Struthidea cinerea

Apostlebirds are found in garrulous groups of from 3-20 birds. Many of these are about twelve in number, hence the common name. They are ground feeders living mainly on seeds and insects, but will also take leaves, shoots, small mammals and the eggs of birds. They are co-operative breeders with one breeding pair, the rest of the group being helpers. Breeding occurs in the spring and summer (from August to February). They build a mud nest similar but smaller, than that of White-winged Choughs, being a mud bowl reinforced with…

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Australasian Bittern

Botaurus poiciloptilus

Bitterns are secretive and superbly camouflaged, and so often remain undetected in their preferred habitat of reeds and rushes. They give themselves away, though, by deep, resonant booms uttered two or three times at 1-2 second intervals. Australasian Bitterns are rare and rated as ENDANGERED in Australia. Australian Bitterns prey on a wide variety of aquatic animals – fish, crayfish, amphibians (particularly frogs), crustaceans, snails, insects and other arthropods, small mammals (rats and mice) and even birds such as silvereyes (Zosterops). They forage by standing still, or quietly stalking, and…

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Australasian Shoveler

Spatula rhynchotis

The worldwide genus Spatula contains ten species, four of which have large, spatulate bills and a low sloping forehead, and are known as “shovelers”. The male Australasian Shoveler is arguably the most handsome of these. Well, as handsome as you can be with a low sloping forehead and a large snozz. Shovelers live on small aquatic invertebrates such as insects, molluscs and crustaceans ,and also parts of aquatic plants. They use their spatulate beak to filter water and mud obtained by dabbling on the surface or at the water’s edge….

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Australian Hobby

Falco longipennis

A dashing small falcon usually seen perched on tall trees but sometimes seen engaged in high-speed chases. Hobbies feed on small birds, bats and flying insects. They are very fast and can often be seen perched at the top of tall trees from which they swoop down onto their prey. Also hunt by high quartering or by low fast flight. Hunting may be done during the day, dawn or dusk and even by night where there is artificial light. Breeding occurs from August to January with peak laying in September…

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Australian Magpie

Gymnorhina tibicen

With their striking black-and-white plumage, it is no wonder they are a favourite mascot of numerous footy teams and other organisations. Their carolling, even late at night, is one of the most Australian of sounds, and they are regarded as one of the best songbirds in the world. Both sexes sing and often do so together (carolling) or by taking turns (duetting). They can have a substantial repertoire which includes mimics of other birds and animals found in their territory. Sometimes they will sing for long periods on their own…

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Australian Pelican

Pelican conspicillatus

The Australian pelican is a very large waterbird, unmistakeable in appearance, and is the only pelican in the Australia. Despite their sometimes-comical manoeuvres, with their large bills and distensible pouches, pelicans are majestic birds whether soaring high overhead, coming into land on the water with legs extended like a water skier, or swimming in convoys on the water. Every art show or photo exhibition along the coast testifies to their popularity with the public, and their inspiration to the artistic.   Australian Pelicans mainly feed on fish but will also…

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Australian Reed Warbler

Acrocephalus australis

Every autumn the reed beds fall silent as the Australian Reed Warblers head north for the warmer climes of northern Australia, and every spring they burst into life with the return of the songsters. Each male defends his small patch of reeds from neighbouring males with complex songs issued at high volume, at the same time advertising his territory to any females who may be interested. They live on small insects, spiders and other invertebrates found by foraging in the dense undergrowth. Breeding is from September to February, whenever singing…

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Australian White Ibis

Threskiornis molucca

Older texts refer to the Australian White Ibis as the “Sacred Ibis”. That is because, the Australian Ibis and the Sacred Ibis of Africa were at one time thought to constitute a single species. Now, however, the Australian Ibis is regarded as a separate species in its own right. Their numbers have increased rapidly over recent years, particularly in towns, where they have learnt to scavenge human waste. In fact they have become a nuisance in certain areas.   The Australian White Ibis eats a wide variety of prey items…

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Black Falcon

Falco subniger

Black Falcons are very dark, nomadic raptors and often associated with the sparsely treed plains of inland Australia, although they also frequent farmland in South Australia. They are usually seen alone, or in pairs. Black Falcons prey on mammals (rats and rabbits), birds (particularly ground birds such as quail, pipits and larks), large insects, and carrion. They will also take reptiles. They use a variety of hunting techniques: low, fast flight along watercourses or drainage lines, slow quartering, high soaring, or still hunting from a perch. Prey may be seized…

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