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Friday, 15 August 2014

The smaller birds - Zebra Finch juveniles, Red-capped Robin and Inland Thornbill

You know a bird is small when a Fairy-wren looks large in comparison. The wind chill factor in Central Australia makes it hard to get motivated to even go looking, but I found a nice thickly treed area the other day.

In total, there were four juvenile Zebra Finches in the group. They huddled up eventually, but it started with a couple on different branches, until ultimately all 4 sat on the same branch.

The Red-capped Robin in the photos below was one of a few I saw. I was trying to be patient and wait until it landed on a lower branch with some yellow wildflowers in the background but it decided the perches I had identified weren't good for spying food, so I dipped on the wanted photo, but still managed a few shots.
Red-capped Robin

The Inland Thornbill in the photo below was one of a pair that was flitting around and chattering amongst the trees. I was intrigued by the up-turned tail, like a Fairy-wren. I hadn't really noticed this before, and the sounds the thornbills were making was unusual, making me wonder if they weren't perhaps using mating calls. Unfortunately I've misplaced my sound recording machine as it would have been handy to record the calls being made by both birds. I didn't see any indication of a nest, but they could have been building one further into the scrub.

Inland Thornbill

There were a number of other small birds in the area I didn't manage decent shots of - Splendid Fairy-wren, Mistletoebird, Western Gerygone as well as Yellow-rumped Thonbills. I did have a very inquisitive young Thornbill, I think it was an Inland variety but couldn't be 100%. It came to within 1 metre of me on a branch, and checked me out for probably 5 seconds, before moving about the bush and then off to another one from the back of the bush. There were a couple of striking parts to this - firstly, how close it came to me, and secondly, it was tiny. Pizzey and Knight state the Inland Thornbill's size ranges from 9.5 - 11.5 cms. I doubt this one was the 9.5 cms, more like 7, so I am wondering if it perhaps wasn't a juvenile Slaty-backed Thornbill which is supposed to be 9.5 cms only. They are supposed to mix with the Inland Thornbills, so perhaps this was what it was, but without a photo I'll never know. such is life in the birding world.


  1. I can feel the wind chill Richard! Hope you're getting some much needed rains during this predicted change too. The red-capped robin about to fly is a fantastic shot!

  2. If those are the "I've dipped out" photos then the desired shot would have been stupendous!