Pat O'Malley wrote:
> Dear All
> Unless I missed some messages on this, I was a bit surprised that
> anyone mentioned the Little Wattlebird in the bill clacking thread, as
> seems to precede much of their 'song' (is this sex specific? I suspect
> only males, going on the pattern of songs in springtime).
> Acouple of days ago I heard loud bill clacking and squawking, which
> out to be a very aggressive Little WB asserting its rights over a
> apple. Two disconcerted Indian Mynas were the object of this display -
> LWB getting right 'into the face' of one (2-3 cm), then raising head
> tail so that its body formed a U shape, proceeded with the bill
> (All three were on the ground - another unusual thing for LWBs in my
> The Mynas appeared quite nonplussed (puzzled rather than scared), and
> 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
> say it was good to see Mynas driven off by a native species.
> Pat O'Malley
My mother feeds backyard birds with chopped apples, as this is the only
way she gets to see birds at all. We dont have Little Wattlebirds but
we do have Red WBs and they attack almost everything - mynahs, starlings
and blackbirds - but ignore Spotted Doves. Attack is usually carried out
by swooping from chairback or clothes-line. I have seen aggressive
facing-off with bill-rattling and squawks from the ground - usually
followed by a flying attack. Visiting Grey Butcherbird is clacked and
'rasped' at when perched in tree, but swooped at when on ground for meat
The RWB is so busy chasing Blackbirds from every apple piece that it
hardly has time to eat any itself. Self-defeating.
Anthea Fleming in Ivanhoe (Melbourne)
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