White-browed Woodswallows - dy defensive pose

To: "'Leo Berzins'" <>, <>
Subject: White-browed Woodswallows - dy defensive pose
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2014 13:44:30 +1100
I thought the observation and photo from Leo to be really curious (as I had not known of passerines to do that) and it is well worth showing to a bigger audience. I had not encountered it or did not remember having heard of that behaviour before. I have just got around to checking HANZAB about it and although there are a lot of pages to scan through, it did not take long. Vol 7A page 431 for White-browed Woodswallows under "Anti-predator response of young" describes some prior observations of what I assume to be exactly that pose. It even cites (our own well known) G Dabb in an article (1999) in CBN 24(1):29-30. Although that described the posture as "frozen", which maybe Geoff can comment on whether it was the same thing. Curiously I don't see the same comment given for other Woodswallow species.
I normally would delete a photo if responding to a message but in this case it is relevant to keep it in.
-----Original Message-----From: Leo Berzins [ Sent: Tuesday, 7 January 2014 6:59 PM      To:
Subject: [canberrabirds] Re: White-browed Woodswallows

Jude reported White-browed Woodswallows vigorously protecting their young on the ground.
I observed the same behaviour last week at Campbell Park and naturally moved on when I realised what the fuss was about.
Passing by the same spot an hour or so later, I observed a very different behaviour. A young W-b Woodswallow (possibly the same one) was motionless on a dead branch at eye level and doing its best Tawny Frogmouth impression. The parents were nearby but kept silent as I moved in a little closer for a quick photo.
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