Parade of Colours (Scarlet Honeyeater)


Parade of Colours (Scarlet Honeyeater) Original Acrylic on Canvas 31cm x 41cm

Inspiration: The strong sunlight filtering through the Aussie bush presents such vibrant colour and when a Scarlet Robin is added to the mix the scene becomes a real parade of colour. The inspiration for this painting came from an afternoon walk along the wooded banks of the Manning River on the family property

Scarlet Honeyeaters also called (Bloodbird, and Crimson Honeyeater), are small, active honeyeaters with shorter bills than many honeyeaters for probing eucalypt flowers for nectar and insects.  They also have long, protrusible almost tubular tongues tipped with short serrations, better fitted for licking and capillary flow than brushing.  Scarlet Honeyeaters put this organ to good effect in the tall canopies of eucalypts, callistermons, melaleucas, turpentine’s, banksias and coral trees, around eastern Australia.  Although they do take insects – and feed largely on nectar for their own needs.  In coastal and northern localities, they are rather nomadic but in the southern mountains they shift to lowlands over winter often entering urban gardens.

Working alone or in loose groups they following the flowering shrubs in forest canopy and through taller heaths, mostly within a metre or two of the canopies of the trees.  Flowers of epacrids, Correa, Banksia, Billardiera, Teatree, nagophoras, grevilleas, dryandras and eucalyptus are visited most.  They flutter about non-stop, perching to probe a flower, then dashing to the next shrub in swooping zigzag undulations with noisy wing-whirr, tail flirted and flashing red head and breast.  When breeding, the male defends a small territory with wavering climbing song-flights while the female builds the nest and incubates.  He may also bring nest material and perhaps relieves occasionally in incubation and later assists in feeding the young.

Original artwork by James Hough

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