Thursday, 28 June 2018

White-browed Babbler

White-browed Babblers are noisy gregarious birds often encountered in family parties as they move through dry open woodland habitat where they mostly forage on the ground. Their highly social behaviour reminds me of Apostlebirds and White-winged Choughs.

While camping in Cocoparra National Park about 35km north east of Griffith in NSW, one bird in a group of 8 to 10 birds that came by our camp site stopped to dig vigorously for a grub.

The acute senses – including sight, smell, sound and perhaps feel - required to locate grubs beneath the surface is impressive.
A brief pause from digging to check I was not a threat.
Digging involved plunging the curved bill into the ground pulling out soil as the hole deepened.
It did not take long to reach and extract the grub.

The grub (a cockchafer species?) is about to be swallowed.

This bird soon downed its catch and moved on quickly to catch up with the rest of the party.

Tip: Trying to approach many bird species including Babblers often results in the birds retreating as they feel threatened. However, if you allow them to approach you they will often come quite close so a useful strategy is to move ahead of a feeding party of birds such as Babblers along the line of their general direction of movement and wait for them to come to you.

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