The Spotted Pardalote
The spotted pardalote is a tiny bird, 8-10 cm long, found in coastal areas of eastern and southern Australia. Both male and female share similar colours and patterns with the female colouring being duller in appearance. This photo was taken at Ingleside on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.
It prefers eucalypt forests and woodlands but is seen in parks and gardens with a well-established eucalypt canopy, where it hides high up amongst the leaves. It is largely sedentary and relatively common in urban areas. Its status is of least concern.
Spotted pardalotes forage on leaves for small insects and the sugary exudates from leaves and psyllids (lerp).
It has a characteristic three-note call with the second two notes higher than the first; “sleep-may-be”. These calls are regularly repeated during the mating season from about June to January and give the bird its nick-name of “the headache bird”.
The spotted pardalote’s nest is typically excavated in an earth bank and is a lined chamber at the end of a narrow tunnel, but sometimes they nest in tree hollows or man-made structures including rolls of carpet.
Both parents share nest-building, incubation of eggs and the feeding of hatchlings; spending around 21 days in the nest.
Photo and story by Andrew Tiede