kimberley birds-cuckoo shrikes, butcherbirds, pardalotes, northern rosel

Subject: kimberley birds-cuckoo shrikes, butcherbirds, pardalotes, northern rosella
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 2009 15:11:33 +0800

Gary Wright's observations of these birds in the Kimberley generally agree with mine.

I have found that Grey (Silver-backed) Butcherbird tends to be around the sandstone areas, while the Pied Butcherbird is more in the open and woodland. But I have seen both together at the airport at the Argyle Diamond Mine in the East Kimberley. Leaden Flycatcher in the Kimberley seems to be in similar habitat as the Grey Butcherbird in the Kimberley, although there are a couple of records of LF for Broome. The dulcis race of Variegated Fairy-wren seems to prefer the sandstone type areas also.

The White-bellied (Little) Cuckoo-shrike in the Kimberley tends to be more in riparian or remnant rainforest habitat. BFCS can also be there though. Gary was walking mostly in riparian / riverine vegetation from the impression that I got from his posting. My feeling is that anywhere you see WBCS in the Kimberley you would be less likely than other places to see BFCS but that it would be possible, while there certainly are places (such as Broome, and areas away from watercourses) where you definitely would not expect to see WBCS. Having said that, I once saw a flock of 50 WBCS in a sunflower crop on Packsaddle Plains at Kununurra, while there were some BFCSs around also.

Not so certain about Red-browed Pardalote though. I wouldn't expect it to be common along riverine type habitat where Gary spent most of his time. It is more of a drier country bird. They were both quite common around the Argyle Diamond Mine in the East Kimberley. They can both be found east of Broome (near Taylor's Lagoon) and just south of Derby (near Munkyarra Claypan). Similar to the cuckoo-shrikes, I would expect that anywhere you saw RBP in the Kimberley you would still have a chance of seeing SP, but there are definitely areas where you would not expect to see RBP but that SP would occur.

Northern Rosella is patchy but I think it is probably more common than Gary saw. It seems to prefer areas of open eucalypt woodland. Possibly not as common along the major rivers, but it can be found near small waterholes. I can find it reasonably easily around the Argyle Diamond Mine, Kununurra and a few other places. It doesn't seem to call a lot, so it could be overlooked, as compared to Red-winged Parrot which you often hear well before you see them.

The Budgerigar would definitely be wild. They irrupt into the Kimberley. There are times where they are all over the place, and other times you can go for months or even more than a year without seeing one. One year in the 1990s there was a massive breeding event at Lake Gregory (100,000 pairs was mentioned I think) and for the next year or two there were Budgies all over the Kimberley.

Frank O'Connor           Birding WA
Phone : (08) 9386 5694 Email :

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