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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Laughing Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

The Laughing Kookaburra is arguably the best-known bird in Australia, an icon, and only occurs here in Australia. Their laughing raucous calls are one the most distinctive sounds of the Australian bush. Kookaburras are dryland kingfishers, and despite their name they do not prey on fish. They live on a variety of insects and small animals such as skinks; basically, anything they find on the ground, that they think they can swallow. Famously, this includes snakes up to 1 metre long. They spend long periods watching before swooping down onto…

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Striated Pardalote

Pardalotus striatus

Pardalotes are diminutive birds, weighing only about 12 g. They live high in the outer reaches of the canopy and are not easily seen unless you are looking hard for them. Their calls, however, are surprisingly loud for such a small bird and are one of the characteristic sounds of spring, especially a two note “wit-chu” , sometimes linked by a middle note “do-a dit”. Striated Pardalotes are a resident species although there is some local movement particularly from the Mt. Lofty ranges to the foothills in the winter months,…

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White-plumed Honeyeater

Ptilotula penicillata

  White-plumed Honeyeaters give clear melodious “chick-o-wee” calls with numerous variants, and are particularly noticeable early in the morning. Sharp penetrating “pee-pee-pee”, alarm calls are given in response to predators. White-plumed honeyeaters feed on nectar, arthropods, lerp and manna. They forage at all levels of eucalypts but mainly in tree crowns. Breeding occurs mainly in the spring months (late August to November). The nests are small cups of woven grass, placed several metres above the ground in the crown of a eucalypt. They are often parasitized by Pallid (Cuculus pallidus),…

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Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Cacomantis flabelliformis

Around the world the call of the cuckoo heralds the arrival of spring, but it is often not the same type of cuckoo. In South Australia of the nine species of cuckoo recorded and the one you are most likely to hear is the Fan-tailed Cuckoo, whose loud descending trills resound through the woodlands in early spring. When you hear them, look up into the canopy. Unlike the rest of the year the bird is often prominent at this time when the males wants to be seen and heard by…

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Rainbow Lorikeet

Trichoglossus haematodus

We are fortunate to have one of the most colourful parrots in the world, the Rainbow Lorikeet, living in our suburbs. The largest of the lorikeets, it’s violet-blue head, lime green nape, orange breast and green back, combined with a coral-red beak, are distinctive. Rainbow Lorikeets give a loud, strident contact call repeatedly in flight. Flocks, in particular, can be very noisy flying overhead, and when settling in to roost. Rainbow Lorikeets feed mainly on nectar and pollen from trees and shrubs but also take fruits, seeds and insects. In…

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Australian Magpie

Gymnorhina tibicen

With their striking black-and-white plumage, it is no wonder they are a favourite mascot of numerous footy teams and other organisations. Their carolling, even late at night, is one of the most Australian of sounds, and they are regarded as one of the best songbirds in the world. Both sexes sing and often do so together (carolling) or by taking turns (duetting). They can have a substantial repertoire which includes mimics of other birds and animals found in their territory. Sometimes they will sing for long periods on their own…

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Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

Cacatua leadbeateri

Named after one of Australia’s first explorers of the inland, the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo is much less raucous than its Sulphur-crested cousin. Its plumage features delicate shades of pink as well as a colourful crest, making this species one of the more attractive cockatoos. It spends much of its day feeding on the ground with other cockatoos (though usually separate from them) or in trees or shrubs. A denizen of the inland, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoos live in arid and semi-arid regions of Australia, where they generally inhabit wooded habitats. They…

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