A great egret looks for breakfast at Calamvale Creek


Scientific stuff

Noisy miner
Also known as
soldier bird or Mickey bird

Manorina melanocephala
Family: Meliphagidae
Order: Passeriformes

Mostly grey feathers, yellow bill, yellow eyes with dark pupils, blackish forehead, with black thin curve around each eye. Adults are about 27 cm (11 inches). They live in groups of up to 30 or so.

Curious, chatterbox, sociable. Their dark side comes out in their aggression against other types of birds, especially the harmless crested pigeons.

Using our photos

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Nosy's photos

Nosy likes having her photo taken. She flew down to the photographer and posed in various positions while he got photos of her.

The photographer said:
“Nosy was funny. Just as I started taking pictures of some ducks from the wooden bridge, she flew down to the railing right beside me and took over. She let me photograph her as she hopped all over the railing. Several other miners soon joined her, and waited while she had her photograph taken.

“One thing I don't like about noisy miners is their aggression towards other birds and animals.

“They are especially vicious towards crested pigeons, but I have seen them dive-bomb and peck a turtle laying eggs, butcherbirds, and gang up and chase a magpie lark trying to make a nest. They also gang up on a large (about 70 cm) swamp pheasant that appears occasionally, and 20 or more of them make a terrible racket as they take turns attacking this poor thing until it gets under cover.

“But one thing I like about Nosy and the other miners is that they often seem to say 'Fine, fine' in a high-pitched voice. (Actually, it sounds more like an Irish accented 'foine, foine'.)

“'Would you like your photo taken, Nosy?'

“'Foine, foine.'

“'Will you turn sideways for me?'

“'Foine, foine.'

“Nosy was a lot of foin — er, fun.”

Critters of Calamvale Creek

Nosy, the noisy miner bird

Also known as soldier bird or Mickey bird

Manorina melanocephala

Nosy the noisy miner on wooden bridge rail at Calamvale Creek Hi — great to have you here. Bring your friends next time.

I'm Nosy, and I'm a sociable noisy miner at Calamvale Creek in Brisbane, Australia. Some people think we are noisy, but to us it's natural to chatter while being sociable in our group at the creek.

I'm not afraid of most humans. In fact, I enjoy having humans around — except those bratty little children who try to catch me. If I see you on the wooden bridge at Calamvale Creek, I will fly down and say hello.

Nosy the noisy miner waits for her friends on the bridge

I like to know what's going on around the creek, and constantly visit the wooden bridge to meet my other miner friends so we can discuss what's happening.

What do I eat?

I am called a honeyeater, because I like to feed on the nectar of plants such as grevilleas and other nectar-rich food when I can find them. You can see me looking for nectar in a hibiscus in the photo below. I also like bread.

Noisy miner feeding on a hibiscus flowerI also eat insects and spiders. Yum. Lots of protein. This morning I spent 15 minutes trying to get a spider who had built a huge web around her. I gave up eventually because I didn't want to get her sticky web over me.

Don't confuse me

Don't confuse me with the brown common myna (different spelling from noisy miner). The common myna came from India in the 1860s, and is related to the starlings. Phuh! Who would want to be related to the starlings!

There are plenty of common mynas around Calamvale, but so far we have managed to keep them out of the main part of the creek and park. We have also driven out the finches, wrens, sacred kingfishers, and some other birds from the southern part of the creek, although the rainbow lorikeets have moved into a hole in a tree up near Alpinia Place, and the new generation of young lorikeets are starting to visit again.

We are currently giving the crested pigeons a hard time. We follow them home and nip them on the way. If we see them on the ground we dive-bomb them and try to nip off their crest feathers with our sharp beaks.

Can I sing?

Noisy miner on railing of wooden bridge at Calamvale CreekI haven't mentioned that I am a beautiful singer.

In the breeding season (July to December), I have a particularly beautiful pre-dawn song that is almost as lovely as the butcherbirds' songs.

But not all my songs are mellow and musical. Sometimes I sing raucous annoying songs — just like you teenagers do. They are full of “zwits” and “karrks” and “zits”. At least it shows we have a wide musical taste, doesn't it!

You may see me in a number of areas around Calamvale Creek, but you are most likely to see me somewhere near the wooden bridge.

— Nosy, the noisy miner