Australasian figbird

Sphecotheres vieilloti

Figbirds are colonial, living in small groups when breeding and gathering in large flocks of 20-50 or more afterwards.

There are a number of fruits that are only seeded by being eaten by these and other fruit eating birds, being geminated when they are passed through their digestive system and then excreted onto the ground in a fertilized pool of droppings.

They are wonderful parents, as are the other members of the flock towards all the young born. When the chicks have fledged (i.e. are ready to fly and leave the nest and they take their first flight they are cared for by the flock.

Preferring a warmer more humid climate to find fruits more readily, they range from around the north as far up as near Derby, WA east along the coast down to the Illawarra district, NSW. They like to keep to monsoon forests, open woodlands, clearings where big trees have been left, parks and are often seen in our gardens especially where their food plants occur such as native and cultivated figs (which are an important, if not essential part of their diet) native cherries, raspberries, ink-weed, lantana, tobacco-bush, bananas, paw paws, guavas and mulberries. Following their food, the flocks are locally nomadic, but rarely travel far. When raising their young they will also eat and then regurgitate many insects to feed the chicks a diet higher in protein, essential for their healthy growth of bones and feathers.