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Noisy Miners

Home > Melbourne > Free | Fun Things To Do | Nature | Outdoor
by Neil Follett (subscribe)
I'm a retired photographer living in Lilydale mainly researching and writing on Australian aviation history. Now writing more on general subjects.
Published June 18th 2022
Noisy but nice
You don't have to leave home to become aware of noisy miners. You may find them on your property and even a short street walk you are liable to see some.

noisy miner
A noisy miner.

The noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala) is a bird in the honeyeater family and is endemic to eastern and south-eastern Australia. This miner is a grey bird, with a black head, orange-yellow beak and feet, a distinctive yellow patch behind the eye, and white tips on the tail feathers.
noisy miner
Noisy miner in tree.

As their name suggests, the noisy miner is a vocal species with a large range of songs, calls, scoldings and alarms, and almost constant vocalisations, particularly from young birds.

Young noisy miners.
A trio of young ones vocalising.

The noisy miner is a notably aggressive bird, so that chasing, pecking, fighting, scolding, and mobbing occur throughout the day, targeted at both intruders and colony members. I have observed noisy miners chasing and harassing sulphur crested cockatoos who are many times their size.

Noisy miners harassing cockatoo.
Noisy miners harassing cockatoos and a stare off.

On one of my street walks I was photographing a rainbow lorikeet feeding on a protea flower when harassed by a noisy miner. The lorikeet ignored the intrusion but eventually left. Pity, as there were enough proteas to go around.

Rainbow lorikeet .
Rainbow lorikeet about to be harassed by noisy miner.

Foraging in the canopy of trees, on trunks and branches, and on the ground, the noisy miner mainly eats nectar, fruit, and insects. Most time is spent gleaning the foliage of eucalypts, and it can meet most of its nutritional needs from manna, honeydew, and lerp, which a sweet waxy secretion found on the leaves of eucalyptus trees.

Noisy miner fossicking.
In the grass looking for insects.

They have two broad-frequency alarm calls that are used when intruders enter their territory, or when predators (including humans) are sighted; and a narrow-frequency alarm call that is primarily used when airborne predators are seen. I have observed when approaching a treed area and there are noisy miners about, they live up to their name noisily circling overhead and then retiring to nearby trees to watch me.

noisy miners in tree.
They retreat to trees and watch.

And watch they do, or rather stare. I call it a death stare, as their black head and forward thrust beak oozes intimidation.

Noisy miners staring.
Two evil stares.

Noisy miners staring.
More stares.

Noisy miners staring.
They do stare a lot.

Returning their stare is entertaining as they feed in trees hanging precariously from branches.

noisy miners
They are a joy to watch.

They can be real posers when just perched and looking around. They seem to perch anywhere.

noisy miners
They like to pose.

noisy miners
They will perch anywhere.

A particularly interesting photo was of one preening and catching one hopping was a nice experience.

Noisy miner preening.
Noisy miner preening.

noisy miner hopping.
Caught on the hop.

They are a very active bird and the opportunity to catch them in flight often arise as most birds when approached fly off away from the camera.

noisy miners in flight.
Noisy miners in flight.

They are not related to the introduced pest bird, the Indian myna.

Indian myna
Indian myna, an introduced pest.

They may be noisy, intimidating and aggressive to other birds, but they are a delight to watch.

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Why? Their feeding antics are a joy to behold.
When: anytime
Where: Your garden, street or park.
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Great range of photographs.
by 23and (score: 1|84) 13 days ago
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