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This Little Friarbird was sitting on the branch, then it suddenly looked at the leaf beside it and quickly pecked at something. It appeared to eat whatever it was. I thought it was either a piece of the leaf or maybe an insect. At the time it looked to me that it had eaten a piece of the leaf as it pulled its head back as if it was tearing it. I thought they may all be eating bits of the tree. I have another photo where one of these birds obviously has a small green grasshopper in its beak. There may have been a swarm of the grasshoppers in the trees and the birds were enjoying a feast.
I have now discovered the local name for this bird is Leather Head.
The large group of birds haven’t been back since while I’ve been watching. Individuals are around occasionally. When I took this photo they were all being very happy and noisy and they have a very pretty song. They didn’t remind me of crows or anything like that. Looking at their heads in the photos they remind me of vultures – but that wasn’t obvious watching them flit around the trees.
This location is in the wet tropics about 100km south of Cairns and is on the coast, Mission Beach is about 15 km from the house by road but would be much closer by bird flight. By wet tropics I mean really wet. Tully is the closest town and it is officially the wettest town in Australia – it gets a lot of rain.
It is possible the bird is something that has come out of the rainforest. Most of the rainforest has been cut down around here now, and the trees out in front of my house are from seeds of rainforest trees that someone has propogated and planted to provide shade for the house and to give the displaced birds something to eat.
The original rainforest from about Tully north looks like pictures you see of thick tropical jungle. Anything could be living in there and not be known about. I’ve never seen this bird before this year – but maybe it is something really well known that I’ve never seen before. I don’t live around here any more – but did grow up here and lived here for many years until the early 1980’s.
Most of the trees that have been planted in front of the house are still not much bigger than seedlings. I hope no one digs them out as they will be very good at shading the house and I am looking forward to there being interesting birds in them in the future. Unfortunately they have been planted on public land and I have to return to Brisbane and there are a lot of people around here who would dig them all out becase at the moment it is hard to mow the grass around them. You have to use a push mower instead of a ride on mower to mow around them. When they are full grown I suspect there will be no grass under them to mow. They’ve been there for about a year now.