Inland Thornbill Mimicry

In June 1999 I showed a visitor from Queensland around the south west of Western Australia.  One bird we particularly wanted to see was a Grey Honeyeater.  These have been reported along the road from Geraldton to Mt Magnet, especially near Yalgoo.

We stopped about 8 times in various areas along this road, especially where there was a species of mulga with reddish trunk / branches and a grey peeling bark (does anyone know the name of this species?).  I played the BOCA tape of the Grey Honeyeater at each site.

There was no response except at one site.  I followed the call and there was a small grey bird at the top of a dead 3 metre tree.  I didn't quite get the binoculars on it before it flew, and I thought that this was it! I went in the direction of where the bird flew towards a patch of taller trees and relocated the bird.  It began calling again, and I finally got my binoculars on it as it moved through the leaves to reveal an Inland Thornbill.  I saw it make the call of the Grey Honeyeater at least twice more.

In early October 1999 I was showing a visitor around Bungendore State Forest when I heard an Elegant Parrot nearby.  I traced the tree where the call was coming from but there was no sign of the bird.  We went around the Marri tree from all angles when finally I saw an Inland Thornbill making the call.  A very very good resemblance of the call.

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