Different Whipbird Sounds?

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magpie's picture
Different Whipbird Sounds?

I was at the beach today and there is some thick bush/scrub behind the dunes. Here there are many wrens and small birds, but also a whipbird. I was very close to him but couldnt see him.

Then he shot out and i caught a sight for a brief second (first time ever!). But then i could hear some scratching around in the bush and on the ground. Could not see anything so i got closer and another bird jumps out - could not see what it was before it hid behind a bush but it looked orange/gold on the tail (not positive on that though). It was quite large though for a scrub bird so im wondering if it was a whipbird after all, i dont know any other larger birds (compared to a wren) that would be on the ground there.

When i got close it made an alarm call type sound and this is what is steering me away from thinking it was a whipbird - do they make any other sound besides the whip crack and trailing noises? This was totally different.

I contiued to hear a lot of scratching around the scrub floor (thought there might be a brush turkey in there it was so loud!) and despite the fact it sounded as if the bird was right near me, i did not spot it again although did hear this alarm type call a number of times more.

Gelmir's picture

G'day magpie,
That other bird could be a Bassian Thrush. They are slightly larger than a Whipbird, and are a browny/yellow colour. They get around on the ground like a Whipbird as well.
I'm not sure about the noise though, as the only Bassian I've seen didn't make a sound at all.

DenisWilson's picture

Hi Magpie
I am puzzled by your report.
A Whipbird, seen from the back as it flies away will appear dark, nearly black, with a long wedge-shaped tail. It is about 6 to 8 inches long.
They do make a variety of scratching and growling noises. In fact they are relatively noisy in behind the shrubbery, that is apart from the male's very distinctive whip crack call (and the female's "Chew, Chew" reply).
Depending on the size, another suggestion to that good one offered by Gelmir, would be female Satin Bowerbird (or immature male). They make many different calls and mimic other birds and even mimic mechanical noises. I was listening to one yesterday in a friend's garden, and it called constantly for about 5 minutes, without ceasing, and it sounded like a menagerie of birds, interspersed by their trade-mark whirring noises. They have bronze, almost golden colours on tail and especially in the wings.
But it is a large bird. That's where my confusion comes in.

Gelmir's picture

Good suggestion Denis, I didn't think about a bowerbird at all.
Re-reading the OP, I'm not so sure what magpie is describing could be a Bassian. The habitat is wrong. The only thing I've seen that's comes close to what you've seen maybe a Australian Pipit. I see these guys consistently at Long Reef on the golf course, but not near the dunes though. And these one's haven't ever made an alarm call, they tend to just fly off.
The only bird I can think off that I've seen in the habitat you've described, and making the noise you've described is a Masked Lapwing, but it doesn't have the gold on the tail.

marj's picture

Not sure how big the bird was - almost anything is "large compared to a wren" Could it have been a Pheasant Coucal?

soakes's picture

I would guess what you saw was a whipbird.

I saw one recently in my scrub and I was quite surprised by the apparent colour.

They make quite a few different noises. They are very beautiful birds, when you finally get a close glimpse of one!

- soakes

Olinda, Victoria, Australia

raysimula's picture

G'day Magpie, Have you considered a Log Runner.I get them around my place and they inhabit the same country as Whipbirds.They are also very dificult to spot because of there shyness. Ray

magpie's picture

Thanks for the replies

It was about pigeon sized I'd say. As i said though i only caught a fleeting glance and the sun may have made it seem more golden than it really was. I do remember a wide fanned tail though.

Bowerbird crossed my mind but I really dont think it would be in here (and i hope not because they are currently clearing this area and replanting it later).

Im going to continue investigating and hopefully get a better look and a photo next time, unfortunately the bird has not been there when i've been going back each day.


u could look it up somehow and to capture a shot find out its diet so u can get it to come towards u

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