Family: Pachycephalidae (Whistlers, Shrike-thrushes and allies, 14 species in Australia).
Size: 17 cm
Distribution: Almost all of Australia except TAS and small areas in central and central-West Australia
Habitat: Mostly open forest, woodland, mallee and scrub of arid interior, less common in wetter tall forests. Nomadic or migratory in parts of Australia
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest
The Rufous Whistler is a lovely bird, the male has striking colours, with a thick black stripe arouns his head, and a pure white throat underneath. The belly of the bird is a rufous (reddish-brown) colour, with darker wings and a mid-brown on top of the bird. The female is more of a brown colour overall though she does have a lighter (but not pure white) throat, and a slightly reddish belly (but not nearly as coloured as the male).
They are very similar to the Golden Whistler, which has a very bright yellow colour instead of the rufous colour.
They are usually seen in native bushland, not so much in people's gardens. This is perhaps more true of the Rufous Whistler than Golden Whistler, which is seen in my own garden (which backs onto bush and has a large gum tree in it ) now and then.
Photo: Lawson, Blue Mountains NSW
Photo: Lawson, Blue Mountains NSW
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.
Gould call this plate the Golden Whistler (with the same scientific name), but it looks exactly like the Rufous Whistler, not the Golden Whistler. I'm not sure what is going on with this.
Some Birdwatching Resources
Tasco Essentials 10x50 Binoculars
I have the 8x40 of this series, which I bought because I saw them on special, and they had a much clearer image than the cheap no-name brand binoculars I had before. I would have got 10x50 instead if they had been on special also. These are great basic binoculars which can be used for birdwatching, stargazing, etc.
The first number (like 8 or 10) refers to the magnification, so bigger numbers mean you can see closer up, but the image will shake around more. The second number (like 40 or 50) is the diameter of the large lenses in millimetres. Bigger numbers mean more light gets in, so the image is clearer and better, at the expense of being larger and heavier to carry around.
With binoculars, once you get above the really cheap models (like $30-50), the image quality is pretty good. You can pay a lot more, like a few hundred dollars, or $1000 or $2000 even — but most of what you get isn't so much raw image quality but other features like durability, being waterproof, better lens coatings, image stabilisation, etc. Cheaper binoculars are more delicate and if not treated gently the two sides can go out of alignment with each other.
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Purchase from Australia (Tentworld)
Purchase from Australia (BCF)
Browse different models of binoculars at [Tentworld] [Wild Earth] [BCF] [Kathmandu] [DWI] [Kogan] [Amazon USA]
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