Ian’s Bird of the Week – Silver-crowned Friarbird ~ by Ian Montgomery
Last week, we had the splendid Palm Cockatoo at Mungkan Kandju National Park. On the way home, I spent the night at Musgrave, Cape York Peninsula, so that I could look for Golden-shouldered Parrots at Artemis Station where the owners, the Shephards, have worked tirelessly to save this utterly beautiful but endangered parrot. This featured as Bird of the Week last December, so I’ve chosen the Silver-crowned Friarbird as the main species this week.
At Musgrave, I camped under an African tulip tree, a popular ornamental introduction in northern Australia but now branded as a Class 3 weed in Queensland (may not be supplied or sold and removal may be required from environmentally sensitive areas). It is, however, very popular with the larger honeyeaters and after returning from Artemis, I noticed a smallish Friarbird feeding in the tree and making unfamiliar sounds, this Silver-crowned Friarbird, a species I’ve seen in the Northern Territory but not previously in northern Queensland, where the similar Helmeted Friarbird is much commoner.
The north Queensland race of the Helmeted Friarbird (yorki) also has a silver crown and frequently mid-identified. The Silver-crowned is better identified by its smaller size (27-32cm/11-12.6in compared with 32.5-37cm/12.8-14.6in), the shape of the bare patch on the cheek and the shape of the bill-knob. In the Silver-crowned Friarbird the black facial skin forms an angular point behind the eye but is rounded in the Helmeted. This isn’t always easy to see, so I have included the second photo which shows it better. The Silver-crowned has a more prominent bill-knob, but the knob is less obvious in juvenile birds of both species and variable in shape in the races of the Helmeted. The call is perhaps more reliable as the tone of the Silver-crowned is noticeably more nasal, sometimes described as ‘cat-like’ and also likened to the calls of the Koel. I’m rather deaf, but even I noticed the difference.
Sue Shephard found me a pair of Golden-shouldered Parrots feeding on the roadside and the male was quite approachable, so I’ve included a photo of this amazing parrot.
Back at the website, I’ve been labouring to fix the formatting problems discovered with old versions of Internet Explorer. I’ve fixed the home page and all the new format family index pages and am now updating the actual photo galleries. I’ve started with the galleries birds that appear at the top of the home page as ‘Ian’s Picks’, normally updated weekly, though I’ll leave the current crop for a few days longer.
As part of the reformatting, I’m adding a few refinements. In the family index pages, I’ve included ‘place-holders’ for regional thumbnail links that don’t apply (eg Australian Thumbnails for Woodpeckers) so that the regional thumbnail links always appear in the same location in both the family index pages and the species galleries and I’m including the other applicable regional thumbnail links in the regional index pages so that, for example, you can go straight from the Old World Woodpecker thumbnails to the New World Woodpecker thumbnails without having to go through the Global thumbnails.
I’ve also including the previous and next family pointers (and the names of the families) in the regional index pages so that, again, you don’t have to go to the Global level of thumbnails to get to the next or previous family. This all sounds more complicated that it actually is, so, if you are interested, have a look at the Woodpeckers: http://www.birdway.com.au/picidae/index.htm .
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: +61-7 4751 3115
Preferred Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, Ian has captured some fantastic photos of the birds. He has such a talent for his photography. Thanks again, Ian.
The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly. (Proverbs 14:24 KJV)
Ian’s Bird of the Week – Helmeted Friarbird