Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Wildlife on Wednesday ... the Helmeted Friarbird.

This poor creature, Philemon buceroides, is not the prettiest bird on the planet.  Whilst it has a close resemblance to a vulture from some angles, this is in fact the largest of our Aussie Friarbirds.

This bird is a fairly common around my place for most of the year.  It's easily distinguished from other birds,   not so much because of its' dull grey-brown body ... which is in stark contrast to so many of the rather colourful birds we see around here!  No, it really stands out because of its' big dark grey head which seems out of proportion to the body.   Then there's that gently sloping knob on the forehead and the dark bare skin around the face.

The underparts are a paler grey.   The legs and feet are  grey.  The eyes have a red-brown iris and the bill is black.  Altogether, the package is a little on the ugly side.

But, then there's the song.  Yesterday the song of a little group of these birds filled the afternoon air and really added something special to my day!  Here's a little snippet of that beautiful sound as the group hopped around feasting on the nectar of the Eucalyptus flowers.


  1. He is an unusual looking bird for sure. I thought I was back in the rain forest of Costa Rica listening to the video. V

  2. Very odd looking little bird, are they as noisy at night as they are in the daytime?

  3. Hi Bernie, they do look like a vulture at first glance, but they sure don't sound like them :) cheers, Jenni

  4. I dont mind listening to their noise, I think their mere presence indicate your garden is a healthy and a good place to be for them! Great shots Bernie!

  5. Bernie,

    Your bird photos are great, so close and detailed. It is like a miniature vulture and the sound is very unusual, almost like a group of birds having a conversation.


  6. Goodness, that sounds like quite a party in the trees! I actually think these birds are quite handsome, but then again I'm used to looking at turkeys around here ;)

  7. What a strange little bird. It head looks so skinny to me. LOL! Great pictures Bernie and I can see where it got its name. Have a wonderful week.

  8. Aww poor guy is so ugly he's cute. I can never get great shots like this!


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