I was watching a Rufous Bristlebird at Bells Beach [south of Geelong]
the other day, and have previously watched a Western Bristlebird at Two
People's Bay near Albany.
1. Bristlebirds tend to run and jump. They don't fly much. The RBB I
was watching zipped across a track and then jumped over a metre high
fence. As Andrew has previously pointed out, they are pretty quiet in
their movements. Eastern Whipbirds on the other hand spend a fair bit
of time scratching around in and leaf litter and do tend to fly low.
2. EWBs have a loud, clear and very strong "whipcrack" call [hence
their name]. Bristlebirds have a melodic multi-note call. While it is
reasonably strong, it is nowhere near as loud as the call as the EWB's
On the subject of habitat, the interesting thing about Eastern
Bristlebirds is that they inhabit heath country south of Sydney, and
tussock grass woodlands in SEQ. Similarly, the Southern Emu Wrens are
normally seen in coastal heaths, but also occur in woodlands on the
MacPherson Range in SEQ. Third, the Noisy Scrubbird is normally seen
in coastal heaths near Albany, but were historically seen in the
Darling Range east of Perth [a somewhat less heathy environment.
I wouldn't rule out an EBB being in a different sort of habitat to what
it is normally known to exist in, but I suspect the likelihood of an
EBB population on Fraser Island is fairly low. While they might have
found their way there a long time ago when Fraser Island may have been
connected to the mainland, I would think that there would have been
other sightings on FI if that were the case.
On Thursday, July 5, 2007, at 06:09 PM, Phillip Duke wrote:
As I was walking on this road, I head this exceptionally load, clear
and very strong call. There was also rustling in the leaf litter. I
stood still and waited for the bird to present itself. This very
small, dark brown bird popped out of the scrub. It had an erect tail
and long legs for such a small bird. It's strut made me feel that it
was one of those old fashioned wind-up tin toys. It saw me, let out a
very load squark and flew off very low into the scrub with rounded
wing tips. That was all I saw. Nothing but the Rufus Scrub Bird and
now the Bristlebird matches my observation. If there are any
recordings of these birds' calls, I'm sure I would be able to confirm
whether my identification was accurate.
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