Peaceful Dove

Geopelia placida

One of the most delightful sounds of the Australian bush is the gentle “coo-luk” of the Peaceful Dove. Unfortunately, in most urban areas they have been displaced by Feral Pigeons, Spotted Turtle Doves and seagulls. They feed on small seeds, especially from grasses and sedges. They forage on the ground usually in pair or small flocks. Breeding can take place in all months but less so during the dry months of summer. Two white eggs are laid on a small platform of twigs. Incubation is by both sexes.

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Diamond Dove

Geopilia cuneata

This tiny dove is the smallest dove in the world. The calls are distinctive One call consists of long coos which may be repeated up to five times. The other call is of two notes, the first of which is often burry and the second clear. Diamond Doves feed almost entirely on the seeds of grasses and legumes, but eat some leaves and insects. They take very small seeds. Breeding is strongly influenced by food and rainfall and may occur throughout the year but the peak is usually in spring…

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Spotted Turtledove

Spilopelia chinensis

Spotted Turtle-doves are native to China, South East Asia and the Philippines. They were released in Adelaide in 1881, as part of the ill-conceived 19th century naturalisation programme, which saw a number of non-native birds introduced into Australia. They displaced the small Peaceful Dove (Geopelia placida) but may now themselves be under pressure from the increase in the native Crested Pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes). Spotted Turtledoves feed on grain, the seeds of grasses and herbs and on small fruit. They feed on the ground alone, in pairs or in small groups….

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Feral Pigeon

Columbia livia

The Rock Dove is native to Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. They were first domesticated by the Egyptians over 5,000 years ago, and have since traveled with humans to all parts of the globe including Australia. Many birds escaped captivity and established breeding colonies throughout the country. Feral Pigeons feed on food scraps in urban areas and with agricultural grains, supplemented by the seeds of grasses and herbs in country areas. They feed on the ground commonly on flocks which may be large. Potentially they can breed all…

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Common Bronzewing

Phaps chalcopetra

Bronzewings are often encountered when they burst unexpectedly from cover near to you. Less often they may be seen with throated extended uttering their repetitive ‘oom’ calls from high in the canopy. As a result, their beauty is often not fully appreciated. The iridescent panels in the wings are not merely bronze but range from pink through to various blues, greens and purple, even in a single panel, depending on the angle of light between the bird and the observer. Try Googling ‘bronzewing’ to see some marvellous photographs showing the…

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Brush Bronzewing

Phaps elegans

Brush Bronzewings and Common Bronzewings are similar in appearance, however, Common Bronzewings are light-coloured, plump and grey. In contrast Brush Bronzewings are small, darker and brown. Both birds have iridescent colour patches in their wing coverts but the Brush Bronzewing has only two rows, while Common Bronzewings have 4-5 such rows. Brush Bronzewings live on seeds whether from native or introduced plants. A small proportion of insects are also eaten. Breeding occurs can throughout the year, but mainly in spring and early summer when food supplies are at a maximum….

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Crested Pigeon

Ocyphaps lophotes

Crested Pigeons are the outback bird that has made good in the big city. Originally found in lightly wooded grassland, they were able to expand their range into the southern more densely forested areas as these were cleared for agriculture. They have also thrived in towns and cities having moved in to the more settled areas following droughts. They have, for example, become numerous in Adelaide after droughts in the early 1980s. Crested Pigeons live on the seeds and leaves of a variety of herbs and grasses, both native and…

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Black Swan

Cygnus atratus

Black Swans are an iconic Australian bird, the symbol of Western Australia, but common throughout the southern half of the continent.   Black Swans are almost entirely vegetarian, feeding on the leaves and shoots of various aquatic plants (Typha, Potamogeton, Myriophyllum, Ruppia), algae and pondweeds, and pasture grasses. Small animals may be taken accidentally. Food is taken by reaching underwater with its long neck, dabbling on the surface and upending. They may also be seen grazing on the banks of wetlands.       Breeding occurs when water levels are…

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Chestnut Teal

Anas castanea

The male Chestnut Teal in breeding dress is one of our most handsome waterfowl, particularly when the sun shines on his iridescent, bottle-green head. Feeds by dabbling, upending and mud filtering in very shallow water. Like Grey Teal probably feeds on seeds and vegetation of shoreline vegetation, and small aquatic invertebrates.     Breeding is in spring and early summer (as late as January on the Coorong). Nests on the ground amidst vegetation or in natural cavities such as tree hollows. Monogamous and probably forms life-long pair-bonds. If conditions favourable…

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