Birds, Animals, Plants, Nature, Social & Political Comment. 

Mistletoe Bird

The Mistletoe Bird is a frequent visitor to gardens in the Wedderburn area. It’s often mistaken for a Red Robin due to its striking colours.  When visiting our place, it’s favourite foods were Apricots and Persimmons.

This bird is wide ranging throughout Australia and is a very attractive visitor.

Wikipedia Description

The mistletoebird is small, 9–10 cm (3.5–3.9 in) long and 7.5–11 g (0.26–0.39 oz) weight. The male is glossy blue-black above, with a red chest and a slight red under-tail, and a black center stripe running down its white belly. The female is dark grey above, with a white throat, light grey underparts, and just a touch of pinkish-red under the tail. The eyes, bill, and legs are black; the bill is just over a centimeter long, slender, slightly down-curved and sharply pointed. Immature birds are similar to the female, but have an orange-pink bill instead of black. There is a variance in size and color across their distribution. The adult mistletoebird is smaller in the north of its distribution and females in the north have lighter colored underparts compared to darker ones in the south.

The mistletoebird has long pointed wings and a short square tail with a slight notch at the tip. They usually occur singularly or in twos but occasionally in small family groups or flocks and very occasionally in mixed-species flocks when food is in abundance. Their flight is swift and they are usually seen flying above or high in the tree canopy on distinctively pointed wings. Their posture is usually upright when perched but adopt a more horizontal, swaying posture when alarmed. They have a variety of vocalizations but their most familiar is a short, sharp, high-pitched tzew or dzee whistled mainly on the wing. Songs while perched include a whistled wissweet wissweet uttered repeatedly. The male mistletoe bird can be mistaken for a scarlet robin (Petroica boodang) or flame robin (Petroica phoenicea), but it has no spot on the forehead and has a black streak on the white belly. Due to the combination of size, shape, behaviour, and plumage the mistletoebird is unlikely to be mistaken for any other Australian passerine; however, the pardalote and thornbill are the closest in size and shape.


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