Australian Birds

Australian birds are just as unique as its animals.

There are many species found nowhere else in the world, and most are not in the Northern Hemisphere.



Emu, Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia, Australia, Pacific
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Famous Australian Birds - Emus and Cassowaries
The two largest and some of the most amazing of all of our birds are ratities. Emu is the country's national emblem and a very common one to see in the outback.

Cassowary has a similar body shape but is black, with a blue head and red neck wattle, and a helmet on its head. It is less common to see than emu, as it lives in tropical rainforests of north Queensland. Both are flightless.

Close Up Portrait of a Cassowary
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Strange Australian Birds - Megapodes
Megapodes are also called mound builders because they build large mounds as their nests. They incluse orange footed scrubfowls and Australian brush turkeys, which, like cassowary - live in tropical rainforests.

Portrait of a Australian Brush Turkey, Alectura Lathami
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Weird Australian Birds - Quails, Fowls and Pheasants
Quails, fowls and pheasants are also ground birds (flightless to bad fliers). Fowls are mostly introduced or feral and include red junglefowl, helmeted guineafowl, Indian peafowl (peacock), and wild turkey. 

Portrait of a Male Helmeted Guineafowl
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Amazing Australian Birds - Penguins
And another flightless one - in southern Australia we have five species of penguins: King, royal, fiordland, rockhopper and little penuin. The last one is the most common, a great place to see it is Phillip Island in Victoria.

Little Penguin (Eudyptula Minor), Tasmania, Australia
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Albatrosses, Petrels and Shearwaters
This is another group that likes the cool, southern Australian waters. Albatrosses can be huge, with a wing span up to 3.5 metres and we have nine species. Petrels and shearwaters are a little smaller, and there are 29 species of the first and nine of the second.

Shy Albatross in Flight, Bass Strait, Tasmania, Australia
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Beautiful Australian Birds - Pelicans
Australian pelican is a beautiful bird, a large one to fly, with a wing span of almost two metres. There is only one species and it is a marine bird that has also moved into fresh water and covers the whole continent except some dry areas in the inland Western Australia.

Australian Pelican, Australia
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Frigatebirds, Tropicbirds, Boobies and Gannets
We have two species of gannets and they live on the southern, cooler waters. The three species of boobies, two species of frigatebirds, and two species of tropicbirds all live on the northern, warmer waters.

Cape Gannets at Colony
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Cormorants and Darters
There is one species of darters and five species or cormorants, and all live on the coasts (not on the open water) and inland, most covering the whole continent except some dry areas in the inland Western Australia.

Black Faced Cormorant, Cleland Wildlife Park, South Australia, Australia
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Grebes
Grebes are also water birds, but fresh water so they do not live on the coast, and there are three species of them in Australia.

Australasian Grebe, Tachybaptus Novaehollandiae, Australia
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Swans, Ducks and Geese
Another thing Europeans find 'the opposite' in Australia - our swans are black. There are some very rare ones, supposed;y not more than 40, white ones in south western WA. We have wild geese - Cape Barren geese in southern Australia, and pygmy and magpie geese, both live in northern Australia. And we have at least 11 species of ducks, as well as some teals and mallards.

Black Swan (Cygnus Atratus) Pair in Courtship Behavior, Victoria, Australia
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Swamphens, Rails, Coots and Crakes
These are ground birds that like to live in ponds, including man made ones in city parks. We have the purple swamphen, dusky moorhen, Eurasian coot, three species of rails, five species of crakes and a few native-hens and bush-hens.

purple swamphen
Purple swamphen. ©Gondwananet.com

Egrets, Herons and Bitterns
We have six species of herons, five species of egrets and three species of bitterns. All live on the land but near water bodies.

Pacific Heron (Ardea Pacifica), Mootwingee National Park, New South Wales, Australia
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Ibis and Spoonbills
We have glossy, straw-necked and Australian white ibis, and yellow billed and royal spoonbill. All are waders and eat small animals in shallow water.

A Yellow-Billed Spoonbill (Platalea Flavipes) Opens its Bill in a Southwest Australian Wetland.
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Storks, Cranes, Bustards and Plains Wanderers
We have an impressive stork - jabiru, that lives in wetlands in northern Australia. And we have the impressive brolgas and sarus cranes, that live on grasslands. Other grassland birds are Australian bustards and plains wanderers.

Female Jabiru (Black Necked Stork) (Ephippiorhynchus Asiaticus), Western Australia, Australia
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Curlews, Snipes, Sandpipers, Phalaropes and Godwits
Then we have the group of long legged and billed waders many of which are migratory. They include curlews, sandpipers, whimbrels, turnstones, redshanks, greenshanks, tattlers, knots, snipes, godwits, dowitchers, ruffs, stints, pratincoles, pharalopes and sanderlings. Bush stone curlews are different and live independently from the water.

Bush Thick-Knee (Burhinus Grallarius), Kakadu National Park, Australia
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Australian Birds - Jacanas aka Lotusbirds
Lotusbirds are waders with thin but very large feet to be able to run on the plants floating on the water surface. They are found in semi coastal northern and eastern Australia.

A Comb Crested Jacana Hunts for Food Among Lily Pads
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Australian Birds - Oystercatchers
We have two species of oystercatchers - pied and sooty - and they live on the shore. Both have bright red bills and legs.

Oystercatcher (Haematopus Ostralegus) in a Field
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Plovers, Lapwings and Dotterels
We have two species of lapwings - masked and banded. We have nine species of plovers, three dotterels, two stilts, three jaegers and an avocet.

Masked Lapwing (Vanellus Miles), Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
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Noddies, Gulls, Terns and Ternlets
We have three species of noddies, three species of gulls, 16 species of terns and one species of ternlets. Many are ocean birds, noddies tend to live on coral islands.

Black Noddy Terns
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Eagles, Kites, Ospreys, Goshawks, Harriers and Falcons
Our birds of prey include six species of kites, four species of hawks, four falcons, two harriers, one kestrel, one hobby, one osprey, one buzzard, one baza, and three eagles: little eagle, white bellied sea eagle, and wedge tailed eagle - the largest of them all.

Profile of Wedge-Tailed Eagle, Australia
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Australian Birds - Doves and Pigeons
Apart from the European pest - rock pigeon - we have 11 species of beautiful doves and 10 species of beautiful pigeons living their natural life in the nature and not being pests at all.

Spinifex Pigeon (Petrophassa Plumifera) Portrait, Australia
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Smart Australian Birds - Parrots
We have many beautifully colourful and noisy parrots. They can be divided into groups like long tailed (25 species - including cockatiels, budgerigars and all rosellas), broad tailed (five species - king parrot, regent, superb, red winged, and princess Alexandra parrot), fig parrots (one species - double eyed fig parrot), lorikeets (seven species) and old tropical parrots (two species - red cheeked and eclectus parrot).

Crimson Rosella, Dandenong Ranges, Victoria, Australia, Pacific
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Smart Australian Birds - Lorikeets
Lorikeets include little, purple crowned, musk, varied, scaly breasted, red collared and rainbow lorikeets - the latter very common everywhere.

Rainbow Lorikeet (Trichoglossus Haematodus), Marramarang National Park, New South Wales, Australia
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Smart Australian Birds - Cockatoos
Cockatoos are closely related to parrots, and as opposed to the true parrots, they are only found in Australiasia (not in South America or Africa). They are not quite as colourful, but they are just as smart and playful as true parrots are. We have one species of galahs, three species of corellas, and nine species of cockatoos.

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo (Cacatua Galerita), Tasmania, Australia
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Australian Birds - Cuckoos and Coucals
We have 11 species of cuckoos, and one coucal - the pheasant coucal.

An Oriental Cuckoo Sitting in a Treetop
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Owls, Frogmouths and Nightjars
We have one boobook, eight species of owls, three species of frogmouths, and four species of nightjars.

Tawny Frogmouth Looking Down Branch Towards Camera
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Kingfishers and Kookaburras
Kookaburras are our largest kingfishers. We have two species of them, plus eight species of larger kingfishers.

Blue-Winged Kookaburras, One with Gecko, in Gulf Savannah
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Bee Eaters, Rollers and Pittas
We have rainbow bee eaters, dollarbirds, and three species of pittas: rainbow, noisy and red bellied.

rainbow bee eater
Rainbow bee eater. ©Gondwananet.com

Australian Birds - Lyrebirds
We have two species of lyrebirds - Superb Lyrebird in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, and Albert's Lyrebird in a pocket in south eastern Queensland, near Brisbane.

Superb Lyrebird (Menura Novaehollandiae), Victoria, Australia
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Australian Birds - Wrens
We have nine species of fairy wrens, three species of emu wrens, four species of scrub wrens, one fern wren, three field wrens, two heath wrens, and eight species of grass wrens.

Male Superb Fairy Wren Shows Off Male Breeding Plumage
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Pardalotes and Thornbills
We have four species of pardalotes, three species of bristlebirds, a pilotbird, eight species of gerygones, three species of whiteface, and 12 species of thornbills.

An Alert Striated Pardalote Hanging onto a Eucalyptus Branch
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Honeyeaters, Miners, Friarbirds and Wattlebirds
This is a large group of birds in Australia, and it includes 54 species of honeyeaters, four species of wattlebirds, four species of miners and four species of friarbirds (the latter three are in fact also honeyeaters).

Blue-Faced Honeyeater, Entomyzon Cyanotis, Perched in a Tree
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Robins, Monarchs, Flycatchers, Drongos, Fantails and Magpie Larks
We have 17 species of robins, seven species of flycatchers, eight species of whistlers, four species of fantails, six species of monarchs, one magpie lark and one drongo.

frill necked monarch
Monarch. ©Gondwananet.com

Finches, Mannikins, Martins and Swallows
We have 13 species of finches, five species of mannikins, four species of firetails, two species of martins, four species of swallows.

mannikin
Mannikin. ©Gondwananet.com

Sunbirds, Bulbuls, Silvereyes, White Eyes, Wagtails and Pipits
We have one species of sunbirds, four species of wagtails, two species of white eye, one silvereye, one bulbul, and two thrushes.

Bulbul
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Figbirds and Orioles
We have one species of figbird and two orioles.

Portrait of a Captive Figbird, Sphecotheres Viridis
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Bowerbirds, Riflebirds and Woodswallows
We have eight species of bowerbirds, three riflebirds, one catbird, one cicadabird, one manucode, three cuckoo shrikes, two trillers, and six species of woodswallow.

A Satin Bowerbird Spruces Up His Bower With a Parrot Feather
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Magpies and Butcherbirds
We have five species of butcherbirds and one species of magpie.

Australian Magpie (Gymnorhina Tibicen), Wilsons Promontory National Park, Victoria, Australia
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Currawongs, Crows and Ravens
We have three species of currawongs, two species of crow, and three ravens.

Pied Currawong, Strepera Graculina, in a Sub-Tropical Rain Forest
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Old World Sparrows, Warblers, Larks, Mynas and Starlings
We have two species of songlarks, one skylark, one bushlarks, two sparrows, two starlings and one myna (the common, or Indian myna).

Close View of a Mynah Bird Perched on a Tree
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