Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Common Blackbird
(Viewing 4 of 19 photos)

Click to listen to sound samples The Common Blackbird could almost be regarded as the archetypal garden bird in southern Australia. Since its first introduction from Europe back in the 1860's it has become established in many of the parks and gardens in the south-east, particularly in cooler regions such as the highlands of NSW, (it is common in Canberra) southern Victoria and SA and especially Tasmania where it is very common and widespread. The earliest successful introductions were made in both Sydney and Melbourne, but many other efforts have been made, both successful and unsuccessful. An excellent precis of all this history is given on pp. 1848-9 of Vol 7 of HANZAB.

Blackbirds feed largely on the ground sorting through the litter on worms, snails, insects and spiders etc. but they can be a nuisance amongst vegetable gardens and fruit trees because they also eat berries, seeds and fruit.(see pic #991215) They love strawberries! When foraging on the ground blackbirds are easy to recognise, even in silhouette, by their distinctive behaviour - a quick short run of a few metres followed by an abrupt stop, a flicking of the bill amongst the mulch, another short run and so on. They are the bane of keen gardeners whose carefully spread mulch so often finishes up on the paths instead of the gardens. Blackbirds scratch a little, but they are champion bill-flickers!

The compact, bowl-shaped nest is usually well-hidden in thick foliage such as a hedge or a cypress pine, sometimes only a metre or so from the ground (see pic 991222). Even though they are hard to find, they frequently fall prey to the ever watchful Pied Currawong.

Photo: 991001

991001 ... Common Blackbird, immature male with blackish bill.

Photo: 991202

991202 ... Common Blackbird, immature.

Photo: 991203

991203 ... Common Blackbird, adult male with yellow bill and eye ring.

Photo: 991204

991204 ... Common Blackbird, male

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