14 April, 2012

Plumed Whistling-duck

Scientific Name: Dendrocygna eytoni

Population Estimate: 100K - 1M, Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in inland wetlands in New Guinea and Australia.

Field Notes: Slender, brown-coloured duck with a long neck. Characteristic "tiger" patch with elegant white plumes arising from its flanks. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Melbourne Zoo, Australia. 

Australian Shelduck

Scientific Name: Tadorna tadornoides

Population Estimate: 340K - 1.2M

Range / Habitat: Found in open wetlands in southern Australia and Tasmania. They occasionally appear in New Zealand. 

Field Notes: Large, black-headed duck with white neck ring and chestnut breast. Black back and wings with large chestnut and white patches in wing. Female with white eye ring and white base of bill, as above. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Melbourne Zoo, Australia. 

Common Myna

Scientific Name: Acridotheres tristis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in open woodlands and artificial habitats. Its initial home range spanned from Iran, and southern Asia including Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Myanmar, Malaysia, peninsular Thailand, Indo-China and China.
An introduced species to Canada, Australia, Israel, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Hawaii, South Africa, and a variety of islands in the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Field Notes: Medium-sized passerine with black head, brown body, and white "windows" in the wings. Yellow bill, legs, and eye patch. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. 

Spotted Dove

Scientific Name: Spilopelia chinensis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Original range is the Indian Subcontinent including India, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka east to southern Tibet and Southeast Asia. It has been introduced to  Hawaii and Southern California, Singapore, the Philippines, northern Indonesia, Bangladesh, and eastern Australia.

Field Notes: Large dove with dusky rose to grey head, neck, and belly. Wings brown. Distinctive black neck patch with white spots. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. 

Nankeen Night Heron

Scientific Name: Nycticorax caledonicus

Population Estimate: 110K - 1.1M

Range / Habitat: Inland wetlands and coastal areas throughout Australia except the arid inland, Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Melanesia.

Field Notes: Stocky, rufous heron with white underparts and a black cap. As typical with herons, the juvenile form is completely streaked brown and white as in the lower photo. Black-crowned Night Heron (which only overlaps in Indonesia and the Philippines) has dark grey wings and back. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. Also known as Rufous Night Heron.

Dusky Moorhen

Scientific Name: Gallinula tenebrosa

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Inland wetlands and artificial habitats in eastern Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia.

Field Notes: Medium-sized freshwater bird, dusky colored throughout. Red face shield. Bill red with yellow tip. White patches on each side under tail. Eurasian Coot has white face shield. Purple Swamphen larger, bright purple underparts, and all red bill. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. 

White-browed Scrubwren

Scientific Name: Sericornis frontalis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in scrubland, forest, and sheltered artificial habitats throughout the south and east. 

Field Notes: Small warbler which spends most of its time on the ground. Variable plumage, but typically white breast and eyebrow, brown upper parts, dark lores. Black spot on wing with white stippling also a helpful field mark. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. Some sources consider this a subspecies.

Willie Wagtail

Scientific Name: Rhipidura leucophrys

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in most habitats, excluding thick forest, in Australia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and eastern Indonesia. 

Field Notes: Large, black fantail with white belly and eyebrows. Spends much time on ground, seen less frequently in air compared to Grey Fantail, for example. The latter also with white throat. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. 

Bell Miner

Scientific Name: Manorina melanophrys

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in wooded areas in the southeast, exclusive of Tasmania. 

Field Notes: Medium-sized, olive-green passerine with yellow bill and legs and orange patch behind the eye. Sociable bird with loud, bell-like call. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. 

Silver Gull

Scientific Name: Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae

Population Estimate: 100K - 1M

Range / Habitat: Found on costal and inland waterways throughout Australia and Tasmania.

Field Notes: Medium-sized white-headed gull with light grey mantle. Adults with striking red bill, eye ring and feet as in top photo. Juveniles with dusky bill and legs as in bottom photo. Similar in appearance to Red-billed Gull in New Zealand, with which some sources consider it conspecific. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. 

13 April, 2012

Crested Pigeon

Scientific Name: Ocyphaps lophotes

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in all but forested regions throughout the continent, excluding the far north and Tasmania.

Field Notes: Ground-feeding grey pigeon with iridescent patches in wings and orange eye ring. One of only two crested pigeon species in Australia. 

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia.

Australian Pelican

Scientific Name: Pelecanus conspicillatus

Population Estimate: 100K - 1M

Range / Habitat: Widespread on inland and coastal waters of Australia, New Guinea, Fiji, and parts of Indonesia. 

Field Notes: The only pelican in the region. Flesh-colored bill. Head, neck and chest while. Wings black with a large white wing bar. 

Personal Notes: Seen in flight off the coast of Melbourne, Australia. Later photographed at the Melbourne Zoo and then seen again in the wild in Manly, Australia.

Laughing Kookaburra

Scientific Name: Dacelo novaeguineae

Population Estimate: 65M

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in forest and wooded waterways in the east, southwest, and Tasmania. 

Field Notes: Large white kingfisher with brown crown patch, eye patch, wings and tail. The most distinctive feature is the "laughing" call

Personal Notes: Seen initially at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia where we witnessed a fierce fight between two birds with a third watching (bottom photo). 

Grey Fantail

Scientific Name: Rhipidura albiscapa

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status.

Range / Habitat: Found in forest, scrub and artificial habitats throughout Australia, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. 

Field Notes: Small, active grey flycatcher with a long tail, frequently fanned. Tail feathers have white shafts. White eyebrow, grey necklace, yellow belly. Willie Wagtail similar in appearance, but without white throat and with completely different behavior.

Personal Notes: A common, but welcome, sight throughout Australia. Note that some sources consider this bird conspecific with New Zealand Fantail.

Maned Duck

Scientific Name: Chenonetta jubata

Population Estimate: 200K - 2M

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in wetlands throughout most of the continent, including Tasmania.

Field Notes: Overall grey duck with dark brown head and black mane as shown in bottom photo. Speckled breast and black under tail coverts. Female with distinctive eye striping.

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. Also known as Australian Wood Duck.

11 April, 2012

Magpie-lark

Scientific Name: Grallina cyanoleuca

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in nearly all habitats throughout most of Australia except for Tasmania and the inland desert. It is also found in southern New Guinea.

Field Notes: Medium sized passerine with conspicuous black and white marking. Yellow bill and eye. Australian Magpie larger with grey, black-tipped bill.

Personal Notes:

10 April, 2012

Little Raven

Scientific Name: Corvus mellori

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in a wide range of environments, including urban, in southeast Australia.

Field Notes: Medium-sized corvid, all black with yellow eye. No shaggy throat, slightly smaller, and with more clipped call than Australian Raven.

Personal Notes: Quite good arial acrobats.

08 April, 2012

Red Wattlebird

Scientific Name: Anthochaera carunculata

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in forests and shrubland of the southern part of the country.

Field Notes: Large passerine with long tail and curved bill of the honeyeaters. Overall brown with white stippling on breast and yellow belly.  Silvery ear patch, red eyes and red wattle. Male and females similar; but juveniles with less distinctive wattle. Western Wattlebird and Little Wattlebird do not have wattles. Yellow Wattlebird with, well, yellow wattles.

Personal Notes: Seen at Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne

Little Wattlebird

Scientific Name: Anthochaera chrysoptera

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in shrubland of the southeast.

Field Notes: Large passerine with long tail and long curved bill of the honeyeaters. Overall brown with white stippling on breast and silvery ear patch. Does not overlap in range with Western Wattlebird. Lacks the wattles of Red Wattlebird or Yellow Wattlebird.

Personal Notes: Seen initially at Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne and then later at North Head near Manly and Ben Boyd National Park. Some sources differentiate between the Little Wattlebird and Brush Wattlebird.

Chestnut Teal

Scientific Name: Anas castanea

Population Estimate: 110K

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found on inland wetlands on in the southeast quadrant and along the west coast.

Field Notes: Small dabbling duck. Male with dark green head, chestnut breast and sides, and white spot on flank. Female all brown with lighter tips to feathers. Female similar to Australian Grey Teal but darker overall.

Personal Notes: Seen at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne.

Pacific Gull

Scientific Name: Larus pacificus

Population Estimate: 11K

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found along the western and southern coasts.

Field Notes: Large, black-backed gull with all black tail. Massive yellow bill with red tip. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Seen on the Melbourne coast.

Red-rumped Parrot

Scientific Name: Psephotus haematonotus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in a variety of habitats in the southeast quadrant of the country.

Field Notes: Male is brilliant green with unmarked face, yellow lower belly, and red rump. Female is a plain brown-green.

Personal Notes: Seen at Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Scientific Name: Cacatua galerita

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Year-round in forested and artificial landscapes on the eastern and northern areas of Australia in addition to Paupa New Guinea.

Field Notes: Large, all-white parrot with long yellow crest. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: An excellent find in the Royal Botanical Gardens of Melbourne, made even better since the camera was malfunctioning but Richard managed to the bottom photo anyway. Tens of birds later seen at Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney.

Rainbow Lorikeet

Scientific Name: Trichoglossus moluccanus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found is rainforest, coastal bush and woodland areas of eastern Australia, northwest Tasmania, eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

Field Notes: Large, blue-headed lorikeet with orange or red breast. Green wings and tail. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Quite a fun "urban bird" in Melbourne.