Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Oily boids get ... caterpillars



Gloriously 'oily' Metallic Starlings (Aplonis metallica) were busy taking to caterpillars on a Leichhardt tree in Tyto today. The birds appear to have migrated south in lesser numbers this year.

Favourite trees (usually rain trees: Albiza spp, I think) carry fewer of their bulky 'apartment' buildings. Perhaps Ingham has not retained the favour of these spectacularly plumaged tourists. There may be greater numbers elsewhere.


One small blessing will be reduced mortality around town. All the birds, but particularly the immatures, are terribly naive. Their low, swift flights lead tailenders to crash into windows, fences, power lines and vehicles.

An aside on Leichhardt trees. It's curious how one or two trees will be ravaged by caterpillars (sorry, no idea of species) grazing on the surface of the large leaves , yet others nearby go untouched.   

5 comments:

mick said...

Beautiful birds, and that's another one I've never seen nor likely to see down here.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Tony
There are even fewer Metallic Starlings in Robertson than Mick has on the Sunshine Coast.
There is probably a specific moth which likes your Leichard Tree.

Happy New Year to Tyto and all who sail in it!

Cheers
Denis

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Mick,,

The Metallics are unlikely to get down your way, but there is a southern shift. Who knows what'll turn up where these warming days?

All the best down your way for 2009!

Tyto Tony said...

Hi Denis,

It's a pity I bump into birders and never insect specialists. Time I looked more closely at smaller things.

May your interests bloom among the economic gloom of 2009!

altered egos said...

What a beautiful bird :) lovely pictures as usual