Backyard Buddies

List of Species

Acacias

Acacias, or Wattles, grow all over Australia – there are over 1000 known species. The Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha, is the Australian national floral emblem and our national colours, green and gold, come from the flowers and leaves of this popular tree. They have very small flowers ..

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Ants

Wherever you are in Australia, you will definitely have seen this little creature in your garden or even in your house (or honey jar). Ants live all over Australia in every single kind of environment. That is because there are so many types of ants - over 1,200 known species in Australia and..

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Australian Hobby

The Australian Hobby lives across mainland Australia and is sometimes, although rarely, spotted in Tasmania. The colour of the Australian Hobby's feathers varies across Australia depending on their age, sex and the humidity. Generally a hobby has grey wings and back,and a brown stomach. When..

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Bandicoot

Have you ever found a finger-deep hole in your lawn with a cone-shaped pile of dirt next to it? You have a bandicoot. Bandicoots live throughout Australia in a wide variety of habitats. There are about 21 known species. While you may not love the holes, bandicoots are doing your..

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Barn Owl

You may have seen an Australian Barn Owl as a ghostly white form flying past your headlights and heard a drawn-out rasping screech echoing through the night. The Australian Barn Owl, Tyto alba, lives all across Australia. Their calls vary from a breathy hiss to an unearthly shriek, and ..

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Bearded Dragon

Bearded Dragons have spines under and around their throats that give them their distinguishing feature and name. These spikes are actually quite rubbery, not sharp, and fool predators into thinking that this is a dangerous lizard. Both male and female Bearded Dragons have beards. Wild Beard..

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Blue Ants

Have you ever seen a really, really big ant? Have you ever spotted a blue one? Or one that sticks its bum in the air when it walks? It is most likely a Blue Ant. The Blue Ant grows up to 2.5 cm long but there is a secret to its massive growth... it's actually a wasp. They live in Tasmani..

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Blueberry Ash

The Blueberry Ash Elaeocarpus reticulatus is a large shrub or small tree which produces lots of sweet smelling bell-shaped pink or white flowers in spring and early summer. The smell is a little like aniseed or liquorice. Its brilliant blue berries take quite a long time to ripen with some ..

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Blue-tongued Lizard

Australia is home to six species of blue-tongued lizards. They are usually grey with broad brown stripes across their back and tail, and of course their most unique distinguishing feature is their blue tongue. You will start to see blue-tongues in spring as they begin emerging from their wi..

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Bogong Moths

As the weather warms up in south-east Australia, the well-known Bogong moths are getting ready to make a big journey. Bogong moths migrate several hundred kilometres each year. During spring, they fly from the lowland grassy areas up to the mountainous caves in the Snowy Mountains. As t..

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Broad-tailed Gecko

This clever gecko is a master of disguise. Its distinctive tail is used as a decoy to confuse predators. A smooth tail is a sign that it has been lost and regrown. The Broad-tailed Gecko grows up to 15 cm in length including its tail. They have scales all over their bodies, which are pointe..

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Brown Treecreeper

Eucalyptus forests from Cape York to southern Victoria and eastern South Australia are home to an early breeder, the Brown Treecreeper, Climacteris picumnus. Brown Treecreepers live in large groups, with eight to 12 birds sharing a territory of one to 10 hectares. They prefer open forests an..

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Brush Turkey

In winter, a clucky visitor may be scratching around near you. In the lead-up to breeding season, male Brush Turkeys, also known as Bush Turkeys or Scrub Turkeys, are building and maintaining mounds. They scratch leaf litter, sticks and mulch from a radius of about 20 m into a massive mound..

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Brushtail Possum

You can recognise a Brushtail Possum by its thick, bushy tail which distinguishes it from the smaller Ringtail Possum. Brushtails live in backyards and the bush all across Australia and are frequent backyard visitors. If your resident possum is feasting on your flower beds, plant a good sel..

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Bumpy Rocket Frog

The Bumpy Rocket Frog is a great little frog to look out for in the north of Australia, in Darwin backyards and particularly in northern Queensland. Another name for this frog is the Floodplain Frog because it comes out in great numbers after heavy rains. The Bumpy Rocket Frog has a ve..

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Burrowing Frogs

Burrowing frogs spend dry times lying in wait up to a metre deep under the soil. They can stay there for years until a good soaking of rain softens the ground enough for them to move to the surface to breed. If it has been wet, then it has been a good year for burrowing frogs. Heavy rains ca..

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Burton's Legless Lizard

The Burton's Legless Lizard is often mistaken for a snake at first glance, and it's an easy mistake to make. However, the Burton's Legless Lizard is actually more closely related to geckos than to snakes. There are key differences between snakes and this deceptive looking lizard. A good one..

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Bush stone-curlew

The Bush stone-curlew lives on the ground and is mostly nocturnal. It is also called the Bush Thick-knee and is found all over Australia except in the most arid areas. It is unlikely to be mistaken for any other bird, with its long skinny legs and large yellow eyes with white eyebrows. They ..

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Butterflies

Butterflies are a welcome addition to any garden and like many native buddies, need our help to make sure they remain regular guests. Butterflies are cold-blooded and need plenty of warm sunshine. You may see them in early spring with wings wide open to the warming sun. Or you may see them just ..

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Bynoe's Gecko

Around February and March, you may find some baby geckos around your place. They could be juvenile Bynoe's Geckos, just hatched from eggs laid from October to early January. Bynoe's Geckos are found all over most of Australia, in an amazing variety of patterns and colours, blending in easily..

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Callistemons

Callistemons are commonly known as Bottlebrushes because of their cylindrical, brush like flowers. These shrubs live in warm regions of Australia, mainly along the east coast and south west. They provide food and shelter for native animals, birds, insects and skinks – they will attract plen..

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Carpet Python

If you hear a soft slithering in the ceiling, chances are a python or tree snake has taken up residence in your roof. There are 15 species of python in Australia, making up a quarter of all the snakes that live here. Pythons are probably the most commonly seen snake in suburban backyard..

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Caterpillars

Love them or hate them, caterpillars are an important part of the Australian environment. They can bring joy in the form of the promise of a beautiful butterfly, despair as they devour tender young broccoli plants, or itching and pain as a spitfire caterpillar brushes against your bare skin. ..

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Channel-billed Cuckoo

The Channel-billed Cuckoo has a strangled gargling call which seems to carry for kilometres. The loud 'kawk' followed by a more rapid, and softer 'awk-awk-awk is more commonly heard at night. Although not strictly nocturnal birds, they often call all night during the breeding season. Once t..

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Children's Python

The Children's Python does not eat children – it gets its name from the scientist who first described them in 1842, John George Children, the curator of the British Museum's zoological collection at the time of the discovery. It is the common name given to 4 species of native Australian pythons...

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Christmas Beetles

Christmas beetles emerge each summer around Christmastime after waiting underground all year. They are easy to spot; their shimmering metallic bodies set them apart from a lot of the insect world. If you leave a light on during hot summer nights—especially in the east of Australia - yo..

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Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells, Blandfordia, grow in New South Wales and Queensland. True to their name, Christmas Bells have beautiful yellow flowers just like bells, or sometimes red flowers with lovely yellow tips. Christmas Bells flower during late spring and summer. The different species have di..

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Christmas Bush

The Christmas Bush or Tree is a series of different plants that grow in almost every state. Victorian Christmas Bush Prostanthera lasianthos grows in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, and Tasmania. It has lovely white, pink or purplish flowers which bloom ..

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Christmas Orchid

The Christmas Orchid Calanthe triplicata is a native terrestrial orchid that grows in rich soil in rainforest areas and near creeks. It originated in Queensland but now grows more widely in the right conditions from southern NSW to northern Queensland. It is one of the larger orchids with d..

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Cicadas

It's not an Aussie summer without the deafening concert of thousands of cicadas. Around October, you can see the first empty shell of a newly hatched cicada on a tree trunk or your fence. They will soon fill the air with their song before they disappear again for winter. But where have they..

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Common Brown Butterflies

Fluttering through gardens, parks and bushland, this beautiful buddy deserves a better name than "Common Brown" The Female Common Brown is larger than the male with quite different markings and more yellow colouring. The male is dark orange all over with darker markings than the female. ..

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Common Eastern Froglets

If you live in eastern Australia, you may hear a tiny little frog chatting away, trying to attract a mate. Common Eastern Froglets are very small, only 1.8 to 3 cm long, and are the most common and widespread frog in south-eastern Australia. Common Eastern Froglets are frequent backyar..

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Crested Bellbird

Next time you go for a walk near some low shrubs and hear something chuckling 'chuck-a-chuck-chuck' in the grass, it might be the Crested Bellbird. The Crested Bellbird is found throughout most of Australia near acacia shrub lands, eucalypt woodlands, spinifex and saltbush plains. The ..

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Crickets

Crickets live all over Australia and you have probably heard them - but maybe not seen one. The most common is the Black Field Cricket. Only the male of this species 'chirp' by rubbing their wings together. They do it to attract females, to woo them, and to warn off other male competitors. ..

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Crows and Ravens

Crows and ravens are part of the Corvidae family of Australian native birds. There are six members of the family found in Australia - three are called crows and three ravens, although there is very little difference between them and they look very similar. The bases of the feathers of the crows ..

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Cycads

Cycads have existed since the Jurassic Period 200 million years ago, and still thrive today in many different habitats around the world. Cycads are incredibly long-lived, with some individuals in the wild estimated to be around 1,000 years old. One of the oldest cycads "in captivity" is in ..

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Daddy Long Legs Spiders

Many of our backyard buddies find their way inside our homes and take up temporary residence, and one of the most successful and ever-present is the Daddy-long-legs spider. Almost every house or shed in Australia has been home to the messy, tangled web of the Daddy-long-legs, especially as t..

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Dainty Swallowtail Butterflies

The Dainty Swallowtail Butterfly is also known as the Dingy Swallowtail or Small Citrus Butterfly - but it isn't dingy at all. You'll see these stunning butterflies in flight across eastern Australia right up until May Adult Dainty Swallowtails are black with grey, white, and smaller blue a..

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Desert Tree Frog

The Desert Tree Frog is a very unique species - you can see its internal organs through its skin. Their extremely translucent skin lends them their other name - the Naked Tree Frog. This interesting frog lives in every Australian state and territory except Victoria and Tasmania. It mainly li..

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Diamond Python

The Diamond Python is found all along the New South Wales coastline down into the north-eastern corner of Victoria. They are frequently spotted in Sydney suburbs that border on bushland. But like all pythons, these snakes are non-venomous. They become most active in November, looking for ma..

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Dragonflies

Neither dragons nor flies, dragonflies are insects with more than 320 species known to live in Australia. Different species of dragonflies also have distinctive markings and colours, so with practice, you'll be able to recognise one type from another, just like birds. Different species emerge at..

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Earthworms

There are over 1000 species of native worms in Australia and approximately 80 introduced species that are beneficial as well. Earthworms are excellent buddies to have in your garden. They return nutrients to the soil from organic matter such as fallen leaves, vegetable peelings, fruit sc..

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Eastern Banjo Frogs

All across eastern Australia, near large ponds or lakes, the distinctive calls of the Eastern Banjo Frog can be heard. Like nature's own bluegrass band, once the Banjo Frogs get going, you'd swear you were hearing musical instruments, rather than a pudgy 8 cm long amphibian looking for a mat..

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Eastern Bearded Dragon

Around March, be on the lookout for some Eastern Bearded Dragon youngsters emerging from the soil. Eastern Bearded Dragon adults mate from August to December each year, and the hatchlings emerge about 45 to 79 days later. At 9 cm long, these babies might be easy to miss, but what they lack ..

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Eastern Long-necked Turtle

One of the more unexpected visitors to the backyard during summer is the Eastern Long-necked, or snake-necked, turtle Chelodina longicollis, one of 23 Australian freshwater turtle species. Long-necked turtles hibernate during winter and the summer rains are their cue to haul themselves out ..

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Eastern Spinebill

Australia is home to two kinds of spinebill - the Eastern Spinebill and the Western Spinebill. The best time of day to spot Eastern Spinebills is early morning. They feed early in the morning, particularly in the first 90 minutes after they wake up. The Eastern Spinebill is a honeyeater and..

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Eastern Water Dragon

The Eastern Water Dragon Physignathus lesueurii is about half a metre long with rough scales, sharp spines and ancient features that resemble fairytale dragons. They are semi-aquatic and live along the east coast of Australia around creeks, rivers or lakes. They can remain submerged for up ..

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Eastern Water Skink

In April, Eastern Water Skinks are busy preparing for the start of winter. They will bask in the warmth of the sun and feed as much as they can to keep warm during winter. These skinks live from Cooktown in northern Queensland to south-east New South Wales, and inland to South Australia thr..

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Echidna

Echidnas are most active in the lead-up to their winter mating period, so if you live in an area with lots of native bush nearby, you may have a small spiny visitor. Echidnas are the oldest mammals alive today. They live all over Australia and are able to survive in a wide variety of habita..

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Eucalypts

Eucalypts are commonly known as gum trees and are an iconic Australian tree. There are almost 900 species growing across Australia. These tall trees provide food and shelter for many birds, insects, and mammals. They also provide hollows for cockatoos, parrots, gliders, possums and other bu..

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Eurasian Coot

You've probably spotted this black bird gliding effortlessly over the surface of a pond or river - but do you know what it is? The white beak and shield on its face give it away, as do its red eyes. It's a Eurasian Coot. If you go for a walk near some water and hear 'kow-kow-kow' or 'kw..

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Frog or cane toad?

Learn to Tell a Cane Toad Apart From a Native Frog Before you decide to dispose of a creature you suspect is a Cane Toad, make sure you are not mistaking a frog for a toad. Up to two-thirds of suspected toads turn out to be harmless native frogs. There are a number of ways to ident..

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Galahs

Galahs are a common site in our backyards. Whether they are hanging upside-down on a telegraph line, bobbing their heads in a dance or playing soccer with pebbles on the ground, you will see why 'galah' is Aussie slang for a silly person. Galahs live all over Australia and mostly spend thei..

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Gang-gang Cockatoo

The Gang-gang Cockatoo is a small cockatoo with the male displaying a very distinctive scarlet head and crest. Like many female birds, the female gang-gang is a rather duller grey colour. Gang-gang Cockatoos regularly visit backyards and parks in eastern Australia to feed on native and intr..

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Garden Skink

They may be shy and quick to hide when you approach, but garden skinks are some of the most common and well known buddies in Australian backyards. Male skinks are highly territorial and aggressively attack other males during spring. You might even find several skinks locked together in a bi..

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Gecko

Geckos are nocturnal hunters with eyes that are up to 350 times more sensitive at night than human eyes. Most geckos can't blink as they don't have any eyelids. So instead, they clean the dust and dirt away by licking their eyes with their long tongues. Most geckos spend the day hiding ..

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Glossy Black-Cockatoo

The Glossy Black-Cockatoo is the smallest black-cockatoo in Australia. The Glossy Black feeds on the seeds of casuarina, eucalypts, angophoras, acacias and hakea trees. They can be quiet while feeding and hard to spot. They usually feed in groups of three. Although, if you look skyward and ..

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Golden Whistler

The Golden Whistler is an insect eating bird and the male is not easily confused for another species with its bright yellow colouring. The female, however, is mostly grey but still a very pretty little bird. During spring, the male Golden Whistler song can be heard frequently. The males sin..

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Grasshoppers

During the hot nights of summer, grasshoppers are getting ready to breed. Around dusk in the disappearing light male grasshoppers sing romantic serenades to attract females. Their range of pitch and calls are endless. The male grasshopper creates music using his legs. Like a bow drawn acros..

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Green and Gold Frog

If you ever spot the distinctive pointed snout, golden iris and olive-brown to bright emerald-green body of a beautiful Green and Gold Frog - consider yourself lucky. There aren't as many of them around as there were only a decade ago and they are listed as endangered in NSW. These frogs mai..

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Green Tree Frog

After rain on a hot day, the Green Tree Frog will emerge. You may find them in your house, your water tank, your drainpipe, toilet, pool, or even mail box, in search of a cool moist spot. The rain brings Australian native frog species out in droves - and if you don't see a Green Tree Frog, y..

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Green Tree Snake

The Green or Common Tree Snake is one of the most commonly seen snakes in suburban backyards, parks, and even inner city gardens. It lives in northern and eastern Australia. Green Tree Snakes have no fangs and no venom. They are very reluctant to bite and would rather slither away. If provo..

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Grey Butcherbird

Grey Butcherbirds, much like Ravens, are meat-loving birds that aren't afraid to come near to our homes and gardens. In fact, our backyards are often a treasure trove for these buddies that eat insects, beetles, caterpillars, mice, lizards, skinks and other small buddies. The Grey Butcherbi..

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Grey Fantail

During winter, you may see a very hyperactive visitor in your garden. This little bird is very agile and graceful as it pursues insects and catches them mid-air. The Grey Fantail looks a lot like the Willie Wagtail or Rufous Fantail, but it is usually grey-brown with two small white bars on its ..

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Grey Shrike-thrush

The Grey Shrike-thrush, also known as a Grey Thrush, has a beautifully clear and melodious, rhythmic song. Their appearance is not so spectacular however, being mostly grey or brown, depending on the area it lives in. They are found all across Australia except in the most arid regions. The ..

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Grey-headed Flying-fox

The Grey-headed Flying-fox gets its name from its grey, furry head but it also has a bright orange neck. If you imagine them without wings, they really do look just like little foxes. Also called 'Fruit Bats' they actually prefer to eat pollen and nectar rather than fruit. The Grey-headed F..

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Hakeas

There are around 150 species of Hakeas native to Australia and they are an excellent choice for your garden to attract native birds. Each species has a different type of flower but they are all beautiful and provide a food source for many backyard buddies of fruits, seeds and nectar. They a..

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Huntsman Spiders

Huntsman spiders have an unfortunate reputation. One is their name. The other is a tendency to take up residency in your home or your car and scare the bejesus out of you. But they are harmless to humans and very useful in controlling mosquito and cockroach numbers. May signals the e..

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Ichneumon Wasps

As the days get warmer, colourful Ichneumon Wasps become a common sight in many Aussie backyards, hovering above your lawn on a warm day or trying to mate with your orchids. There are around 2000 species living all across Australia. These stingless insects are Mother Nature's pest contr..

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Illawarra Flame Tree

The Illawarra Flame Tree, or Currajong, grows in the wild from the Illawarra area of southern coastal New South Wales north into Queensland. It grows up to 35 m in the wild but only about 10m in gardens. The bright red bell-shaped flowers grow in clusters at the end of branches, often after..

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Is This Spider Dangerous?

Many native spiders are harmless, and are great buddies to have around the garden, as they will eat bugs, flies, mosquitoes, and in some cases - even other spiders. But there are definitely some spiders that you don't want to get too close to, such as Funnel-webs or Redback Spiders. So please be..

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Jacky Winter

The Jacky Winter's rapid 'chwit-chwit-chwit-chwit-peter-peterpeter' call can be heard clearly from quite a distance and you will start hearing it often from July each year, when they start to breed. Jacky Winters, Microeca fascinans, are one of the only Australian songbirds to call so vigoro..

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Kangaroo Paw

Originally native to south-west Western Australia, these beautiful and distinctive flowers can now be found all over the country, as they're a favourite with many gardeners and landscapers. The kangaroo paw gets its name from its flowers, which are often red in colour, feel furry, and are s..

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Katydids

The Common Garden Katydid is a quite common backyard buddy and garden visitor. It's a cousin to the grasshopper and cricket, about 4 to 6 cm in length with extremely long, thin antennae, and powerful back legs for jumping. There are about 1000 species in Australia and they are part of the o..

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Koala

Koalas are marsupials that live in eucalypt forests in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia. Koalas are fussy eaters, eating only a few types of eucalypt leaves. They eat up to one kilogram of leaves each day. Their diet consists mainly of a certain type of eucalyptus l..

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Lace Monitor

Lace Monitors live in eastern Australian forests and coastal tablelands. They spend most of their time in trees, coming down to hunt for food and to breed. They move with sudden speed when threatened. Warm weather helps reptiles like the Lace Monitor (a type of goanna) to become more active..

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Lacewings

Some bugs are not only good bugs but great bugs that will eat other insects and keep your overall pest numbers down. Such a buddy is the Green Lacewing. This fascinating insect is as helpful as it is pretty. The larva of the Green Lacewing is a very efficient method of bug control for your g..

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Ladybirds

Ladybirds are great to have as buddies in your backyard. In many cultures they are considered so lucky that killing one will bring sadness and misfortune. There are about 6000 species of ladybird in the world, with around 500 species in Australia. You might know ladybirds as ladybugs or lad..

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Laughing Kookaburra

The Laughing Kookaburra is one of the most well-loved birds of our suburbs, often seen on fences, trees and rooftops. Laughing Kookaburras are easily recognized by their 'Koo-hoo-hoo-hoo-hoo-haa-haa-haa-haa' call which sounds like a cackling laugh. There are two kinds of Kookaburras in Aust..

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Leafhoppers

If you see a spot of yellowy-green, brown or red on your plants and it's jumping from place to place and when you take a closer look it quickly scuttles around to the other side of the leaf- it could be a leafhopper. Leafhoppers bite through leaves, stems and bits of tree trunk to suck up t..

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Leatherwood

Leatherwood trees in flower produce lots of sweet nectar in their masses of sweetly scented white flowers. During the Leatherwood flowering season from late spring to summer, beekeepers put numerous beehives in areas near dense stands of flowering Leatherwoods. Bees encouraged to collect ne..

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Leopard slugs

In February you can witness a spectacular event in your backyard. Mating Leopard Slugs must be one of the most bizarre and fascinating displays of animal behaviour you can ever observe. The male and female become entwined and lower themselves from their branch on a thread of mucus to exchan..

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Little Penguin

Australia's Little Penguin is the world's smallest penguin. A lightweight of just about 1kg, it is also called the Fairy Penguin. By comparison, the Emperor Penguin, the largest of the world's 18 penguin species, weighs up to 38 kg. The Little Penguin's Latin name Eudyptula minor means ..

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Magpie

Australian Magpies, Cracticus tibicen are very widespread and live in suburbs where there are trees and adjacent open areas such as lawns, golf courses and playing fields. For most of the year, Magpies are friendly and sociable, and may even venture into your house to beg for food. But for four ..

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Magpie-lark

The Magpie-lark is a common bird with many different names. It is also called a Peewee, Peewit, Mudlark or Little Magpie. Its name Magpie-lark is also confusing because it is neither a Magpie nor a Lark. It is more closely related to Monarchs, Fantails and Drongos. Whatever you call them, t..

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Mantids

You may see them in the grass, among leaves, on walls, near lights at night or in your veggie patch. Wherever there are insects to eat you might find a mantid. There are about 2,000 different species across the world, ranging from 10 to 120 millimetres in body length and their characteristic..

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Masked Lapwing (Plover)

The Masked Lapwing, also known as a plover, has an eerie call most often heard at night - 'kekekekekekekek'. Masked Lapwings are large, ground-dwelling birds that near live marshes, mudflats, beaches and grasslands and are often seen in urban areas. It is very common across northern, easter..

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Melaleuca

Melaleucas, or paperbarks, belong to the genus Melaleuca. There are over 300 species of melaleucas, most of which grow in Australia. We know the larger species as paperbarks, while the smaller are usually called honey myrtles. The often brightly coloured bottlebrush-like flowers of the pape..

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Microbat

Microbats are mammals - the only mammals capable of flying a sustained distance. During summer and autumn, microbats go into a feeding frenzy as they fatten up on insects to help them survive the winter. Once the nights become cooler and the insects disappear, microbats lower their body tem..

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Millipedes

Millipedes are myriapods, meaning 'many pairs of legs'. They survive over much of the country and evolved from ancestors that were the first creatures to make the move from water to land millions of years ago. Australia is home to approximately 2000 species, most of which are nocturnal. ..

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Mistletoe

Mistletoe has a bad reputation in Australia as it's a sap sucking plant that requires a host tree, but there are a few reasons to celebrate if you've spotted the bright red, octopus-shaped flowers of the Mistletoe in your area. Many people assume Mistletoe is an introduced tree, but there a..

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Monarch Butterflies

During summer, for just six weeks, the Monarch, or Wanderer, Butterfly lives its short, busy life in many Australian backyards. They are not Australian natives, but arrived in Australia from North America as recently as 1871. Once its host plant, the Milkweed of the genus Asclepias, arrived..

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Moth or Butterfly?

Although they are very similar, there are a few ways you can tell a moth from a butterfly. The most obvious is when you are likely to see them. Butterflies are active during the day and most moths at night. Though there are a few moths, such as the Queensland Day Moth Alcides metaurus and th..

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Motorbike Frog

The Motorbike Frog gets its name from the sound it makes - like a motorbike changing gears, followed by some growls and croaks. As one of the most commonly seen frogs in south-western Australia, especially in Perth gardens, it's also one of the most entertaining. Click to watch a video o..

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Mud Wasps

If you hear a wasp buzzing loudly in your garden or find a wasp's nest under your eaves or attached to your house or shed, don't panic. They may be Mud dauber Wasps which look a bit scary with their bright yellow and dark black colouring, but are actually quite harmless and non-aggressive if you..

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Native Bees

Commercial honey bees came to our shores from Europe in 1822, but there are over 1,500 species of native bees across the country. Australian bees can be as small as 2 mm in length. About 10% of Australia's native bees are 'social', meaning that they form hives, and have a queen, infer..

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Nectar giving shrubs

Shrubs are an important element of any good garden. Shrubs provide food, shelter and nesting sites for many different kinds of birds, insects, butterflies and other creatures. Shrubs are particularly important if you want to see small birds in your garden, as these tiny creatures need somew..

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Night Heron

On still summer nights, you may come upon a feathered hunter standing hunched and still in your local dam or paperbark swamp, watching the dark water with a large, baleful eye. The Nankeen Night Heron is a large bird up to 60 cm in length and with a one metre wingspan. It has rich cinnamon ..

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Noisy Miner

If you live in eastern Australia, chances are you're pretty familiar with the Noisy Miner. These birds can be raucous neighbours, but also helpful in your garden if they're given the chance. You don't have to go far to find this backyard buddy. In fact, if you live in a suburban area, there..

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Oblong Turtle

Oblong turtles live in Perth and throughout the south-west of Western Australia. They are also known as western long necked turtles or snake necked turtles. They are different from most turtles as their shell is not round. Oblong turtles are dark brown to black, with a paler undershell. The..

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Orchids

Many of Australia's 1200 species of orchids are epiphytic, meaning they grow up high using trees or rocks for support. Spring is the time for many of our beautiful epiphytic orchids to burst into flower. One of the best known Australian epiphytic orchids is the New South Wales Rock Orchid, ..

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Ornate Burrowing Frog

If you live in sandy areas in northern and eastern Australia, keep your eye out for a small, pudgy frog with brown colouring and markings. The Ornate Burrowing Frog, Platyplectrum ornatum, grows no larger than 50mm and is often mistaken for small Cane Toads. These frogs are generally active ..

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Painted Lady Butterflies

The Australian Painted Lady butterfly migrates from place to place and loves to visit gardens. In southern Australia, the best time to spot them is after a few warm, sunny days at the end of winter, and from spring to autumn. In the northern part of the Painted Lady butterfly's range, they l..

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Paper Wasps

Native Paper Wasps are found all over Australia except in Tasmania and, although only aggressive when defending their nests, it is best to steer clear of them. But their behaviour can give you a clue to how they spend their lives. The female wasp is always busy. If she's tapping her way..

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Peron's Tree Frog

Spring is breeding time for a common backyard tree frog. Despite their noisy night-time calls; these frogs are very handy visitors to your garden. Also called Emerald Spotted Tree Frog because of its green speckled back, this buddy has an impressive trick up its sleeve. The Peron's Tree Frog..

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Persoonia

Persoonias are part of the Proteaceae plant family. There are many species that grow all over Australia. This plant is known by some strange common names - in Eastern Australia they are called Geebungs and in Western Australia and South Australia they have the less flattering name Snottygob..

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Pheasant Coucal

The north and east of Australia has a bird that looks just like a pheasant. The Pheasant Coucal is black with reddish brown wings and a long black and orange tail, but it's really a cuckoo in disguise. Unlike cuckoos, it doesn't spirit its eggs into other birds' nests. It builds its own nes..

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Pied Butcherbird

Found across most of Australia, except Tasmania and southern Victoria, there'۪s a good chance of finding a Pied Butcherbird in your backyard. The Pied Butcherbird, Cracticus nigrogularis, may sing like an angel, but its name and the distinct hook on its beak are subtle hints to their rather..

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Pied Currawong

If you have heard a black and white bird calling 'curra-wong, curra-wong' around your place, then you have just identified the Pied Currawong. This call is how the bird gets its name. Pied Currawongs, Strepera graculina, love hanging out in the suburbs in eastern Australia. You cannot mi..

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Pink Cockatoo

The Pink Cockatoo is hard to miss, with its distinctive red and white headdress. The Pink Cockatoo, Lophochroa leadbeateri, is admired far and wide in Australia for its unique beauty. The gentle splashes of pastel pink across the front of its body set it apart from its Sulphur Crested Cocka..

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Pink Robin

The Pink Robin is unusual amongst birds in that both the male and female have pink colouring – so often, only the males of a species display bright colouring to attract their mate. Males have a distinctive bright pink chest while the females have a subtler pinkish tint. The male has a smal..

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Purple Swamphen

If you think you have seen a purple chicken, chances are you've actually spotted a Purple Swamphen, Porphyrio porphyrio. The Purple Swamphen is a large waterhen with a distinctive heavy red bill and forehead shield. They have red eyes and a deep blue head and breast, with black upper parts ..

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Quoll

Quolls are winter breeders, so by August, some babies are ready to leave the mother. Quolls are meat-eaters at the top of the food chain. They prey on many other species such as gliders, possums, small wallabies, rats, birds, bandicoots, rabbits, insects and carrion. Female quolls make..

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Rainbow Bee-eater

The Rainbow Bee-eater is found all across Australia in open forests, woodlands and shrub lands, and in cleared areas, often near water. If you live in northern Australia, you can see Rainbow Bee-eaters all year round as they stay as long as the weather is warm. Southern bee-eaters head nort..

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Rainbow Lorikeet

The playful games and bright multicoloured feathers of the Rainbow Lorikeet, make them the 'clowns of the bird world'. The Rainbow Lorikeet's tongue is like a bristle brush. Unlike many other parrots, it doesn't eat seeds -in fact, seeds are bad for lorikeets. Instead, it uses its bristle b..

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Raptors

A surprising number of raptors live in suburbs and even the centres of Australian cities. They do an excellent job of keeping down pest species such as mice and grasshoppers, as well as introduced birds such as starlings and feral pigeons. Here are some of the most common raptors you're lik..

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Red Cedar

Australia's native Red Cedar, Toona ciliata, towers above pretty much everything else in the lowland rainforests. It can reach 60 m in height with a massive girth of 3m. You would be lucky to spot one these days. A century or more of clearing and felling for timber has decimated the wild po..

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Red Wattlebird

Red Wattlebirds, Anthochaera carunculata, are large honeyeaters easily identified by their fleshy reddish wattle on the side of the neck. They live across southern Australia and are very frequent visitors to gardens in urban areas. They eat mostly nectar but also some insects and can be ver..

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Rhinoceros Beetles

At first glance Rhinoceros or Rhino Beetles might seem a little antisocial, but they are not only harmless but truly fascinating. These quirky shiny-black beetles grow to around 6 or 7 cm in length so you will definitely see them when they fly about. In fact, they are Australia's largest beetle...

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Rosellas

Australia is home to many species of vibrantly coloured rosella, including Crimson Rosellas, Eastern Rosellas, Western Rosellas, Northern Rosellas, Pale-headed Rosellas, Yellow Rosellas, Adelaide Rosellas and Green Rosellas. So there is probably one living near you. Rosellas often perch on ..

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Rufous Fantail

The Rufous Fantail is a member of the fantail family and lives in northern and eastern coastal Australia. In March, adult Rufous Fantails in southern Australia have almost finished migrating north. Younger Rufous Fantails will be following them during March and April. During migration, they..

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Sand Monitor

Also known as Gould's Monitors or Racehorse Goannas, Sand Monitors are voracious eaters and will eat almost anything that is smaller than them, including other lizards. Their exceptionally strong legs are just made for digging, and they put their sharp claws and snout to work, too. The..

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Satin Bowerbird

The Satin Bowerbird, Ptilonorhynchus violaceus, gets its name from its habit of building a bower out of sticks, and decorating it with blue items, like stolen pegs, straws, and bits of litter, as well as blue flowers and berries. Male Satin Bowerbirds have striking blue-black feathers and v..

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Scarlet Honeyeater

The Scarlet Honeyeater is a small honeyeater which tends to live a solitary life but is occasionally seen in pairs or as part of a flock. Their distinctive red colouring has earned them the nickname 'bloodbird.' Although they mainly prefer foraging for blossom in the tops of mature Turp..

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Scarlet Robin

The Scarlet Robin lives in the southern areas of Australia and also on Norfolk Island. They are frequent backyard visitors in urban areas. Male Scarlet Robins have an impressive bright red chest and a black back with a conspicuous white patch above the bill. Like many bird species, the fema..

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Scribbly gums

Scribbly gums are a type of eucalyptus or gum tree. There are a few species that are known as scribbly gums as they all have the 'scribbles' across their bark. Like all gum trees, large older trees are crucial habitat for many native animals and birds, providing tree hollows essential for n..

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Seed giving grasses

Native grasses play an important role in many habitats and they can in backyards too. Native grasses provide shelter from predators for many small creatures like finches and skinks, attract insects for other creatures to eat, and provide food in the form of seeds for many birds and other buddies..

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Shingleback

Around November, you may see a Shingleback Lizard out and about with its mate. For most of the year, a Shingleback leads a fairly solitary life. But from September to November they spend up to 75% of their time with their partners, which is unusual lizard behaviour. Year after year, many Sh..

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Silky Oaks

The Silky Oak, Grevillea robusta, is a very popular native tree in Australian gardens and can grow to 20 metres and live for up to 100 years. In spring, their ferny, yellow-orange bottle brush flowers are full of nectar which attracts Singing Honeyeaters, Red Wattlebirds, Purple-crowned Lor..

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Silvereye

They might only grow to about 15 cm tall and weigh only 5-10 g, but the hardy Silvereye has amazing stamina. Silvereyes can live for up to ten years, which is a long time for such a tiny bird. They can also fly extremely long distances when they migrate at the end of summer. Some travel all the ..

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Singing Honeyeater

From mid year to the end of summer, you may find a Singing Honeyeater searching for a mate in your garden, park or local bushland. They breed from July to February each year, in flimsy open nests built from grasses and often lined with hair or root fibres. Their nests are a target of the Pallid ..

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Slaters

Have you ever lifted a pot plant or scraped back some mulch and found some curious little 'Roley Poley' bugs underneath? These are slaters, also known as Roley Poleys, Pill Bugs, or Wood Lice. Just like worms, slaters are great for your garden as they eat organic matter and return nutrients to t..

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Snails

The leaf litter in your garden is perfect for snails who need a moist atmosphere to survive in. Snails can be infuriating when they graze on your newly planted veggie patch. But they also like to feed on dead plant and animal material and fungi. There are over 1000 species of native Aus..

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Snake ID

If you see something long, thin and slithery in the backyard, walk away from it slowly. Not all snakes are venomous and some lizards look like snakes at first glance but it's better to be safe than sorry, You are most likely to see a snake during spring, when males are looking for a mate. ..

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Southern Boobook

Southern Boobooks , Ninox novaeseelandiae, are the smallest and most common owl in Australia If you have a Southern Boobook Owl in your backyard, you will hear them calling for a mate during the long winter nights. The official breeding season does not start until spring, but many boob..

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Southern Brown Tree Frog

If you live in southern Australia, listen out for a croaky visitor in your garden or local park. Southern Brown Tree Frogs are common guests to suburban gardens, particularly in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania. Look and listen out for these frogs calling from under logs, in low growing pl..

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Spiny Leaf Insect

If you are in Queensland or northern New South Wales in January, you might be lucky enough to spot one of the most interesting insects that Australia is home to. Don't be alarmed by this weird looking buddy. The Spiny Leaf Insect is also known as Giant Prickly Stick Insect or Macleay's Spect..

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Spotted Grass Frog

The Spotted Grass Frog, also known as a Spotted Marsh Frog, has a distinctive tiny golden iris and a round, black pupil. This frog lives in a wide range of areas, including Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, parts of South Australia and in Kununurra in Western Australia. It can..

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Spotted Pardalote

If you live in eastern or southern Australia, you may be lucky enough to be visited by the tiny Spotted Pardalote, Pardalotus punctatus. The Spotted Pardalote may visit your backyard as it heads down from higher elevations in search of warmer weather over autumn and winter. Spotted Pard..

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St Andrews Cross Spiders

St Andrew's Cross Spiders are fantastic backyard buddies as they spin big webs that easily snare insects such as flies, mosquitoes, moths and other bugs. They are not aggressive towards people and their bite is not toxic. The webs of St Andrew's Cross Spiders are also fascinating to look at ..

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Stag Beetles

There are over 1,200 species of these big-jawed beetles in the world, and maybe even more than 85 different species just in Australia, but even though there are lots of different types of Stag Beetle, many are facing a loss of habitat that is threatening their survival. Stag Beetles love to..

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Stick Insects

Somewhere amongst the leaves in your backyard is a camouflage master. Even though there are around 150 stick insect species in Australia, it's still difficult to spot one. Look closely at gum trees, rose bushes or fruit trees for these green or brown buddies. The stick insect is a Phasmid - ..

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Striped Marsh Frog

Around November each year, you might hear the Striped Marsh Frog's distinctive call. During spring and summer, males either call from the water or hidden places, such as under leaf litter or rocks. The distinctive mating call is a single 'pop', 'toc' or 'whuck' repeated once every few seco..

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Sugar Glider

Sugar Gliders live in the trees and glide between them using flaps of skin between their front and back legs. These small marsupials live in eastern and northern Australia and nest in tree hollows or nest boxes. Adults can weigh as little as 150 grams. They are grey to brown with a prominent dar..

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Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

The Sulphur-crested Cockatoo is Australia's most famous cockatoo, easily recognised by their signature yellow crest and wings. Sulphur-crested Cockatoos are very adaptable and have become a common sight to people living in suburbs all over Australia. They don't have any trouble finding thei..

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Superb Fairy-wren

It seems unfair when one member of the family gets all the good looks, especially when it's the father. But that's how it is for the Superb Fairy-wren. Superb Fairy-wrens are found throughout eastern Australia and Tasmania to the south-eastern corner of South Australia. The dazzling blu..

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Superb Parrot

The Superb Parrot, Polytelis swainsonii, is a small and graceful parrot with brightly coloured red, green, yellow and blue feathers. It lives in south-eastern Australia in the Riverina area of New South Wales and Victoria, and in winter it migrates to northern New South Wales. The Superb Pa..

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Tasmanian Native Hen

'Turbo chook' is the affectionate name given to the Tasmanian Native hen. However, they have no relationship to domestic chickens but belong to a group of waterfowl known as rails. The Native hen is a flightless bird standing approximately 45 cm tall with strong sturdy legs. They live in no..

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Tawny Frogmouth

The Tawny Frogmouth lives on a diet of insects and feeds through the warmer months before winter, when many insects hibernate. A frogmouth might look like an owl at first sight, but it is an entirely different kind of bird. They live all over Australia in every type of habitat. Frogmout..

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Termites

As the weather warms up in spring and summer, termites commence their social swarming. In order to create social swarms, the colony emerges from being underground after at least three years. Flying termites are at their reproductive stage and are short lived. A swarm can be quite a sight..

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Tiger Moths

Tiger Moths live on the coastal areas of eastern Australia. They love to drink the nectar from wildflowers and prefer an established garden, where they can also eat lichen. Lichen occurs when fungi and algae grow together. In rainforests and alpine forests it forms a large carpet on the grou..

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Trapdoor Spiders

A common resident of the garden, trapdoor spiders are often encountered whilst moving rocks or digging soil. At night, shining a torch across the lawn may pick up two rows of tiny shining eyes staring up from inside a hole. These burrows can be as long as 40 cm and are lined with soft silky ..

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Tree Dtella

The tiny Tree Dtella is highly variable in colour and pattern, although their predominant colour is grey, brown or blue-grey, with darker brown markings that form a net pattern. The markings can often be so prominent that it will lend it the appearance of being blotchy or dark with light ma..

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Tree Kangaroo

Tree kangaroos really are kangaroos that live in trees. They are marsupials and macropods and are the largest tree-dwelling mammal in Australia. In Australia, they live in far north Queensland. Other tree kangaroo species live in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. The two Australian species ar..

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Trigger Plant

The Trigger Plant gets its name from its unique pollination method. When an insect investigates a Trigger Plant flower, it is hit with a club-shaped column that quickly springs up from under the petals. The insect's feeding activity disturbs small filaments in the centre of the flower, acti..

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Wallaby

Although not common to most suburban backyards, wallabies will visit backyards that are near bushland and will certainly frequently visit those lucky enough to have big backyards. Wallabies are marsupials that belong to the animal group Macropods which means 'large footed'. Other macropods inclu..

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Water holding frogs

As heavy rains and floods turn parched, cracked earth to oozing mud, one of Australia's most incredible frogs is just waking up. Droplets of water dripping down into its chamber up to 1 m underground are telling the Water-holding Frog that it's time to swim, feed and breed. If you live i..

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Water Rat

The Water Rat, also known by the Aboriginal name Rakali, is a top predator in freshwater and saltwater environments right across Australia. You're most likely to see a Rakali as it runs along the shore edge in a lake, river or beach. You can tell if you have Rakalis in your backyard by t..

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Wedge-tailed Eagle

The Wedge-tailed Eagle, Aquila audax, is the largest bird of prey in Australia. It can appear sinister, with its dark feathers, hooked beak and distinctive call, but Wedge-tails are excellent parents and partners. Wedge-tails mate for life and are extremely attentive parents. Wedge-tailed E..

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Western Banjo Frog

When winter chills are gripping the land, Western Banjo Frogs are getting set to call all through the night in south-western Australia. If you're in Perth, listen for their Banjo -like calls coming from the backyard, especially if you've got a pond or are close to a wetland or waterway. ..

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White Ibis

The Australian White Ibis is in many places considered a pest, as a result of their bold behaviour - they are not above sticking their beaks into your lunch if you are sitting in the park. They tend to cluster in groups and it is not unusual to find up to 50 of them gathered on your front lawn. ..

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Willie Wagtail

The Willie Wagtail, Rhipidura leucophrys, lives all over mainland Australia and is hard to miss with its long fanned tail that it swings from side to side or up and down while foraging on the ground. The distinctive white eyebrow of the male wagtail is not just a fashion statement - it help..

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Wolf Spider

Wolf spiders get their name from their hunting preference of stalking down their prey much like a wolf does, making them the top predators in your lawn. They will go after crickets, flies, ants and even other spiders. The wolf spider is a solitary buddy who enjoys hunting by itself. They li..

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Wood Duck

The Wood Duck is Australia's most common duck and lives throughout Australia with the exception of particularly arid areas. Their distinctive brown and white feathers make Wood Ducks easy for you to distinguish from other waterbirds, as they look completely unique. Male and female wood duck..

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