Eastern Whipbird eye colour.

This morning when updating my website I noticed something odd. The bird in the latest picture I added had pale (cream) eyes.

So I went looking, and sure enough Birds Australia (Birds in Backyards) and the Australian Museum both state adult “eyes pale cream”.

However who else gets it right? Only one of the fieldguides gets even close, Peter Slater’s. The latest CSIRO guide cleverly avoids the issue altogether.

Even HANZAB gets it wrong. It has a contradiction between the initial description and the “soft parts” section.

Most of the published pictures labelled “adult” show a bird with red-brown or dark brown eyes. Clearly these are all are all immatures.

Interestingly, Grey-crowned Babblers, a not so distant relation, also develop similar pale eyes with age – it takes four years.

So my question is, how long does it take for an Eastern Whipbird take to develop pale cream eyes? I suspect it will be four years.

There are published photographs of them at nests where the eyes look not so pale so they obviously sometimes breed when not fully mature.



Graeme Chapman

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