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Birds

tawny frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth

The general plumage of the Tawny Frogmouth is silver-grey, slightly paler below, streaked and mottled with black and rufous.

A second plumage phase also occurs, with birds being russet-red. The eye is yellow in both forms, and the wide, heavy bill is olive-grey to blackish.

The body length ranges from 35 - 50 cm, with south-eastern birds being larger than birds from the north. In Australia there are three species of frogmouth. The Papuan Frogmouth, P. papuensis, is confined to the Cape York Peninsula and is larger, with an orange-red eye. The other species is the Marbled Frogmouth, P. ocellatus, which is similar in size to the Tawny Frogmouth, but is found only in the rainforests of far north Queensland and on the Queensland-New South Wales border, and it has an orange-yellow eye. Both species also occur in New Guinea.

With their nocturnal habit and owl-like appearance, Tawny Frogmouths are often confused with owls, but are actually more closely related to the nightjars. Their feet are weak however, and lack the curved talons of owls.

During the day, the Tawny Frogmouth perches on a tree branch, often low down, camouflaged as part of the tree.

Distribution and Habitat

The Tawny Frogmouth is found throughout Australia, including Tasmania. It can be seen in almost any habitat type except the denser rainforests and treeless deserts.

Food and feeding

The bulk of the Tawny Frogmouth's diet is made up of nocturnal insects, worms, slugs and snails. Small mammals, reptiles, frogs and birds are also eaten. Most food is obtained by pouncing to the ground from a tree or other elevated perch. Some prey items, such as moths, are caught in flight, which has led to many unfortunate instances of birds being hit by cars while chasing insects illuminated in the beam of the headlights.

Breeding

Tawny Frogmouths breed mainly from August to December, although birds in more arid areas may breed in response to heavy rains. Both sexes incubate the two or three eggs. The male sits during the day, but both sexes share sitting at night. The nest is a loose platform of sticks, which is usually placed on a horizontal forked tree branch. Normally only one brood is raised in a season, but birds from the south may have two.

kookaburra

Kookaburra

Kookaburras, known as the Laughing Kookaburras, are from the family Kingfishers.

Similar to other kingfishers, Kookaburras have a stout and compact body, short neck, rather long and pointed bill and short legs.

Kookaburras are 17 inches in height, the upper parts dark brown, the wings spotted gray-blue. A white band separates the head from the body. There is a dark stripe through the eye, and the under parts are white. The strong bill is black.

Habitat:

Kookaburras tend to inhabit woodland areas of eastern Australia.

Reproduction:

Kookaburras generally live in pairs or in small groups in open woodland. They incubate their two to four pure white eggs in hollow tree trunks, tree holes, or in excavated termite nests. Both adults incubate for a period of 25 days. The young leave the nest 30 days after hatching, but the parents continue to feed them for another 40 days.

General Info:

The Australian aborigines have a legend about the Kookaburra. When the sun rose for the first time, the god Bayame ordered the kookaburra to utter its loud, almost human laughter in order to wake up mankind so that they should not miss the wonderful sunrise. The aborigines also believed that any child who insulted a kookaburra would grow an extra slanting tooth.

Facts

Kookaburras live in forests.

Their feathers are brown, black, white and blue.

They eat snakes, lizards, frogs and fish.

Their call sounds like they are laughing.

Kookaburra are part of the group of birds called kingfishers. Kookaburras live in woodlands and open forests.

Diet:

In the wild, Kookaburras are known to be partial to the young of other birds and snakes, as well as insects and small reptiles. They can regularly be seen on suburban fencelines, feesting on plentiful skinks and any small reptile within their line of sight.

Behaviour:

The Kookaburra's noisy laughing call is one of the most recognisable of all of Australian Birds. Kookaburras raise a wild chorus of raucous laughter as they roost in the treetops at dusk. Kookaburras also spontaneously wake everyone within hearing as dawn breaks. They are sometimes known as the "bushman's clock."

The Kookaburra is a true icon of Australia. It is has a habit of feeding on snakes and lizards. The Kookaburra seizes snakes behind the head and kills them by dropping them from a height, or else carries them to a perch and batters them senseless against any nearby hard surface before swallowing them head first.

Like the Butcher Bird, the Kookaburra will also prey on the young of other birds, and will occasionaly raid farmyards for ducklings and baby chicks.

little eagle

Little Eagle

The Little Eagle (Aquila morphnoides) is a very small eagle native to Australasia.

It measures 45–55 cm (17–21.5 inches) in length and weighing 815 g (1.8 lb) – roughly the size of a Peregrine Falcon. It tends to inhabit open woodland, grassland and arid regions, shunning dense forest. It is a near relative of both the Palearctic Booted Eagle and, remarkably, the massive but now extinct Haast's Eagle of New Zealand.

Reproduction

Little eagles nest in open woodland (usually on hillsides) and along tree-lined watercourses, with the nest typically placed in a mature, living tree. The birds build a stick nest lined with leaves and may use different nests in successive years, including those of other birds such as crows. A pair of Little Eagles will only reproduce once a year and each pair will only produce one or two eggs per season, usually laid in late August to early September. After an incubation period of about 37 days, one or two young are fledged after approximately eight weeks. Maturity in terms of breeding takes two to three years, leaving a large population of juvenile eagles, mature eagles comprise of roughly less than three-quarters of the population.

Little eagle nesting territories are defended against intruders and advertised by soaring, undulating flight display, conspicuous perching and/or calling. Movement behaviour varies between individuals, and may be partly migratory (being an altitudinal migrant), dispersive or permanently resident. They tend to slip away at the first sign of human intrusion.

Prey

Little eagles hunt live prey and occasionally take carrion. The eagles search for prey by soaring (up to 500m altitude) or by using an elevated exposed perch. The species is an agile, fast hunter swooping to take prey on the ground in the open but also from trees and shrubs. Recorded prey species (from feeding observations, nest remains and faecal pellets) show considerable variation indicating a broad diet, which seems to be determined primarily by the availability of prey of a suitable size. The Little Eagle would originally feed on small birds, mammals and reptiles and supplement its diet with large insects on occasion, however with the introduction of rabbits and foxes the Little Eagle’s diet changed. Rabbits became widely abundant very quickly after being introduced, competing for habitat with native mammals. The introduction of foxes can also be attributed to the decline of the Little Eagle’s main source of prey. Its diet comprises mostly rabbits and to a lesser extent birds (especially rosellas, magpie-larks and starlings).

Threats

The main threats to the species are the destruction and degradation of its foraging and breeding habitat causing it to come into competition with the larger and more dominant Wedge Tailed Eagle or Aquila audax. The Wedge-tailed Eagle is not necessarily a predator of the Little Eagle but the two species share common habitat and prey and the large size and dominant nature of the Wedge Tailed Eagle could mean that the little eagle would be forced out of hunting and breeding grounds.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

emu

Emu

The emu is Australia's largest bird. It does not fly, although it does have tiny wings.

The wings help the bird cool itself in hot weather. The emu is quite common and is found all over Australia, though fewer live in desert areas.

Emu females are generally larger than the males. The females weigh about 40 kilograms, the males about 36 kg. Emus can run at speeds of up to 50 km per hour.

Emu feathers are brown, and grow in pairs with two shafts joined at the base. The barbs coming out of the shafts are separate, not joined together as they are in the feathers of birds that fly. This means that the bird looks more like it is covered in hair than in feathers. Emu necks are often without feathers, and the skin is bluish.

Emus have long legs, with three large toes. Their beaks are wide and soft, for grazing grass and browsing in bushes. They eat fruits, flowers, insects, seeds and green plants. Birds have a part of their body called a gizzard. The food they swallow goes into the gizzard to be ground up so that it can be digested. Emus swallow quite large stones to help grind up the food in their gizzard.

Emu Facts

Emus make grunting noises and also a deep drumming sound.
Emus live all over Australia.
Emus are birds but they can't fly
Emus are covered with feathers.
Emus eat grass, fruits, flowers, seeds and insects.

In drier seasons when food sources are concentrated, emu groups congregate for the best pickings. It has been said that emus know where the rain has fallen and will head that way for a feed.

Emus generally find partners in summer, December-January, and breed in the winter months, May-August. If conditions are bad, such as a severe drought, emus may not breed at all, or the female may only lay a few eggs. In excellent conditions she may lay a larger than usual clutch of eggs. The large green eggs are laid gradually over several days, usually 5-9. The male then sits on the eggs for 8 weeks until they hatch. He hardly leaves the nest, and does not eat much during this time. The chicks are cream coloured, with dark stripes running from head to tail.

The chicks stay with the male for about 18 months. He misses the next breeding season. The female does not stay with the eggs or chicks. She needs to regain her energy so that she is ready to breed in the next season with a different male.

Why emus don't fly?

Birds that don't fly have a different breastbone (sternum) to birds that do fly. The sternum of flying birds is like a keel while emus have a a raft-shape breastbone. Emus are in the group of flightless birds called ratites. Ratites do have wings but they are not used for flying. Emu wings are about the size of a hand and are useful in hot weather: they hold them out from their sides to let air circulate.

Australian Brush Turkey

Australian Brush Turkey

The Australian brush-turkey Alectura lathami, is also frequently called the Scrub Turkey

The Australian brush-turkey is a common, widespread species of mound-building bird from the family Megapodiidae found in eastern Australia from Far North Queensland to Illawarra in New South Wales.

It is the largest of the three Megapodiidae that occur in Australia. Despite its name, the bird is not closely related to the American turkeys.

It is a spectacular large bird with a prominent, fan-like tail flattened sideways. The Brush-turkey is mainly black but has a bare red head, and a yellow or bluish-grey wattle. Their undersides are sprinkled with white feathers, more pronounced in older birds. The Brush-turkey flies very clumsily with heavy flapping when it is frightened and roosts in trees at night and during the heat of the day.

The adult Brush-turkey is 60-75 cm in length, with predominantly black body plumage, with a wingspan of about 85 cm. It has a featherless red head and a yellow throat wattle. The male's wattle becomes much larger during breeding season, often swinging from side to side as they run. The males' red heads and yellow wattles also become much brighter during the breeding and nesting season.

A smaller race, purpureicollis, lives in northern Cape York Peninsula. It has bluish-white wattles.

Brush-turkeys are communal birds, and have communal nests. A typical group consists of a dominant male, one or more younger males and several females. They build large nests on the ground made of leaves, other combustible material and earth, 1 to 1.5 metres high and up to 4 metres across. The eggs are hatched by the heat of the composting mound which is tended only by the males who regulate the temperature by adding or removing material to keep a constant temperature of 33-35° C[citation needed]. As with some reptiles, incubation temperature affects the sex ratio of chicks, which is equal at 34° C but results in more males when cooler and more females when warmer (p=0.035). It is unclear whether the parents use this to manipulate the sex of their offspring by, for instance, selecting the nesting site accordingly. Warmer incubation also results in heavier, fitter chicks , but how this is linked to gender is also unknown.

The same nesting site is frequently used year after year, the old ones being added to each breeding season. The average clutch of eggs is between 16 and 24 large white eggs, which are laid September to March. Sometimes up to 50 eggs laid by several females may be found in a single mound. The eggs are placed in a circle roughly 60-80 cm down, 20-30 cm apart, always with the large end up. The newly hatched young dig themselves out of the mound and then have to look after themselves.

Brush-turkey eggs are a favourite food of goannas, snakes, dingoes and dogs and once were a staple of Aboriginal Australians. Often goannas exhibit wounds on their tails of having been pecked by Brush-turkeys who ferociously chase them away from their nests.

In situations where they come into contact with humans, such as picnic areas in national parks, brush-turkeys exhibit little fear and will often boldly attempt to steal food from tables. They will nest in suburban gardens, and in search of material for their nests will patiently remove enormous amounts of mulch from neighbouring gardens.

Thanks to Noeleen Atwell for sending us these three great photos of a very unusual white brush turkey!

Hey all you budding Photographers!

Have you taken a great photo of a Brush Turkey? If you have - send it into . If we think the picture is good enough to put up on our website - we will! And we promise to credit the photographer too! Because we pride ourselves on our images on this website, we will only put up high quality clear and detailed shots. And don't forget - they must be yours!

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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