Saturday, June 16, 2012

Eastern Spinebill

Eastern Spinebill by andiwolfe
Eastern Spinebill, a photo by andiwolfe on Flickr.

This is one of the many honeyeaters native to Australia. It's such a treat to see an avifauna that is so different than the one in North America. I'm sure Aussie birders say the same thing when they come to North America to do some birding.

Honeyeaters have a niche similar to sunbirds, sugarbirds, and hummingbirds - pollinating flowers. They are after the nectar, of course, but the floral morphology is such that the bills or heads of the birds are dusted in pollen as they slurp up the nectar. Subsequent flowers visited receive a load of pollen to the stigmas.

Plants are pretty tricky in how they manipulate animals to perform this important service.

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