Whipbird Behaviour &c

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: Whipbird Behaviour &c
From: "John Leonard" <>
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2007 08:11:40 +1000
A couple of weeks ago I managed a little birding on the Atherton
Tablelands after attending a conference in Cairns.

The most interesting observation I made was of a male Whipbird of the
northern subspecies at Lake Barrine. I observed it calling (and, as
far as I could make out, supplying both parts of the call, the call
and the whipcrack, itself). What was interesting was that although it
was calling constantly, each time it called it would then drop down
from the log on which it was perched to the forest floor, and then
almost immediately hop back up again to give the next call, which it
did with head and neck extended.

Also observed at Lake Barrine were several families groups of three
Chowchillas, male, female and immature. With one I observed the
foraging behaviour where the bird stands on one leg, braces itself
with its stiff tail and rakes vigorously with its other foot. (When I
first arrived there in the early morning I heard their incredible
virtuoso honking calls).

Other good sightings were a male Golden Bowerbird at the Crater NP,
and the northern ssp of King Parrots near Lake Eachem (smaller and
more compact and more neatly coloured than the southern birds,
Bergmann's Rule), plus my making acquaintance again after too long
with various other Atherton endemics, and wet tropics spp. Good
mammals were Northern Brown Bandicoot at Lake Eachem and Dusky Rat
Kangaroos at Lake Barrine (common).

John Leonard

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