaviour is common in Striated Pardalotes, and that verbal confusion between the two species does occur, AND that your single reporter is unnamed so there is no possibility of embarrassment, do you see any possibility, strong or faint as you might wish to describe it, from your vantage point as excursion leader, mentor to the group, person-on-the spot and researcher into the sexual behaviour of small birds, that it was a Striated Pardalote?
From: martin butterfield [
Sent: Thursday, 16 August 2012 7:08 AM
To: COG List
Subject: [canberrabirds] Breeding display by Striated Thornbill
I have been asked offline for some details about the the breeding display by the Striated Thornbill, which I included in my report on the McQuoids Hill walk yesterday. My correspondent noted that there is no information on this behaviour in HANZAB. As my response might be of general interest I am making this broad reply with no names and thus no pack drill..
A member of the group reported seeing a striated thornbill in an unusual posture with wings outstretched, apparently being looked at closely by another bird. This was thought possible to be a breeding display. It sounded to me rather like some of the attention seeking displays I have seen with other species (indeed, other genera) and at this time of year the main reason for attracting attention is for breeding purposes. So I decided to include it as a indicative breeding record.
HANZAB is rather thin on display behaviour for any thornbill species. For Striated Thornbill a description is cited (from a 1923 article) of courting behaviour 'of the nature of a sparrow fight'. The entry also says this article is quite vague! The only other information about courting behaviour by thornbills found in this area which I could find related to Yellow-rumped where the performance began "crouched down with head raised and wings fluttering". There are other elements in this routine not observed yesterday but it does offer some slight support for my decision.
Given the very speculative nature of many of the aspects on the indicative elements of breeding records I will let the record stand.