Bill Clacking

To: "Birding Aus (E-mail)" <>
Subject: Bill Clacking
From: "Pat O'Malley" <>
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 2000 08:55:47 +1100
Dear All

Unless I missed some messages on this, I was a bit surprised that hardly
anyone mentioned the Little Wattlebird in the bill clacking thread, as this
seems to precede much of their 'song' (is this sex specific? I suspect its
only males, going on the pattern of songs in springtime).

Acouple of days ago I heard loud bill clacking and squawking, which turned
out to be a very aggressive Little WB asserting its rights over a windfallen
apple. Two disconcerted Indian Mynas were the object of this display - the
LWB getting right 'into the face' of one (2-3 cm), then raising head and
tail so that its body formed a U shape, proceeded with the bill clacking.
(All three were on the ground - another unusual thing for LWBs in my

The Mynas appeared quite nonplussed (puzzled rather than scared), and walked
off. The LWB then flew back into the tree, only to drop down and repeat the
performance when the Mynas returned to the apple. Evetually another LWB flew
into the tree and distracted its attention - but the pattern had been
repeated 6-7 times over a 15 minute period.

So, is the bill clacking sex specific, and  territorial/aggressive? I must
say it was good to see Mynas driven off by a native species.

Pat O'Malley

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