Ian’s Bird of the Week – Yellow Wattlebird ~ by Ian Montgomery
Newsletter ~ 1/31/13
I was going to use some recent photos of the Little Wattlebird as the bird of the week, but then I found that no Wattlebird has featured as BotW so we may as well start with the most spectacular, the Yellow Wattlebird, endemic to Tasmania where it replaces the Red Wattlebird of southern mainland Australia.
Not only is it the largest of the 4 species of Wattlebird but with a length of 37-45cm/14-18in it is the largest member of the Honeyeater family (Meliphagidae) easily out-classing the largest Friarbird the Helmeted (32-37cm). It also has much longer wattles than it cousin the Red Wattlebird. (Neither the Little nor the closely-related Western Wattlebird have wattles.)
It is reasonably common in its native Tasmania, except along the west coast, and also occurs on King Island in Bass Strait. It feeds mainly on nectar but will also take insects and feed on fruit in orchards. The bird in the third photo is probing under bark for insects or grubs.
All the wattlebirds are very noisy and the Yellow is no exception. Pizzey and Knight describe its call as ‘harsh, gurgling, guttural like coughing/vomiting’ and you can’t get much less flattering than that. Some non-birding friends of mine called Wattlebirds near their holiday cottage ‘Yobbo-birds’ (either Red or Little), which appealed to me and, given that two of the species don’t have wattles, seems to me a much better name. So, herewith the Yellow Yobbobird
Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 firstname.lastname@example.org
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I know all the birds of the mountains, And the wild beasts of the field are Mine. (Psalms 50:11 NKJV)
What an interesting looking bird. I love those wattles hanging down. Wonder if they get in the way or he swings them to attract a mate? When you check out Ian’s Meliphagidae family page you will see that he has really been busy photographing those in that family. He has at least 70 birds listed. Wow! At present there are 184 species and he has 70 of them.
More of Ian’s Bird of the Week Newsletters
Meliphagidae – Honeyeaters – Here