Noisy Miners harassing a Spotted Dove

on 28th May 2008


In April 2008, a group of Noisy Miners (Manorina melanocephala) was attacking a helpless Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis) in Centennial Park, Sydney while Dr CH Lee a.k.a. lchxian was trying to photograph a frogmouth.

“The Noisy Miners were harassing the dove, flying over it and using their claws to grab the dove. I was not convinced at that point that the claws of Noisy Miners could do much harm.”


The miners spread their tails as if in a war dance and surrounded the poor dove that was totally intimidated. One by one the miners made individual aerial attacks, leaving the dove injured.


“There was this urge arising from deep in me… maybe I should be compassionate and help the dove out of danger. But craving for good action photos, I struggled with the decision to stop photographing and start to intervene with the natural world.

“…As I walked towards the birds, a couple walked by. They turned their head to have a look at the commotion and walked on… Later they turned again, seeing this Chinese boy standing near the injured dove, fending away the noisy miners. I wonder what they were thinking…

“As I stood near the dove, it looked scared and badly injured. There were hardly any feathers left in its tail. Surprisingly, as I stepped back to take this photo…, the Noisy Miners attempted another aerial raid. I had to pretend to kick them, to fend them off.

“Standing over the injured dove, I was hoping that it would gain enough strength to fly away. But it just sat there. The Noisy Miners were still loitering around, waiting for their chance to finish up the dove.

“At this point I decided to pick up the dove and send it to a vet. As I held the dove in my palms, it struggled and flew off. One Noisy Miner started to chase after it, luckily the dove managed to fly for cover in a bush nearby.


Noisy Miner is a common Australian bird. Its typical diet consists of nectar, fruit and insects. Occasionally it feeds on small reptiles or amphibians.

A territorial and gregarious bird, it lives in small groups and aggressively defend their area against larger invaders such as magpies, currawongs and crows. They may attack smaller birds inside their territory, particularly in suburban environments that favor them. Although adapted to urban areas, it faces competition from the Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis), an introduced species to Australia. It is also commonly mistaken for the Common Myna.

For a more detailed account, please go to Ichxian’s site.

All images by Dr CH Lee except portrait of Noisy Miner by Dr Eric Tan.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

10 Responses

  1. Thank you for reposting:)

    Keep in touch.

    In future, if I have more birds behaviour shots for this site, how would you like me to inform you?

  2. Pingback: currawongs
  3. Yes, i have also observed noisy miners harassing larger birds when they enter their territory. A raven flew quite close to a tree once and about 6 miners all came out of it and started calling and calling and doing mid-air acrobatic plunges and dives at the raven. Once the raven was out of “range” or territorial area or a certain area, the miners went back to the tree.

  4. In the 11 years we have lived at our current address (in SE QLD ) I have seen only, 3 bar shouldered doves…each one dead, seemingly driven into our windows by Noisy Miners. Each bird hit the window so hard that it instantly broke their necks and as they were lying on the ground in each case the Noisy Miners landed beside the body looking confused.

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