Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Yellow-rumped Pardalote
Pardalotus punctatus xanthopyge
(Viewing 3 of 3 photos)

Click to listen to sound samples I don't normally deal with subspecies on this website but the Yellow-rumped Pardalote was once regarded as a full species (#566 in the 1926 RAOU Checklist) and it is such a distinctive bird (to me) that I am listing it separately. In eastern Australia it has been shown that there is a broad hybrid zone between Yellow-rumped and Spotted Pardalotes, but in W.A. they appear to act as good species. This is a fairly complicated issue, dealt with in some detail on pages 122-123 of Schodde & Mason's "Directory of Australian Birds" and also in HANZAB.

Mallee shrublands right across southern Australia are the principal haunts of Yellow-rumped Pardalotes, particularly when they are breeding. A neater and more apt common name would be Mallee Pardalote. Only occasionally do they wander further afield into other habitats, usually in flocks and presumably because of availability of food. Conversely, Spotted Pardalotes do wander inland in winter and flocks of these are not uncommon in mallee vegetation, but I have never found them breeding there. However Spotted Pardalotes do nest in woodland habitat away from the mallee in inland N.S.W.

Yellow-rumped Pardalotes when breeding occur in pairs and occupy much the same territories year after year. Like Spotteds, they are fond of earthen banks in which to drill their nesting tunnel, but out in flat mallee lands, such banks are few and far between. So then Yellow-rumped do quite often nest on relatively level ground, something Spotted's rarely if ever do.

Yellow-rumped Pardalotes not only look different to Spotteds, they sound quite different (listen on sound page). Judging by the published calls available, there is a fair bit of regional variation, as there is with Spotted Pardalotes. The most distinctive Yellow-rumped Pardalotes I know of occur at Round Hill Nature Reserve in NSW, although if you go anywhere in Australia deep into the mallee away from other vegetation, the breeding birds are likely to be genuine Yellow-rumped and not hybrids.

Photo: 566203

566203 ... Yellow-rumped Pardalote, adult male, taken in mallee at Round Hill, N.S.W.

Photo: 566204

566204 ... Yellow-rumped Pardalote

Photo: 566205

566205 ... Yellow-rumped Pardalote

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