[Birding-Aus] Interesting Olive Whistler behaviour

To: 'calyptorhynchus' <>, 'Tom Tarrant' <>
Subject: [Birding-Aus] Interesting Olive Whistler behaviour
From: Philip Veerman <>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2020 10:25:43 +0000

Not sure how relevant to the general idea. In my younger days I kept many finches. The male Chestnut-breasted Mannikins have a very low volume song but before any sound could be heard, they would typically adopt the very obvious singing posture, of a stiff upright stance, some feathers flattened and others raised, to emphasise the colour patches, moving their head side to side and sort of looking like they were panting and this would go for a few seconds before any sound would come out. It clearly was a routine part of the song because the posture and stylised movements continued after sounds came out. I also recall Star Finches sometimes doing similar things. This is in the context that the songs of Australian finches aren’t used for territory purposes (only social and sex), and so are not loud sounds (unlike whistlers).




From: Birding-Aus [ On Behalf Of calyptorhynchus
Sent: Wednesday, 11 November, 2020 8:54 AM
To: Tom Tarrant
Cc: <>; Canberra Birds
Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Interesting Olive Whistler behaviour


It was the usual call of the sp in this area, it was the silent gape and the tiny 'peep' before that I hadn't observed before. In fact I haven't seen this behaviour with any bird. I have seen passerines silently gaping, but this is usually a prelude to vomiting a pellet, or just a silent gape with no song (a yawn?).




On Tue, 10 Nov 2020 at 19:04, Tom Tarrant <> wrote:

Hi John,


Don't suppose you managed to record the call? I recorded an unusual-Olive Whistler call a few years ago in S Gippsland and, wonder if they sounded similar?




On Tue, 10 Nov 2020 at 15:42, calyptorhynchus <> wrote:

Today on Mt Franklin Road (Brindabella Ranges, ACT), about 2.5 km beyond the final locked gate I heard two male Olive Whistlers calling at each other using the call the various field guides describes as 'tu WIT tu', but prefacing it with three even notes: 'tu tu tu, tu WIT tu'.


One male was calling from the top of a bush and I observed him calling from about 10m away. What I saw was that before he called he opened his beak, remaining silent for a moment, then uttered a tiny, almost inaudible 'peep' before launching straight into the call. I have not seen this described, and I imagine only a very close recording would capture it, and even then a listener might think it belonged to a different bird.


I have not seen/heard Rufous or Golden Whistlers do anything similar.



John Leonard


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John Leonard

‘There is kinship between people and all animals. Such is the Law.’ Kimberley lawmen (from Yorro Yorro)


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