The crested bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) is a member of the bellbird family and belongs to the Oreoica genus. These birds are endemic to Australia and can be found throughout the region because of the vast habitat range that they have. They are well-known for their bell-like calls that are ventriloquial as they throw their call to make it sound like it's coming from somewhere else.
These birds use various objects to decorate their nests, the most common element being the hair of hairy caterpillars, which can also serve as food for the chicks.
As of now, these birds are listed as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List due to the vast population distribution that comes with them being present in the form of two subspecies that consists of breeding, non-breeding and immature bellbirds. Even though they are seen as a pest, these birds have been an integral part of their ecosystem as they help in the control of insect infestation in many parts of their habitat range.
The crested bellbird, also known as the crested thrush, is a locally nomadic species of medium-sized bird that is endemic to mainland Australia. These birds are further divided into two subspecies Oreoica gutturalis gutturalis and the Oreoica gutturalis pallescens, both of which can be commonly found around South Australia and mainland Australia making the crested bellbird range map larger than that of similar species of Australian birds.
The crested bellbird (Oreoica gutturalis) belongs to the Aves class.
There is no approximate count of the population of these Australian birds as the crested bellbird's habitat is vast and hence, the global population size cannot be quantified. However, these locally common birds have seen a decline in population over the years due to human interference which has led to a decline in the breeding and non-breeding population. Since the decline in their native Australian range is not considered to be rapid, the population of the crested thrush is estimated to be stable.
The crested bellbird is native to the Australian continent and is a locally nomadic species. These birds are found throughout the regions Australian regions and can be often found foraging the ground for insects like hairy caterpillars and such.
The crested bellbird prefers drier wooded habitats particularly eucalypt woodlands, spinifex shrubs, dry acacia woodland, and shrublands with scattered trees around them that are useful during the breeding season.
These birds can commonly be found in the semi-arid coastline, low shrubs, dunes, plains, and desert areas where they forage the ground for food sources.
The crested bellbird is usually solitary and then forms pairs during the breeding season and both the crested bellbird male and the crested bellbird female are serially monogamous, meaning they move on from one mate to the other during the various breeding season.
These birds are also known to be territorial and have a set habitat range that both the male and the female will protect.
According to IUCN, the eggs and the adults have a generation gap of 7.9 years, which means that even though the exact lifespan of this bird is unknown, it can be estimated that the lifespan range for them is between seven to eight years.
During the breeding season, the crested bellbird forms pairs, and the breeding period varies but usually takes place from August to December. The male crested bellbird sings occasionally to attract a potential mate during the breeding season.
After the male and female have mated, both will take turns in creating the nest that is in the form of a deep cup with the outer structure made up of twigs, leaves, wool, or hairs of caterpillars, and hairy caterpillars.
The crested bellbird nest is created above the ground in dense or low shrubs, acacia shrublands, or hollow tree stumps mostly in semi-arid coastlines.
The female will lay one to four eggs that are pale bluish-white with black, olive, gray, and brown spots, and both parents take turns in incubating the eggs for 16 days. Once the eggs hatch after 16 days, the chick is fledged for a further 12 days.
Currently, the crested bellbird is listed as a species of Least Concern on the IUCN Red List due to the vast territory range that they have. Due to this scattered population across the Australian continent, the bird is deemed to be at a safe number and has no special conservation status in effect to protect them.
However, in Victoria, which is in South Australia, this medium-sized bird is considered to be threatened due to human interference in their native habitat range.
In some cases, due to these human interferences, the crested bellbird migrates locally in search of a new nesting or foraging ground.
The male and the female crested bellbird can be differentiated from each other through their plumages and both the male and the female crested bellbird feathers are a form of distinction.
The male crested bellbird has a crown at the center of the forehead with feathers elongated as crests. The hindneck and neck side is grayish brown, with a chin and upper throat that is white. The upperparts are also gray-brown, with the rump being chestnut color, the upperwing is brownish-gray, and the edge of the feathers is grayish-brown as well. The tail is brown, with the flanks, breast side, and the thighs too being grayish-brown. The face is topped off with orange-red eyes.
Compared to the crested bellbird male, the female lacks the facial pattern and has a brownish-gray head, with pale underparts, and an iris that is yellow to red-brown in color and lacks the black breast.
The small stature of this bird does make it cute, however, the loud crested bellbird sound sometimes makes them intolerable and they are also considered a pest in Australia.
The crested bellbird call consists of a ring-like sound, that starts softly and becomes intense as the song goes on.
The crested bellbird bell-like ringing sound is very loud and can be heard as far as 0.6 miles (1 km) away.
Crested bellbirds are medium-sized birds and reach a height of 7.4-9 in (19-23 cm), their wingspan is 11.4-14.1 in (29-36 cm), giving them a much-needed boost when they are in flight.
The flight speed of this bird is unknown.
Crested bellbirds reach a maximum bodyweight of 1.9-2.3 oz (56–67 g) as full-grown adults.
The male and females of this bird species have no sex-specific names assigned to them.
A baby crested bellbird is called a chick.
Chicks are born in a clutch size of one to four eggs that are incubated by both parents for 16 days.
The juveniles have a prominent black breast like the adults, and the rest of the body is gray or brown.
The crested bellbird feeds on insects, seeds, and small vertebrates as they forage the ground and acacia shrublands. Crested bellbird diet depends on the resources available to them, as they can thrive on both insects and seeds.
No, these species are not poisonous.
Kidadl Advisory: All pets should only be bought from a reputable source. It is recommended that as a potential pet owner you carry out your own research prior to deciding on your pet of choice. Being a pet owner is very rewarding but it also involves commitment, time and money. Ensure that your pet choice complies with the legislation in your state and/or country. You must never take animals from the wild or disturb their habitat. Please check that the pet you are considering buying is not an endangered species, or listed on the CITES list, and has not been taken from the wild for the pet trade.
In Australia, this bird is known as 'Dick-Dick-the Devil' because of its call.
Crested bellbirds are shy and spend most of their time foraging.
These birds have one of the loudest calls in all bird species.
Males are easily identifiable thanks to their crown or crest that is visible on their heads. Females are tough to identify since they are plain-looking and are often confused with other bird species.
The crested bellbird name comes from the ringing voices that these birds produce.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other birds from our hummingbird facts and cockatoo facts pages.
You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable bird coloring pages.
Second image by Aviceda