Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Breeding information of the Red Wattlebird

The "unidentified Red Wattlebird" mentioned in this blog was last seen on the 14th August 2012 collecting nesting material (a long strand of plastic-like material) from my grey rug on my clothes line. It's daily visits to my neighbour, Carol's, garden ceased from that moment onward, with only one exception.

Going on the fact that the other Red Wattlebird sighted here is obviously a male, the "unknown Red Wattlebird" must therefore be a female. Information about which gender sits on the eggs see here states that often the female will sit on the eggs alone. This may be the case for the Red Wattlebirds in this area but I am just guessing because the female has only been seen once since 14th August. The male has been sighted more often but his visits are less frequent and no longer on a daily basis. Where their nest  is is anyone's guess as it is not in the immediate area of where I live.

Finding out more information about their breeding cycle is difficult as this pair of Red Wattlebirds do not stay in the immediate area to breed or nest. As the female has less yellow colouring (if any at all) on her belly (I'm still trying to get close up photographs of her especially from underneath her), it is hard to tell if their eggs will even hatch. But going on the activity of the male alone I would say that the eggs did indeed hatch, as he seems more relaxed than the previous 2 weeks. He seems happy but still nervous around other birds when it comes to getting food. Prior to the breeding season the male would happily wait for food to be thrown in his direction, despite the presence of Noisy Miners, and was always quick to get the food. Yesterday, Noisy Miners took the food as he tried to get it, and instead of waiting around he simply flew off and didn't come back down for a second chance at getting the food. The male also does not stay for very long. Normally he would sit on a nearby tree branch, in the tree where Carol's bird feeder is, or on top of the clothes line. He rarely does that now during the breeding season.

The genetic diversity for breeding may be severely reduced as I have not yet seen or heard any other Red Wattlebirds in other areas of Tenterfield when walking about town. I'm sure there are more Red Wattlebirds somewhere in Tenterfield (or nearby) but I have just yet to see or hear any of them. I hope there are more anyway.

On this website it states that the (eggs) incubation period is 14 - 16 days and and the young birds fledge at about 15 - 18 days. So, in theory, anywhere from the 17th September onwards I should start seeing juvenile Red Wattlebirds with their parents in the area again. It is now a waiting game!


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