Friday, 16 November 2012

Not mistletoe

We have a large Spotted Gum E. maculata just near our verandah that has quite a few clumps of mistletoe Dendrophthoe vitellina on a number of the branches. These are a prime feeding source for many birds, but one is so closely identified with mistletoe that it is called the Mistletoe Bird. At present the mistletoe is in flower so the birds are feeding on the nectar and insects attracted to the flowers. Once the berries form then this is the real attraction for the mistletoe birds and their relationship with the spread of the plant, as the fruit passes quickly through the bird's system and the excreted seed which has a particularly sticky coating, is left on a branch to sprout and grow on the host plant.
Today I found a pair of Mistletoe Birds Dicaeum hirundinaceum opposite the tree and feeding on the berries of the Native Peach Trema aspera.
The male was more interested in singing to impress the female, where as she was very busy working all over the bush and not giving much opportunity for a photo, but she did display the only bit of colour from her otherwise brown tones.

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