Red-wattlebird.JPG (43206 bytes)Red Wattlebird (Anthochaera carunculate): is the largest, longest-tailed honeyeater in the mainland of southern Australia. It is about 360 millimetres long.
The body is grey brown with pale streaks. Flight and tail feathers have white edges and tips. The belly is lemon. The head has a pale black crown and a white mark on the face below the red eye. Fleshy neck wattles are red. These lengthen and become deeper red with age.
Red Wattlebirds are observed singly, in pairs and small flocks. They are also said to be nomadic and migratory in large flocks. At Yallaroo, Red Wattlebirds are virtually resident. Their numbers increase when our Eucalypts and Callistemons are flowering.
Red Wattlebirds are said to be noisy and aggressive. We find them to be very noisy but never aggressive. They live peacefully with the myriad of small birds that inhabit our garden.
The nest is an untidy saucer of grass, leaves and sticks. The lining consists of a lining of bark strips, fur and hair. Nests are usually constructed in the forks of trees and shrubs. Two or three pale pink to reddish buff eggs are laid.
Red Wattlebirds are found from southern Queensland through New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia to south-west Western Australia.
The specimen illustrated was eating seed in a bird feeder at Gosford, north of Sydney.