Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

tags: , , , , ,

[Mystery bird] Swainson’s Blue Mountain Rainbow Lorikeet, Trichoglossus haematodus moluccanus, photographed at Yungaburra, Queensland, Australia. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]

Image: Steve Duncan, 26 August 2009 [larger view].

Nikon D200 w/ Nikkor 300mm f/4 & TC17E.

Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.

Review all mystery birds to date.

Comments

  1. #1 David
    November 22, 2009

    ahh, a gorgeous bird- the Rainbow Lorikeet, Trichoglossus haematodus: violet-blue head and stomach, a bright green back, tail and vent, and an orange breast and beak…

    now the problem in classification is that this “species” is considered a “species complex” with the some 20 “subspecies” considered separately therefore the bird above is T. h. moluccanus, endemic to eastern Australia and Tasmania and called Swainson’s Lorikeet

  2. #2 joshua
    November 22, 2009

    Swainsons Lorikeet, or Blue Mountain Lorikeet.

    This Rainbow Lorikeet subspecies is distinguished by a blue belly and a red/orange breast with no barring. Lack of a red collar distinguishes it from the more northern Red Collared species.

  3. #3 David
    November 22, 2009

    and it appears that it is feeding on one of the lilly pillies, the common name for a number of flowering trees in the family Myrtaceae (cloves, eucalyptus, allspice, guava, etc.) which has the greatest representation of species in the Australasia ecozone, characterised by clusters of pink/mauve berries…

  4. #4 Snail
    November 22, 2009

    I don’t think that’s a lillypilly, David. It looks very much like an umbrella tree (Schefflera) (fam. Araliaceae). They’re fruiting here (Far North Queensland) at the moment, so the birds are having great fun.

  5. #5 David
    November 22, 2009

    Oh wow Snail, you are absolutely correct- Schefflera actinophylla- I’ve never, ever seen one in flower (and I used to tend over 300 of them in an indoor garden atrium in Washington, DC)!

    Schefflera actinophylla (close-up)

    Schefflera actinophylla, Malaga, Spain

  6. #6 MadScientist
    November 23, 2009

    I’m not familiar with Schefflera actinophylla, but that definitely isn’t the “lilli-pilli”. The lilli-pilli has purplish fruits about the size of grapes; they are edible and have a texture resembling styrofoam. (If it hadn’t been over 20 years since I’ve done my biology courses I may have been able to give a more detailed description of the fruit.) Many birds love it but I don’t recall any type of parrots feeding on it.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.