Greater Crested Tern

Thalasseus bergii

The Greater Crested Tern is Australia’s second largest large tern, resident in South Australia. It feeds mainly on fish but will take squid, crabs, and other aquatic prey.   Breeding is from September to December, in large colonies on offshore islands along the entire South Australian coastline.     Look for them performing a stately pas de deux (illustrated) as part of their courtship ritual.      

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Blue-billed Duck

Oxyura australis

Blue-billed ducks belong to the genus Oxyura, the stiff-tailed ducks.  The stiff upright tail feathers of the male are distinctive enabling the birds to be identified from a long way off. These tail feathers also demonstrate the Blue-bill’s close relationship to the Musk duck. Blue-bills feed on aquatic plants and insects, also molluscs, crustaceans and arachnids. They obtain most of their food by diving and by swimming under water. They spend little time on land. Breeding occurs mainly in spring and summer, marked by a spectacular display by the male….

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Pacific Black Duck

Anas superciliosa

Pacific Black Ducks are mainly vegetarians, feeding on aquatic and fringe vegetation. They also feed on animals such as molluscs, freshwater crayfish, and aquatic insects and their larvae. Food is obtained, mainly at night, by dabbling on the surface, upending and grazing, with occasional shallow dives. In South Australia, breeding can start as early as June and continue as late as February. They nest in pairs. Incubation is by the female while the male guards. The nests may be in tree holes, in old nests of other waterbirds or on…

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Apostle Bird

Struthida 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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Rainbow Bee-eater

Merops ornatus

Rainbow Bee-eaters are seasonal breeding migrants to South Australia. We welcome the return of these colourful, agile fliers from their wintering grounds in northern Australia or the islands of New Guinea and Indonesia in October or November each year. They breed here from November to January before returning to warmer climes. They are sociable, feeding, nesting and roosting in groups of 20-30 and keeping contact with distinctive rolling calls (“merop-merop”!) Rainbow Bee-eaters forage by hawking insects, mainly bees and wasps, from horizontal branches to which they return to batter their…

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White-browed Babbler

Pomatostomus superciliosus

Babblers associate in small groups of 6-13 individuals. Generally, their sentries will find you before you see them and your presence will be announced by their distinctive whistling calls. They are sedentary defending a territory of several hectares year-round. Babblers are ground foragers living largely on insects and other invertebrates found in leaf litter but will take seeds, fruits and eggs or nestlings of small birds. Breeding occurs mainly in late winter and early spring (Jul-Nov). Babblers are co-operative breeders, usually with one brooding pair, and several helpers. Photo above:…

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Red-necked Avocet

Recurvirostra novaehollandia

Avocets are daytime foragers, feeding on small aquatic invertebrates which they catch in a scything movement of their bill. A striking bird, you can imagine what a flock of 5,000 Red-necked Avocets would look like. Nowadays they are mainly seen in smaller parties, but are nonetheless still exciting to encounter.

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Superb Fairywren

Malarus cyaneus

The Superb Fairywren is one our most familiar and loved birds, ubiquitous on calendars, diaries and tea towels. They prefer habitats consisting of clear open areas where they can feed, interspersed with dense low vegetation where they can hide if danger threatens. They can be found in parks and gardens with thick shrubs or undergrowth, but such areas are becoming less common and smaller and sadly, Superb Fairy-wrens are no longer as common in our gardens as they used to be.   Superb Fairywrens are generally found in small parties…

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Little Raven

Corvus mellori

The Little Raven is one of five species of the genus Corvus found in South Australia and the Little Raven is the corvid most commonly found in the Adelaide area. All ravens and crows are referred to as called ‘corvids’ as they all belong to the genus ‘Corvus’. The others species in South Australia are Little Crow, Australian Raven, Torresian Crow and Forest Raven. The calls of corvids are perhaps the best method for identifying them in the field. They all have different calls, although recognising them obviously requires a…

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