Australasian Figbird

Did you know?

The Figbird nests in small, semi-colonial groups, with nests often quite close together.

Calls
Facts and Figures
Research Species: 
No
Minimum Size: 
28cm
Maximum Size: 
29cm
Average size: 
28cm
Average weight: 
128g
Breeding season: 
September to January
Clutch Size: 
2 to 3 eggs
Incubation: 
18 days
Nestling Period: 
17 days
Conservation Status
Federal: 
NSW: 
NT: 
QLD: 
Associated Plants
Basic Information
Scientific Name: 
Featured bird groups: 
Atlas Number: 
432
What does it look like?
Description: 

Figbirds are part of a worldwide family that includes the orioles, of which Australia has two other members (the Yellow and Olive-backed Orioles). Males have bare, red skin around the eye, contrasting against a black crown and grey neck and throat. The remainder of the body is olive-green, except for a white under-tail area. Females have grey skin around the eye and lack distinctive head markings. They are brown-green above and dull-white below, streaked with brown. Both sexes have a blackish bill. There are two distinct colour forms of the males of this species. Males north of Proserpine in Queensland have a yellow front.

Similar species: 

Figbirds have a blackish bill, which easily distinguishes the species from the similar Olive-backed Oriole, which has a reddish bill. Both of the Australian orioles also lack the Figbird's bare eye skin and have red eyes (adults). The Figbird tends to be more gregarious than either of the orioles, living semi-colonially.

Where does it live?
Distribution: 

The Figbird occurs across coastal regions of northern and eastern Australia from the Kimberley region in Western Australia around to the New South Wales/Victoria border.

Habitat: 

The Figbird lives in rainforests and wet sclerophyll forests, but is often found in urban parks and gardens, particularly those with figs and other fruit-producing trees

Seasonal movements: 

Mostly sedentary, but undergoes some nomadic movements, particularly southwards into Victoria.

What does it do?
Feeding: 

Figbirds feed in flocks, often of around 20 birds that are prepared to fly to isolated trees that are suitable for foraging. Figs are a particularly popular food item, although they will feed on most soft fruits and berries in canopy trees. Insects are also important components of their diet.

Breeding: 

The gregarious behaviour of Figbirds is maintained in the breeding season, with small groups of birds nesting semi-colonially in adjoining canopy trees. The nest is cup-shaped and built of vine tendrils and twigs. It is supported by its rim from the horizontal fork of an outer branch of the canopy, up to 20 m above the ground. Both males and females incubate the eggs and feed the young.

Living with us

Figbirds are commonly encountered in city parks that contain fig trees, and will often visit orchards and gardens that have leafy trees and berry-producing plants. Fruiting canopy trees, particularly figs, are essential components of the environment of Figbirds.

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