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Birds

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kookaburra.jpg (9458 bytes)Kookaburra

The laughing Kookaburra is one of the largest Kingfishers in the world and is native to Eastern Australia. The Kookaburra is best known for its loud laughter at dusk and dawn and it lives in family groups. They occupy the same territory throughout the year, eating baby turtles, snakes, lizards, worms, fish, crustaceans, and insects. The Kookaburra nests in the hollow of a tree or a termite mound. They lay 2-4 eggs and the chicks leave the nest about five weeks later.

 

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This is the largest bird in Australia and the only larger bird in the world is the Ostrich of Africa. This flightless bird stands up to 1.9m tall and weighs up to 50kg. They are found across most of mainland Australia in a wide variety of habitats including, woodlands, deserts, highlands, and grasslands. Emu's require water daily and eat mostly plant material such as fruits, seeds, and new plant shoots. They are solitary birds or they remain in small family groups. The female and male remain together until she lays up to 24 eggs which are protected by the male of the species.

 

(Jabiru)+Black-necked+Stork.jpg (7399 bytes)Jabiru

The Jabiru is a wading bird named the Black-Necked Stork, which has long red legs, long neck, long heavy bill, and a black and white body. This bird lives in tropical and sub-tropical wetlands, feeding on yabbies, fish, insects, and snakes. The wingspan of this bird can exceed 2m and to take off, they take running strides. They nest on a platform of sticks, laying 2-4 eggs with the responsibility of incubation shared by both male and female.

 

Australian Brush Turkeybrush turkey.jpg (8517 bytes)

The Brush-Turkey is a large fowl-like bird which nests on large compost heaps. These birds are mound builders who use the compost heaps to incubate their eggs. As the heap decays it produces heat and the birds have a sense which they use to montor the temperature. The males guard their mounds and only allow the female to visit for laying the eggs of up to 24 in a season. More than one female can use the nest and the chicks are self-reliant from day one.

 

Zebra+Finch.jpg (7674 bytes)Zebra Finch

This small finch grows to about 10cm and mostly lives in open, dry country. It feeds on grass seeds and cereal crop seeds. They Zebra Finch breeds all year round, laying 4-5 eggs. They live in close knit communities of up to 100 or more birds.

 

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Tawny Frogmouth

These birds have enormous frog-like mouths which are used to capture insects. Their beaks are large, horny and triangular while their wings are of moderate length and they are weak fliers. Their size ranges from 9-21 inches. Tawny Frogmouths live in the tropics and open woodlands of Australia. Comparatively little is known of these strange birds, however, it is known their diet comprises beetles, caterpillars, scorpions, mice, and centipedes. They nest in trees, laying one or two eggs.

 

king parrot.jpg (9967 bytes)King Parrot

These beautiful parrots live mostly in heavily timbered mountain ranges and forests and are usually seen in pairs or small groups. Their diet consists of seeds, berries, fruit, nuts, nectar, wattles, and gums. They are also fond of pears, apples, and peaches. The breeding season of the King Parrot is October to January and the nest is usually the hollow trunk of a Eucalypt. They normally lay three eggs. The male of the species has a scarlet head, chest, and underparts while the female has a green head, throat, and upper parts with a red abdomen and lower breast.

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Barn Owl

Barn Owls, as the name suggests, often nest in barns and old buildings. Their diet is mice and they lay 3-7 eggs.

 

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Southern Cassowary

This is a rare and endangered species found only in tropical rainforests between Townsville and Cape York in North Queensland. They are shy, retiring birds which are seldom seen. They are generally solitary birds, feeding on rainforest fruits like figs and quondongs. The female lays four eggs in a shallow nest on the ground which are incubated by the male.

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Crimson Rosella

There are a variety of Rosella's found in Australia and the Crimson Rosella is just one of the species. Rosella's are found throughout Australia, the Crimson Rosella inhabits the forests and woodlands of Eastern Australia. It feeds mainly on seeds. Rosella's form permanent pairs.

 

 

rainbow lorikeet.jpg (11569 bytes)Rainbow Lorikeet

As with Rosella's there are a number of Lorikeet varieties in Australia and the Rainbow Lorikeet is just one. This variety inhabits timbered areas, mangroves, and coconut palms along the East Coast. They are noisy birds which were commonly put in pies by early settlers. This species was taken back to Europe on the Endeavour and is the first Australian parrot to have been kept in captivity. Lorikeets feed on nectar, seeds, and blossoms. They breed in Summer, producing two eggs. Rainbow Lorikeets are usually seen in pairs or flocks.

 

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Rainbow Bee-Eater

This is the only representative of its family in Australia. They are social, medium-sized birds which feed on bees and wasps. They nest in colonies near sand banks and river banks. The Rainbow Bee-Eater lays four or more eggs.

 

 

 

Australian+Pelican.jpg (9219 bytes)Australian Pelican

There is only one species of pelican in Australia which is mostly black and white with a pale bill up to 45cm long. They are social birds which help each other surround schools of fish. Their wingspan is 2.5m, allowing the bird to be highly mobile. The Australian Pelicans have even been known to breed in remote Lake Eyre when it floods. They lay one or two eggs on the ground, in colony areas that have open views.

 

 

Wedge Tail Eaglewedge tailed eagle.jpg (7248 bytes)

This is the largest bird of prey in Australia. They live in both forests and open plains, feeding on Carrion, birds, reptiles, and mammals (including feral cats, foxes, small kangaroos, and wallabies). They breed in Winter in South Australia or earlier int he North and usually rear one or two chicks in a season. Their nests are a large platforms of sticks in the fork of a tree and lined with green leaves. Their wingspan is 2.5m, allowing them to climb to more than 2000m in height. The Wedge-Tailed Eagle has been on the protected fauna list since 1971.

 

gouldian.gif (14778 bytes)Gouldian

This is the most colourful of Australian finches and many colour variations exist. There are three basic head colours for Gouldians, black, red, or yellow. This finch is also known as the Painted or Rainbow Finch. These finches occupy savanna woodlands in Northern Australia and mainly feed on grass seeds. They breed from February to September, laying an average of five eggs at a time.

Galahgalah1.jpg (9448 bytes)

The Galah is numerous and widespread in Australia, mainly in the interior. They live in flocks of sometimes hundreds in open, lightly timbered areas. Galah's feed on seeds, berries, fruit, blossoms, and green stuff. They are not a protected species because of their large numbers and the damage they do to crops. They breed in the same nest each year, usually a hollow limb or hole in a tree near water. Breeding season is the second half of the year in the South and from February to June in the North. They lay 3-5 eggs. Males and females are distinguished by eye colour, the male has a black iris and the female a reddish brown iris.

 

major mitchell.jpg (8497 bytes)Major Mitchell Cockatoo

Also known as the Pink Cockatoo, it is usually seen in pairs or small flocks in thickly timbered scrub or semi-arid areas. They feed on seeds, nuts, fruit, grasses, and bulbous roots. They are mostly found in the interior, nesting in hollow tree limbs and laying 3-4 eggs between August and December.

 

 

 

Sulphur Crested Cockatoosulphur-crestedcockatoo.jpg (10330 bytes)

The Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo is a well known Australian bird of Eastern and Northern Australia. They can mostly be found in trees near waterways, mangrove swamps, and tropical rainforests. They are sometimes seen in pairs or small flocks and at other times, large flocks, occasionally also associating with other cockatoos and galahs. They eat grass seeds, grain, bulbous roots, nuts, berries, leaf buds, and can cause much damage to crops. These Cockatoo's usually nest in holes in trees, laying 2-3 eggs.

 

 

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Red Tail Black Cockatoo

These Cockatoo's are mostly found near tree-lined waterways over a wide area of the country. They are seen in pairs or small flocks, feeding on the seeds of Eucalypts, Banksias, and Casuarinas. They are also fond of eating large white grubs. Their nests are in holes of trees, laying one or two eggs between April and August. The female of the species are brownish black with yellow spots on the head and wings.

 

 

 

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Yellow Tail Black Cockatoo and White Tail Black Cockatoo

The Yellow Tail Black Cockatoo comes from Eastern Australia, from heavily timbered areas where they are seen in pairs or small flocks. They mostly eat seeds from Banksias, Hakeas, Casuarinas, and ornamental pines. The White Tail Black Cockatoo is seen in the same habitats of South-West Western Australia. They eat the seeds of most trees and are also fond of beetle and moth larvae. Both varieties lay two eggs in holes of trees.

 

 

ganggang.jpg (12766 bytes)Gang Gang Cockatoo

This Cockatoo is found in mountain forests of Eastern New South Wales, Victoria and South-East South Australia. They normally feed on the seeds of wattles and gum trees, and also on nuts, fruits, berries, and insect larvae. Their breeding season is October-January, normally laying two eggs. These birds only form large flocks when their food supply is plentiful.

 

 

 

Long Billed CorellaLong-billed+Corella.jpg (6523 bytes)

This is one of a couple of varieties of Corella which is found in one of two populations - South-Western Australia and Western Victoria. They live in pairs and small family groups. Their natural food is grass seeds, nuts, roots, berries, and fruit. Corella's lay two eggs between August and December.

 

Golden_Bowerbird.jpg (11955 bytes)Bower Birds

This species of bird is native to Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Indonesia. The Golden Bower Bird is a Queensland native that lives in upland rainforests above 900m in altitude. It is the smallest of the 17 varieties of Bower birds. Other varieties that inhabit Australia and its neighbours include the Regent Bower Bird, the Satin Bower Bird, the Gardener, the Catbird, and the Spotted Bower Bird. The male Golden Bower Bird builds a maypole type bower of one or two towers of sticks up to 3m tall. He decorates the bower with flowers and to increase the time he can spend there, he hides fruits throughout the bower. The male tries to mate with as many females as possible during breeding season but the females are very discriminative. They select males depending on the rarity of his bower decorations, the structure of the bower, his vocals, and his plumage. The Golden Bower Bird mainly eats beetles and cicadas.

Bell MinerBell+Miner.jpg (7904 bytes)

The Bell Miner or Bell Birds are known for their distinctive calls. Their habitat is Eucalypt forests, woodlands, and gullies that are near waterways. Their diet is mainly fruit, nectar, and insects. Breeding season is usually Spring or Summer which is when they lay 2-3 spotted eggs. Another Australian species is the Crested Bellbird.

 

lyrebird.jpg (7104 bytes)Lyrebird

The lyrebird is named for its lyre shaped tail. This tail has 16 lacy plumes and 2 banded and curved outer plumes. During courtship the lyrebird will raise its tail, similar to the display a peacock puts on, and it resembles a lyre. The lyrebird lives in forests and scrublands, they are shy and very hard to find. It feeds on small land animals, insects, worms and crustaceans. They have a loud, penetrating song and have also been known to mimic the songs of other birds and humans. The Australian lyrebird is a protected species which is used on many government seals and stamps.

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