(Photo by Dave Watts)
One of the smallest birds in Australia, the endemic Forty-spotted Pardalote is threatened with extinction. For full details of its plight, see our threatened species pages.
The Forty-spotted Pardalote belongs to a group known as 'diamond birds' because of their tiny, jewel-like appearance. Measuring about 90 - 100 mm, the body is light olive green with pale yellow around the eye and on the rump. The wings are black with distinctive white dots. Unlike its close relative, the spotted pardalote, there are no head markings.
Forty-spotted Pardalotes live in dry eucalypt forests and woodlands only where white gum (Eucalyptus viminalis) occurs.
The species can sometimes be seen at Maria Island National Park, the Labillardiere Peninsula in South Bruny National Park and the Peter Murrell Reserve near Kingston.
They feed on a variety of insects, and also lerps (a protective insect coating) and manna, a sugary secretion produced by the tree in response to insect attack. The birds are called 'foliage gleaners' because of the way they pick the insects from the leaves and branches.
The nest is built of fine bark and usually placed in the hollow of a mature tree. Four white, lustrous eggs are laid.
The call is a low pitched 'where... where... where... where'.
The rare and threatened Forty-spotted Pardalote is found in suitable habitat in a few, scattered eastern and southern localities, including Maria Island, Bruny Island, Tinderbox and Flinders Island.