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19

Jacky Winter feeding its chicks

(Microeca fascinans)
Alternate name(s): "Peter-Peter", "Post-boy", "Post-sitter", "Brown Flycatcher", "White-tail", "Stumpbird", "Spinks"
Aboriginal name(s): Race "fascinans": "dhunidjuni" [yuwaalaraay]

Size: 12-14 cm
Weight: 15 g (average)

Back to the Jacky Winter main page .

In September/October 2015 we were able to observe a pair of Jacky Winters, race "fascinans", while raising two young in an Acacia salicina tree in our rural garden that gave a level viewing angle from the roof of the house.

The sequence of photos below shows how a Jacky Winter brings in food, feeds a chick, waits for a few seconds and then sits on the nest. The short wait is for "any other business" - in case a rear is raised and excrement produced, the adult bird will carry away the sac before returning to the nest to warm the chicks.

Jacky Winter's nest with two chicks in it, seen while the parents are out hunting; one chick is facing towards the camera - the yellow gape shows where its head is located; its crown is camouflaged to resemble the nest and rough tree bark perfectly
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

Here the Jacky Winter chick that was lying quietly in the photo above is being fed what appears to be a moth (with its wings) by a parent; its sibling's bill can be seen too
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

Here the adult Jacky Winter waits for things to happen...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

... before sitting down to warm the chicks; one chick's head can be seen sticking out from under mum's breast...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

... while at the end of a subsequent feeding session, the second, obscured chick produced a sac of refuse that the adult Jacky Winter picked up and carried away; this behaviour of keeping the nest (and its surroundings) clean has been observed by us before in other species
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

On a cool and windy morning we also observed how one adult Jacky Winter (presumably the male) arrived to give food to its partner (likely the female), who at the time was sitting on the chicks to warm them. While we watched the goings-on, neither the female nor the chicks issued any begging calls to obtain food.

5 days later the two little rascals were already a lot bigger and stronger
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

Large amounts of small prey went into the demanding bills of the two young Jacky Winters
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

But Jacky Winter parents can sometimes have pretty ambitious goals for their offspring - this caterpillar just would not fit in
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

The practical solution was quite astonishing - teamwork! The two adult Jacky Winters tore the caterpillar apart - now it fits!
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

A cockroach posed another serious challenge...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

... attempts to stuff the cockroach into one of those hungry gullets...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

... from various angles all failed
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

In the end, the adult Jacky Winter decided that it was a shame to let a good meal go to waste - and swallowed the cockroach itself
[Eulah Creek, NSW, October 2015]

From late August 2016 (about one month earlier than the previous year) presumably the same pair of Jacky Winters, race "fascinans", nested in a different location in the same Acacia salicina tree. The female took the incubating duties on herself, with the male coming regularly to feed her; the photos below show a feeding sequence and then how later the chicks were being fed and brooded.

Male Jacky Winter bringing food for the incubating female
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2016]

Male Jacky Winter bringing food for the incubating female
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2016]

Male Jacky Winter resting briefly near its partner before taking off again
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2016]

8 days later, there were two small Jacky Winter chicks in the nest; based on behaviour observed, they were either 2 or 3 days old at the time; here an adult bringing an insect
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2016]

In this view one can still see the "knob" on the bill of one chick that was used to crack the egg shell
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2016]

Mum Jacqueline resuming her brooding duties...
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2016]

...fits snug as a bug!
[Eulah Creek, NSW, September 2016]

These pages are largely based on our own observations and those of our contributors. The structure of these bird pages is explained HERE. For more salient facts on any bird species please refer to a field guide.

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