Other Names: Whip Bird, (Coach-whip Bird, Psophodes crepitans, 19th Century)
Family: Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and allies, 8 species in Australia)
Size: 25-30 cm
Distribution: Within about 200 km of the coast of NSW, Eastern VIC and Most of QLD except the north
Status: Common to mderately common
Habitat: Dense understories of rainforests, coastal scrubs, wet sclerophyll forests, riparian (near a stream) forest
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest
The Eastern Whipbird is famous for its call which sounds like the crack of a whip. The call is actually made by two birds, the male makes the whipcrack, and if the female replies it is a sort of "choo choo choo" sound. It sounds truly amazing if you happen to be between the pair when they call. The whip sound is heard at the beginning of the theme song to "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo".
Eastern Whipbirds are heard much more than they are seen as they like to hide in dense scrub, from which they rarely emerge. They are also a drab colour which blends in very will with the background. The crest on their head is a distinguishing feature. The tail is fairly long and there is a light coloured patch on the lower side of the head. In the photo below this looks like a slightly lighter grey than the rest of the bird, sometimes it is lighter than this and the rest of the head is darker.
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.
Some Birdwatching Resources
The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Graham Pizzey and Frank Knight. This is the other of the two best bird field guides for Australia. It is the one preferred by most serious birdwatchers. However I find the pictures a bit dull looking for my taste — the birds all kind of look the same to me, making it harder to remember them in my mind. The illustrations are meant to be the most anatomically correct, though. If you want the most serious bird field guide get this one otherwise get Simpson and Day.
Click here to purchase 8th ed. from Australia $44.99 AUD
The 8th ed. from Amazon is over $200 USD.
Click here to preorder the 9th ed. from Amazon $26.99 USD
Common Birds of Australia (Green Guide), Peter Rowland. A smaller, more introductory book. It won a Whitley Award for best zoological book. The publishers say "This book provides an introduction to the major bird groups, with an emphasis on those that the amateur naturalist and nature-lover is most likely to see. The book is organized into six sections which cover birds of prey, waders and waterbirds, seabirds, songbirds, pigeons and parrots and other birds. Information is organized simply, with individual species or group entries describing key characteristics — where they are found, food requirements and behavioural habits. Each entry is accompanied by a colour photograph and, where appropriate, distribution maps. A key feature of the text is the "gee whiz" spreads which answer many of the most commonly asked questions about why birds do what they do, revealing facts and providing practical information for the amateur enthusiast. In addition, fact panels interspersed throughout highlight surprising snippets of information.
Click here to purchase from Australia $16.99 AUD
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