Other names: Micky Miner, Mickey, Soldier Bird
Range and lifestyle: Resident throughout eastern Australia.
Food: Insects and nectar.
Breeding: Mainly late winter and spring. Nest is a bowl of grass lined on the inside with fur. Only the breeding female incubates the 2-4 eggs, which are white with brown spots all over, for just over 2 weeks. Chicks are in the nest for a similar period, but are fed by all group members.
The Noisy Miner is one of the big winners among native Australian birds in our eastern cities. Before Europeans arrived they probably lived only in open woodlands, but since European settlement they have adapted very successfully to the urban landscape. Noisy Miners are probably the most abundant bird species in suburbs right across Brisbane. Their success is largely due to living in large, highly-organised, extended family groups, whose members all help to raise the group’s offspring and to attack almost any animal that trespasses on the group territory.
Not to be confused with the Common or Indian Myna (a member of the Starling family that was introduced to Australia by Europeans), the Noisy Miner is a native species, and a member of the Honeyeater family.
Although small birds don’t stand a chance against miners in Brisbane home backyards, some bird species are able to defend themselves and survive in the suburbs because they are bigger than miners or capable of hurting them, for example butcherbirds, currawongs and lorikeets. Noisy Miners also gang together to repel potential predators like hawks and snakes. If you get to know their alarm calls, you will know when they have discovered one in your neighbourhood!
Text © Richard Noske 2018 CC BY-NC-SA
HANZAB v5; Dow.