Eastern Whipbird - Psophodes olivaceus - Whip Bird

Eastern Whipbird

Psophodes olivaceus

Other Names: Whip Bird, (Coach-whip Bird, Psophodes crepitans, 19th Century)
Family:
Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and allies, 8 species in Australia)
Size: 25-30 cm
Distribution: Within about 200 km of the coast of NSW, Eastern VIC and Most of QLD except the north
Status: Common to mderately common
Habitat: Dense understories of rainforests, coastal scrubs, wet sclerophyll forests, riparian (near a stream) forest
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest

The Eastern Whipbird is famous for its call which sounds like the crack of a whip. The call is actually made by two birds, the male makes the whipcrack, and if the female replies it is a sort of "choo choo choo" sound. It sounds truly amazing if you happen to be between the pair when they call. The whip sound is heard at the beginning of the theme song to "Skippy the Bush Kangaroo".

Eastern Whipbirds are heard much more than they are seen as they like to hide in dense scrub, from which they rarely emerge. They are also a drab colour which blends in very will with the background. The crest on their head is a distinguishing feature. The tail is fairly long and there is a light coloured patch on the lower side of the head. In the photo below this looks like a slightly lighter grey than the rest of the bird, sometimes it is lighter than this and the rest of the head is darker.

Eastern Whipbird - Psophodes olivaceus
Photo: Blaxland, Blue Mountains NSW

Eastern Whipbird - Psophodes olivaceus
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.

Some Birdwatching Resources

Know Your Birds, by Louise Egerton - Eastern Whipbird - Psophodes olivaceus - Whip Bird NEW: Know Your Birds, by Louise Egerton.

Revised edition 3 July 2019. Paperback / softback, 176 pages. It has an orange cover. The original edition was 2005 and has a blue cover. Some of the book sellers listed here show the photo from the original/older blue cover edition, but the rest of the info (including the publication date and ISBN) are from the newer revised 2019 edition, so presumably that's the one you'll get.

This book has very high quality large photographs of the birds (as in actual photographs). Most of the photos take up a whole page for each bird photograph. "Know Your Birds" only has a selection of the most common birds, and not all the birds that are found in Australia. This makes it very good for beginners — since most of the field guides have all the birds — and it can be confusing looking at six almost identical species of birds, not knowing that five of them are rare and it's probably the common one that you're looking for. Which would be the only one listed in this book.

Purchase from Australia (Booktopia)

Purchase from Australia (Angus & Robertson)

Purchase from Australia (The Nile)

Purchase from Australia (Fishpond)

See Also

Australian Bird Field Guides

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