Psophodes olivaceus, Eastern Whipbird on branch. Click to enlarge image
Psophodes olivaceus, Eastern Whipbird on branch. Photographer:arronsphoto/Flikr Image: arronsphoto/Flikr
© arronsphoto/Flikr

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    olivaceus
    Genus
    Psophodes
    Family
    Psophodidae
    Order
    Passeriformes
    Class
    Aves
    Phylum
    Chordata
  • Size Range
    Up to 30 cm

Black head and breast, white patch on side of face, olive-green with a long tail.

Identification

A medium-sized bird with a black head, breast and conspicuous crest, with a broad white patch on the side of the face that increases in size as the bird matures. It is dark olive-green, with a long tail, and a grey-white belly. The eye is pale cream and the bill is black. Young birds are generally duller in colour and have a smaller crest.

Habitat

Wet habitats, including rainforest, eucalypt forest and dense scrub near watercourses, in dense vegetation near the ground.

Distribution

Eastern Australia.



Feeding and diet

Feeding takes place alone, in pairs or in small family groups.

Communication

Its call is one of the most characteristic sounds of the Australian bush and is performed as a duet. The male makes the drawn out whip crack and the female usually follows quickly with a sharp 'choo-choo'. It feeds on insects and other small invertebrates, which are caught on the ground.

Breeding behaviours

A breeding pair occupies a territory, which is defended year round, with the mates staying together for many years. The female makes a cup nest of sticks and bark, which is lined with finer grasses, and placed in dense vegetation near the ground. The female also incubates the eggs but the young birds are fed by both parents. The birds are secretive, but can be curious, and will be seen if the observer remains patient.