Stephen Gross <>
Hummingbird in Sydney?
brian fleming <>
Mon, 28 Nov 2005 20:33:12 +1100
Stephen Gross wrote:
On the weekend I was down in Sydney with my brother and sister-in-law
at Prestons, western Sydney.
On Thursday evening my sister-in-law saw a tiny honeyeater-type bird
feeding in her backyard on her agapanthus. She showed me some video
footage she shot which is very blurry with the animal constantly
moving and I had difficulty trying to ID it as a bird or an insect.
When pausing the animal certainly looks like a bird (very blurry
unfortunately) and my sister-in-law said she identified it as a bird
and watched it from about a metre away for about fifteen minutes.
The identification is of a tiny green bird with a bright orange lower
half of the body. The orange has black markings on it. The bird has a
very long curved black beak. The only possible ID I could come up with
was a hummingbird, it certainly didn't look like any Australian
I have the video tape and am planning to put it onto my computer and
see if I can get a clearer view. Would anyone have an idea of the
hummingbird species this would be, if it is a hummingbird? or an
alternate possibility. I'll let people know how capturing the video
footage to computer works out.
My opinion is that your sister-in-law's bird is an Eastern Spinebill.
The bright tan flanks can look orange in bright light, and it does have
black markings. Very smart, and it is a most strikingly talented hoverer
as it feeds on agapanthus, fuchsia, Chinese lanterns as well as Correa
flowers. Sweet piping song which sounds like a whistling kettle coming
up to the boil.
Non-birding friends have often asked me "What is our humming-bird's real
name?" after seeing a Spinebill hover beside native or other shrubs.
While small and slender for a honeyeater, it is not as tiny as the other
hoverer, the Weebill, but the weebill lacks bright or striking colours
and is a very small rounded bird with a very short bill. it hovers as
it takes insect life from gum-leaves etc.
in Ivanhoe, Vic.
We often have Spinebills on the fuchsia (old-fashioned variety with
small red flowers) outside the computer's window
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