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Wildlife in Australia » Blogs » Birds of Australia

  • Birds of Australia

    Posted by EDrury46 March 4, 2013 - 3,386 views - 0 comments - 2 likes - #australia    #queensland  #Wildlife  #birds 

    England might be most identified with its never-ending stream of pigeons - particularly around London, but Australia, aside from the Cassowary and Kookaburra, has so many interesting and varied bird species that fly and roam around its lands that tourists can't help but fall in love with each and every one of them. Here are some of the birds I spotted on my travels. They are of many different colours and sizes, with some being more keen on blending in to their surroundings, whilst others display their bold colours to the world and are determined to ensure that they will be remembered!


    1.  Cassowary: Although a now endangered species, it is still a highly popular bird in Australia. Hand-feeding wild Cassowaries has encouraged them into suburban areas where they risk dog attacks and being hit by vehicles. This one I saw, was in an animal sanctuary. Some people have kept them as pets in an equivalent status to chickens, although when the Cassowary is the third largest bird on the planet (after the Ostrich and Emu), keeping Cassowaries as pets becomes a challenge. They are most commonly found in Queensland, and in the Daintree Rainforest, where they are vital for the forest's ecosystem because they eat fallen berries and then excrete the seeds elsewhere along the forest floor, allowing for an equal and constant spread of plants and fruits. They have, as you can see by the picture, a very distinctive look, which has also made them a popular 'poster bird' on merchandise.


    2.  Kookaburra: This picture is of a Laughing Kookaburra, a native species to East Australia. Like all Kookaburras they are carnivorous (a fact which took me by surprise at first). They are best known for the loud 'laughing' sound they make and their 'singing' which acts as a marker of their territory. They are also infamous for their attempts to steal food from unattended barbeques and picnics (as achieved by the Kookaburra in the photo I took!) For those of you who remember the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Olly the Kookaburra was one of Australia's three mascots, emphasising the bird's Australian native origin. Despite some destruction of their habitats (which could be in many places depending on how easily sourced food is), the Kookaburra is listed as of 'least concern' in conservation terms.


    3.  Rainbow Lorikeets: a relative of the parrot and parakeet, these vividly coloured birds are fairly common around Australia, and wild ones can be fed in various animal centres around the country. They feed on nectar, fruit and pollen and their tongue is a special adaptation that allows them to maintain this diet. They are also monogamous birds - they mate for life, and this special connection can be seen in their feeding. A male might often be seen being slightly aggressive towards other birds whilst the female feeds, as he wishes to ensure she eats enough and her meal isn't interrupted! They are in some parts of Australia seen as a pest because they come in flocks and eat fruit off farmers' trees and such, but even so, their beauty and character makes it hard for a tourist not to fall in love with them.


    4.  Australia Pelican: There are several sub-species of Pelican, but anyone who has seen Finding Nemo will instantly recognise the sub-species that is native to Australia with its black and white colouring. Their impressive beak and throat pouch allows them to eat a whole range of foods, mainly fish, but also amphibians, crustaceans and, believe it or not, turtles have also been recorded as having been eaten by Pelicans. (I'm assuming, they would have been babies!) Interestingly they are monogamous for the mating season only, aside from that they are independent and hold no particular allegiance to any one bird. They often fish alone, unless shoals of fish in shallow waters are found, at which point more than one might be found together (as in this photo). They are most at threat from oil spills and accidentally eating fish hooks when searching for food.


    Others: Australia plays host to several different species of birds of prey, some of a similar sub-species to those we get in Britain, such as Falcons and Kites. There are numerous other species of bird that can be found in Australia, far too many for anyone to see in one holiday and too many for me to list here either. Nonetheless, it is well worth having the camera always to hand - you never know what you might see when you're out and about. Keep your eyes peeled as well, and don't just look up to the skies, for some birds might be hiding about on the ground as well as in the trees.