its a bowerbird! (update end of post)

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This little bird has been visiting the trees along the edge of the Moonee Beach Nature Reserve on the NSW north coast. Thanks to having my camera on hand I am finally able to see it up close and I am a bit stumped as to what variety it is.

At first I thought it was a cuckoo, you can see the similarity to the fan-tailed cuckoo here, but it doesn’t match any of the cuckoos described in my bird book The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds. Besides, this one has three toes on the front and according to the book cuckoos have two on the front and two at the back. 

Its body shape, beak and long tail is similar in some ways to a Cuckoo-Dove but the colour is wrong as they are rusty-brown. However they are known to feed on low trees, such as wild tobacco (and that’s where I first spotted his one) but there is no mention of that beautiful blue eye or juveniles being coloured like this. 

It could be a cuckoo-shrike as they have the three toes at front and are grey but they usually have black around the eyes and this one is more brown on top than the distinct greys in my book so there are enough differences for me to discount it. So I’m stumped and would love to know. Can anyone help?

UPDATE 22 Oct ’12: My FB friend from San Francisco CA suggested it was a female Satin Bowerbird and I think she is right. The book describes females as dull greenish/blueish-grey with a yellowish white breast abdomen with dark scallops and the ALL important blue eye!  The male juveniles are similar with a dark eye becoming blue with age but in the fourth year their breast is greenish with fine white spots and by the 7th year they have the full blue plumage so I think this one is a female. Apparently they use tobacco bush berries in their nest building and the tobacco tree is her favourite haunt.


15 thoughts on “its a bowerbird! (update end of post)

    nyparrot said:
    October 24, 2012 at 7:33 am

    WOW, look at this bird’s beautiful eyes!

      margosnotebook responded:
      October 28, 2012 at 7:09 am

      yes its absolutely stunning! i was so thrilled to see it when i loaded the pictures on my computer.. this is why i love photographing them you get to see these details, glad you enjoyed it.

        nyparrot said:
        October 29, 2012 at 4:57 am

        Yes, I absolutely enjoyed it!

    cindy knoke said:
    October 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    What incredible eyes!

      margosnotebook responded:
      October 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      I know! Which further perplexes me why I can’t find a reference to them in the bird book..

        cindy knoke said:
        October 22, 2012 at 10:45 am

        I am seriously jealous about the birds in Australia. As a child I raised Cockatoos and Parakeets. I would save up all my allowance to buy supplies. I bred them. I go to Australia and these amazing birds are walking on my toes, eating from my hand! Your photos bring back the memories. I couldn’t get over the cockatoos, and those scarlet parakeets that were considered pests, those gorgeous pink tri-colored ones (forget the name) you have on your blog. If I lived there, I’d have bird feeding stations every three feet!
        Love your photos!

        margosnotebook responded:
        October 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

        so happy you love birds. the pink/white ones are officially galahs. I live opposite a nature reserve so have my very own ‘feeding tables’ stretching into the distance! Margo

    The Jagged Man said:
    October 21, 2012 at 10:38 am

    I am afraid I cannot shine in light on the mystery bird but beautiful is what is. Those lovely eyes set off the subtle but nice canvas that is its plumage. Nice shots and thanks for sharing.

      margosnotebook responded:
      October 21, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      yes the eyes have it! i will have to send it off to the national park website or similar and ask someone who should be in the know what it is

        The Jagged Man said:
        October 23, 2012 at 11:47 am

        I am glad you found out what species of bird this beautiful lady is.

    BraintoBrush said:
    October 21, 2012 at 10:15 am

    I have nominated your blog for Beautiful Blogger Award. If you want to accept the award check my blog,

    Vicki said:
    October 21, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I don’t know what it is, but its blue eyes are very beautiful.

      margosnotebook responded:
      October 21, 2012 at 8:41 pm

      thanks for commenting.. the eyes are amazing so i’m surprised not to be able to identify it just by the colour.. i will keep looking though and will post when i know its official name

    Renard Moreau said:
    October 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

    [ Smiles ] I do not know what kind of bird is that. But, I can definitely tell you that is one beautiful bird!

    I LOVE your photographs!

      margosnotebook responded:
      October 21, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      thanks so much! i’m glad you enjoy my photos.. i think i will just have to call it ‘beautiful bird’ in lieu of its official name.

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