Larks at Parkwood

To: 'Steve Read' <>, 'canberrabirds chatline' <>
Subject: Larks at Parkwood
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Sat, 7 Dec 2019 08:03:14 +0000

Thanks for that. I found the last item especially interesting. The Australian Bird Guide book lists its mimicry behaviour which fits your comment. The take-off flight of a Crested Pigeon is distinct enough to pick but it is an odd one. The closest I can think of is there are certainly recordings of the Superb Lyrebird mimicking the sound of Crimson Rosella wing flaps in flight. Or believed to be that. It is clearly the sound of bird wing flaps in flight, these are consistent with rosella but given simultaneously with mimicry of Crimson Rosella calls, so a fair guess. There is not much in general literature about birds mimicking non vocal birds’ sounds (I am excluding pet parrots, mynas or other things from that comment). Many birds around the world are mimics but it appears that Australia has the best range.




From: Steve Read [
Sent: Saturday, 7 December, 2019 12:34 PM
To: 'canberrabirds chatline'
Subject: [canberrabirds] Larks at Parkwood


Lach and I went out to Parkwood first thing this morning, ostensibly to check on the Crimson Chat, but the lure of the opening rolling grassland across the border was too great, and we drove out to Ginninderry Falls turnaround and back, birding along the way. The land was dry and the grass was short, but the morning was beautiful and there were still grassland birds around – a few pipits, more skylarks and bushlarks, and a single songlark.


The single songlark was a Brown Songlark, by size probably a female rather than an immature male. It was like a pipit but taller and lankier, and speckled rather than striated, with no white in its tail. It was moving around, perching and feeding about 500 m into NSW, where the road dips. Thanks to Lach for first spotting this bird – he has photos that he will post.


Equally interesting were the Horsfield’s Bushlarks, at least half a dozen on the ground, in display flights and chasing each other. For the first time we heard the range of mimicry that this species can include in its song. Amongst the reasonably quiet lark-like twitterings were snatches of Red-rumped Parrot and Magpie-lark, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike and Starling, and – a first for me for any mimic – the take-off flight of a Crested Pigeon! Lach heard additional species in the mix.


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