Sharing Early Literacy Learning Journeys

A bird on a wire: a colourful bird, on an ordinary electrical wire, on an ordinary suburban street – unlike Leonard Cohen’s ‘Bird on the wire” song of 1968.

???????????????????????????????But what bird is it?

Internet searches come up with ‘No result found’. I can’t insert information like ‘bird type’ or ‘common name ’ because I don’t know them. After viewing dozens of bird pictures, I cannot find this bird.

Fortunately, it stays on the wire for several minutes enabling me to keep clicking. Two more birds, just like this one, visit on nearby wires, but don’t stay long.


Aahh – nothing like a good wing and tail stretch…


and now, a head scratch.


“I missed that yellow butterfly,”
I whisper to my friend.


“Hey! Who are you?”
I shout to that intruder over there!

Any help in recognising this bird happily accepted!

And one more thing…. why does it have two feathers? strands? below the main tail?

Comments on: "A bird on a wire…" (8)

  1. I live in the U.S. Guess that is why I have never seen one.
    It’s a Rainbow Bee Eater. Those things sticking out of its tail are called ‘Tail shafts.’
    Look at:

    • Thanks Mary.
      You obviously did better on the net than I did.
      Found out the name ‘with a little help from my friends’… but had not heard of it before.
      So ‘tail shafts’ are the two things below the tail? Interesting. Thanks again.

  2. lizjorg said:

    Hi Coral It is a Rainbow Bee-eater. Found over most of Australia. Dig a burrow into ground. Some locals call them Matchstick birds because of the two long thin feathers coming out of tail. Cheers

    • Thanks Liz… helpful as always. Glad some things don’t change!
      I had seen them around and thought they were beautiful – love the colours… but did not know the name.
      Matchstick birds is new to me too. In Mary’s comment, above, she called the end feathers ‘tail shafts’.
      Thanks again, Liz,

  3. Hello Coral, it’s a Rainbow Bee-eater. Bob says they burrow in the ground, usually go in about a metre. Some locals call them Matchstick birds because of the long narrow feathers coming out of their tail. Found over most of Australia. Cheers

    • Hi Liz.
      So they burrow in the ground… wow! Interesting that they are seen over most of Australia – didn’t see them in the mallee…

  4. what state or country do you live in. That may help in identifying what kind of bird this is. I have never seen anything like it flying around here!

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