Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow-legged Flyrobin/Flycatcher

Yellow-legged Flyrobin (Microeca griseoceps) by Ian

Yellow-legged Flyrobin (Microeca griseoceps) by Ian

I haven’t had proper internet access for a week, so please forgive me for another late BoW. I’ve been sequestered away in a girls’ boarding school in Armidale on the tablelands of northern New South Wales attending a recorder playing workshop. It was a wonderful experience but quite exhausting and I’ve discovered that you use the same brain cells for playing music as you do for composing text. I managed find some other brain cells to prepare these two photos several days ago – taking time off from practice – but my plan to skip lunch and search for an internet cafe never had much chance of success.

Yellow-legged Flyrobin (Microeca griseoceps) by Ian

Yellow-legged Flyrobin (Microeca griseoceps) by Ian

The Yellow-legged Flycatcher belongs in the obscure category. Unlike its close relative the Jacky-winter – widespread throughout Australia – it is found only in northern Cape York Peninsula and Papua New Guinea. It is a forest dweller, favouring the outer canopy and small (12cm/4in long) so it is easily overlooked. The bright chrome-yellow legs, however, contrast with its rather sombre plumage.

In recent years it has become better known as more birders visit Iron Range National Park near Lockhart River. My 1986 field guide (Slater) describes its status as ‘rare’ and its voice as ‘precise information required’, while my 2000 one (Morecombe) says it is ‘common’ and provides a detailed description of its call (variations on “wheeit”).

Like the Jacky-winter and the rather similar Lemon-bellied Flycatcher of northern Australia it is a member of the Petroicidae. the Australo-Papuan Robins and is not related to other flycatchers. To emphasize this distinction, the international name for the Yellow-legged and the Lemon-bellied is ‘Flyrobin’ (there are several species in PNG) but this name is having an uphill task in being accepted in Australia.

Now, I’m going to go Dangar Falls National Park near Armidale and have a relaxing day or two.
Best wishes,

Yellow-legged Flycatcher
Lemon-bellied Flycatcher

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

Petroicidae Family (Australasian Robins) are in a different Family from other Robins. The American Robin is now the only Robin in with the Thrushes & Allies which are in the (Turdidae) Family. The Clay-colored and White-throated Robins are now Thrushes.  The Muscicadpidae Family which has Robins is in with the Chats and Old World Flycatchers.

The Australasian Robins do not seem to migrate like many others from the other two families mentioned. The American Robin (thrush family) migrates because they are down here now this time of the year.

“Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove and the swift and the thrush Observe the time of their migration; But My people do not know The ordinance of the LORD. (Jeremiah 8:7 NASB)

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