Which birds drink, which bathe?

Subject: Which birds drink, which bathe?
From: "Bill Jolly" <>
Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2007 11:29:25 +1000
...and which do other things?

Phil Gregory's comments about Acanthizas bathing rather than drinking at birdbaths set me thinking, as did Keith Brandwood's observations a while back about which birds use birdbaths for which purposes.

I didn't respond straightaway because memory isn't always reliable about these things, and I've been checking my notes and photographs for evidence of what does which here.

I've found that 58 species visit the birdbaths and the rockpool that we have around the garden, all of which are close to the house.

Yellow Thornbills are big-time bathers, as are Yellow-faced Thornbills, Speckled Warblers and White-browed Scrubwrens. But no note or photograph anywhere shows any of these birds standing at the water's edge taking a sip. Which bears out Phil's comments.

All the fairywren spp, honeyeaters and finches are big on bathing, as well as coming in throughout the day for a drink.

Sacred Kingfishers plunge, and often immerse themselves, as do White-throated Honeyeaters.

Torresian Crows sometimes turn up at one bath with a dead Cane Toad, which they rinse in the water as they eviscerate it - calling for a change of water.

Raptors come to water too. It isn't uncommon to see a Collared Sparrowhawk or Brown Goshawk at the birdbaths or the rockpool. They sometimes stand on the edge, they often stand in the water, but I can't say with any certainty that I've seen them take a drink. Is it possible that they use the water to rinse their beaks or something similar? I'm not sure what they're up to. A Collared Sparrowhawk was standing in a birdbath recently clutching a big grasshopper in one claw. They will sometimes visit the same birdbath two or three times in a day. I'll watch for longer next time it happens.

For anyone who might be interested, I'm appending the list below. It's probably a few short, but at least it's evidence-based!

Bill Jolly

Spp visiting birdbaths in the garden:

Brown Goshawk
Collared Sparrowhawk
Crested Pigeon
Spotted Turtle-dove
Peaceful Dove
Bar-shouldered Dove
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Pale-headed Rosella
Shining Bronze-cuckoo
Common Koel
Pheasant Coucal
Sacred Kingfisher
Superb Fairy-wren
Variegated Fairy-wren
Red-backed Fairy-wren
Striated Pardalote
White-browed Scrubwren
Speckled Warbler
Brown Thornbill
Yellow-rumped Thornbill
Yellow Thornbill
Striped Honeyeater
Noisy Friarbird
Little Friarbird
Blue-faced Honeyeater
Lewin's Honeyeater
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
White-throated Honeyeater
Brown Honeyeater
Fuscous Honeyeater
Red-capped Robin
Rose Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin
Grey-crowned Babbler
Eastern Whipbird
Golden Whistler
Rufous Whistler
Grey Shrike-thrush
Leaden Flycatcher
Restless Flycatcher
Grey Fantail
Willie Wagtail
Spangled Drongo
Olive-backed Oriole
Australian Magpie
Pied Currawong
Torresian Crow
House Sparrow
Zebra Finch
Double-barred Finch
Plum-headed Finch
Red-browed Finch
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

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