Backyard Buddies

Backyard Birds

Crows and Ravens

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Photo credit: Rosie Nicolai

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 are white, while those of the ravens are grey and they have different calls which can be the only way to distinguish them. They are frequent backy..

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Grey Butcherbird

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Photo credit: R Nicolai

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 Butcherbird, Cracticus torquatus, is found across Australia, from mid-eastern Queensland, through southern Australia, including Tasmania, to northern Western A..

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Laughing Kookaburra

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Photo credit: FNPW Image Labrary

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 Australia, the Laughing Kookaburra and the Blue Winged Kookaburra, which has a distinctive silver-blue line on its wings. Laughing Kookaburras live i..

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Magpie

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Photo credit: Rosie Nicolai

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 to six weeks a year during August to September, the male Magpie will defend his home vigorously. Male Magpies swoop people because they are prote..

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Magpie-lark

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Photo credit: Rosie Nicolai

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, they're pretty adaptable and they'll live just about anywhere. As long as there is open space for them to search for food, and the occasional bit of wa..

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Masked Lapwing (Plover)

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Photo credit: Rosie Nicolai

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, eastern and southern Australia but does not live in western Australia. There are populations in New Zealand and New Caledonian that have been formed from bi..

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Noisy Miner

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Photo credit: Rosie Nicolai

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's every chance that you have some outside right now. Noisy Miners live in northern Queensland and all along the eastern coast to South Australia and ..

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Pied Butcherbird

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Photo credit: Ken Stepnell/OEH

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 gruesome feeding habits. Butcherbirds are insect eaters, but they will also go after other small meaty prey such as lizards and birds. When a but..

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Pied Currawong

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Photo credit: Marj Kibby

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 miss them. They are large, mostly black birds, with bright yellow eyes and. small patches of white under the tail and on the tips and base of the tail f..

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Rainbow Lorikeet

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Photo credit: FNPW Image Library

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 brush tongue to extract sweet sticky nectar and pollen from deep within native flowers. Like a young child with a messy ice-cream cone, lorikeets get t..

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Rosellas

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Photo credit: JJ Harrison

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 rooftops, in trees and on fences. You will know they are there by their distinctive calls and colourful feathers. These birds are not afraid of pe..

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Satin Bowerbird

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Photo credit: Francesco Veronesi

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 vibrant violet eyes. It takes a male seven years to develop his distinctive black feathers. Females and juvenile males are a dull green with dark colou..

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Willie Wagtail

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Photo credit: Simone Cottrell OEH

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 helps him attract a mate. Rival males show aggression by expanding their eyebrows during a territorial dispute. The loser shows his submission by hiding h..

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