Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rufous Songlark information

I am not entirely convinced that the birds I have observed in the immediate area are indeed Rufous Songlarks. THEY MIGHT BE THOUGH AND STARTING TO THINK THEY ARE RUFOUS SONGLARKS. I have identified these birds entirely by their song alone. See here for the original recording which I identified these birds from. From behind and in flight these birds look like a female House Sparrow. But a side on and front on view, the ones I have seen up close anyway, look different to the image on the birdsinbackyards website. They have a more rusty orange-brown chest or side colouring but have the typical House Sparrow coloured wings.

Currently they are about the size of a White-naped Honeyeater. They all appear to be the same size right now, which tells me they are juveniles and are still growing, and more than likely they recently fledged and left their parents' company. Yesterday I saw 4 of them chasing each other around the bushes.

These little birds can easily be mistaken for House Sparrows until they open their mouths and sing. They eat insects from just about every bush and tree in the area, and wherever insects may be hiding elsewhere. I have seen an individual come underneath Carol's back verandah and do a sweep of the underside of the roof for spiders and other insects. It's funny to watch as it looks like the bird is trapped and trying to escape through an impenetrable roof.

There are 2 plants in which these birds frequent the most, Carol's Hydrangeas and her butterfly bush. The butterfly bush is entered from an open space at the bottom and then the bird/s move their way up the stems to the outermost leaves in search of insects. Once the bird/s reach the outermost leaves they fly out of the bush into a taller bush or tree. The butterfly bush is the most visited plant in Carol's garden by these birds. The Rufous Songlarks, if undisturbed, will spend up to 15 minutes each visit feeding on insects in the butterfly bush. The Hydrangeas, which are currently in flower, are visited by these birds by them landing close to a clump of flowers, and then the insects are just picked off the flowers or bush itself. There are obviously not many insects on the Hydrangeas as the Rufous Songlarks fly away after a few moments.

In the last week to week and a half their songs have changed - or should I say become very varied. They occasionally make the typical call of the Rufous Songlark but now that call mostly occurs in the mornings and mid to late afternoon. During the rest of the day they make a whole host of different sounds which I am attempting to record and convert to mp3 files. These other calls are not the same as their typical call, and if you listen carefully to one of the calls, they actually sound like a Superb Fairy Wren calling out.

I'm still trying to get photos of these birds but in time these birds are becoming less scared of humans and I am finding they are coming to me. They are very curious little birds.


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