This week on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter we are featuring the beautiful Spotted Pardalote! #spottedPardalote week.
Spotted Pardalotes are gorgeous, tiny Australian Bush birds. They are only around 9-10cm long from beak to tail and weigh only 8 grams. They are one of Australia’s smallest birds.
Spotted Pardalotes are more often heard than seen – their penetrating call is bigger than they are! It is one of those calls that is persistent, continual – its so much a part of eucalyptus forests that you often don’t notice it until they stop calling!
Listen to the lovely call of the Spotted Pardalote: http://www.graemechapman.com.au/library/sounds.php?r=&c=361&p=107&s=1274293396 or here: http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Pardalotus-punctatus
Male Spotted Pardalotes have a brilliant gold chin/throat, black crown with white spots and scalloped black & white cheeks. You can tell them apart from female Spotted Pardalotes – she has a cream chin and yellow spots on her head and plainer cheeks.
Young/juvenile/immature Spotted Pardalotes are like females, but paler and plainer.
Strangley, for a tree canopy feeder, pardalotes nest in hollows dug into the ground. Watch this video to see what trouble this can get them into! https://youtu.be/8NrL4fOcqt8.
Spotted Pardalotes mostly live along Australia’s temperate east, south & west coast, and Tasmania. They do extend north to Cooktown, Queensland, in a thin band in the mountain forests. Spotted Pardalotes live in eucalyptus forests, both wet and dry including mallee. They need eucalyptus with good canopy. Their food is the insects, like psyllids, that feed on the leaves and insect exudates, like lerp. In his book “Where Song Began” Tim Low suggests that pardalotes’ spots might mimic their white lerp food. Pardalotes certainly do blend in with the leaves and can be hard to see high in eucalyptus canopy.
Spotted Pardalotes are not the same as Forty-spotted Pardalotes, though both species have lots of spots. Forty-spotted Pardalotes only live in Tasmania, whereas Spotted Pardalotes live both on the mainland and in Tasmania. I don’t know who counted the spots on Forty-spotted Pardalotes, but Spotted Pardalotes acutally have more spots: spots on their crown, wings and tail. Forty-spotteds only have spots on the wings. Maybe Spotted Pardalotes should be called Hundred-spotted Pardalotes! Read about Forty-spotteds here: http://birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/forty-spotted-pardalote
There are four species of pardalote in Australia. Striated Pardalotes (see here: http://birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/striated-pardalote) have more stripes than spots, as the name suggests, and they live in a wider band almost throughout Australia, except only the western deserts. The Red-browed Pardalote (see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-browed_pardalote) lives roughly inland of the Spotted Pardalote – almost everywhere the Spotted doesn’t go. They are like a Striated Pardalote with some spots on the crown.
Stay tuned for next week: exciting videos of kangaroo joeys! #EasternGreyKangaroo week