Yellow wattlebird

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Yellow wattlebird
Anthochaera paradoxa.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Meliphagidae
Genus: Anthochaera
Species: A. paradoxa
Binomial name
Anthochaera paradoxa
(Daudin, 1800)
Synonyms

Corvus paradoxus Daudin, 1800

The yellow wattlebird (Anthochaera paradoxa) is a species of bird in the Meliphagidae family.[1] Other names include the long or Tasmanian wattlebird.[2]

Description[edit]

The yellow wattlebird is the largest of the honeyeaters,[3] and is endemic to Tasmania. They are usually 375–450 millimetres (15–18 in) long.[2] They are named for the wattles in the corners of their mouths.[2] Yellow wattlebirds are slim birds with a short, strong bill.[4] They are dark-coloured forest birds that somewhat resemble slandering grackles.[2] They have a white face and black-streaked crown.[3] They also have a long, pendulous yellow-orange wattle.[3] The wattle becomes brighter during the breeding season.[4] They have dark wings and a yellow belly,[3] whereas the upperparts are grey to dusky brown.[2] The female yellow wattlebird is much smaller than the male.[3] The young yellow wattlebirds have much smaller wattles, a paler head and a browner underbelly than the adult birds.[4] Yellow wattlebirds are active and acrobatic with a strong flight.[2] They are fairly tame birds and often enter gardens looking for food.[2]

The yellow wattlebird is similar in appearance to the little wattlebird and the red wattlebird.

Voice[edit]

Harsh, raucous, often been compared to a person coughing or vomiting.[2]

Breeding[edit]

Yellow wattlebirds nest in breeding pairs and aggressively defend their territories from other birds.[4] The nest of the yellow wattlebird is made by the female alone,[4] and is a large, open saucer-shaped structure made of twigs and bark that are bound by wool.[2] The inside of the nest is lined with wool and grass.[2] The nests can be up to 13 centimetres (5.1 in) high and are found in trees or shrubs.[2] Yellow wattlebirds lay 2–3 eggs that are salmon-red, spotted and blotched red-brown, purplish red and blue-grey.[2] Both the males and females incubate the egg and feed the young.[4]

Habitat[edit]

Yellow wattlebirds live in a variety of habitats including both dry and wet forests and from sea level to the subalpine zone.[4] They live in coastal heaths, forests and gardens near Eucalyptus trees.[3] They also can be found in mountain shrubberies and open woodlands, particularly those dominated by Banksia.[2] They have also been known to be found on golf courses, orchards, parks and gardens.[2]

Range[edit]

Yellow wattlebirds are common in Tasmania, especially in the eastern and central areas.[4] They are also found on King Island and two sightings have been recorded on the southern Mornington Peninsula in Victoria.[2]

Ecology[edit]

Yellow wattlebirds feed on the nectar of eucalypts and banksias, fruit, insects, spiders, honeydew and manna (crystallised plant sap).[5] They forage from all levels of the canopy from the ground to the top of the trees.[4] However, the blossoming of eucalyptus trees can be highly irregular in time and place causing considerable changes from year to year in the breeding distribution of yellow wattlebirds, which rely on the nectar from the eucalyptus trees as a main source of food.[6] Therefore, the most likely threat to the yellow wattlebird is unusual climatic conditions that can reduce food availability suddenly.[5] Yellow wattlebirds can pollinate eucalyptus trees by carrying pollen in their bills or on the feathers of their heads.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2012). "Anthochaera paradoxa". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Graham Pizzey (1980). A Field Guide to the Birds of Australia. Australia: Angus and Robertson. ISBN 9780691084831. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Ken Simpson & Nicolas Day (2004). Field Guide to the Birds of Australia (7th ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691120492. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Yellow Wattlebird". Birds in Backyards. 11 April 2006. Retrieved 28 April 2008. 
  5. ^ a b "The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000: Recovery Outline – Yellow Wattlebird (King Island)" (PDF). Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 27 April 2008. Retrieved 28 April 2008. 
  6. ^ M. G. Ridpath & R. E. Moreau (1966). "The birds of Tasmania: ecology and evolution". Ibis 108 (3): 348–393. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.1966.tb07349.x. 
  7. ^ Andrew B. Hingston, Brett D. Gartell & Gina Pinchbeck (2004). "How specialized is the plant–pollinator association between Eucalyptus globulus ssp. globulus and the swift parrot Lathamus discolor?". Austral Ecology 29 (6): 624–630. doi:10.1111/j.1442-9993.2004.01397.x. 

External links and further reading[edit]