We wake at dawn in our house at Separation Creek to the sound of Rufous Bristlebirds calling. Wiped out in WA, Qld and endangered elsewhere, they are everywhere here.
A cross between a road runner and a blackbird, these elusive birds scamper though the bushes on strong legs, often with their tails held up. Rarely your can see them scamper across driveways.
“You have 3 pairs” a visiting bird expert announced, “a pair owns the territory between each pair of neighbouring houses.”
They may be shy, but wow, they are loud! The call is twit, twit, twit, twit, TATWEET, TATWWEET. Often repeated twice. It took a while for me to realise that this was not one call, but two birds perfectly mimicking each other, a few seconds apart.
Listen to the Bristlebird call:
Rufous means the mottled markings under their chest giving camouflage. It helps them disappear in the shadows. They prefer to run to avoid danger, but are capable of flying short distances on their short rounded wings.
They forage in pairs, making their contact calls to keep in touch, and constantly flicking their tails while moving. Most of their diet is insects and seeds and sometimes nectar.
You can hear them from Sea Zen, and if you are patient, you’ll see them scampering through the adjacent garden.
It is all part of the daily bird show at Sea Zen. It’s like being in a huge aviary that has no mesh. Every day there is a passing parade of amazing native birds up close. On a typical day you’ll see and hear the pushy King Parrots, the gorgeous huge Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos, the raucous White Cockatoos, the sneaky Bowerbirds, even the magic tiny Superb Fairy Wrens – and the Bristlebirds of course!
And all that is before you tune in to roar of the sea just a hundred metres away.
Every day is a magic day at Sea Zen.