‘Nest’ building

Many times when I venture into the bush I realise how little I understand about the natural world.

I was intrigued recently to see a pair of Red-browed Firetails nest-building in a Hedge Wattle at Rotunda Park. If conditions are suitable Red-browed Firetails will breed in spring and autumn, but watching this behaviour made me wonder if they may be making a roosting nest. The nest itself was in the early stages of construction – the base was well advanced but only the beginnings of the roof could be seen

Diamond Firetails, another local finch, also make elaborate dome-shaped nests that they breed in and then use for night-time roosting during the cooler months. I’m not aware if Red-browed Firetails (which belong to a different genus) also employ this strategy.


Red-browed Firetail collecting nesting material, Rotunda Park, 24th March 2016


The pair with the partially constructed nest


Shaping the bowl of the structure


Adult Red-browed Firetail in Hedge Wattle


You can see why this species, and its relatives, are sometimes referred to as waxbills


Hedge Wattle in Rotunda Park

PS: Another big tick for the revegetation works at Rotunda Park – Hedge Wattle is fantastic breeding habitat for small birds such as finches, thornbills, wrens and honeyeaters.

3 responses to “‘Nest’ building

  1. Great shots of a family building a house. Is the work evenly shared?
    Is hedge wattle A. paradoxa?

    • Hi Bruce – not sure about the spread of workload – the sexes are virtually identical and one bird was doing the work in the short time I observed. Yes, Hedge Wattle is A.paradoxa … a wonderful plant that used to be unhappily persecuted for being rabbit harbour.
      All the best, geoff

  2. I’m always surprised how deftly little birds manage the spines on plants such as A. paradoxa. Scaled up to human dimensions they are about ankle high and only about a (bird’s) foot apart or less. Presumably the light weight of the bird helps by reducing the pressure when they land on one.
    A paradoxa is still notorious for rabbits. We planted it along watercourses and have since removed it.

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