Friday, November 12, 2004

Honey-Eater

Eastern Spinebill
I finally managed to capture the little bird that has been eluding me on camera today. I first saw it in one of our apricot trees early this morning (left) and then later on in the ferns drinking from our fuscia blossoms. Here is some information about this bird:
Eastern Spinebill ~ Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris

The Eastern Spinebill is a common honeyeater in Mountain Ash forests, feeding in the shrub-layer on nectar, but also on insects.
During winter, the Mountain Correa is the major food source with spinebills being scarce or absent in areas where there is no correa.
Like all honeyeaters, they have brush-tipped tongues which are an adaptation to nectar feeding.
Eastern Spinebill at a fuscia plant
There are about 70 - 75 species of honeyeater in Australia. The various species occur in all habitats from alpine regions, rainforests, heathlands through to deserts.
DNA based studies indicate that honeyeaters evolved some 40-45 million years ago. It is thought that they arose initially in forests and that as Australia became drier honeyeaters adapted to the newer more arid environments.
(Information from this page on the Museum Victoria site)
Now all I have to do is record it's call and I can add it to my Australian Bird Songs page!

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