Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Black-eared Miner
Manorina melanotis
(Viewing 3 of 3 photos)

Click to listen to sound sample The Black-eared Miner has a chequered history. Whether you regard it as a species or a subspecies of the more common Yellow-throated Miner depends on which publication you read. Nevertheless, a pure Black-eared Miner is a distinctive form and sought after by most keen birdwatchers.

To put it simply, the Black-eared Miner is a form that evolved in the closed mallee communities of north-west Victoria and eastern S.A. prior to the clearing of much of that country for agriculture. Before clearing there was limited interaction between the Black-eared and Yellow-throated forms - they are both very closely related and you could say that the Black-eared was well on its way to becoming a distinct species, but even then, there were the occasional "hybrids". Post clearing, the once relatively isolated populations of Black-eareds were swamped with invading Yellow-throated Miners that benefited from the opening up of the country. Hybrids of one sort or another became common.

These days, most people who want to see a Black-eared Miner go to Gluepot Reserve in South Australia where a small population of fairly "pure" Black-eareds persist. A research programme has been ongoing there for some years which involved, amongst other things, a plan to re-establish birds into suitable habitat in northern Victoria.

Photo: 636201

636201 ... Black-eared Miner approaching nest, Gluepot, S.A.

Photo: 636202

636202 ... This is a fairly pure-bred Black-eared Miner.

Photo: 636203

636203 ... Black-eared Miner

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