Scrubwrens following lyrebirds

To: Carol Probets <>
Subject: Scrubwrens following lyrebirds
From: Syd Curtis <>
Date: Wed, 27 Apr 2011 11:46:04 +1000
Hi Carol and All,

You have noted that in the Blue Mountains, Eastern Yellow Robins are among 
those that accompany lyrebirds for food morsels scratched up by them.  

Sherbrooke Forest Yellow Robins also do this: Dr L. H. Smith in his delightful 
book "The Life of the Lyrebird" (Heinemann, 1988) at page 35, has a photo of a 
Yellow Robin picked up by the lyrebird.  The caption reads, "This Yellow Robin 
was accidentally caught in Spotty's large claw, but escaped unharmed".  

I'd query Dr Smith's "accidentally".  I think he was just being kind to Spotty. 
 Clearly he has the robin in a firm grip and has lifted him from the ground.  
I'm not suggesting that the lyrebird objected to the robin's foraging, but 
rather that it was just another object to be removed from the area he was 



On 27/04/2011, at 9:33 AM, Carol Probets wrote:

> 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.
> Cheers,
> Carol
> Carol Probets
> Blue Mountains NSW


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