Ian’s Bird of the Week – Black-tailed Treecreeper ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter – 10/28/11
I hope you like albatrosses and penguins as I leave in less than 2 weeks for a boat-trip to the so-called Sub-Antarctic island south of New Zealand and Australia and seabirds will, I hope, dominate the bird of the week for some time to come. In the meantime, here is a real landlubber, the Black-tailed Treecreeper, from northwestern Australia. It’s range extends from northwestern Queensland (Cloncurry district) through the Top End of the Northern Territory to the Kimberley region of northern Western Australia, with an isolated population of a paler race slightly farther south in the Pilbara region.
This bird is a male with a black throat with white streaks and the photo shows well the huge rear claws that it uses to climb trees. The photo also shows that Australo-Papuan Treecreepers (Climacteridae Family) usually don’t rely on their tails as a prop, unlike the unrelated Northern Hemisphere Treecreepers (Certhiidae) and Woodpeckers (Picidae). This photo was taken in tropical forest in Kakadu but this species also occurs in much more arid country with only scattered trees and it will feed on the ground, as in the second photo, taken at McNamara’s Road between Mount Isa and Camooweal. This bird is also a male: females have pale throats, but I haven’t got a good photo of one.
The main ground cover here is a prickly grass usually called spinifex (Triodia) and this site, third photo, is famous for its Carpentarian Grasswrens, but I remember it better for a hard night’s camping with a punctured airbed on this fourth-failed and final foray here in search of these elusive grasswrens – final because I was shown the grasswrens at another site two days later by Brian Venables who has much better hearing than I have! (Carpentarian Grasswren)
I am glad Ian is the one camping in an area like that last photo. That prickly grass doesn’t look too inviting. Those neat photos of the Treecreeper are worth it though. Thanks for sacrificing your airbed for them.
In them the birds build their nests; the stork has her home in the fir trees. (Psalms 104:17 ESV)