Sunday, 1 December 2013

Australasian figbird

Sphecotheres vieilloti

Photo by Georges Olioso (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
Australasian figbird (en); papa-figos-australiano (pt); sphécothère de Vieillot (fr); oropéndola australiana (es); Australischer feigenpirol (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Oriolidae

This species is found in northern and eastern Australia, from northern Western Australia and the Northern Territories, through coastal Queensland and into the coast of New South Wales down to Canberra. Also in south-eastern Papua-New Guinea.

These birds are 27-30 cm long and weigh about 130 g.

The Australasian figbird is mostly found in rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests, also using mangroves and urban parks and gardens, especially those with figs and other fruit trees.

They forage in flocks of about 20 birds, mostly eating figs and other soft fruits and berries, but also some insects.

Australasian figbirds breed in September-January. They nest semi-colonially, with pairs nesting in adjoining canopy trees. The nest is a cup made of vine tendrils and twigs, supported by its rim from an horizontal fork of an outer branch of the canopy, up to 20 m above the ground. There the female lays 2-3 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 17 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is reported to be common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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