Sunday, 8 July 2018

Grey-crowned Babblers at Bowra Sanctuary

Grey-crowned, Chestnut-crowned and Hall’s Babblers can all be found at Bowra Sanctuary. While out driving the many tracks on Bowra we encountered a large party of at least thirty Grey-crowns as they foraged in cypress pine woodland. My attempt to approach them for photos failed.

However later in camp near the homestead a much smaller party came by the shallow lagoon, not to drink but to forage in the surrounding vegetation. One bird became focussed on prey hiding under the bark of a box tree, giving me the opportunity to move in for a series of photos as it prised bark off and at times hammered away like a woodpecker – its hammering blows were clearly audible.

At first the bird examined nooks and crannies around the base of the box.

Please click on photos to enlarge.

Then it moved higher where it spent some time removing bark.

A brief pause from prising bark.

Suddenly another Babbler appeared and the bird I had been observing handed over a food item just extracted from under the bark.
Judging by the yellow eye colour both these birds are adults (immatures have a dark eye).

I am not sure what this food exchange signifies? Probably not an adult feeding a young, perhaps pair bonding (the breeding season is June – October) or reinforcing bonds in a highly social species.

The food exchange completed the recipient soon departed and my bird continued to forage.
Not long after this photo the bird moved on.

A common name for Grey-crowned Babblers is Happy Family – a little anthropomorphic no doubt, however they are a lot of fun to observe and their gregarious noisy nature does give the feeling of happiness, even if it is in me and not the birds. 

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