This weeks bird of the week is the Noisy Friarbird or Leatherhead (Latin: Philemon corniculatus).
This species is classified under the honeyeaters and ultimately belongs to the songbirds. The Latin name is derived from corniculum, meaning ‘little horn’ after the knob on the bird’s beak. Its regular (english) names come from its appearance, in particular its bald head with a black leather like skin.
Noisy Friarbirds can be commonly found in Australia, New Guinea and in a small part of Indonesia, where they are found in half open bushes, parks, gardens and lanes. They do live up to their name, because they are indeed noisy! Like most birds, they indicate their individual feeding territory and communicate the presence of food sources to other birds (also to those from different species) with their calls.
Noisy Friarbirds eat insects, nectar and fruit. Because they are common and love to eat fruit, they are sometimes regarded as pests when they eat fruit that are commercially grown.
As they live in the southern hemisphere, their breeding period ranges from July to January. They lay 2 – 4 eggs and when these are hatched the parents will not only feed their offspring, but also clean up after them and even protect them from rain.
One last interesting fact is that some bird species from the oriole group are mimicing species of the frairbirds group because of the friarbirds aggression. By pretending to be friarbirds, these orioles try to avoid being attacked (see this link).