Monday, 18 March 2013

Red Wattlebird

It is autumn now and the our local garden Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata is re-affirming his ownership of the nectar-bearing plants, especially the grevilleas. This will be his main food supply throughout autumn and winter and whenever he sees another bird in one of these bushes he chases them well away. This the largest mainland honeyeater measuring up to 360mm in length, and when in pursuit of smaller birds, with determination in their eye, they look very like a sparrowhawk. Their name derives from the pairs of red wattles which hang from their cheeks, and they also have a splendid lemon-yellow belly. As with all honeyeaters they have specially adapted brush-tipped tongues for lapping up nectar and they are important pollinators in Australia.

Being large and heavy does have some drawbacks though, and they do have to stretch to reach the farthest flowerheads. Like this one outside the office window.

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