Graeme Chapman - natural history photographer - ornithologist

Australian Birds

Chestnut-breasted Whiteface
Aphelocephala pectoralis
(Viewing 4 of 8 photos)

Click to listen to sound samples The Chestnut-breasted Whiteface is generally regarded as the only bird endemic to South Australia but there is at least one possible record just over the N.T. border (62 km east of Kulgera). It ranks high on the list of sought after species amongst twitchers, probably because the few known places where it can be seen are a long way from major centres, and mainly in open saltbush country - not everybody's idea of an ideal campsite. They are relatively quiet little birds with a soft twittering song that doesn't carry very far, especially in windy weather. Usually in pairs or family groups they feed mainly on the ground between the saltbushes so they are not easy to see from a distance, unless they are in flight. My first photos of this species were taken next to the airfield at Coober Pedy back in the 1970s. Since then, another site has been noted near the main highway 12 km south of Coober Pedy. Further east, the most well known and much visited site on Mt. Lyndhurst Station has been known for many years - the birds appear to live there permanently. Since a change of ownership, birdwatchers are no longer welcome at Mt. Lyndhurst. Further north on the Stuart Highway, regular sightings have been made in an area on Granite Downs Station about 32 km north of Marla Roadhouse. In previous times, scattered records were made over a wide area of northern S.A. (see 468207), but not so much these days - it is probably easier to go to the well-known places! Since the reduction in rabbit numbers, we may expect to see an increase but foxes, cats and grazing pressure will always be limiting factors.

Photo: 468201

468201 ... Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, male.

Photo: 468202

468202 ... Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, adult male.

Photo: 468203

468203 ... Chestnut-breased Whiteface female approaching nest with nest material.

Photo: 468204

468204 ... Typical open saltbush habitat in South Australia.

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