Tailess Golden Whistler

To: "'Canberra Birds'" <>
Subject: Tailess Golden Whistler
From: "Mark Clayton" <>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2014 11:45:32 +1100

To reply to Philip Veerman’s question as to whether birds will regrow a complete tail when lost due to unforeseen circumstances, the answer is yes. On quite a few occasions at Charcoal Tank during banding operations we have come across birds that are replacing the ENTIRE tail in one go, not in the normal sequence of one “pair” of feathers at a time. The same goes for replacing the occasional flight feather. This obvious when we check the moult patterns for all the birds we band, as the new feather(s) are quite different in tone.


Last year I had a female magpie that had lost all its tail. It did look rather strange when it was flying (as to all birds who suddenly lose their tail) but I watched it grow over a month or so. I saw it every day as it built its nest in a tree in my front yard.


I have already suggested to Denise that she release the bird and suggested that the botanic gardens would be a good choice of locality – somewhere like the Sydney sandstone area would be ideal. There are no concerns with territorial disputes (except perhaps from Red Wattlebirds which harass just about anything) as generally there will not be anything breeding at this time of year.



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