Size: Averages 33 cm long including tail, 120 g.
Range and lifestyle: Found throughout Australia. Some birds probably live in Brisbane all their lives, whereas others migrate to the northern parts of Australia and even Indonesia after breeding.
Food: Insects, their larvae, caterpillars and other invertebrates.
Breeding: They build small, shallow, saucer-shaped nests out of rootlets, sticks, bark fibre and leaves, bound together and matted with spiders’ webs. The female lays 2 to 3 blotchy white, blue or green eggs which take about 2 weeks to hatch.
These slender, medium-sized birds are best known for their habit of shuffling their wings immediately after alighting on the branch of a tree, as if they don’t quite fold up properly.
They examine the surrounding foliage for their favourite prey – stick insects and praying mantises – before launching at them.
Early in the morning they may be seen flying from one light pole to the next where they collect insects that are resting after a long night of dancing under the lamps.
Text © Richard Noske 2021 CC BY-NC-SA
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