not birds ...Googong grasshopper query

To: Robin Hide <>
Subject: not birds ...Googong grasshopper query
From: Denis Wilson <>
Date: Mon, 6 Jan 2014 11:08:49 +1100
Robin raises an interesting question about birds feasting on seasonally abundant insects. I cannot comment on the Grasshopper/locusts, but can comment that this year has seen an abundance of Cicadas.
The Black-faced Cuckoo Shrike was taking advantage of swarms of "Black Prince" Cicadas at a friends place, obviously feeding them to its young. It returned to the same tree to pluck yet another Cicada from the branches, and fly off bearing its prize. I saw this repeated 5 times over about 10 minutes.
More generally, Noisy Friarbirds, and Pied Currawongs are very skilled at catching Cicadas flying.

Denis Wilson
Dear Cat Owners:
Official estimates put the Australia wide feral cat population at 18 million, which are suspected of killing up to 75 million small marsupials a night.

"The Nature of Robertson"

On Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 10:39 AM, Robin Hide <> wrote:

Many thanks to all for help with this grasshopper/locust – the clicks were dramatic , and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in such numbers (almost  plague proportions?) as at Googong on Saturday.

Are there any local birds that take advantage of these insect hordes? (like in WA-




From: Peter Ormay [
Sent: Monday, 6 January 2014 10:11 AM
To: 'Harvey Perkins'; 'Canberra Birds'
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] not birds ...Googong grasshopper query


These have been a common grasshopper around the Canberra region since forever, at least since the mid ‘50s. Their yellow wing flashes and clicks as they fly are a typical feature of walking in grassland on hot summer days in the district.



From: Harvey Perkins
Sent: Sunday, 5 January 2014 9:22 PM
To: Canberra Birds
Subject: Re: [canberrabirds] not birds ...Googong grasshopper query


I agree with Steve that it is a Yellow-winged grasshopper (or locust) Gastrimargus musicus. There were lots of them at Uriarra Crossing yesterday too, sufficient that I included a brief comment about them in just my second posting on my brand new blog which ended up being more about insects than the birds I was looking for.






On 5 January 2014 16:35, Steve Holliday <> wrote:

Hi Robin


Looks like Yellow-winged Locust (Gastrimargus musicus), see


A widespread and common species in eastern and northern Australia. They occasionally occur in plague numbers – this might be a big season for them. They also come in a brown morph.




From: Robin Hide [
Sent: Sunday, 5 January 2014 3:20 PM
To: Canberra Birds
Subject: [canberrabirds] not birds ...Googong grasshopper query


Yesterday walking along the grassy western foreshore at the northern end of Googong every step saw tens/hundreds of these grasshoppers (about 30-40 mm in length) take dramatically to the air, with a few flying into ones face etc.

Any suggestions re identification?



Few birds seen - Pipits, White-faced Herons, and on the water, coots and a few  gulls.


Robin Hide


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