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.

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

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Dusky Moorhen

Gallinule tenebrosa

Member of the rail family
      Dark grey-black plumage
     White undertail
     Brownish tinge to upper part
     Red facial shield
     Red bill with yellow tip
     Yellowish-orange legs
    Brown plumage
    Greenish bill and face shield

Learn more about the Dusky Moorhen.

Pacific Black Duck

Anas superciliosa


Dabbling duck
Medium-dark brown body
Paler head with dark crown
Dark eye stripe
Green speculum
Pale underwing

Learn more about the Pacific Black Duck.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Magpie Lark

Grallina cyanoleuca

Black back, breast and crown
White belly and wing patches
Pale eye
      Black throat
       Black face
      White eyebrow
      White throat
       White face
      White throat 
      White eyebrow
      Black forehead
Learn more about the Magpie Lark.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Little Wattlebird

Anthochaera chrysoptera

Medium-large honeyeater / small wattlebird
Dark grey-brown upperparts with white shafts on feathers
Grey underparts, streaked with white
Large rufous patch on the wings, seen in flight
Bluish-grey eye

Learn more about the Little Wattlebird.

St Kilda Esplanade, Melbourne

Nankeen Night Heron

Nycticorax caledonicus

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
Stocky, medium-sized heron
Large head
Short neck
Reddish-brown upperparts
White-buff underparts
White line around eyes
Short, thick, greenish-black bill
Black cap
Short, thick legs

     Yellowish-green patch between bill and eyes
     Yellow eyes
     Greenish-yellow legs
     Long white plumes on head
     Blue patch between bill and eyes
     Bright red eyes
     Bright pink legs

Learn more about the Nankeen Night Heron.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Willie Wagtail

Rhipidura leucophrys

Small bird / Large fantail
Black upperparts, head and throat
White underparts
White eyebrow and whiskers
Short, slender, black bill
Black legs
Dark eyes

Docklands Park, Melbourne

Learn more about the Willie Wagtail

Friday, March 14, 2014

White-plumed Honeyeater

Lichenostomus penicillatus

Docklands Park, Melbourne
Medium-sized honeyeater
Yellow upperparts and head
Pale brown-grey underparts
White neck plume
Slightly down-curved bill

Learn more about the White-plumed Honeyeater.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Australian Magpie

Gymnorhina tibicen

Medium to large-sized bird
Black head, underparts, wings and saddle
White shoulders
Black terminal band on tail
     Greyish-white nap
     White nap
Bluish-grey, wedge-shaped bill
Dull reddish-brown eyes
Black legs
Learn more about the Australian Magpie.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Rainbow Lorikeet

Trichoglossus haematodus 

Carlton Gardens, Melbourne

Blue head and belly
Green wings, tail and back
Yellow-orange breast
Red bill

Learn more about the Rainbow Lorikeet.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bell Miner

Manorial melanophrys
Medium-sized honeyeater
Olive-green plumage
Red-orange bare eye patch
Yellow bill
Yellow-orange legs

 Learn more about the Bell Minor.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne

Monday, March 10, 2014

Australian Wood Duck

Chenonetta jubata

Medium-sized dabbling duck
Grey body  
Two black stripes on back
Grey wings with black primaries
White speculum
Dark brown head
Female and Juvenile:
       Stripe above and below eye
       Mottled underparts
       White belly and undertail
      Darker head
      Mottled breast
      Black belly and undertail


 Learn more about the Australian Wood Duck.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Pied Cormorant

Birrarung Marr, Melbourne
Phalacrocorax varius

Large swimming bird
Medium-sized cormorant
Black upperparts
Glossy, greenish sheen on back
White underparts 
Long, grey bill with hook at tip
Orange lores
Bare throat skin  
Black legs and feet

Learn more about the Pied Cormorant.