There is a tiny bird, native to Australia that many people may have never seen.
Its surprisingly loud call, a two-syllable monotonously-repeated sound is one of the most characteristic sounds of eucalyptus forests in Eastern Australia and would be familiar to many people.
The call is, an initial call, and an almost instant response from another bird, often in another direction, this multidirectional sound making the bird hard to locate.
The early settlers called it the Diamond Bird and indeed it is a jewel in the bush - meet the Spotted Pardalote.
It has black wings, tail and head, covered with small, distinct white spots (diamonds), a yellow throat, a red rump and a stubby bill and tail. Females are paler with yellow spots on the head.
The Spotted Pardalote, one of the smallest Australian birds, is only 9cm long and there are several different pardolates found in Australia.
They are found high in the canopy of eucalypt forests and woodlands in the coastal areas of eastern and southern Australia.
They may also be found in urban parks that have well-established eucalypt canopies.
They eat invertebrates and plant exudates, mainly lerps, the honeydew casing exuded by psyllid insects.
These tiny birds are important for the health of the forests, cleaning the leaves of insect pests, and this role may be significant for the survival of the trees.
Honeyeaters also like eating lerps, and aggressively defend the trees in which they are feeding.
A study has shown that up to 5 per cent of a pardalote’s day is spent evading attacks from honeyeaters.
The Spotted Pardalote only comes to the ground occasionally to drink and in the breeding season to nest.
They nest underground, a pair of birds will dig a narrow tunnel, sometimes a metre long, in an earth bank. At the end of this excavation a grass nest is built, and the female lays up to four tiny eggs, the size of peas.
Nests have also been found in rolls of old carpet and pot plants in urban gardens.
They normally live in pairs or small family groups, but after the breeding season, they sometimes form flocks of up to a hundred birds and may in the autumn months, migrate north with honeyeaters and other birds.