Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

White-breasted Whistler
Pachycephala lanioides
(Viewing 4 of 13 photos)

Click to listen to sound samples White-breasted Whistlers are generally restricted to coastal mangroves from near Carnarvon in W.A. north to the Kimberleys and across northern Australia to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria with an occasional record further north near Pompuraaw. A few records have also been made outside mangroves in adjoining vegetation such as monsoon forest.

Because of the inaccessible nature of their habitat, they are amongst the least known of Australian birds - you won't see them by accident - they are best located by listening for their loud, distinctive whistling calls which seem to echo through the mangroves (listen on sound page). However, females bear a close resemblance to the Little Shrike-thrush and even Rufous Whistlers which both occur in mangroves in some areas, so care should be exercised.

Adult White-breasted Whistlers appear to be mainly resident and occur as pairs in permanent territories - only the juveniles and immatures would wander far afield. The results of bird banding, mainly at Broome Bird Observatory have shown that they hardly ever move further than 10 kilometres. They feed largely on or close to the ground in mangroves and their large hooked bill is ideally suited to dealing with larger prey, such as crabs. They have been seen breaking open the shells of molluscs by bashing them on the trunks of mangroves.


Photo: 404201

404201 ... White-breasted Whistler, male.

Photo: 404202

404202 ... White-breasted Whistler, female.

Photo: 404204

404204

Photo: 404205

404205 ... Their large bill deals very effectively with crabs.


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