Noisy friarbirds are also known as 'leatherheads' because their head has the texture of leather. Photo: Contributed
Noisy friarbirds are also known as 'leatherheads' because their head has the texture of leather. Photo: Contributed

BIRD OF THE WEEK: Noisy by name, noisy by nature

The noisy friarbird lives up to its name with a constant cackle as it moves through the trees feeding on the nectar from flowers.

The other name friarbird comes from the circular pattern on the crown of their head which makes them look like friars (monks).

They are also known as 'leatherheads' because their head has the texture of leather.

They can be found right along the east coast of Australia but are absent from Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

It is a large member of the honeyeater family with a distinctive naked black head and a strong bill with a prominent casque (knob) at the base.

The eye is bright red. The upperparts are dark brown to grey, the underbody is off-white, with silver-white feathers around the throat and upper breast, and the tail has a white tip.

As well as nectar it will also feed on insects, fruit and sometimes eggs or baby birds.

It is quite sociable and will often move around in small flocks.

They form long term breeding pairs and are very vigorous in defending their nest.

The female builds the nest in the fork of a tree from bark and grass held together with spiders webs.

She will lay two to three eggs and incubate them by herself. The male chips in after the eggs have hatched and helps to feed the young for about three weeks until they fledge and for a few weeks afterwards.

The knob on the bill is a distinctive feature that helps to identify this species.

Quite widespread around suburban areas in parks and gardens as well as at places like the

Botanic Gardens and Baldwin Swamp Enviro Park.

Allan Briggs is the secretary of BirdLife Capricornia, contact him with your bird questions at abriggs@irock.com.au



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