The Noisy Miner Bird
The Noisy Miner or Mickey [Monorina melanocephala] is a very common bird in our area. It is conspicuous by its constant chatter. They also make a racket when other birds, humans, or cats are around. They are also an early detection system for snakes, although in my experience they are not as reliable as a butcher bird where snakes are concerned! They just chatter all the time…like the little boy who cried snake! They are a very territorial species that have no problem taking on much bigger birds, even hawks or kookaburras.
Noisy minors are predominately grey in colour, with a yellow bill and black cheeks. They occur from Atherton Tableland right down to Tasmania, mostly close to the coast. They are nectar feeders, but will also eat insects, caterpillars and fruit. They are very gregarious, with groups of 20 or more individuals common. When they find a garden full of grevilleas and bottlebrushes, they will claim it as their own. They are therefore well suited to suburban backyards often to the detriment of other bird species. We have created ‘Mickey heaven’ by planting all these flowering, nectar producing shrubs in our gardens!
The female builds a nest and usually incubates the eggs alone. However both sexes will care for and feed the young. Often more helpers will assist in raising the chicks…commonly males.
This is what was happening outside our office in Pomona recently…
It should be noted that the mickey is native, and is not the Indian Mynah [Acridotheres tristis] which is quite a feral pest and is gradually increasing its habitat in Australia. This bird is native to Turkestan, India & Sri Lanka. It was introduced into Melbourne in 1862, and North Queensland in 1883. These birds are aggressive, taking over nesting sites, displacing native birds and even killing small birds, mammals and bats. They have chocolate brown heads and neck, a fawn colour on their body and white tips on the wings. Beak and legs are yellow.