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Kelp Gull

Larus dominicanus

The Kelp Gull is a cosmopolitan and expanding species found in the southern hemisphere. It is one of relatively few species that has benefitted from the activities of man. A relatively newcomer to Australia having colonised the country from New Zealand. It was first recognised in 1943 and the first breeding was recorded in 1958. In South Australia it is currently confined to the southern half of the south-east. It can be confused with the Pacific gull. See the account for that species for the differences between the two. Description….

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Pacific Gull

Larus pacificus

Pacific Gulls are Australia’s largest gull and they have the largest and deepest bill of any gull. It differs from the similar Kelp Gull in being larger in body and bill, in having: red on both mandibles, not only on the lower mandible, a rounded nostril and not a slit-like nostril, a black sub-terminal band on the tail not a pure white tail and, a narrow white edge to the secondaries whereas the Kelp Gull has a broad white band. Description. Pacific Gulls are very large with a white head,…

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Silver Gull

Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae

Silver Gulls will always be associated with the sea, beaches and harbours, but they also live in large numbers in man made surroundings, parks, gardens, and dare we say it, cricket grounds. They can also be found far inland wherever there is water, whether fresh or brackish. They are supreme scavengers, living on almost anything, and they positively love rubbish dumps. Somehow, they retain their pristine appearance even in the most sordid of surroundings. Silver Gulls are typically known as Seagulls. Description. Males and females are alike. The head, neck…

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Nymphicus hollandicus

Cockatiels have a number of characteristics that show they are cockatoos rather than parrots. These include possession of a crest, a gall bladder and powder down feathers on the lower back. The tongue is rounded as it is in all cockatoos, they lack the green pigment that colours parrots, and there are many other anatomical, physiological and behavioural characteristics that align them with the cockatoos. Cockatiels feed on a wide variety of small seeds, preferring native grasses but also including crops such as sorghum and sunflower. Feed in flocks ranging…

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Melopsittacus undulatus

Domestic budgerigars are familiar to everyone. Breeders have developed forms with a wide range of colours – green, blue, and yellow. Naturally they are a bird of the arid outback, light-green and yellow in colour, found normally in small flocks, but occasionally in extremely large flocks of tens of thousands.   Budgerigars are primarily seed-eaters feeding on a variety of grass and chenopod seeds, depending in location and what is available. Normally they associate in flocks of a hundred or less moving across the ground as a group but each…

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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Cacatua galerita

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are striking white birds with a spectacular yellow erectile crest. This has led them to becoming well known, and often found in captivity. However, Australia’s answer to the nightingale has a loud, harsh grating call that is equally well-known. The call is sounded by “sentries” who post themselves around feeding flocks. The damage they cause to crops has led them to be regarded as a nuisance by farmers. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos consume a wide range of seeds, fruits and buds gathered from the ground and from trees, and, to…

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Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Zanda funerea

Sightings of small groups of these magnificent birds became increasingly common in suburban and rural areas after they learnt to exploit the cones of exotic pines as a food source. Their distinctive flight silhouette with a large rounded head, deep leisurely wing beats, and echoing “whee-la” calls make them easy to recognise. Although regarded as “Vulnerable”, large flocks of up to 200 birds or more may nevertheless be regularly seen in winter in the Mount Lofty Ranges.   Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoos feed on seeds and insect larvae. They have learnt…

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Long-billed Corella

Cacatua tenuirostris

Long-billed Corellas are mainly to be found in the south-east of South Australia and western Victoria. At first their populations suffered severely after European settlement from human persecution, the changes in the environment following the establishment of agriculture, and from the loss of habitat caused by the invasion by rabbits. However, more recent changes in agricultural practices which favoured the spread of onion grass, and control of rabbit numbers by myxomatosis have allowed their numbers to build up again. The major long-term threat is a lack of tree hollows for…

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Little Corella

Cacatua sanguinea

Little Corellas are often found in country towns where they form large noisy flocks which are often regarded as a nuisance. They can cause considerable damage to trees and shrubs by stripping the leaves and to human installations by chewing off the outer insulation of electrical cables etc. Because of their habits and numbers they are often persecuted and culled. However, for those who care to watch them, they can provide considerable entertainment with their exuberant playful behaviour such as dangling from overhead wires by the bill or one foot,…

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