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Birdata is your gateway to BirdLife Australia data including the Atlas of Australian Birds and Nest record scheme. You can use Birdata to draw bird distribution maps and generate bird lists for any part of the country. You can also join in the Atlas and submit survey information to this important environmental database.


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Welcome to Birdata 24 May 2016

Rockwarbler: Hanging around in NSW

P.R. Marsack

Birdwatchers take great pride in their endemic species. Those states which contain distinct biogeographic regions, such as Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia have numerous endemic species, but it's slim pickings in the others. South Australia has the Chestnut-breasted Whiteface, Victoria has the Helmeted Honeyeater, and New South Wales has its beloved Rockwarbler.

The Rockwarbler was once known as the 'Hanging Dick' because of its pendulous nest, which is a domed structure with an entrance at the side. Made from grasses and plant fibres and coated with spider webs, it is attached to a rocky overhang or roof of a cave, and occasionally buildings. It is attached to the rock surface by spider webs, which the bird hammers into place with its bill, and they are then covered with saliva to hold them in place. Inside this nest, the bird lays three glossy eggs in spring or early summer.

Rockwarblers forage restlessly, methodically probing for insects in fissures in rock-faces, creeping mouse-like into crevices, cavities or caves, and exploring the undersides of overhanging rocky ledges, sometimes even climbing up vertical rock-faces. This specialised foraging method is well adapted to their favoured haunts, dominated by spectacular sandstone ranges west of Sydney.

The accompanying map shows that Rockwarblers occur in New South Wales and nowhere else in the world.

If you want to discover more information about this species or any other birds that occur in Australia, just take a little time to explore the Birdata website, or visit the BirdLife Australia website at . You never know what you might find.

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Next week: Ruddy Turnstone