Noisy Scrub-bird Calling At Night

In mid May 1997 I was on a tour with Falcon Tours and we camped for 2 nights at Waychinicup near Cheyne Beach about 50km east of Albany.  Noisy Scrub-birds could be heard calling after dark on both evenings and at all times during the night when I awoke.  Has this been documented before?

Western Bristlebird Call

In mid May 1997 at Waychinicup east of Albany, I heard a Western Bristlebird call a few times about 100 metres away at about 8:30am.  It called a few more times about 10 minutes later, and again about 10 minutes later when I estimated the approximate location of the call.  I walked about 30 metres through the heath to the location and waited.  About 12 minutes later it called again about 5 metres or so in front of me.  This time, each call was immediately followed by two short notes (whistles?) from a low mallee about 8 metres to my right and also a single click on my left.  I tried to locate the birds but I saw nothing.  I waited another 10 minutes and then left as I was late for breakfast.  I assumed that the two notes were the answering reply by a female to the male's call, and that possibly the click was a warning call of a third bird?

Later in the morning the group returned to the location and the male called again, followed by another male close to the track about 50 metres away.  We closed in on the male near the track.  We located the bird on the edge of the tall hakea heath beside the track.  Again, I heard the two note reply, but only a couple of times, and I heard no clicks.  We never saw the bird when it called, but we did get to see it in the open as it moved (on or within 30cm of the ground) along the vegetation between calls.

The next morning we tried for the bird again.  This time we located the bird at the base of a low heath mallee very close to the track.  We were about 10 metres away next to a taller mallee.  Again, the male's call was followed several times by the two notes much closer to us.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002