Birds at Boot Hill

To: "'David Rosalky'" <>, "'John Layton'" <>, "'Canberra Birds'" <>
Subject: Birds at Boot Hill
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Thu, 7 Aug 2014 17:52:02 +1000
To clarify: David is correct. Treecreepers have syndactylous toes, a unique feature among passerines, parrots, owls, cuckoos & some others have zygodactylous toes. Syndactyl is when the 3 forward toes are joined, that is not separate from the base. Zygodactyl is two toes forward and two back (not joined). Sittellas have normal passerine toes.
-----Original Message-----
From: David Rosalky [
Sent: Thursday, 7 August 2014 4:28 PM
To: 'John Layton'; 'Canberra Birds'
Subject: RE: [canberrabirds] Birds at Boot Hill

I don’t think any passerines are zygodactyls John.  Parrots & co. but not passerines.


David Rosalky


From: John Layton [
Sent: Thursday, 7 August 2014 4:02 PM
To: Canberra Birds
Subject: [canberrabirds] Birds at Boot Hill


Mid morning today we stopped off at Hall cemetery which often produces a few avian highlights viz: A snap-crackle-and-pop sound drew our attention to a super-sized bowl of Rice Bubbles ... no, something’s not right here, read pair of Grey Currawongs pulling bark from a small eucalyptus tree. A moment later they were driven off by a pair of Pied Currawongs. We saw about seven Varied Sittellas moving down a tree trunk.


I seem to remember that in the not too distant past there was discussion about zygodactyls, and it came out that tree creepers are zygodactyls (I think). This leads me to ask if their fellow bark-travellers, sittellas, are too, albeit they travel in the opposite direction. Have done a quick check of our books but am still unclear.


Also a pair of Australian Ravens nest building, one carried what appeared to be sheep’s wool, but when a small tuft fell we found it was a rather tough synthetic material maybe the stuffing from a car seat.


Now, for the real attention grabber. A Pied Butcher moved rapidly across the ground about 15 metres from where we stood. It scurried along for a good 30 metres before flying off in the direction of the village. We drove to Hall and searched around for some 15 minutes but to no avail.


John K. Layton



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