BEAUTIFUL PLUMAGE: A male and female rufous whistler.
BEAUTIFUL PLUMAGE: A male and female rufous whistler.

BRIGGSY’S BIRDS: Best way to watch colourful whistler

IF YOU see a flash of burnt orange in your trees it might be the very handsome male Rufous Whistler.

It is one of several species of whistler found in Australia.

The male has a black band that runs through the eyes and across the breast, it is white from the throat to the upper breast, has rufous (burnt orange) underparts with grey wings and upper parts.

The female is totally different and is light grey above and light buff under with plenty of vertical dark streaks on the underparts. This difference between the sexes is called dimorphism and applies to many bird species.

They feed mainly on insects high in the trees but will also eat seeds and fruit. A pair will mate for life with the female building a cup shaped nest of twigs and grass bound to a tree fork with spiders webs.

Both parents co-operate to incubate the eggs and feed the young. In good years they may breed twice with two chicks on each occasion.

They prefer forests and woodlands but will also visit parks and gardens in urban areas.

Whistlers are so named for their tuneful song and the Rufous Whistler has a lengthy series of ringing notes.

To see birds at their best you really need a pair of binoculars and those with a magnification of 10 and a front lens size of 42mm (10 x 42) is optimum for birdwatching.

You can spend a little or a lot depending on your level of interest but the general rule is to spend as much as you can afford since the more expensive binoculars provide superior image quality.

Investment in a good pair of binoculars will provide you with many years of getting close up views of our beautiful birds.

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



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