Scrubwrens following lyrebirds

To: "Tom and Mandy Wilson" <>, "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Scrubwrens following lyrebirds
From: Carol Probets <>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 09:33:07 +1000
Hello all,

In his post "Good Friday in Sydney's Royal National Park", Tom Wilson wrote:

"A Superb Lyrebird by the river - but the accompanying small birds were not Pilotbird but 2 yellow Throated Scrubwren"

Here in the Blue Mountains NSW, it is most often the scrubwrens that accompany lyrebirds in the pursuit of morsels uncovered by the larger bird's feet. I've also seen Eastern Yellow Robins do this.

Last winter I spent quite a bit of time working with the Superb Lyrebirds at Scenic World near Katoomba. There, the foraging lyrebirds were nearly always attended by small groups of White-browed and Yellow-throated Scrubwrens, not only darting around the feet of the lyrebirds, but also descending on freshly scratched areas immediately after the lyrebird had moved on.

First thing each morning, well before the tourists arrived, there would be literally dozens of scrubwrens on and around the boardwalk. It occurred to me that the feeding opportunities created by the high concentration of lyrebirds in that area almost certainly enables a larger population of scrubwrens to exist at that location than would otherwise be possible.

I gather that Pilotbirds are much more likely to be seen accompanying lyrebirds in the forests of Victoria than up here in the Sydney region. Here I rarely see Pilotbirds following lyrebirds as they are renowned to do, and in fact I most often see them in places where the understorey is too dense for lyrebirds.



Carol Probets
Blue Mountains NSW


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