Ian’s Bird of the Week – Tropical Scrubwren

Tropical Scrubwren (Sericornis beccarii) Female by Ian

Tropical Scrubwren (Sericornis beccarii) Female by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Tropical Scrubwren ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter – 9/30/11

Here’s another of my target species on the Cape York trip. It comes from the less spectacular end of the spectrum, far away from the Birds of Paradise, but I’m fond of Scrubwrens in general. They are plucky, vocal little birds with lots of character, so colourful plumage isn’t everything.

The one in the first photo is a female, distinguishable from the male by a plainer face pattern with lores – the bit between the eye and the bill – much the same colour as the rest of the head. The second photo shows a male and you can see the patterning on the face with dark lores with pale highlights above and below them.
Tropical Scrubwren (Sericornis beccarii) Male by Ian

Tropical Scrubwren (Sericornis beccarii) Male by Ian

The Tropical Scrubwren look like a cross between the Large-billed Scrubwren and the White-browed. It has a long, slightly-upwards pointing bill like the Large-billed but the wing pattern with dark, white-tipped wing-coverts look much more like those of the White-browed (the Large-billed has very plain plumage overall including the wings). In fact, there has been some doubt whether it’s a separate species from the Large-billed, but most authorities now accept that it is.

In Australia it occurs only on Cape York Peninsula from Cooktown northwards. Within its restricted range, it’s quite common and I found several pairs without much difficulty as they are quite vocal. The birds do, however, flit incessantly and almost invisibly through the dense undergrowth and foliage of the rainforest and are not easy to see well or photograph. They have reddish irises, but in the poor light of the rainforest, their pupils are very dilated and look black in most of the photos that I took. This species is widespread in PNG, where it is called Beccari’s Scrubwren.
Best wishes

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Phone: 0411 602 737 +61-411 602 737
Preferred Email: ian@birdway.com.au
Website: http://birdway.com.au

Lee’s Addition:

There are 13 Scrubwrens that make up the Sericornis Genus of the Acanthizidae – Australasian Warblers Family. The Passeriformes Order has the perching birds, of which this family belongs. I think they are cute, even if they are not very colorful. The video at the bottom of the Family link is of a very active Atherton Scrubwren (Sericornis keri) by Keith Blomerley. Those birds sound like the ones that give photographers the fits trying to take their picture.

The birds of the air have their resting-places by them, and make their song among the branches. (Psalms 104:12 BBE)

To see all of the Ian’s Bird of the Week – Click Here


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