Animal Diaries Archive
28 July 2006
Shock! This week I'm not going to talk about birds of prey, even though the demo has been all new and exciting. In Australia we have some really interesting birds that I guess are less noticed than others. These are the birds that get me up in the morning and make me want to come to work. I am proud as punch to share this interest with you. Recently at Australia Zoo we have introduced three Striped Honeyeaters into the Rainforest Aviary. Their names are Sebastian, Salvadore and Syd. They are not species that are boisterous like the common Noisy Miner; instead they are serene, bubbly and graceful. They are not colourful like parrots and they are not big like our raptors. They are small and plain-coloured but have a unique plumage pattern that makes them stand out to me.
They race around the aviary at morning feed-out as though they are playing hot potato. Buzzing from branch to feeder to ground to branch to feeder to the rail... it’s sometimes a tad hard to take in the exquisiteness of this simple species. The Striped Honeyeaters diet consists primarily of insects and fruit. However, they are a Meliphagidae (honeyeater family) which means they have a brush-tipped tongue that they use for nectar.
Outside the Zoo you can see glimpses of this lively kind in habitats like open dry forests, woodlands, mallee and mulga in south-east Queensland and most of New South Wales. So before I go, just remember that the plain and simple birds have lots more personality and appeal than the obvious variety.