Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Olive - backed Sunbird

One of the delights of a lush garden in tropical Queensland is the sight of Olive-backed Sunbirds flitting about among the flowers, probing them with its gracefully curved bill, often while hovering.  Equally enchanting is stumbling across its strange, suspended nest, hanging from a twig or part of a building by a long, thin cord of grass and fibres.  Sunbirds are often rather confiding when nesting in people’s gardens, allowing a close approach if you are quiet and this is just what happened on our veranda at Innisfail, Queensland.



Sunbird Male


 

 This is the nest that the Sunbirds built on this wire.  They can come back time after time to the same nest, repairing it when they are going to breed again.




This is the female sitting on the nest.  She sat so still and never seem to move.


Breeding
The Olive-backed Sunbird builds a long, spindle-shaped nest that is suspended from a branch or from an overhanging part of a building such as an eave, veranda or clothesline via a long cord made of entwined grass, fibres and bark. Two pale-grey eggs are laid which are incubated by the female. The nestlings are brooded by the female only, and both parents fed the young








First glimpse of the 2 chicks.


Feeding

The Olive-backed Sunbird forages among the foliage and flowers of trees and shrubs. It gleans invertebrates from the leaves and flowers, and probes flowers with its long, curved bill to take nectar, often hovering to do so. They sometimes pluck insects from spider webs.




This (to me) seems a very big spider for a very young chick!


The peculiar breeding behaviour regarding these birds is that they will abandon their completed nest for about a week before the female returns to lay her clutch of one or two greenish-blue eggs. One reason why these birds would abandon their nest for a week or so might be to fool a cuckoo waiting to parasitise the nest, and another idea which had been suggested is that this might fool snakes or other predators. 

In this video, the first bird you will see is the male Sunbird and both Sunbirds are making alarms calls to try and distract the Yellow - spotted Honeyeater that appears second in the video. 
 
It can be accessed at  http://youtu.be/odZK_EL8DtM
 
If there is a black space below,click it and the video will appear.

 

 


I hope you enjoyed this post about the Olive-backed Sunbird. 
Thanking for visiting.
 
I am linking this post with Wild Bird Wednesday

52 comments:

  1. what a stunning bird Margaret!

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  2. Hi Carole Yes it is stunning adn the grand children watched it each day and were so upseet when the chicks were predated.

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  3. This is not a bird we get down south. Thank you so much - it is years since I have seen them, and they are truly beautiful. (Loved the video too.)

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    1. HI EC Glad you liked seeing this little bird again. Thanks for comments

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  4. Great looking bird! I saw my first one on Magnetic Island - wonderful place full of wonderful birds. The Innisfail is on my to visit list!

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW - Stewart M _ Australia

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  5. HI Stewart Yes it is a beautiful bird adn wonderful to watch at close quarters. Innisfail, I'm surprised you even know about it but perhaps it got more news coverage when they had the cyclone a few years back. I was the 1st plane that flew in after that!

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    1. Hi Stewart Just had to tell you, you are the 25,000 person that have looked at my site since I started in March! Congratulations! The prize is to go birding with me around Innisfail!!

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  6. Great shots. The bird in the nest is a fantastic sight.

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  7. HI Adrian Many thanks for your comment. It was wonderfulto see at close quarters over severalweeks. My friend Sharon has gone back to N.I.Now so I am about to walk Charlie. Hope your dogs are fit and well.

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  8. Great photos Margaret.
    They are all perfect.
    Greetings Irma

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    1. Hi Irma Many thanks for your comments.

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  9. What a beautiful bird. And the female sitting in the nest is adorable. Great shots, Margaret!

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    1. HI Eileen Glad you liked the post and thanks for comments

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  10. I'm off to North QLD this Friday for the first time in my life, and this bird is on my "To See" list. Thanks for the primer! :)

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    1. Hi Christian What part of Queensland are you going? If you are going to Cairns I may have a contact for you there. Let me know and I may be of help to you. Use my email address, near the top of my side bar.

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    2. Thanks Margaret, that is very kind of you! I am off to Eungella National Park and the Whitsunday Islands, so a bit short of Cairns. Will be spectacular enough though I'm sure!

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  11. beautiful birds and great shots of them!

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  12. Beautiful Olive-backed Sunbird, and hanging from a branch, wow............

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    1. HI Bob Glad you liked the post. It is not a branch the nest is hanging on, but a cable on the veranda.

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  13. Your pictures are absolutely stunning. You got the most amazing photos! I just love the ones with that bright yellow Bird peeping out of the nest.

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    1. Hi Rnsane thankss for yuor kind comments

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  14. Amazing shots sunbird. Just love them.

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  15. I'm enjoying your holiday as much as you.

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    1. HI Errol That is a lovely thing to say and it has cheered me up as I had a bad headache today and could not go to reserve that I wanted to go to as an Osprey had been seen yesterday. Much better now.

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  16. Beautiful photos and so well documented. I wonder what kind of threat the honeyeater poses to the sunbird. Very interesting video.

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    1. HI Ken I spoke to experienced australian bird watchers whhile I was there adn they had never heard of the Honeyeater taking young and as I did not actually see it happen, I cannot be sure it was the honeyeater. It might have been a Butcherbird, as they were around the area.

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  17. What a super bird Margaret and great shots of the nest with it in.

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    1. HI Roy Yes, a beautiful little bird. Roy, can yuo check over my post that i wil put on tomrorrow and let me know if anything is incorrect etc. Butterflies etc

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  18. Great photos of beautiful birds. Amazing that they nested so close to the house and didn't mind you looking into the nest.

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    1. HI Mick This is fairly normal nesting close to a house. I know another friend who also had a nest on his veranda.

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  19. This is an amazing bird and reminds me a bit of a Hummingbird. I love your shots of the mom inside the nest and we just see her face. How did you get to the nest with the babes?

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    1. Getting all the photos was tricky as I did not want to disturb the parents or babies. I stood on a chair to get the shot of the babies in the nest and I had to time it when the parents were away looking for food. There was a VERY small window of opportunity but I had studied it thoughly before I attempted it.

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  20. What a great post, Margaret. The Sunbird is beautiful and what wonderful shots of the nest.

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  21. Smart little birds... I'm amazed at how creative many of the birds build their nests... This one --hanging from a wire is amazing... Love seeing the babies in the nest... Cute!!!!!! Thanks for all of the great info.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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    1. HI Betsy So glad you enjoyed this post and thanks for commenting

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  22. Beautiful birds! How amazing to be able to follow the birds nesting so closely.

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    1. Hi Gunilla Yes that was special. Thanks for commenting.

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  23. Really interesting post and what a stunning bird :)

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    1. Hi RR MAny thanks for comments on all 3 posts

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  24. I'm so happy that I found your blog. Your pictures are amazing! I will be back I'm sure!

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  25. HI Jeanne Many thanks for your kind commnents and I am glad you are enjoying my posts.

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  26. It is lovely to see Sunbird with an insect

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  27. Hi, do u know what I should do if my sunbird's nest is turning flimsy and hanging by a few threads? Other mean birds have been getting materials from that nest... :(

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  28. Hi I have a nest on my string of lights and there was an egg in there but they have abandoned it now. Last year they built one on the other end of the same christmas lights and that egg eventually hatched and I watched in awe as I saw it just start to fly and have taken pictures of the chick on my rose bush. It has been a few months they have been seen in the area but not stayed. Barbara Townsville

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