Ian’s Bird of the Week – Spotted Pardalote

Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) by Ian

Ian’s Bird of the Week – Spotted Pardalote ~ by Ian Montgomery

Newsletter ~ 10/30/13

I mentioned a while ago that while preparing photos for the electronic version of the book Where to Find Birds in North-East Queensland by Jo Wieneke (http://www.nqbirds.com), I found that many bird species hadn’t yet had their moment of fame as bird of the week. Spotted Pardalote is one and a surprising omission as pardalotes – http://www.birdway.com.au/pardalotidae/index.htm – are among the most of beautiful small Australian birds. The first photo shows a male of the nominate red-rumped race.

At 8-10cm/3.2-4in in length, the Spotted Pardalote is one of the smallest and only the Weebill (8-9cm) is consistently smaller. Because of the square spots on the wing, it is also called the Diamondbird, risking dreadful puns about ‘gems’. The female is similar, but not so strongly marked and lacks the yellow throat, second photo. Both these birds were close to the ground, but they spend a lot of time in the upper foliage of tall trees, where they’re very hard to see well. All the pardalotes, however, have distinctive calls, very loud for such small birds, and this usually reveals their presence.

Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) by Ian

The third photo shows a slightly uncertain-looking juvenile. These are similar to females, but the markings are less obvious: in particular the background colour of the crown is grey rather blackish.

Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) by Ian Juvenile

Spotted Pardalotes usually nest in burrows in sand banks or road cuttings. If you surprise one near the ground, there’s a good chance that there is a nest nearby. The range of the Spotted Pardalote includes eastern and southern mainland Australia from Northeastern Queensland to SW Western Australia and Tasmania.

I’ve been continuing to add reptiles to the website. The latest lot are lizards, mainly dragons http://www.birdway.com.au/lacertilia/index.htm. Here is one of the more spectacular, the gorgeous Boyd’ Forest Dragon, endemic to Northeastern Queensland.

Boyd's Forest Dragon by Ian Montgomery

Progress with Jo’s book has been steady. I’ve added all the bird photos (over 400) and have just finished adding website-like internal links from all the places to all the birds and back again to make navigation easier. The next thing is to visit as many places as possible to check that the information is still up-to-date and get lots of location photos. That stage will start get underway seriously towards the end of November when a birding pal Madeleine joins me from Sydney for the travelling.

Best wishes

Ian Montgomery, Birdway Pty Ltd,
454 Forestry Road, Bluewater, Qld 4818
Tel 0411 602 737 ian@birdway.com.au
Bird Photos http://www.birdway.com.au/
Recorder Society 

Lee’s Addition:

The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. (Isaiah 43:20 KJV)

Wow! I really like those Pardalotes and that Dragon is really neat also.

The Pardalotes belong to the Pardalotidae Family and only has the Spotted, Forty-spotted, Red-browed, and the Striated Pardalotes.

Pardalotes or peep-wrens are a family, Pardalotidae, of very small, brightly coloured birds native to Australia, with short tails, strong legs, and stubby blunt beaks. This family is composed of four species in one genus, Pardalotus, and several subspecies. The name derives from a Greek word meaning “spotted”. The family once contained several other species now split into the family Acanthizidae.

Pardalotes spend most of their time high in the outer foliage of trees, feeding on insects, spiders, and above all lerps (a type of sap sucking insect). Their role in controlling lerp infestations in the eucalyptus forests of Australia may be significant. They generally live in pairs or small family groups but sometimes come together into flocks after breeding.

Pardalotes are seasonal breeders in temperate areas of Australia but may breed year round in warmer areas. They are monogamous breeders, and both partners share nest construction, incubation and chick rearing duties. All four species nest in deep horizontal tunnels drilled into banks of earth. Externally about the size of a mouse-hole, they can be very deep, at a metre or more. Some species also nest in tree hollows.



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