Flock Bronzewing (Phaps histrionica)
Size 51 cm x 20 cm
Acrylic on canvas
Outback Australia is the definition of vast.
And the Mitchell Grasslands are an amazing part of this impressive landscape.
Characterised by open grassy plains with few rivers and gorges, the Mitchell Grass Downs bioregion extends from central Queensland into the Northern Territory and is an important part of Australia’s pastoral heritage. It takes a long time to drive there from the coast but it’s worth the effort. I have travelled through Mitchell Grass country from Longreach to Muttaburra and Hughenden, and the inlier region of Mount Isa. The scenery is awe-inspiring.
As their name suggests, Flock Bronzewings gather in huge flocks after rain and although their numbers appear to be declining, they are not yet listed as vulnerable.
I painted this specimen after closely observing Flock Bronzewings in the Territory Wildlife Park. I have placed him on a slight rise overlooking the grass plains, halfway through a good preening session with his feathers raised for sunning and a dust bath.