Backyard Buddies

List of Factsheets

Australian Fur Seal

It would be pretty alarming to wake up to find a fur seal in your backyard, but they are our ocean buddies. The Australian fur seal is the most common seal in Tasmanian waters: however, it is the fourth rarest seal species in the world. They live around Bass Strait, Tasmania, southern Victo..

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Bandicoot

All bandicoots are mainly active at night but you can see them in the evening and morning. During the heat of the day, they take refuge in their nests. There are around 20 different types of bandicoots. Most of them are only found in Australia but a couple live in Papua New Guinea. The thr..

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Black & White Birds

What bird is that? Many birds look similar and can be hard to tell apart from a distance. Black and white birds are some of the most commonly seen in our backyards. Pied Butcherbird The Pied Butcherbird has a beautiful, musical call that sounds like loud, clear notes from a flute. T..

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Black Cockatoos

There are six different species of Black Cockatoos in Australia but only two of them are common: the Yellow and Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos. All Black Cockatoos are sociable and enjoy hanging out in large groups but they are also happy spending quality ‘couple time’ with their partners. T..

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Blue Tongue lizard

Blue tongue lizards are one of the largest lizards in Australia. With their bright blue tongues, you will recognise them straight away. Baby blue tongues do not hatch from eggs but are born fully formed. They can live for more than 20 years and reach over 50cm in length. While young, the..

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Brush Turkey

Brush Turkeys, or Bush Turkeys, have developed a reputation for creating a path of destruction through suburban gardens. With the shrinking of their habitat, they are forced to move into backyards to raise their families. Unfortunately, this requires an enormous mound of decomposing material whi..

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Butterflies

Butterflies are a welcome addition to any garden and like many native buddies, need all the help they can get to make sure they remain regular backyard guests. Attracting and keeping butterflies around your yard is a cinch. Butterflies go through a number of different lifecycle changes but t..

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Crimson Chat

The Crimson Chat is part of a subfamily of Epthianuridae, which include chats and honeyeaters. They are known for their long, thin bills that are designed for finding insects and spiders. Look for the Crimson Chat walking more often than hopping on the ground. Other names for the Crimso..

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Earthworms

Worms have both male and female organs, but they still need another worm in order to reproduce. They lay eggs which hatch after about three weeks. Earthworms don’t have lungs, and instead breathe through their skin! Worms are made up almost entirely of water, and so they love to be in d..

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Eastern Koel

The Eastern Koel is a common buddy in many backyards in cities and towns across eastern and northern Australia. Traditionally inhabiting woodlands and rainforests, they're also comfortable in urban places, particularly where there are tall trees to hide in and lots of fruiting plants. K..

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Eastern Rosella

The Eastern Rosella is also known as the rosella, white cheeked rosella or rosella parakeet. They mainly eat seeds but will also eat berries, blossoms, nectar, fruit and insects. Their flight is undulating and close to the ground, and they glide upward into trees, fanning their tails as the..

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Eastern Spinebill

Eastern Spinebills are honeyeaters. They love the brightly coloured flowers of both natives and non-natives that give them a good source of nectar. As they can even hover mid-air as they feed, they are Australia's answer to the Hummingbird! As their name implies, Eastern Spinebills have a l..

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Eastern Water Dragon

Eastern water dragons are grey-brown in colour with black banding, and some have a red belly and chest. Usually a broad black band extends through the eye. A crest of spines runs from the head to the tail. Water dragons are different from all other lizards – they have four well-developed li..

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Eurasian Coot

Coots live near water in every state of Australia, except in the most arid deserts. Coots also live in New Guinea, Europe, India, China, Indonesia, North Africa and New Zealand. A group of Coots is called a covert. Adult coots are black, with a white facial shield and beak. They have red ey..

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Flying Fox

Flying-foxes, also known as Bats, Fruit Bats or Megabats, mainly live in forests in coastal areas of northern and eastern Australia. Four species of Flying-fox live in Australia: the Grey-headed Flying-fox, the Little Red Flying-fox, the Black Flying-fox and the Spectacled Flying-fox. Flyin..

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Freshwater Crocodile

It is pretty unlikely that you will find a freshwater crocodile in your backyard but it is not uncommon if you live near their habitat. The freshwater, or Johnstone’s , crocodile, lives in inland creeks, rivers, lakes and swamps across northwest Western Australia to northern Queensland. They are..

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Frogs

Frogs are amphibians. They live part of their life cycle underwater, breathing through gills, and part of their life cycle on land, breathing with lungs. ‘Amphibian’ comes from two Greek words – amphi meaning ‘both’ or 'two' and bios meaning ‘life’. Frogs start their lives as eggs laid in w..

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Galah

Galahs are bright pink and grey, friendly parrots. They grow to around 35cm and are easy to spot because of their size and colour. These birds like to show off and fool around which is why some people are referred to as a ‘galah’ when they do something silly. The Galah is a popular pet ..

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Green Turtle

The Green Turtle is the largest of the 6 marine turtle species living in Australian waters.They are found in coastal waters, seagrass, oceans and coral reefs and Australia is one of the few remaining large nesting sites. Green Turtles spend their entire life at sea, except for ne..

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Grey Fantail

Grey Fantails are extremely active little birds. Their distinctive flying style has earned them the nicknames Mad Fans or Cranky Fans. Agile but erratic, Grey Fantails are very adept at hunting for food mid-air. They eat many different kinds of insects such as flies, wasps and bees. Smaller..

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Hairy Flower Wasp

Hairy Flower Wasps are members of the Scoliidae wasp family, which has 300 species. Other names for the Hairy Flower Wasp include the Black Flower Wasp and the Blue Flower Wasp. Male wasps are more slender than females and have slightly longer antennae. Female wasps have long, spiny leg..

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Huntsman Spider

Some Huntsman species live quite socially in groups of up to 300. They will help raise children together and even share food. In 2006 a new type of Huntsman was discovered. It's called the Tiger Huntsman and is bright orange. It's also one of the largest Huntsman and so far it's only been f..

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Koala

Koalas might look like a bear and have the nickname 'Koala bear', but they are marsupials. The closest living relative to the Koala is the wombat. Newborn Koalas are so little they could fit on your thumbnail. Koala joeys stay in their mothers’ pouch for about seven months. Koalas a..

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Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburras have a complex social structure and communicate with a wide variety of sounds. Their distinctive “laugh” is actually warning other kookaburras to stay out of their territory. To let other kookaburras know where their home territory is, a family group will laugh througho..

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Ladybirds

Let ladybirds control your garden pests. Ladybirds, also known as ladybeetles and ladybugs, are natural controllers of aphids, scale insects and mites which otherwise damage plants. You can be sure that if your garden has regular ladybird visitors it will receive a helping hand keeping healt..

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Little Friarbird

Little Friarbirds live from north Western Australia, across the north of the country, and down the south east all the way to Victoria and South Australia. These Friarbirds can be distinguished from other birds as they don’t have the bump on their beak (called a 'casque') that Noisy, Helmeted..

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Little Penguins

Little Penguins are also called fairy penguins. They are the smallest type of penguin in the world. They weigh just 1 kg and are only 30–40 cm tall. While excellent swimmers, they cannot fly. Often they have the same mate for life. Both parents feed and care for the young, who leave the ..

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Masked Lapwing (Plover)

Masked Lapwings are a common visitor to grassy and wet areas of our cities and towns. They love to nest on the ground in parks, school ovals, golf courses, sports fields, and pastures. Masked Lapwings breed after wet weather, in summer and autumn in northern Australia and during winter t..

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Microbat

Microbats use their tail or wings to catch large insects which they carry to their favourite feeding site - look for piles of insect "bits" on the ground. Microbats see with their ears rather than their eyes. They produce a sound and "listen" for it as it bounces back from surrounding object..

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Musk Lorikeet

Musk Lorikeets live in south-eastern Australia, from east New South Wales, spanning all of Victoria and south-east South Australia. They also live in drier areas of Tasmania. Musk Lorikeets are a common sight in suburbs and urban areas, and they are nomadic and willing to travel quite a dist..

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Native Bees

Commercial honey bees came to Australia from Europe in the early 1800s. Unlike those bees, native bees have spent millennia evolving with Australian wildflowers, so they’ve adapted to each other. Native bees come in a great range of colours and sizes, from a tiny 2mm to 24mm. Some have furry..

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New Holland Honeyeater

These striking little birds are hard to miss but they are easy to confuse with another bird. The White-cheeked Honeyeater is about the same size and has similar colouring to the New Holland Honeyeater. The way to tell them apart is in their eyes. White eyes = New Holland Honeyeater and b..

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Noisy Miner

The Noisy Miner is a common buddy in many backyards in cities and towns across eastern Australia. Their noisy call can be a nuisance but there are lots of ways to manage them and enjoy their helpful behaviours. Traditionally inhabiting open woodlands, they're also comfortable in urban places..

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Pelican

The Pelican’s massive bill has an extendable pouch which can hold up to 13 litres of water. The pouch acts as a net to catch fish. They strain all the water out the sides of their bills, then swallow their meal immediately – Pelicans don't hold things in their pouch for any extended length o..

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Peron’s Tree Frog

The Peron’s Tree Frog is a noisy creature. Just when we are getting ready for bed, these buddies are starting their evening call. The Peron’s Tree Frog looks almost identical to the Tyler’s Tree Frog. One of the best ways to tell them apart is by their calls. The Peron’s Tree Frog sounds mor..

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Pied Currawong

Growing up to 51 cm, Pied Currawongs are impossible to miss. Their jet black feathers are a striking contrast to their bright yellow eyes. Pied Currawongs also have splotches of white on their tail, undertail and wing tips, which are revealed when they fly. These birds have a cheeky stre..

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Platypus

The Platypus is brown in colour and quite small. An adult Platypus can be from 45 cm up to 60 cm in length and can weigh up to 2.7 kg. Male Platypuses have a poisonous spur on the inside of their hind legs. The spur contains a poison that the Platypus uses to defend his territory from other ..

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Possums

Possums live in the trees and occasionally come down to the ground to look for food. Brushtail Possums live in tree hollows and Ringtail Possums in the south of Australia build a nest out of sticks. Both kinds of possum may live in our roof if they can’t find suitable homes in trees. Possums..

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Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphens are common throughout eastern and northern Australia, with a separate subspecies common in the extreme south-west of the country. You may also see Purple Swamphens frequenting the same areas as Dusky Moorhens and Eurasian Coots. You can tell a Purple Swamphen apart from sim..

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Rainbow Lorikeet

Rainbow lorikeets tend to roost in large groups and can be seen just on dusk arriving by the hundreds at their favourite roosting place, usually in tall eucalypts. These colourful birds can be seen almost anywhere along the east coast of Australia. Their behaviour is quite comical at times, ..

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Rufous Fantail

Rufous Fantails belong to the flycatcher family, and like their relatives, they build distinctive wine glass shaped nests, which have a stem extending from the base. Migration is a largely solo affair for these birds. Rufous Fantails don’t form flocks to head north, but generally go alone or..

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Sheoak

Sheoaks are very unusual plants because they have separate male and female plants. Each year the males will turn a dusky red colour as they release their pollen. The female trees have small red flowers and lots of seed cones. The sheoak doesn’t have big leaves, instead they have branchlets ..

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Skinks

Most suburban backyards are home to a variety of skinks, but they look similar at a glance. Due to their timid nature and quick reflexes you may only ever see them dashing for cover as you approach. Skinks don’t have to eat every day, but will do so when conditions are favourable. They c..

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Small Birds

Small birds are fantastic to have in your garden as they help pollinate, disperse seeds, control insect numbers and recycle nutrients. A garden with small birds visiting it is a healthy garden. Small birds need a layered garden that has different types of plants such as trees, shrubs, grasse..

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Splendid Fairy-wren

Splendid Fairy-wrens live in communal blended families. This matriarchy is run by one single female, the mother. Dad is the only breeding male, and the rest of the flock can contain up to six helpers, including adult sons born in previous seasons. These social wrens usually live in the same ..

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Stick Insects

In the stick insect world, dads aren’t always needed. The female stick insect can reproduce year-round and can reproduce without fertilisation. This means that she can deposit her eggs and have them grow into normal, healthy nymphs without ever needing to find a mate. However, in order to ke..

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Striped Marsh Frog

Moving from water to land is not a Striped Marsh Frog's only change as they turn from tadpoles to frogs. Their daily menu makes some radical changes too. As tadpoles, these vegetarians feed on algae. After morphing, they drop their tails and their clean green diet, fast becoming keen hunter..

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Sugar Ants

Sugar ant soldiers have some impressive looking pincers on their face. Up close they can look a little menacing but it is all for show. The ants can bite but they can't sting so you may feel them pricking you with their pincers but it won't hurt much and they are completely harmless. The..

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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are large white parrots with a distinctive bright yellow crown of feathers on top of their heads. They grow up to 45 cm in length. These birds love to feed on seeds, nuts, roots, berries, leaf buds, and some insects and their larvae. The Cockatoo’s beak is stron..

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Superb Fairy-wren

Superb fairy-wrens are also known as blue wrens. They live as a family group. Only the mother sits on the eggs, the others in the group feed and protect the babies allowing the mother to lay up to three broods per season. Fairy-wrens have weak powers of flight but have long legs and spen..

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Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny frogmouths are between 40–50cm long from head to tail. With their nocturnal habit and owl-like appearance, they are often thought of as owls. However their feet are weak, and lack the curved talons which owls use to catch prey. They live singly or in pairs and occasionally in family gr..

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White Ibis

These water birds are sometimes cursed and shooed from family picnics in parks. Trying to chase ibises from urban areas is ineffective, and also very short sighted. It’s important to understand why we see ibises in such numbers in our cities. Habitat destruction and droughts in rural are..

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Wood Duck

Wood Ducks are very distinctive birds and easy to recognise, as no other duck looks like them. The males rarely make much noise but listen out for the female Wood Duck making a long, loud 'gnow' sound. The Wood Duck is sometimes called the Maned Goose as they look more like miniature gee..

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