Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Northern Shrike-tit
Falcunculus whitei
(Viewing 4 of 8 photos)

Click to listen to sound samples Northern Shrike-tits are restricted to eucalypt woodlands in the NW Kimberley region of W.A. and the Top End of the N.T. At present, they are variously classed as a subspecies (whitei) of the Crested Shrike-tit, or as a full species (by The Directory of Australian Birds). They are listed as endangered and, being rare, are eagerly sought after by keen birdwatchers.

All these photographs were taken at Drysdale River Station in the NW Kimberley. Back in the 1980's there was a territory just downstream of Drysdale River crossing - they are still seen in that area. Elsewhere in the Kimberleys they range from Beverley Springs north to Kalumburu and also across in the Pentecost Range to the east. Over in the Top End they range over a larger area but are rarely encountered. Recent sightings are from near Katherine and Maningrida.

They have fairly soft but quite distinctive calls (listen on sound page) and in calm weather, hearing these is the best way to locate the birds, that is unless you are lucky enough to chance upon one bark crunching. When feeding amongst bark they can make quite a lot of noise. A shrike-tit has an extremely powerful bill as many an unwary bird-bander has discovered - one I knew likened it to a pair of side-cutters!


Photo: 417201

417201 ... Northern Shrike-tit, adult male, Drysdale River, W.A.

Photo: 417202

417202 ... Northern Shrike-tit. Males have a black throat.

Photo: 417203

417203 ... Northern Shrike-tit, female.

Photo: 417204

417204 ... Northern Shrike-tit, female with dark green throat.


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