Whitefaces and silvereyes

Two small birds – one common but perplexing, the other uncommon and possibly declining locally.

The Southern Whiteface Aphelocephala leucopsis is a true woodland species around Newstead. Once relatively abundant, it now appears to be quite localised and hard to find. One spot I can find it reliably is on private land along Cemetery Road, where it occupies an area on the edge of some veteran Grey Box/Yellow Box woodland. A copse of introduced shrubs – Quince, Blackberry and Pomegranate surrounded by grassland provides ideal habitat for a species that prefers to feed in the open.

Whiteface1

The aptly named Southern Whiteface, Cemetery Road Newstead, 21st April 2014.

Whiteface2

One of the pair using the shrubs for cover.

The second species is the Silvereye Zosterops lateralis. Silvereyes can be found locally throughout the year, but are confounding, as birds from Tasmania arrive on migration in the autumn. Tasmanian birds are distinguished by rich chestnut flanks [see Feasting on figs], compared with those of mainland races. The birds below have quite pale flanks – I suspect these are locals of the race Z. lateralis. westernensis.

Silvereye

Silvereye, Cemetery Road Newstead, 21st April 2014.

Silvereyes

Note the pale buff flanks on these Silvereyes.

For a nice explanation of geographic variation and migratory behaviour of silvereyes see this post at the Avithera blog.

4 responses to “Whitefaces and silvereyes

  1. Janet Perryman

    Thank you Geoff for your fabulous blog, especially the photos, which I really enjoy. Janet Elliott

    Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2014 02:13:04 +0000 To: janetperryman@hotmail.com

  2. Hi, Geoff, I have followed your fab sightings for some time and thought to let you know of two arrivals in my tiny garden. Seen last week an Eastern Spinebill and a chestnut chested Silver-eye. If possible could you let me know where I can find the Mia Mia track and the Spring hill track. regards judy ross.

  3. Hi Judy – this is the Google Maps reference to the Mia Mia/Spring Hill Track area -37.083988, 144.078314.
    Good to hear that Spinebills and migrating Silvereyes have arrived. Where are you located?
    Cheers, geoff

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