Saturday, June 25, 2011

Golden-Bellied Flyeater

Golden-bellied Flyeater by Tonji Ramos

     My daughter and I used to go walking around the village every afternoon. While we were out on our walk one day, we were stopped in our tracks by a very unusual birdcall. The call was a 5-note tune, something like whee-whee-wh-whee-woo, repeated over and over again. It was so loud that we were sure that the bird was very big and very close by. We looked all around, eager to spot this great bird singer. But, we couldn't find it! We kept on hearing the bird calling. Soon it felt like the bird was mocking us. It sounded like it was singing, "you-can-not-seeee-me"! Some weeks later, I was out with some birdwatcher friends and heard the same, familiar call. I asked my friends what bird was making the call. I was expecting them to name some unusual bird. To my surprise, they said it was the Golden-bellied Flyeater.

    The Golden-bellied Flyeater is a very small, unassuming bird. It is only 4 1/2 inches long. From the looks of it, you would not guess that it has such a loud voice. Birds however are especially good at making sounds. They have air sacs all over their body that enable them to breathe very efficiently. Then, they have a very efficient sound box in their throat called a syrinx that can convert almost 100% of the air expelled into sound. The Golden-bellied Flyeater is also a ventriloquist. It can throw its voice so you cannot easily tell where the sound is coming from.

    Another thing that makes the Golden-bellied Flyeater hard to find is that it usually stays in the treetops. Instead of trying to find a tiny bird on top of a tree, it is better to just relax your eyes and try to spot some movement in the leaves. A closer inspection of the moving area with pair of binoculars will often reveal a bird. The Golden-bellied Flyeater is found all over the village.  It is usually found either alone or in pairs. Some good places to see the Golden-bellied Flyeater in the village are along Country CIub Driver, at the parking lot on front of la Salle, and in Narra Park.

You can see more pictures of Golden-bellied Flyeaters in my website

Happy Birding!

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