Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Wild Bird Wednesday 55 - Grey-Crowned Babbler

Some of you may be aware of my fondness for car parks as prime birding locations - they often provide some great birds.  Another of my personal favourite locations to watch birds is around the tables of cafes on the edge of Nature Reserves or Botanical Gardens.  The Olive Pink Botanic Gardens in Alice Springs proved to one of the better examples of this generally neglected habitat.  Keen followers of WBW will have seen the Spotted Bower Birds last week - now I bring you another "lunch time" bird - the Grey-Crowned Babbler.

This bird - formally addressed as Pomatostomus temporalis - is one of the most amusing birds I have had the pleasure to watch.  They are highly vocal, with ringing a "yahoo" being their signature call.  They also move around in groups - squabbling and fighting with each other in the branches, on the ground and (in this case) in the tables in front of us.

If there was ever a single bird that could convert a person to the charms of birding it would be this one.

One of the other interesting aspects of this birds biology is its breeding strategy.  They are co-operative breeders - meaning that the groups that they move around in are likely to be family groups.  The dominate (parent) pair are assisted by their own offspring from previous years.  This is considered to be an adaptation to the highly variable nature of the Australian climate, where we move from boom to bust in the turn of a year.  In such a variable climate having some assistance in bad years helps ensure success.






Now its your turn to get involved in WBW.

So, click on the link below and off you go.  Remember to visit, invite and comment.

Cheers - Stewart M (whose bad ankle is getting better by the day!)

56 comments:

Sylvia K said...

What a lovely bird and he does look as though he would be a "babbler"! I love it and great captures for the day, Stewart, as always!!

i stora drag said...

Very nice photos of another bird I never had heard of before!

Greetings Pia

Kusum Sanu said...

Beautiful pictures of that amusing bird! Yes, the birds love human food and cafe are good spots!

DeniseinVA said...

Such a fascinating bird, great photos Stewart!

Nette Cecilia said...

A nice little one ,and a nice shot too ,Nette

Brian King said...

Love the feet, bill, and head on this bird! Very striking! Apparently, they aren't shy, either.

Ken Schneider said...

Glad you are feeling better! Interesting breeding strategy is similar to that of the Florida Scrub Jay, which also occupies a fragile habitat prone to disturbance such as fire. Working from my iPod today so I hope I linked up successfully. Did not know how to crop the image on the tiny screen.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

These birds are quite marvelous to look at, and I can only begin to imagine their antics as you describe so well. I really love their name too. Such fun, learning about nature from far away~

Revrunner said...

Glad to hear that the ankle is healing.

Chris Rohrer said...

Yet another cool bird. I like your birding from the car strategy. We do it here in the middle of our hot summers.

Nic van Es said...

Wat een prachtige vogel voor mij geheel onbekend .hij heeft wel een lange kromme opvallende snavel.

Gordon said...

Another great set of pics Stewart, I particularly love the last one, with the tree trunk as contrast.
All the best Gordon.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

This is beautiful....love the photo you have of it in the tree!!

Andrea said...

Those of us who are inclined to babble would, of course, be drawn to a babbler bird. I speak for myself, Stewart ... nothing implied. I love this bird, the way he looks, the way I can imagine he sounds(per your description) and his audacious behavior at the table. I don't blame you for choosing those spots for your birding. How much fun is that! Thanks, Stewart ... and about Attilla ... don't you wonder what occurred to cause that layer to be harder than the others? :

Andrea @ From The Sol

Findlay Wilde said...

That eye stripe is so striking. From Findlay

Heather Wilde said...

Ay up our Stewart, that there birds a reet cracker. In fact it's gorgeous.

mick said...

Great photos - they are fun birds to watch.

Daniela Augustka Blah said...

Sledovať vtáky je pekná a celkom užitočná zábava. Aj ja rada pozorujem vtáky. Vtáka na tvojich fotografiách nepoznám.
Watching of birds is pretty fun and quite useful. I also like watching birds. Bird on your photographs I do not know.

TexWisGirl said...

what a cool looking bird! with quite the beak, too!

Gary said...

Fascinating bird!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Andrew Fulton said...

Amazing to see we both shared crockery as well as birds this week Stewart..
Great post.

Frank said...

Another interesting species from down under. Far more striking head features than the Fulvous Babbler, another noisy one that I saw in Morocco.

Carole M. said...

they are an attractive bird I've not seen for myself Stewart. Are they vocal/chatty amongst themselves too?

Carole M. said...

ah, I re-read and you described their yahoo sounds. Answered my first question...

eileeninmd said...

Nice bird, Stewart. It does have an attractive head and beak. It is nice when the birds come to you, great shots! Thanks for hosting, have a happy week!

bailey-road.com said...

A beautiful bird and sounds like a fun bird to watch. Your photos are great.

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Stewart Great bird and post. It is not Wednesday here yet so when you see my post (my Wednesday) you may laugh, as it is in keeping with your post and Andrews!!!

edenhills said...

Neat bird. That's a very impressive beak.

Christian Perrin said...

Great photos and an interesting read! Apparently Australia has the highest number of co-operative breeders in the world for the reason that you mention, with even familiar birds like Magpies, Kookaburras and Noisy Miners adopting this strategy. I'd love to see a GCBabbler - they are all but extinct in Brisbane :(

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

He reminds me a bit of the thrashers we have here...the name is wonderful. Whoever is in charge of bird names there has a whimsical sense of humor (is there such a person? how does that work anyway?) .

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

What an interesting bird and post both. I can see how they would be entertaining to watch. Thank you for showing him off.

Karen said...

That is a handsome bird!

Lisa Isabella Russo said...

What a charming looking bird. I very much enjoyed reading about them!

Nora at Island Rambles said...

I want to go to this place and have lunch with the birds...look a the long beak on that one. Our birds in the outdoor cafe are not so pretty.

Arija said...

Love your Grey Crowned Babblers. I've got a few shots of Hall's Babblers from both Arkaroola and Wirrealpa station. Must post them sometime.
Given a regular food source, all animals become opportunists, good on them too.

prairiebirder said...

Great photos, Stewart! I've never seen photos of Grey Crowned Babblers, so they were very nice to see!

Small City Scenes said...

I love the name 'Babbler'. What a fun bird to watch and listen to also. MB

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful shots! Sounds like an interesting bird to watch.

Digi-Irma said...

Hi Stewart,
Great to see these birds on the table at a terrace
Here that happens, the chewing and sparrows do it here.
You've captured perfectly, my compliments.

Nancy said...

I love the name and a video of his antics would have been awesome... but your captures are wonderful Stewart! Thank you for hosting. :)

Huldra said...

So beautiful and crispy pictures of a lovelly bird :)

Thank you for tipping me about your WBW. I added my resent post with some beautiful swans.

Happy wednesday to you :)

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

I like the 'racing stripe' on his face.

Babs Helferich said...

Great photos :)

Kerri Farley said...

What a lovely bird!! Such a striking eye! You got some AWESOME shots!!

Liz Needle said...

We don't get these babblers around here, mores the pity. They sound like a fun bird to observe. Great set of photos.

DeniseinVA said...

Wonderful birds Stewart, lovely photos!

Misty DawnS said...

That's quite the beak! Bet it is very useful.

grammie g said...

Hi Stewart...Comical bird, but I imagine he is not so funny when he steals your lunch!!
That is some beak and I like that little eye make up too!! : )
Interesting info of there life style!!
Reminds me of years ago when there where many kids in the family and they all pitched in an stayed at home until they married : )!!
Grace

Phil said...

They certainly look entertaining birds Stewart- very striking looking with those long legs and curved bill. It's almost as if some of these car park birds learn to play to an audience they have created for themselves. Thanks for the hosting again.

birdybrained said...

Very funny and entertaining little guy! I wish you a great day!

DIMI said...

Hallo Stewart!!
Very nice bird!!
Beautiful pictures!!!
Have a lovely day!!!
Dimi...

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The one that you added in, wow, what a great shot. Thanks for letting us know that you added it on. Take care~

NatureFootstep said...

o, this bird has a mean expression. But I guess it is not. :)

Thanks for hosting.

Wally Jones said...

Stewart - glad to the ankle is on the mend.

What a great looking bird! As Ken S. mentioned, our local Florida Scrub Jay uses a similar family strategy.
Car parks may become the new national park system!

Wonderful photographs!

Esther Joy said...

Great shots! I caught a red-headed woodpecker tonight, but couldn't get close enough to suit me.

Pat Tillett said...

I've never seen these handsome birds before. They look to be characters.
Very nice photos Stewart.