SPECIES: Pardalotus quadragintus — Forty-spotted Pardalote
Meet one of Australia's rarest birds. The Forty-spotted Pardalote. It's a tiny bird, confined now to south-eastern Tasmania to a few isolated colonies. They are found in relatively dry eucalypt forests and are exclusively dependent on White Gum trees, a major food source for the species.
The population has declined considerably over the last 100 years, mostly due to loss of habitat - cleared for agriculture, forestry & residential development. Their decline is also in part due to competition for food resources and breeding sites with other native birds. Particularly when other birds are more aggressive and opportunistic by nature than the Forty-spotted Pardalote.
To finish with, a word about the name. 'Forty-spotted' refers to the wings of the Forty-spotted Pardalote, which are black with white tips but when folded, appear as dots. Though to be honest, it's closer to sixty spots than forty spots.
Photo: Henry Cook