Red Wattlebird: Birds in my Backyard

Red Wattlebird common bird backyard

The Red Wattlebird is one of the most common and noisy backyard birds around Melbourne and Geelong. You would see them regularly, either in your backyard trees, or in the local park. This article shows how to identify them and their call.

Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata

red wattlebird in backyard geelong

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What do they look like?

They are brownish-grey, with a yellow belly and a strongly-marked face with a white cheek surrounded by a black line, and a black drown/forehead. Their eyes are red, and they have red dangly bits of skin (wattles) hanging from their cheeks. That’s how they get their name.

When they fly you might notice the white spots on the end of the tail.

As babies (juveniles) they are similar but less strongly-marked. Their yellow belly is still there but faint, their red wattles are small and flesh-pink, and their eye is brown.

Red Wattle bird on ground

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How do they sound?

They have a loud, strident call that sounds a bit like “jock, jock”

Listen:

https://www.xeno-canto.org/190150

What do they eat?

They are a type of honeyeater, they eat nectar from flowers and some insects. You will often see them flying around a flowering gum-tree, chasing other small birds away.

Some say they are aggressive, but they are defending their food so that they can keep it for their family.

birds in melbourne backyard

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Where do they live?

Overall – south-east and south-west Australia. The Red Wattlebird is a very common bird in the backyards of Melbourne, Geelong and Sydney.

common birds geelong

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How are they going?

Though still very common, they are being reported as declining in some areas. Many of the ‘common’ and abundant birds in Australia are declining, which is cause for concern.

https://www.sciencealert.com/news/20092610-20076.html

Read more about Red Wattlebirds here: http://birdlife.org.au/bird-profile/red-wattlebird

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Other birds you could confuse them with:

Little Wattlebird – is similar, and usually lives close to the coast. They have a blue eye, no yellow belly, no red wattle, and when they fly they have a noticeable rufous (orange-brown) in their wings.

Common birds suburbs Melbourne
Little Wattlebird – note the blue eyes, lack of yellow belly and red wattle
Little Wattlebird common birds
Little Wattlebird

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This is part of a series “What’s In My Backyard? Flora & Fauna around Melbourne & Geelong, Victoria Australia” run by Koala Clancy Foundation in response to COVID-19. Koala Clancy Foundation is a koala-focussed charity based around the You Yangs, Victoria. A large part of our mission is local education, about koalas and all their animals and plants that live with them. Due to the coronavirus we can’t conduct our regular, educational Koala Conservation Days, so we are bringing that information online.

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