banner image
Home  ›  History  ›  Flora and Fauna  ›  Birds

Birds

australasian_garnnet_morus_serrator.jpgAustralasian Gannet
Morus serrator

The male and female Australasian Gannet are similar in plumage.  Most of the body is white, with dark tips on the major wing feathers and the inner tail feathers.  The head is buff-yellow and the bill pale blue-grey with striking black borders to the bill sheaths. 

Australasian Gannets are expert fishers.  A bird stays under the water for about ten seconds, but the fish is normally swallowed before the bird reaches the surface. 

Breeds in dense colonies on the islands off Victoria and Tasmania.

Australasian Gannets are found throughout southern and south-eastern Australia, to New Zealand.

 

australian_shelduck_tadorna_tadornoides.jpgAustralian Shelduck (Mountain Duck)
Tadorna tadornoides

Males are mostly dark, with a chestnut breast, with a white neck collar and dark green head.  Females are similar, but they have white around the eyes and are smaller.  Bothe males and females show a white wing during flight.

Australian Shelducks graze on green grass on land or in shallow water, it also eats algae, insects and molluscs.

Large tree hollows, which are well-lined with down, provide a nesting site.  Only the female incubates the eggs, while the male defends the brood territory.

Australian Shelduck can be found in south-western and south-eastern parts of Australia.  It is a vagrant north to the Kimberley region of Western Australia and in Central Australia.

bo.jpgBarn Owl
Tyto alba

Slim and pale owl with a heart-shaped facial disc.  Upperparts are light grey with blotches of rich buff, covered with tiny, black tear-shaped markings.  Underparts are white, cream or buff with fine, dark-brown streaks.

Barn Owls feed mostly on small mammals, especially rodents, but occasionally take small birds, reptiles, amphibians and sometimes insects.

Females incubate the 3-6 white eggs, and she broods the nestlings, while the male hunts for food and feeds them, which he passes to her in the nest.

Barn Owls are widespread throughout Australia, though are only irregular visitors to Tasmania.

blackfaced_cormorant_phalacrocorax_fuscescens.jpgBlack-faced Cormorant
Phalacrocorax fuscescens

Large pied (black and white) cormorant with a naked black face.  Upperparts are also black and the underparts are white, with a black mark on each thigh.  The bill is dark-grey, eyes are blue-green and the legs and feet are black.

Black-faced Cormorants feed on small fish, which they catch by diving from the surface.  After fishing, they sit with wings outstretched, apparently to dry their non-waterproofed feathers.

Breeds throughout the year in large colonies on off-shore islands.  The nest is always on the ground, usually of seaweed and grasses on bare rock.

The Black-faced Cormorant is found along the southern coasts of mainland Australia and Tasmania, and is common in Bass Strait and in Spencer Gulf, South Australia.

blackfaced_cuckoo_shrike_coracina_novaehollandiae.jpgBlack-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Coracina novaehollandiae

Slender, attractive bird.  Has a blckface and throat, blue-grey back, wings and tail and white underparts.  They have a curious habit of shuffling their wings unpon landing.

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike feed on insects and other invertebrates.  These may be caught in the air, taken from foliage or caught on the ground.  Some fruits and seeds are also eaten.

May mate with the same partner each year, and may use the same territory year after year.  Both partners construct the nest and care for the young birds.

The Black-faces Cuckoo-shrike is widespread and common.  Outside the breeding season, large family groups and flock of up to a hendred birds form.

black-shouldered_kite_elanus_axillaris.jpgBlack-shouldered Kite
Elanus axillaris

Medium to small raptors (birds of prey), and are mostly pale grey above, with a pure white head, body and tail and black shoulders.  The wings are white underneath, with black wing tips.  Females are larger than males.  The red eye is marked by a black comma that extends behind it.

The Black-shouldered Kite feeds mainly on rodents, particularly the introduced House Mouse, Mus musculus, often following mouse plagues in agricultual areas.

Forms monogamous pairs.  During courtship, the male will feed the female in mid-air.  The young birds can feed themselves seven days after fledging and leave their parents within a month.

The Black-shouldered Kite is found across mainland Australia.

brown_quail_coturnix_ypsilophora.jpgBrown Quail
Coturnix ypsilophora

Small, plump ground-dwelling bird.  Females are larger and may be more heavily marked with black and paled below than males.

Brown Quails feed in the early morning or evening, on the ground, mainly on seeds and green shoots but also on insects.

Nests are well-hidden scrape, lined with grass, hidden in thick grasses under overhanging vegetation not far from water.

Brown Quails are found across northern and eastern Australia, from the Kimberley region in Western Australia to Victoria and Tasmania, as well as in south-wester Australia.

brown_songlark_cincloramphus_cruralis.jpgBrown Songlark
Cincloramphus cruralis

Dusty brown back, pale brownish-white underparts, with the centre of the belly dark brown.  Male (23-25 centimetres) being much larger than the female (18-19 centimetres).  In breeding plumage the male is dark cinnamon-brown with black bill and black eyes.

The Brown Songlark feeds on seeds and insects.

Nests in a small depression in the ground, often in a clump of grass or other cover.  The female incubates the eggs and rears the young.

The Brown Songlark is found all over mainland Australia except for parts of the far north.  More abundant in the south, but numbers fluctuate locally depending on rainfall.

buff-branded_rail_gallirallus_philippensis.jpgBuff-banded Rail
Gallirallus philippensis

Medium-sized stout rail with short legs.  Has a distinctive grey eyebrow and an orange-brown band on its streaked breast.  The lores, cheek and hindneck are a rich chestnut.  The chin and throat are grey, the upperparts streaked brown and the uderparts barred black and white.  The eye is red.

The Buff-banded Rail feeds on crustaceans, molluscs, insects, seeds, fruit, frogs, carrion and refuse.  Mostly feeds early in the morning and the evening.

Nests in long grass, tussocks, rushes or crops.  Both parents incubate and the young will leave the nest within 24 hours.

The Buff-banded Rail is widespread in mainland Australia, particularly along the eastern coast and islands, and on Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands.

cape_barren_goose_cereopsis_novaehollandiae.jpgCape Barren Goose
Cereopsis novaehollandiae

Very large, pale grey goose with a relatively small head.  Rows of large dark spots in lines aross the shoulders and wing coverts.  Stubby triangular bill is almost concealed by a very prominent greenish-yellow skin over the bill.  The legs are pink to deep red and the feet are black.

The Cape Barron Goose is a grazing bird, eating predominantly the common island tussock grass, Poa poiformis, as well as spear grass and various herbs and succulents.

Mongamous and pair-bonds are life-long.  Lays eggs in a nest in the tussocks of open grasslands.  The nest is built by the male and lined with down.  Each pair establishes a territory in autumn, prepares a nest and defends it noisily and determindly against other geese.  The female incubates the eggs.

The Cape Barron Goose is found on the south-eastern coast of Australia, the southern coast of Western Australia and in south-eastern Victoria.  It is locally dispersive and has been introduced to Kangaroo Island.

crescent_honeyeater_phylidonyris_pyrrhoptera.jpgCrescent Honeyeater
Phylidonyris pyrrhoptera

Medium to small honey eater with a long down-curved bill and red-brown eye.  Males are dark grey above with yellow wing patched, a white streak above the eye and a distinctive dark crescent across each side of the breast, outlined below with a white line.  The rest of the underparts are a pale brown grey to white, with prominent white markings on the tail.

Crescent Honeyeaters feed on nectar, fruit and insects, foraging mainly on understorey shrubs.  Usually feeds in pairs, but may be seen feeding in small flocks.

Form long-term pair bonds, staying together throughout the year.  Males defend territories, which are all-purpose throughout the year.  Female builds the nest alone, as well as incubates the eggs and broods the young alone.  Both sexes feed the nestlings and may continue to feed fledglings for up to two weeks after leaving the nest.

The Crescent Honeyeater is endemic to south-eastern Australia, along the coast and ranges to eastern and south-eastern Victoria, west to the Mount Lofty Ranges and Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia and is widespread on Kangaroo Island.

crested_tern_thalasseus_bergii.jpgCrested Tern
Thalasseus bergii

Large tern with a long yellow bill, black legs and a glossy black crest that is noticeably shaggy at its rear.  The forehead and the underparts are white, the back and the inner wings are dusky-grey.  Adults of both sexes are identical in appearance.

The Crested Tern is mainly a fish eater, with the remainder of their diet including crustaceans and insects.

Forms monogamous pairings throughout the year and sometimes in consecutive breeding seasons.  Breeds in colonies on small offshore islands, where their nests are do densely packed together that adjacent owners can touch bills.

The Crested Tern occurs in tropical and warm temperate areas of most of the Australian coastline.

eurasian_skylark_alauda_arvensis.jpgEurasian Skylark
Alauda arvensis

Small bird introduced from Britain in 1857.  Upperparts are brown with strong dark central streak to the feathers.  It has a pale eyebrow and pale ring around the cheek.  There is a cap-like crest at the rear of the crown and the upper breast is boldly streaked, with pale underparts.  The outer two feathers of the tail are white.

The Skylark feeds on invertebrates, small seeds and young grass shoots.

A cup-shaped nest is built from dried grasses on the ground, under over-hanging grass.  The female incubates the eggs while the male feed them on the nest.  Both sexes feed the young.

The introduced Skylark now occurs from the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, as well as in Tasmania, Victoria and north to the Hunter Valley in New South Wales.

fairy_martin_petrochelidon_ariel.jpgFairy Martin
Petrochelidon ariel

Small bird, with dark wings, a white underbody and a pinkish-red head.  The short, slightly forked tail appears square in flight.  It is gregarious.

The Fairy Martin feeds high in the air on flying insects, usually in large flocks.

Builds Bottle-shaped mudnests that are packed closely together on the ceilings of caves, and under bridges or other similar structures.  Both sexes build the nest and share incubation and care of the young.

The Fairy Martin is found across Australia.

galah_cacatua_roseicapilla.jpgGalah
Cacatua roseicapilla

Easily identified by its rose-pink head, neck and underparts, with paler pink crown, and grey back, wings and undertail.  Birds from the west of Australia have comparatively paler plumage.

Galahs form huge, noisy flocks which feed on seeds, mostly from the ground.  Seeds of grasses and cultivated crops are eaten, making these birds agriculatural pests in some areas.

Permanent pair bonds are formed, although a bird will take a new partner if the other one dies.  The nest is a tree hollow or similar location, lined with leaves.  Both seses incubate the eggs and care for the young.

The Galah is one of the most abundant and familiar of the Australian parrots, occuring over most of Australia, including offshore islands.

grey_fantail_rhipidura_albiscapa.jpgGrey Fantail
Rhipidura albiscapa

Both sexes are similar in appearance: grey above, with whitd eyebrow, throat and tail edges.  Quite inquisitive and will closely approach an observer.

The Grey Fantail feed on flying insects, which it catches by chasing them from the edge of foliage at all levels in the canopy.

Nests in a thin tree-fork, made from  fine grass bound together with large amounts of spider-web.  Both parents share nest-building, incubation of the eggs and feeding of the young when they hatch.

The Grey Fantail is found throughout Australia.

horsfields_bronze_cuckoo_chrysococcyx_basalis.jpgHorsfield's Bronze Cuckoo
Chrysococcyx basalis

Olive-brown above with pale scaling and a bronze to green sheen on the back and upper tail.  Has a prominent dark-brown eyestripe, with a contrasting white eyebrow stripe above, with both curving down the sides of the neck.  The underbody is white to cream with dark-brown barring at the sides, with barring joined in the middle of the upper breast only.

Horsfields's Bronze Cuckoo feeds mostly on insects and their larvae, especially hairy caterpillars, although some times they eat plant matter.

Like many other cuckoos, this bird is a nest parasite.  It usually parasites bird species that build dome nests, fairy-wrens and thornbills, where the female will lay one egg in the host's nest.  The host parents incubate the cuckoo egg and feed the youg, up to several weeks after it fledges.

Horsfield's Bronze Cuckoo is found in all regions of Australia, including some islands.  On the eastern side of the Great Dividing Range in Queensland, and is found down through Now South Wales and Victoria to Tasmania and South Australia, but not on the Nullarbor Plain.  Widepread in the Northern Territory and Western Australia except in the most arid areas.

house_sparrow_passer_domesticus.jpgHouse Sparrow
Passer domesticus

The male has a conspicuous grey crown, black face and throat and dark black and brown upperparts.  The remainder of the underparts are pale grey-brown.  The female is slightly paler then the male and lacks the grey crown and black face, instead having a pale buff eye stripe.

House Sparrows in Australia eat insects, spiders, berries, seeds, flower buds and scraps of food discarde by humans.  One reason for the successful establishment of the bird is its ability to feed on a wide range of foodstuffs.

Permanent pair bonds are formed.  Both sexes build the nesr and care for the young, though the female alone incubates the eggs.

The House Sparrow was introduced from Britain between 1963 and 1870.  Firstly in Victoria, but later into other areas including Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart.  It quickly establishes itself in urban areas throughout eastern Australia.

little_black_cormorant_phalacrocorax_sulcirostris.jpgLittle Black Cormorant
Phalacrocorax sulcirostris

Small, slim, totally black cormorant with a greenish sheen to the back and a slender grey hooked bill.  In the breeding season, adults have fine white flecks on the head and neck and the green tinge becomes more bronze.

Little Black Cormorants feed on fish, crustaceans and aquatic insects.  It catches prey underwater, by diving and swimming using its largs, fully webbed feet for propulsion.

Nest colonially, often on the fringes of heron or ibis colonies.  Both sexes share nest-building, incubation and feeding of the young.

The Little Black Cormorant is found throughout Australia, including Tasmania.

fairy_penguin_eudyptula_minor.jpgLittle Penguin (formerly Fairy Penguin)
Eudyptula minor

Upper parts, including the back are distinctly blue and the underbelly is white.  Its bill is grey-black with a pinkish lower base, and its iris pale grey to white.  Younger penguins are bluer than adults.  The Little Penguin is also known as the Fairy Penguin because of its small size.

Little Penguins are largely sedentary, returning to the colony when not at sea.  Adult penguins forage for food at sea, mostly from dawn to an hour before dusk.  They feed on small shoaling fish and cephalopods, and to lesser extent, crustaceans, which they capture and swallow underwater.

Males search for mates by adverising outside the nesting area.  Forms a long-term monogamamous pair bond.  The breeding season varies in different parts of the country.  A penguin tends to return to the same part of the same colony each year.  Both parents incubate the 55mm x 42mm white eggs, which become stained as incubation progresses.  Although there are about 68 hours between the laying of the first and second egg, both hatch together.

Little Penguins live along the southern edge of mailan Australia, as well as Tasmania, New Zealand and the Chatham Islands.

little_raven_corvus_mellori.jpgLittle Raven
Corvus mellori

Somewhat small that the Australian raven, the beak is slightly smaller.  Eye colour varies with age: nestlings up to three months have blue-grey eyes, juveniles aged from three to eleven months have brown eyes, and immature birds have hazel eyes with blue eyerings around the pupil until age one year and eleven months.

Little Ravens feed include spiders, millipedes, centipedes (which ravens behead before eating), grasshoppers cicadas and caterpillars.

Both birds build the nest, with the femal taking over the lining of the nest while the male brings her material.

The Little Raven ranges over south-eastern Australia from southern South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.  Also in Kangaroo Island, South Australia and King Island, Bass Strait.

magpie_lark_grallina_cyanoleuca.jpgMagpie-lark
Grallina cyanoleuca

Distinctively marked in black and white.  The thin whitish bill and pale iris seperate it from other similarly coloured species.  The adult male has a white eyebrow and black face, while the female has an allwhite face with no white eyebrow.

Magpie-larks are mostly ground-dwelling, and is usually seen slowly searching on the ground for a variety of insects and their larvae, as well as earthworms and fresh water invertebrates.

Nests and territories are aggressively defended and both parents share the incubation duties and care for the young.  If conditions are favourable, more than one brood may be reared in a year.

Magpie-larks are confined to Australasia, being found throughout Australia (although only a rare vagrant to Tasmania, southern New Guinea and Timor.

masked_lapwing_.jpgMasked Lapwing
Vanellus miles

Large, ground-dwelling bird, mainly white below, with brown wings and back and a black crown.  Large yellow wattles cover the face, and are equiped with a thorny spur that projects from the wrist on each wing.  Sexes are similar, although the male tends to have a larger spur.

Masked Lapwings feed on insects and their larvae, and earthworms.  Birds are normally seen feeding alone, in pairs or in small groups.

Both sexes share in the building of the nest, incubate the eggs and care for the young birds.  Young bird are born with a full covering of down and are able to leave the nest and feed themselves a few hours after hatching.

The Masked Lapwing is common throughout northern, central and eastern Australia.

masked_woodswallow_artamus_personatus.jpgMasked Woodswallow
Artamus personatus

 A grey woodswallow.  Wings and tail are mid grey and the underside is pale grey.  Males have black face above eye down to throat, and narrow pale band seperating the black patch from the grey back and chest.  Females have dark grey face patch instead of black.

Masked Woodswallows feed on insects, with its habitat being dry forest and woodland.

Nests are cups, made of new green grass in hollow stumps or broken branch tops

Maked Woodswallows are nomadic birds, sometimes found in western parts of Australia, and a vagrant to Tasmania.

nankeen_kestrel_falco_cenchroides.jpgNankeen Kestrel
Falco cenchroides

Slender and relatively small raptor (bird of prey).  The upperparts are mostly rufous, with some dark streaking.  The wings are tip with black.  The underparts are pale buff, streaked with black, and the under tail is finely barred with black, with a broader black band towards the tip.  Females are larger than males.

The Nankeen Kestrel's diet is vared.  Mainly feeds on small mammals, repitles, small birds and a variety of insects.  Prey is located from a perch or by hovering a short distance above the ground.

Pairs usually together over successive breeding seasons, and will often use the same nest site or territory year after year.  Usually only one brood of young is raised in a year.  The female does the bulk of the incubation, while the male supplies the food.

Nankeen Kestrel's are found in most areas of Australia and are found on islands along Australia's coastline.

osprey_pandion_haliaetus.jpgOsprey
Pandion haliaetus

Upper parts are a deep, glossy brow, while the breast is white and sometimes streaked with brown, and the underparts are pure white.  The head is white with a dark mask across the eyes, reaching to the sides of the neck.  The bill is black, with a blue cere, and the feet are white with black talons.

The Osprey's diet is 99% fish, occasionally may prey on rodonets, rabbits, hares, amphibians, other birds and small reptiles.

Breeds near freshwater lakes and rivers, and sometimes on coastla brackish waters.  The nest is a large heap of sticks, driftwood, turf or seaweed built in forks of trees, rocky outcrops, utility poles, artificial platforms or offshore inlets.

The Osprey is the second most widely distributed raptor species.  In Australia, it is mainly sedentary and found patchily around the coastline, though it is a non-breeding visitor to eastern Victoria and Tasmania.  There is a 1 000 kilometre gap, corresponding with the coast of the Nullarbor Plain, between its westernmost breeding site in South Australia and the nearest breeding sites in Western Australia.

pacific_gull_larus_pacificus.jpgPacific Gull
Larus pacificus

Very large black-backed gull with a massive yellow bill, broadly tipped with scarlet.  The upper wings and wingtips are wholly black with a narrow white inner trailing edge, the tail is white with a broad black band near the end.  There are two forms of the Pacific Gull: the eastern form (race pacificus) has a white eye and a complete red tip to the bill while the western form (race gergii) has a red eye and an incomplete red tip to the bill.

The Pacific Gull forages along the coasts between the high-water mark and shallow water on sand beaches, feeding mainly on molluscs, fish, birds, and othe marine animals.

Breeds in scattered single pairs or small, loose colonies on high points on headlands or islands.  Both sexes build the nest with the famale doning most of the incubation while the male forages for food and stands guard near the nest..

Pacific Gulls are endemic to southern Australia and occurs mostly on south and west coasts, Tasmania and infrequently on the east coast.

painted-snipe_rostratula_australis.jpgPainted Snipe
Rostratula australis

Males have a dark-brown crown with a buff median stripe; the rest of the head and neck are dark ashy-grey, with a cream-coloured, comma-shaped mark around the eye.  The upperparts are ashy-grey with blackish barring and blotches, and a narrow, golden-buff line seperating the mantle and scapulars.  The upper breast is dark ashy-grey with pale streaks; a broad white stripe extends from the side of the breast onto the shoulders.  The rest of the underparts are white.  The female differs by having dark-brown head and upper breast, a rugous hindneck and darker upperparts with fine barring.

The Painted Snipe feeds at night, probing the soft mud, in the wetlands vegetation, with its long bill as it walks pecking for seeds and taking small invertebrates.

Little is known of the breeding of the Painted Snipe.  The is usually a scrape in the ground, lined with a few twigs or stalks of grass.  Three or four dull-coloured, spotted and blotched eggs are laid, and these are incubated by the male, which also provides most care for the young.

The Painted Snipe is endemic to Australia, and has been recorded in all mainland states, there are also historical records from Tasmania.

pied_cormorant_phalacrocorax_varius.jpgPied Cormorant
Phalacrocorax varius

Large black and white bird with a long, grey, hooked bill and black legs and feet.  It has an orange eye-patch and bare throatskin, with a blue eye-ring and the eye is green.  Its black back is glossed green, and its underparts are all white.

Pied Cormorants mainly feed on fish but will also take crustaceans and molluscs.  As their feathers are not water-proof, cormorants are regularly seen perched with their wings outstretched to dry after fishing.

Breeds in colonies on coastal islands, flooded tree plains, mangroves and sometimes on artificial structures such as beacons.  Both parents build the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young.

The Pied Cormorant is found throughout mainland Australia, but is more common in the south and along the coast of south-western Australia.  It is not found in the driest parts of the interior.

purple-crowned_lorrikeet_glossopsitta_porphyrocephala.jpgPurple-crowned Lorrikeet
Glossopsitta porphyrocephala

Small greem parrot.  Bright-green upperparts and is pale blue below.  It has a patch of purple on top of the head. and the face has a patch of red in front of the eye, a yellow patch above the beak and a yellow-orange cheek patch.  The underwings have a prominent red patch, while the undertail is yellow.

Purple-crowned Lorrikeets can be seen clambering noisily about among the foliage in the canopies of the eucalypts when in flower, feeding on the nectar of the flowers.

Breed in hollows in trees, preferring hollows with a narrow entrance.  They lay between two and six white eggs, which are incubated by the female for around twenty days.  Both sexes care for the young.

The Purple-crowned Lorikeet occurs only in southern Australia, where it can be seen in southern New South Wales and much of Victoria, through southern parts of South Australia, including the Flinders Ranges, and in southern Western Australia.

rock_dove.jpgRock Dove
Columba livia

Also known as Feral Pigeons. The most common colours are a mixture of grey, black, white and brown with purple and green sheens.

The Rock Dove is mainly a seed-eater, this bird is known to sample most scraps.  In city streets and parks, birds are seen pecking at the ground in a never-ending search for food.

Nesting sites are situated along coastal clidd as well as artificial cliff faces created by apartment buildings with accessable ledges of rosf spaces.  They nest in large colonies which quickly deface buildings with their droppings.

The Rock Dove has not ventured far from human settlement, being found in large numbers in capital cities and larger towns, with the exception of Darwin.

richards_pipit.jpgRichard's Pipit
Anthus richardi

Long yellow-brown legs, a long tail with white outer-feathers and a long dark bill with a yellowish base to the lower mandible.  There are dark streaks on the upperparts and breast while the belly and flanks are plain.

Richard's Pipit eats insects, it mainly feeds on the ground and will also take short flights to catch insects.  A few seeds are also eaten.

Breeding is in southern Siberia, Mongolia and parts of Central Asia and in northern, central and eastern China.  The nest is made of grass or moss and is built on the ground under a grass tussock.

Richard's Pipit migrates south to winter in the Indian subcontinent and South-east Asia with records as far south as Sri Lanka, Singapore and northern Borneo.

rock_parrot_neophema_petrophila.jpgRock Parrot
Neophema petrophila

Stocky, plump grass-parrot.  It has a dull brownish olive-green body shading to a yellow abdomen with a diagnostic blue foreheas and face.  The shoulders are norrowly edged in light and dark blue and it has a slender tail that is pale blue above and yellowish below.

The Rock Parrot feeds on seeds and fruits of a wide variety of grasses, rushes shrubs and salt-tolerant plants.  It forages quietly, mainly in the early morning and late afternoon.

Breeds mostly on off-shore islands, nesting in a rock cravice, tunnel or abondoned seabird nesting burrow.  The females incubates the eggs while the male feed her by regurgitation, an act which is also ritualised in coutrship.

The Rock Parrot lives on the rockt coastline of south and west Australia.  There are two major populations, in the east along the coast from Kingston to Ceduna in South Australia and in Western Australia from Cape Arid National Park to Geraldton.

ruddy_turnstone_arenaria_-interpres.jpgRuddy Turnstone
Arenaria interpres

A stocky medium-sized wader with short orange-red legs.  The bill is wedge-shaped and slightly up-tilted.  The breast is distinctively marked with black or brown and pale areas, almost like tortoise shell, with a white breast.

Ruddy Turnstones feed busiloy, by probing, pecking and poking into cracks.  They turn over stones and seaweed to find insects, crustaceans, molluscs and spiders.  They sometimes eat eggs and carrion (dead things), feeding by day and night.

Small rocky islands and shores of the far northern hemisphere are known breeding and nesting sites.  The female builds the nest, a shallow depression lines with leaves.  The young hatch together and are mobile soon after hatching.

Ruddy Turnstones are widespread around the coast of Australia, and off-shore islands.

sacred_kingfisher_todiramphus_sanctus.jpgSacred Kingfisher
Todiramphus sanctus

Medium sized kingfisher, with a turquoise back, turquoise blue rump and tail, buff underparts and a broad cream collar.  There is a broad black eye stripe extending from bill to nape of neck.  Both sexes are similar, although the female is generally lighter with duller upper parts.

Sacred Kingfishers forage mainly on the land, only occasionally capturing prey in the water.  They feed on crustaceans, reptiles, insects and their lavae and, infrequently, fish.

Mainly solitary, pairing only for the breeding season.  Both sexes excavate the nest, which is normally a burrow in a termite mound, hollow branch or river bank.  Both sexes also incubate the eggs and care for the young. 

Sacred Kingfishers are common and familiar throughout the coastal regions of mainland Australia and less common in Tasmania.

short-tailed_shaerwater_puffinus_tenuirostris.jpgShort-tailed Shearwater (Mutton Bird)
Ardenna Tenuirostris (fromerly Puffinus Tenuirostris)

Completely dark brown in plumage, although the underwing occasionally has traces of white in the centre.  The tail is rounded and, when in flight, the dark grey feet trail slightly behind.

Short-tailed Shearwaters feeds on krill, small fish and other small marine creatures.  Food is caught mostly on the surface of the water but sometimes birds are seen diving for food.

Massive breeding colonies off the southern and south-eastern coasts of Australia each year.  Birds arrive at the colonies during the night.  The nest is a leaf-lined chamber at the end of a burrow in the ground.

Short-tailed Shearwaters are Australia's most numerous seabird.  During breeding season millions converge on many small islands (including Althorpe Island) from New South Wales to Western Australia with their strong hold in Bass Strait.

silver_gull_larus_novaehollandiae.jpgSilver Gull
Larus novaehollandiae

Well recognised with a white head, tail and underparts, with a light grey back and black-tipped wings.  In adult birds the bill, legs and eye-ring are bright orange-red.

Silver Gulls are successful scavengers, readily pestering humans for handouts of scraps, pilfering from unattended food containers or searching for human refuse at tips.  Other foods include worms, fish, insects and crustaceans.

Large colonies nest on offshore islands.  Both adults share nest-building, incubation and feeding duties.  Eggs are laid in a shallow nest scrape, lined with vegetation.

The Silver Gull is common throughout Australia and is also found in New Zealand and New Caledonia.

silver_eye_zosterops_lateralis.jpgSilver Eye
Zosterops lateralis

Small bird with a conspicuous ring of white feathers around the eye, and belong to a group of birds known as white-eyes.  The grey black and olive-green head and wings are found in birds through the east, while western birds have a unifornly olive-green back.

Silvereyes feed on insects prey and large amounts of fruit and nectar, making them occasional pests of commercial orchards.

Pairs actively defend a small territory.  The nest is a small, neatly woven cup of grasses, hair and other fine vegetation, bound with spider web.

Silvereyes are more common in the south-east of Australia, but their range extends from Cape York Peninsula, Queensland through the south and south-west to about Shark Bay, Western Australia.  They are also found in Tasmania.

singing_honeyeater_lichenostomus_virescens.jpgSinging Honeyeater
Lichenostomus virescens

Plain grey-brown upperbody, a distinct black streak through the eye from the bill to the neck, bordered by a yellow streak below the eye grading into a white throat, and a white to grey underbody streaked dark grey-brown.  The bill is black and the eye is dark brown.

Singing Honeyeaters feed on nectar, insects and fruit.  It feeds at lower levels than other honeyeaters.

Forms monogumous pairs, with some long-term bonds.  The females incubates the eggs alone but both adults feed the young.  This species is parasitised by the Pallis Cuckoo.

The Singing Honeyeater is widespread on mainland Australia, but is rare around Canberra or on the eastern slopes of New South Wales.  Widespread in western Victoria and in all regions of South Australia, except the Mount Lofty Ranges.  Widespread in Western Australia except for the extreme south-west or northern Kimberley region, but  not common in the Top End but otherwise widespread in the Northern Territory.  Also found on Groote Eylandt and Sir Edward Pellew Islands in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

sooty_oystercatcher_haematopus_fuliginosus.jpgSooty Oystercatcher
Haematopus fuliginosus

A striking black shorebird with a long red bill, red eye and pink legs.  Young birds are duller and browner.

Sooty Oystercatchers feed on molluscs, crabs and other crustaceans, marine worms, starfish and sea urchins, and small fish.  It drinks seawater.

Breeds in colonies, on off-shore islands and isolated rock headlands, with both members of the breeding pair incubating eggs and caring for the young.

The Sooty Oystercatcher is endemic to Australia and is widesprea in coastal eastern, southern and western Australia.

striated_pardalote_pardalotus_striatus.jpgStriated Pardalote
Pardalotus striatus

All birds have white eyebrows with a yellow spot in fornt of the eye, olive-grey backs and a white stripe in the wing.  Bothe male and female are similar in plumage.

Straited Pardalote feed on the foliage in the tops of trees.  Feeding is on a variety of insects and their larvae, which are usually captured by picking them from the surface of leaves.

Known to form pairs or small groups of up to six birds.  Both sexes incubate and care for the young.  Other members of the group may also help with the feeding of the young.

Straited Pardalotes are found throughout most of Austrlaia, being absent only from the most aria areas.  It is found only in Australia.

swamp_harrier_circus_approximans.jpgSwamp Harrier
Circus approximans

A large slim-bodied raptor (bird of prey), with slender long legs and a long tail, rounded at the tip.  Mainly dark brown above and the white rump is prominent.  Has an owl-like face mask and the wings are long and broad, with five 'fingers' on the wing tips.  The legs and eyes are yellow.

Swamp Harriers hunt for birds and eggs, large insects, frogs, reptiles and small mammals up to the size of hares or rabbits.

The nest is made of straw and grasses, hidden above the water in dense reeds in a swamp or in crops or long grasses near water.  The female incubates and broods the young, while the male hunts for food, which he transfeers to the female in the air, before she feeds the young.

The Swamp Harrier is widespread in Australia and the South Pacific.  It is the commonest raptor in New Zealand.

tawny-crowned_honeyeater_gliciphila_melanops.jpgTawny-crowned Honeyeater
Gliciphila melanops

Pale brown above fading ro white below, with a whitish throat and bib.  Its tawny crown is seperated from a black face by a white line from the beak, over the eye and curving down behind the ear.  The black facial feathers curve down to a black "wishbone" either side of bib.  It has a slender curved black bill and the throat is yellow.

Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters main food sources are nectar and insects.

The birds construct a deep cup of bark, grass, rootlets, leaves and spider webb in a dense live scrub or  occacionally tussock grass.  The female incubates but both feed the young birds.

Tawny-crowned Honeyeaters are mainly coastal birds from just south of the New South Wales-Queensland border to the western edge of the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, extending inland across much of Victoria and south-east South Australia.  They are coastal around Tasmania and occupy south-western Western Australia.

welcome_swallow_hirundo_neoxena.jpgWelcome Swallow
Hirundo neoxena

Metallic blue-black above, light grey below on the breast and belly, and rust on the forehead, throat and upper breast.  It has a long forked tail, with a row of white spots on the individual feathers.

Welcome Swallows feed on a wide variety of insects.  They catch prey in flight, using their acrobatic flying skills.  Where insects are in large supply, Wecolme Swallows feed in large flocks.

Readily breed close to human habitation.  The nest is made by both sexes and lined with feathers and fur.  The female alone incubates the eggs but the young are fed by both parents.

Welcome Swallows are widespresd in Australia, but are less common in the far north than in the south.

 

white-bellied_sea-eagle_haliaeetus_leucogaster.jpgWhite-bellied Sea-Eagle
Haliaeetus leucogaster

White on the head, rump and underparts and dark grey on the back and wings.  The large hooked bill is grey with a darker tip, and the eye is dark brown.  The legs and feet are cream-white, with long black talons (claws).  As in other raptors, the males are slightly smaller than the female.

White-bellies Sea-Eagles feed mainly off aquatic animals, such as fish, turtles and sea snakes, but it takes birds and mammals as well.  Also feed on carrion (dead prey) such as sheep and fish along the waterline.

A large stick nest is built, which is used for many seasons in succession.  The female carries out most of the incubation of the white eggs, but the male performs this duty from tim to time.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle are a common sight in coastal and near coastal areas of Australia.

white-browed_woodswallow_artamus_superciliosus.jpgWhite-browed Woodswallow
Artamus superciliosus

Dark bird with a distinctive white eyebrow.  The face and chin are black, the uperparts are deep blue grey and the lower breast to undertail is a rich chestnut brown.  The underwings and undertail are pale whitish-grey, with white tail tips.  Females are duller than males, with a browner body and pink to fawn underparts.

White-browed Woodswallows eat insects, catching them on the wing or foraging in foliage or on the ground.  This species also has a divided, brush-tipped tongue that can be used to feed nectar from flowers.

Builds a loose shallow nest from twigs, grasses and roots, which is placed in a tree fork, hollow stump or fence post.  Both sexes build the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young.

The White-browed Woodswallow is widespread throughout eastern Australia, with some vagrants to northern Tasmania.

white_faced_heron_egretta_novaehollandiae.jpgWhite-faced Heron
Egretta novaehollandiae

Mostly light blue-grey in colour, with a characteristic white face.  Dark flight feathers of the wing contrast with the paler prey plumage, making this bird easily identifiable when viewed from below.  Has a long slim neck and a pointed grey-black bill.  The legs are long and dull yellow in colour;

White-faced Heron feed on a wide variety of prey, including fish, insects and amphibians.

May breed outside breeding season in response to rainfall.  Both sexes share the building of the nest, incubation of the eggs and the care of the young.

White-faces Herons are the most commonly seen herons in Australia.  They are found throughout the mainland and Tasmania, and most coastal islands.

white_faced_strom_petrel_pelagodroma_marina.jpgWhite-faced Storm Petrel
Pelagodroma marina

Has a pale brown to grey back, rump and wings with black flight feathers.  It is white below and has a white face with a black eye mask.

The White-face Storm Petrel will patter on the water surface as it pick planktonic food items from the ocean surface.

Breeds on remote islands and nests in colonies close to the sea in rock cravices and lays a single egg.  Is strictly nocturnal at the breeding site to avoid predation by gulls.

White-faces Storm Petrel is known through subtropical to subantartic regions of the Atlantic, Indian and south-western Pacific.

whitefronted_chat_epthianura_albifrons.jpgWhite-fronted Chat
Epthianura albifrons

Males have a white face, breast  and belly, dissected by a distinctive black band across the breast that extends arounf to the back of the head.  Females have similar marking but they are gradations of grey-brown, rather than black-white and the breast band is narrower.

White-fronted Chats often forage in flocks of around twenty birds.  They run along the ground, picking up small insects, usually less than five millimetres long.  Midges, kelp-flies, plan bugs and beetles are popular food items.

Mates follow their mates closely, during their fertile period, watching them from prominent perches and chasing any males that may approach them.  Only the female builds the nest (guarded closely by the male at all times), but both sexes take equal roles in incubation and feeding of the young.

The White-faced Chat occurs across southern Australia (including Tasmania) from Shark Bay in Western Australia to the Queensland-New South Wales border.

willie_wagtail_rhipidura_leucophrys.jpgWillie Wagtail
Rhipidura leucophrys

The largest, and most well-known, of the Australian fantails.  The plumage is black above with a white belly.  Has a black throat and white eyebrows and whisker marks.  The name wagtail stems from the constant sideways wagging of the tail.

Willie Wagtails are active feeders.  Birds can be seen darting around lawns as they hunt for insects on the ground.  Insects are also captured in the air, in active chases.

Nests are a neatly woven cup of grasses, covered with spider's web on the outside and lined internally with soft grasses, hair or fur.  The young birds stay with the parents until the eggs from the next clutch start to hatch.

Willie Wagtails are found throughout mainland Australia but is absent from Tasmania.