Photo: C & D Frith
Wet Tropics Rainforest Life
EASTERN WHIPBIRD: Psophodes olivaceus 27 cm
- The Eastern Whipbird is endemic to forests of eastern Australia.
- In north Queensland it is virtually restricted to upland rainforests.
- The dark olive-green body, black head, small black crest, white cheeks and long tail give it a distinctive appearance.
The call of the whipbird is usually a combined effort. it starts with a thin piercing (but hard to locate) whistle and (easier to locate) whipcrack whereupon the partner adds several sharp chirrups. It has long been thought that the call is initiated by the male and completed by the female, but the opposite may also be true. (Source: Environmental Protection Agency)
- Its loud whipcrack call is a familiar sound but the birds are difficult to see as they forage in dense understorey vegetation.
- Observations suggest that the whistle part of the eastern whipbirds call may vary according to the individual and that the answer only responds to the whistle of its mate.
- The whistler may also be able to lower the pitch of its whistle to match it to the whistle of an intruder. This may be a way of directing aggression towards a specific individual.
- Although spending most time on or near the ground, it often is seen feeding among debris caught in foliage or vines, sometimes 10m or more above forest floor.
- They are easily observed on the lawns, in the orchard and in the open understorey areas at Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodge.
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