Australian bird calls in movie "Congo"

To: David Stewart <>, "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Australian bird calls in movie "Congo"
From: David James <>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2000 22:29:23 +1000
G'day Dave,

the only variation in lewin's call that I know is a slow version of the
machinegun call, which is delivered at a similar pace to to Yellow
-spotteds normal call, but without the wheezy petulence and change in pace.
it's a steady paced toc-toc-toc, but I've only heard it go for a few
seconds. Is this the call you mean?

When I wrote the wingspan article on Meliphigas a few years back I
described some "uncommon" calls of Gracful and Yellow-spotted that I new
pretty well from Pajinka, Cape York. early last year I was commenting on
HANZAB identification texts, and my call descriptions had confused David
Eades, partly because I'm not good at describing calls, partly because they
aren't covered well in the usual places (ie field guides). In seeking to
clarify, I relised I hadn't heard these calls in a few years, despite
listening a lot in the Wet Tropics. But in December at Iron Range, these
"uncommon" calls were very common. 

This illustrated two points to me:

1) geographical variation in calls is not well described in Australia.
Sure, some species are well known, but how much more is there?

2) most of the verbal descriptions of bird calls (at least pre-HANZAB) come
from a couple of books, a few authors only. 

Anyway, back to your point: what on earth does it mean when a Lewins'
spends an hour monotonousley repeating a call that it otherwise never makes? 

 At 09:49 20/02/00 +1100, David Stewart wrote:

>On a bird matter I heard a Lewins Honeyeater make its' slow "toc" call this
>morning almost continuously from 0640 - 0727. 
David James
PO BOX 5225
Townsville Mail Centre,
Qld 4810, Australia

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