This is a companion to my other Bird of the Day blog, which focuses on birds I have seen in Victoria, Canada.

In March 2014, my husband and I traveled to Australia. These are the birds I photographed during our time in Melbourne and Tasmania. All of the pictures were taken with my Nikon D3100, which is an entry-level digital SLR camera, and my new AF-S VR 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.G IF ED lens.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Hooded Plover

Thinornis rubricollis

Medium-sized, stocky plover
Sandy-brown above
White nape
White underparts
Dark brown iris with red eye ring
Red bill with black tip
Pinkish-orange legs
    Black head
    Black hindneck
      Sandy-brown head and hindneck

On Maria Island in Tasmania, we saw a small groups of these birds while walking on the beach. They were bobbing and pecking along the shore, keeping just in front of us.  Then, as a group, they all flew out to sea and circled around to land on the beach behind us.  They must have felt threatened by us, after all they are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Learn more about the Hooded Plover.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Powerful Owl

Ninox strenua

Large owl
Rounded tail
Grey-brown plumage with white barring
Off-white underside with dark, v-shaped markings
Dark grey facial disc 
Large yellow eyes
Dull yellow feet with large, sharp talons


Having been told of a Powerful Owl perched in a tree in Williamstown, we stopped by to have a look.  Sure enough, there he was, halfway up a plane tree right next to a row of parked cars.  As I was looking for the best position for a photograph, a number of locals stopped to fill me in; apparently,  this is a regular hangout for the bird.  One young man even showed me his photos of the owl .... with a possum in his huge claws.  That really wasn't something I wanted to see.   Thanks anyway.

Learn more about the Powerful Owl.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Crested Pigeon

Phaps chalcoptera

Grey-brown plumage
Grey head with slender, black crest on top
Red-orange eyes with pink-red ring around them 
Black striped wings with bronze visible
Colourful areas of brown, purple, blue and green on primaries

Learn more about the Crested Pigeon.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Red-rumped Parrot

Psephotus haematonotus

Moderate sized parrot
      Bright emerald-green plumage
      Yellow underparts
      Red rump
      Blue highlights on wings and upper back
     Olive-green plumage
     Pale yellow underparts
     Green rump
     Blue-black wingtips

This was another of my sightings at the Water Treatment Plant in Werribee. This colorful bird struck some very nice poses for me while I was photographing him.  And they say that cooperative behaviors are rare in the animal kingdom!

Learn more about the Red-rumped Parrot.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Striated Fieldwren

Calamanthus fuliginosus

Small, stocky bird
Sandy-brown upperparts with dark streaks
Creamy-yellow underparts with dark streaks
Tail usually cocked upwards
White eyebrow

When we saw this bird at the Water Treatment Plant in Werribee, the Melbournian with me got quite excited.  I assume that means that these birds are little seen. What I have since discovered though is that they are also little studied.  I had a heck of a time finding anything about them on-line.

Learn more about the Striated Fieldwren.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Chestnut Teal

Anas castanea


Small dabbling duck 
Red eyes
Slate grey bill
Green speculum bordered by white stripes
Dark underwing   
     Green head
     Dark brown upper body and wings
     Chestnut flanks, breast and belly
     Black undertail with white patch
     Mottled brown and grey plumage
     Pale throat, streaked with brown 
     Dark brown eye stripe

These pictures were taken at Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.  If you're wondering whether all that algae is harmful to the ducks, you're not alone.  Looking around on the internet, I discovered that although some algae is a must for a healthy pond, other types are not so good.  Hopefully, this is one of the good ones.

Learn more about the Chestnut Teal.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Australian Pelican

Pelecanus conspicillatus

Water Treatment Plant
Medium-sized pelican
Very large bill 
Mainly white plumage
Black primaries
White panel on upper wing 
White V on rump
     Pale pink bill and pouch
     Pale yellow eyering
    Orange orbital skin and bill
    Color of pouch varies 
          -- dark blue, pink, scarlet

 I love the Latin name of this bird. It reminds me of the old Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons, where they were given fictitious Latin names like Disappearialis quickius and Apetitius giganticus. Pelecanus conspicillatus indeed!

 Learn more about the Australian Pelican.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Australian White Ibis

Threskiornis moluccus

Large ibis
White plumage 
Bald, black head and neck
Black tail feathers
Long, black, down-curved bill
Black legs 
     Similar to adult 
     Neck covered with black feathers 

During my time in Melbourne, I was lucky enough to make contact with a fellow from BirdLife Melbourne. On my last day there, he took me to the Water Treatment Plant in Werribe. The many lagoons and wetlands there make it a haven for waders and waterbirds. 

These odd looking birds were some of the first birds we encountered upon entering the limited access area.  I snapped pictures of them while leaning out the window of our vehicle as they nonchalantly strolled along the dirt road in front of us.

Learn more about the Australian White Ibis.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Welcome Swallow

Hirundo hahitica neoxena

Metallic blue-black upperparts
Light grey breast and belly
Rusty forehead, throat and upper breast
Long forked tail with white spots on the individual feathers

Learn more about the Welcome Sparrow.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Tasmania Native-hen

Tribonyx mortierii

Stocky, flightless bird between 17 and 20 inches in length
Brown head, back and wings
Slate grey underparts
White patch on the flank
Short, black tail mostly held erect
Thick, powerful legs, with a grey scaly appearance
Sharp claw
Bright red eyes
Large yellow bill

The Tasmanian Native-hen is one of  twelve species of birds that are endemic to Tasmania. This means they are found nowhere else on earth.

Learn more about the Tasmanian Native-hen.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Yellow Wattlebird

Anthochaera paradoxa

Large honeyeater
Grey-brown plumage streaked with white
Long, yellow wattles hanging from cheeks
Dark wings
Yellow belly
Short, strong, dark bill

Although the Yellow Wattlebird is supposedly common in Tasmania, I only saw one once, on Maria Island.  And believe me, if I'd encountered another one I couldn't have mistaken it for anything else.  It was one of the oddest birds I've ever seen.

The Yellow Wattlebird is one of twelve species of birds that are endemic to Tasmania.  This means they are found nowhere else on earth.

Learn more about the Yellow Wattlebird.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Grey Fantail

Rhipidura albiscapa

Small bird, half of which is tail
Dark grey above
Light underside
White throat
White markings over eye
White-edged tail feathers

I saw this little bird flitting from twig to twig and from tree to tree while I was visiting the Port Arthur Historic Site yesterday.  I had a heck of a time getting a shot of it though, as it never stayed still for a moment.

Learn more about the Grey Fantail.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Eastern Spinebill

Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris

Adult - Port Arthur, Tasmania
Long, fine, black,  down-curved bill
White outer tail feathers
     Black head, which extends in a line around breast
     White throat and breast, with rufous patch in centre
     Pale cinnamon to buff underparts
     Rufous-red nape
     Grey-brown back and wings
     Dark tail
     Red eye
 Female and Juvenile:
     Duller, with less distinct markings

As we were preparing to leave our rental cottage this morning, this striking bird flew past the car. Luckily there was a flowering bush next to the driveway where it decided to stop for a meal.  So, I quickly grabbed my camera and started clicking away, leaving my husband to finish packing.  Thankfully, he's used to my bird obsession and didn't get (too) annoyed with me.

Juvenile - Ripponlea Garden, Melbourne
Learn more about the Eastern Spinebill

Friday, March 28, 2014

Noisy Miner

Manorina melanocephala leachi

Grey bird
Black crown and cheeks
Orange-yellow bill and legs
Yellow panel in wings
Yellow patch behind eyes
White tips on tail feathers

This is another of the birds that I saw while at Bonorong.  It was pecking at a picture of itself on the wall, quite violently at times.  I'm not sure whether it was showing affection for the 'other bird' or trying to challenge it, as I've read that they are aggressive birds that often peck at and chase intruders.

Learn more about the Noisy Miner.

Eastern Rosella

Platycercus eximius

Medium-sized parrot
White cheeks
Red head, neck and breast
Black back, each feather broadly edged yellowish-green
Bright blue shoulders
Yellow belly
Blue-green to yellow-green lower abdomen and rump
Red undertail
Off-white bill
      Slightly duller overall
     Duller overall
    Yellow-orange bill

This bird and his 'friends' were feeding on the ground yesterday at the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.  Like us, they were just visiting.  However, this family of wallabies were residents at the centre.  (I know they aren't birds but I couldn't resist including them.  The little joey is so cute!)

Learn more about the Eastern Rosella.

Black Currawong

Strepera fuliginosa

Large black bill
Black plumage
White tipped wings and tail
Yellow eyes
Black legs

When I initially saw these birds, I automatically thought of ravens. Their large size and black plumage certainly are raven-like. However, a few things gave them away.  First was the white on their tails and wings, and second was the yellow eyes.  And finally, their call is much less grating than a raven's, whose call really is quite comical.

The Black Currawong is one of twelve species of birds that are endemic to Tasmania. This means  they are found nowhere else on earth.

Learn more about the Black Currawong.

Scarlet Robin

Petroica multicolor

Small, plump bird
Medium-sized robin
White forehead
     Black head, neck and upperparts
     Scarlet breast
     Whitish lower underparts
     White wing bars and outer tail feathers
     Brown upperparts and wings
     Orange-red wash on breast
     White lower underparts

We are currently staying at a delightful cottage outside of Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula. The property is alive with birds (and wallabies), including these little ones who seem to have taken up permanent residence in the front bushes.

Learn more about the Scarlet Robin.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Cacatua galerita


Large cockatoo
Mostly white
Yellow, forwarded-curving crest
Yellow undertail and underwing
Black bill
Grey legs
White eye-ring
    Black eyes
    Reddish-brown eyes

These birds are impossible to miss with their extremely loud screeching. They seem to be rather plentiful, often congregating in large flocks.  I have seen them everywhere in Tasmania, both feeding on the ground and in trees. Apparently they like walnuts, or at least that was what one gentleman told me as he angrily shooed a very large number of them out of his yard.  It's hard to imagine such beautiful birds being considered pest.  

Learn more about the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.

Laughing Kookaburra

Dacelo novaeguineae

Large kingfisher 
Large, creamy-white head
Dark brown stripe through each eye 
Brown stripe over the top of the head
Very large bill, black on top / bone coloured on bottom
Creamy-white underparts 
Brown wings and back 
Sky blue spots on shoulders
Rusty reddish-orange tail, with dark brown bars 

I don't know about gum trees but Kookaburras certainly like to sit on hydro wires.  We spotted at least one of them each day as we drove around Tasmania. I never heard any laughter though. They were all sitting quietly on their perch looking out over the world.

Learn more about the Laughing Kookaburra.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Cacatua roseicapilla

Pink head, neck and underparts 
Light pink crown
Grey back, wings and rump
Off-white bill
Grey legs
     Dark brown irises
     Mid-brown or red irises

I photographed these birds in the parking lot at Tasmania's Boat Harbour Beach, which might just be the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. Honestly, it was absolutely gorgeous -- secluded and quiet.  Well, except for the Galah. They were congregating there in a noisy feeding flock.

Learn more about the Galah.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Masked Lapwing

Vanellus miles novaehollandiae 

Medium-sized, ground-dwelling bird
White underparts
Brown wings and back
Black crown, nape and shoulders
Yellow bill 
Bright yellow wattle  

I am posting this bird today in an attempt to try to get my husband to stop pointing them out to me.  I have lost count of the number of times I've heard  "Ooo....there's a different one.  What's that?" My answer is always the same.  "It's a Masked Lapwing".  They appear to be everywhere in Tasmania: on the beach, in fields, next to the road.  They also always seem to travel in pairs.  Probably so they can say to each other "Ooo....look at that one with the camera.  She's different."

Learn more about the Masked Lapwing.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pacific Gull

Larus pacificus

Mostly white
Dark wings and back
Very thick, yellow bill with red tip
Yellow legs 
Light eye
     Mottled brown all over
     Dark eye, legs and bill

This lone Pacific Gull was looking for handouts with a bunch of Silver Gulls on the beach in Burnie on the northern Tasmanian coast.  It looked huge in relation to the others. Strangely, the smaller gulls didn't seem intimidated by it.  They probably know there is strength in numbers.

Learn more about the Pacific Gull.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Calyptorhynchus funereus

Large cockatoo
Short crest on top of head
Black plumage
Pale yellow tail band
    - black bill
    - pinkish-red eye-ring
   - dull yellow cheek patches
    - bone-coloured bill
    - grey eye-ring]
    - bright yellow cheek patches


This is another one of Maria Island's noisy residents. A pair of these birds were wailing and screeching as they
flew from tree to tree in search of food. The adults are normally quiet when feeding, but these ones made very loud 'munching' sounds as they ate the cone-like seeds/fruit.

Learn more about the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Green Rosella

Platycercus caledonicus

Medium-sized parrot
Yellow head, neck and underparts 
Greenish-black upperparts
Blue cheek patch
Red frontal band above the beak
Long, green tail with blue outer feathers
Blue shoulder patch on wings
Yellowish-green rump
Dark brown eyes
Grey bill and legs
    - may have orange-red hue on the front of the neck
    - smaller beak than the male
     -under-wing stripe
     - dull yellow-green head and underparts
     - dull green upperparts

The Green Rosella is one of  twelve species of birds that are endemic to Tasmania. This means they are found nowhere else on earth.

Another prolific bird on Maria Island is the Green Rosella.  Their high, ringing calls could be heard most of the day as groups of them cavorted in the trees.  I have just read that a group of parrots is called a pandemonium.  No need to ask how that came about!

Learn more about the Green Rosella.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Cape Barren Goose

Cereopsis novaehollandiae

Large, bulky goose
Short black bill
Bright greenish-yellow cere
Grey plumage with black spots
Black tail and flight feathers
Pink legs
Black feet

I had been told that Maria Island was a bird watcher's Mecca where you can see all twelve of Tasmania's endemic birds, including the rare Cape Barren Goose. Having convinced my husband to accompany me, we took an early ferry over to the island. The morning started off with a bang as a couple of Cape Barren Geese were there to welcome us as we got off the boat. Walking up to the Darlington townsite, several more of these birds made an appearance. By the end of the day, I swear we had seen at least a hundred of them.  Maybe not so rare after all?

 Learn more about the Cape Barren Goose.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Superb Fairywren

Malurus cyaneus

Small bird
Long tail
Brown legs
Female / Juvenile / Male (non-breeding):
    Brown upperparts
    Grey-white underparts
    Red-orange area around eye
    Brownish bill
Male (breeding):
    Bright blue forehead, ear coverts and upper back
    Black mask
    Black or dark blue throat and chest
    Dark blue tail
    Grey-white underparts
    Brown wings

Male - breeding plumage

On our first day in Hobart, we took a drive up to Mt Wellington. Stopping along the way, I saw this colourful male with a large number of females. That's rather odd I thought. However, I now realize that some of them were probably males in non-breeding plumage. 

Learn more about the Superb Fairywren.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Brown Falcon

Falco berigora

Small to medium-sized raptor
Rounded tail
Brown upperparts, ranging from light to very dark brown
Pale buff underparts
Red-brown head with narrow, black stripe below eye
Light crown
Off-white chin
Spotted red-brown wings with dark brown quills
Light blue-grey bill with black tip
Brown eyes with blue edges
     Buff face, throat and nape 

Driving to the Water Treatment Plant outside of Melbourne, I spotted this bird sitting quietly on a fence post right next to the road.  I assumed it would fly away when we stopped the car but, to my surprise, it remained on its perch.  Apparently, this is how Brown Falcons search for their food, unlike other falcons that hunt by chasing their prey in flight. Whatever the reason for its behaviour, it was a great opportunity for getting some really good photos.  

Learn more about the Brown Falcon