Over 80% of Australia’s mallee habitat has been cleared. A very large part of what remains is contained within the Riverland Biosphere Reserve, (formerly the Bookmark Biosphere Reserve). The reserve is about 9000 sqKm composed mainly of properties with various ownerships and management scenarios, but with the common aim of conservation of habitat and sustainable use of resources. Birdlife Australia’s Gluepot Reserve is just one property within the reserve, (map).
This little bird is the smallest of the ‘red robins’ and a real charmer to boot. Many distribution maps and field guides have the red cap occurring in southern Victoria but it is pretty rare to see one this far south - Gippsland - these days I believe. Duncan ticked one at Maffra in 2009.
The Red-capped Robin can be found in numerous locations at Gluepot. Some years ago I recall nearly having to brush them off the table at Bellbird camp in order to boil the billy!
It seems this bird is quite capable of handling the arid inland conditions and I never tired of raising the bins to the eyes whenever I caught a glimpse of that scarlet red chest in the distance.
The red cap employs the familiar perch and pounce technique to capture a meal of invertebrates on the ground or in low bushes. Sometimes this can be useful to remember in order to gain a suitable position near a popular perch. Often the bird will return to the same perch after several sorties.
|Female - taken at Hattah Kulkyne NP 2012|
|Juvenile - not as colourful, just as charming!|
Once again this is another species said to be in decline due to loss of habitat – all hail Gluepot and Riverland Biosphere Reserve I say!