Re: Figbird Face colouration

To: James Davis <>
Subject: Re: Figbird Face colouration
From: Peter Woodall <>
Date: Thu, 05 Nov 1998 08:57:15 +1000
At 15:42 4/11/98 +1000, you wrote:
>This morning I watched a male Figbird singing from a palm tree in Mt.
>Coot-tha Botantical Garden.  As typical for the the species, he displayed 
>a red eye-patch.  However, when he joined a female to inspect a potential
>nest site -- the two birds sat close to each other and clapped their
>bills together -- his red face-patch turned white with a thin red/pink
>border.  Has anyone else witness such a change in colour?
>Cheers, Jim
>Dr. Wm. James Davis, Editor
>Interpretive Birding Bulletin

Figbirds are fascinating and would repay much more detailed study. I've
reported a helper at the nest (communal breeding) and also colonial breeding,
four nests in one tree and one adjacent (Sunbird 11: 73, 14: 40).

I've seen changes in their facial colour but don't know of any detailed work
on it. In the Reader's Digest "Complete Book of Australian Birds" (1979) is
the following statement, "The male bird has a red eye patch which appears to 
be at its brightest during nesting, but each individual seems to be able to 
vary the colour, presumably according to mood".


Dr Peter Woodall                          email = 
Division of Vet Pathology & Anatomy             
School of Veterinary Science & An. Prod.  Phone = +61 7 3365 2300
The University of Queensland              Fax   = +61 7 3365 1355
Brisbane, Qld, Australia 4072             WWW  =
"hamba phezulu" (= "go higher" in isiZulu)


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