This odd-looking bird is a Noisy Friar-bird. Friar because of the hood? If so, this friar has a very messy white clerical collar.
I have lots of them here but have never been able to catch them with the camera, as they move very quickly and seldom stay still for long.
But the days are hot and the bird bath is tempting. This one allowed a wattlebird to have a brief drink at the same time and then harangued it loudly, beak open and red eye sparking, until it left.
These birds more frequently drink at my dam, as I described in The Woman on the Mountain:
My small dam in front of the house is a great meeting place — hanging out at the local pool. As always when different gangs meet, there’s a lot of showing off, like the wattlebirds daredevil-diving from a high branch to skim the water and up to a tree on the other side. I sometimes see strangers, such as a lone cormorant or heron, stop by for a drink or a swim. Wood ducks from my big dam try too, but the magpies hustle them on their way, protesting, quacking and flapping.
Some of the get-togethers down there sound like unsupervised group therapy. The weird friar-birds, with their bald black heads and knobby beaks, have a scale of maniacal cackles straight out of bedlam, and over the top of them loudly boast the wattlebirds, ‘I got the lot, the lot, the lot!’ The racket goes on and on, up and down, back and forth, apparently reaching no satisfactory conclusion — a bit like parliament on one of its less than statesman-like days.
7 thoughts on “Friar-bird flash”
I have the same problem with blue wrens John, but I imagine a friar bird’s tapping would be a lot louder!
I think my wrens are trying to warn off that reflected bird.
Hi I have a large circular window set high in my gable end of the house and have had one of these birds there all day long tapping on the glass and calling out and then fluttering up and down and trying to fly in. The window is reflective to the outside and I think he thinks his image is another bird of his species.
I love their call; they sound like a Little Wattlebird that is running out of batteries.
Hi Rena, No, I don’t but will pass on your query to other nature bloggers who know more than I do, so you may get an email from Denis or Gaye or others.
Good on you for your work for the animals.
I’m a wildlife carer and have in my care a fluffy black chick whom I’m yet to identify. He’s obviously an insect eater, poos via a sack. At first I thought he was a black friar bird having similar features, long gangly legs, long beak, but he’s too cute to be one so I’m not too sure. Any suggestions.
Thanks Denis. But doesn’t a tonsure need the ringing fringe of hair below the actual pate?
Friar for the bald head (“tonsure”).
They are very aggressive towards other “rival” species, as you have reported.
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