Spotted Pardalotes

At 9cm and 8g Spotted Pardalotes are a fraction larger than Australia’s smallest bird, the Weebill. Weebills are cute but they are typical little-brown-birds while Spotted Pardalotes are exquisite.


Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus)
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 1600, focal length 375mm


Spotted Pardalotes generally forage high in the eucalypt canopy and are heard more often than seen. They have a surprisingly loud call for such a tiny bird with a single whistle followed by two higher notes. They feed on insects including sap-sucking psyllids and the sugary lerps, like tiny tents, that psyllids build to protect themselves.


Spotted Pardalote nesting chamber (Pardalotus punctatus)
Panasonic DMC-TZ1, 1/60, f/4.0, ISO 80, focal length 26.3mm (177mm)


Several years ago Spotted Pardalotes excavated a tunnel into a pile of top soil that had been delivered to our property. The first I knew of their endeavours was noticing sprays of soils flying from the pile. I spent many hours trying to capture an image of pardalotes at the tunnel entrance but they were too fast for the Panasonic I had at the time: I wish they’d come back now! Next year I’ll get another pile of top soil delivered to the same spot to tempt them. Once the nestlings had fledged I carefully removed soil from the pile, following the course of the narrow tunnel. The tunnel was almost one metre long and ended with a cavity containing the nest in the image above.


Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus)
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 320, focal length 390mm



Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) (male) – prepared for take-off


Spotted Pardalote (Pardalotus punctatus) – I like the painted look of this image
Canon 7D, 100-400mm L IS USM, 1/640, f/5.6, ISO 1000, focal length 365mm


The ‘take-off’ pardalote can be identified as male because of his golden yellow throat and the white spots on his black head. The first two images are juvenile males that are losing the brownish colouring of fledglings but showing soft yellow throats; females, as in the final image, do not have yellow throats. There’s an image of a juvenile Spotted Pardalote in Red-browed Finches and PS11 that I would have saved for today’s post if I’d known I’d be lucky enough to photograph more pardalotes during the week.

Pardalotes can be very inquisitive and I’ve had several come too close for me to to focus on them: beautiful moments.

Happy birding, Kim





6 comments to Spotted Pardalotes

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>