13 July, 2012

White-throated Treecreeper

Scientific Name: Cormobates leucophaea

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in forested areas in the eastern part of the country.

Field Notes: Medium-sized grey treecreeper with white throat. Dark flanks with white spots. No eye brown stripe.

Personal Notes: Photographed at Honeyeater Park in Chiltern, Australia.

Brown Treecreeper

Scientific Name: Climacteris picumnus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in forested areas throughout the eastern part of the country.

Field Notes: Medium-sized passerine, typical tree creeping behavior. Overall brown with grey cap and white eye brown. Breast is heavily streaked, under tail coverts with horizontal bars.

Personal Notes: Not a shy bird, photographed at Honeyeater Park in Chiltern, Australia.

Pied Butcherbird

Scientific Name: Cracticus nigrogularis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in forest, scrubland and savannah throughout most of the country, excluding Tasmania.

Field Notes: Medium-sized black and white passerine with upright posture. White collar extends completely around the back of the neck. Bill blue with black tip. Grey Butcherbird has grey wings, not black and collar does not extend entirely around neck. Australian Magpie much more gregarious and common, with forward posture, and large white patch on back on neck, not collar.

Personal Notes: Richard had a few sightings of this bird, but we found it harder to photograph.

12 July, 2012

Whistling Kite

Scientific Name: Haliastur sphenurus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in open or lightly wooded areas, often near water, throughout most of Australia, Papua New Guinea, and parts of Indonesia.

Field Notes: Medium-sized raptor, generally brown. Light tail prominent. Distinctive underwing pattern with white streaming back from the wrists noted in above bird after alighting.

Personal Notes: Spotted among a group of cormorants in Chiltern, Australia.

Eastern Yellow Robin

Scientific Name: Eopsaltria australis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in forested areas in the eastern part of the country.

Field Notes: Inquisitive, small passerine with round, grey head, grey body and yellow breast.

Personal Notes: Always a welcome site in the national parks in southeastern Australia.

Southern Emu-wren

Scientific Name: Stipiturus malachurus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in scrubland in the south of the country, including Tasmania.

Field Notes: Small wren, generally brown with more rufous cap and blue throat. Distinctive, long and fan-like tail, nearly always cocked upright.

Personal Notes: Amazing photograph by Richard as we spent the better part of our hike in Ben Boyd National Park trying to capture these guys.

Grey Shrikethrush

Scientific Name: Colluricincla harmonica

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Forest and savannah throughout Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Field Notes: Medium-sized thrush with grey head and tail, brown back, and white underparts. White between eyes and bill. Typical thrush-like behavior. Strikingly melodic voice.

Personal Notes: A surprisingly difficult identification for us, especially given how common this bird easy, but we finally figured it out 10 days into our two week tour of southeastern Australia.

White-bellied Sea Eagle

Scientific Name: Haliaeetus leucogaster

Population Estimate: 670 to 6700 individuals

Range / Habitat: Costal areas from India and Sri Lanka through southeast Asia to Australia

Field Notes: Large bird of prey with white head, breast, and tail. Wings grey. Distinctive profile from underneath with black trailing edge contrasting with the white, as above. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Seen both perching and soaring during a glorious hike in Ben Boyd National Park, Australia.

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Scientific Name: Aquila audax

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Grassland, scrubland, savannah throughout Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.

Field Notes: Large, dark raptor with characteristic wedge-shaped tail, prominent in flight. Golden mantle on back.

Personal Notes: Seen at Ben Boyd National Park in Australia.

Yellow-tufted Honeyeater

Scientific Name: Lichenostomus melanops

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Medium-sized yellow-olive passerine, darker upper parts and lighter underneath, with typical honeyeater bill. Black mask, yellow throat with narrow dusky chin, small yellow ear tuft. Unmistakable in range.

Field Notes: Endemic to Australia where found in sclerophyll forest and woodland in southeastern part of the country.

Personal Notes: A very dramatic bird, which you can partially see here. Photographed at Bartley's paddock in Chiltern, Australia.

Tawny-crowned Honeyeater

Scientific Name: Gliciphila melanops

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where founding scrubland in the southern part of the country.

Field Notes: Medium-sized, overall brown passerine with typical honeyeater bill. White breast with rufous flanks. Tawny crown, white eye brow strip, black mask that extends down shoulder.

Personal Notes: Photographed at Ben Boyd National Park, Australia.

White-plumed Honeyeater

Scientific Name: Lichenostomus penicillatus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in woodland, usually near water, in southeastern central, and midwestern areas of the country.

Field Notes: Medium-sized olive-grey passerine with short but decurved honeyeater bill. Yellow head, wings, and tail. White cheek plume. Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Grey-frounted Honeyeater, and Fuscous Honeyeater all similar but with yellow plumes, not white.

Personal Notes: Common winter bird in Chiltern, Australia.

Diamond Firetail

Scientific Name: Stagonopleura guttata

Population Estimate: 200K

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in open woodland and wooded grassland in southeastern part of the country.

Field Notes: Small grey-brown passerine, usually found on the ground. Red bill, rump, and eye. Black mask and black flanks, spotted white. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Quite a photo by Richard taken while hanging out of the car window in Chiltern, Australia.

Intermediate Egret

Scientific Name: Egretta intermedia

Population Estimate: 180K - 1.3M

Range / Habitat: Found in a variety of wetland habitats -- inland, marine, even flooded fields -- from east Africa across the Indian Subcontinent to Southeast Asia and Australia.

Field Notes: Large white heron, with yellow bill and black legs. In breeding plumage bill orange and white plumes). Intermediate in size between larger herons, such as Great Heron (which never has orange bill, neck most often in '?' shape, and yellow gape extending past eyes), and smaller birds, such as Cattle Egret.

Personal Notes: Seen on a beautiful day of birding in Chiltern, Australia.

11 July, 2012

Azure Kingfisher

Scientific Names: Ceyx azureus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Inland wetlands and forested areas near water in eastern and northern Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea.

Field Notes: Small kingfisher with stubby tail and long bill. Bright blue head and back, orange breast. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Wee kingfisher seen in Chiltern, Australia.

Restless Flycatcher

Scientific Name: Myiagra inquieta

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Dry forest and savannah throughout eastern, northern, and southwestern Australia. Also found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

Field Notes: Shiny black flycatcher with white breast extending to neck. Active, often hovering. Willie Wagtail and Satin Flycatcher similar but with black throat.

Personal Notes: A bonus find on a rainy day in Chiltern, Australia. This photo was taken through the front windshield between the wiper blades! This taxon is considered a subspecies by some authors.

Satin Bowerbird

Scientific Name: Ptilonorhynchus violaceus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in forested areas in the southeastern corner of the country.

Field Notes: Medium-sized to large passerine, stocky with stout bill. Male glossy black with violet-blue eye and greenish-yellow bill. Female overall green with extensively scalloped breast, rufous wings, and violet-blue eye. Juveniles similar to females and take up to seven years to attain adult plumage.

Personal Notes: It took us quite a while, with many sightings, to figure out what this bird was. Though bowerbirds are typically associated with their ground-based bowers, these birds were quite prominent in the canopy. We even were witness to a group of birds mauling a fruit-laden tree on the Drummer Rainforest Walk, with the remnants of the feast falling all around us....

Red-capped Plover

Scientific Name: Charadrius ruficapillus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Marine intertidal areas throughout Australia, including Tasmania, parts of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea.

Field Notes: Small plover with rufous cap, extending down back of neck, and around to an incomplete breast band. White forehead. Juvenile and non-breeding forms with rufous cap grey-brown instead. Kentish Plover similar but non-overlapping.

Personal Notes: A lucky find at Mallacoota Beach, when we were really just looking for the path to the nearby Croajingolong National Park in Victoria, Australia.

Peaceful Dove

Scientific Name: Geopelia placida

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Scrubland in eastern and northern Australia, parts of Indonesia, Papua New Guinea.

Field Notes: Small grey-brown dove with barring on wings and neck and blue eye ring. Diamond Dove is similarly sized but with spots, not barring, and red eye ring.

Personal Notes: Part of productive birding morning in Chiltern, Victoria, Australia.

Wonga Pigeon

Scientific Name: Leucosarcia melanoleuca

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in woodlands and scrubland in the southeastern corner of the country.

Field Notes: Large, ground-dwelling pigeon with slaty-grey upper parts and white under parts. White forehead, white 'V' on breast, and black spots on flank

Personal Notes: One of the birds spotted at the lovely Double Creek Nature Trail in northeastern Victoria, Australia.

Glossy Black Cockatoo

Scientific Name: Calyptorhynchus lathami

Population Estimate: 17K

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in dry forest in the southeastern corner of the country.

Field Notes: Large, black cockatoo with red tail panels. Female with yellow splotches on face. Other black cockatoos in Australia differ in either tail panel or head markings.

Personal Notes: A spectacular sighting by Richard while on the Princes Highway at the border of New South Wales and Victoria.

Superb Lyrebird

Scientific Name: Menura novaehollandiae

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in forested area in the southeast of the country.

Field Notes: Medium-sized, grey-brown, ground-dwelling bird with long dramatic tail. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: One of the highlights of our foray into Ben Boyd National Park.

Pied Oystercatcher

Scientific Name: Haematopus longirostris

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Coastal estuaries and mudflats around the entire coast of Australia, including Tasmania, parts of Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.

Field Notes: Medium-sized wader with black head, neck, bib, back and tail. White breast and underparts, extending up to shoulder. Bright orange bill and eye. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Photographed at Ben Boyd NP.

White-eared Honeyeater

Scientific Name: Lichenostomus leucotis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in dry forest and savannah in the eastern and southwestern portion of the country.

Field Notes: Medium-sized olive-green passerine with typical honeyeater bill and profile. Underparts more yellow, black throat and mask, grey cap, and white ear patch. Yellow-faced Honeyeater similar but ear patch yellow, extending to bill, and grey throat.

Personal Notes: Seen at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, outside Canberra.

Musk Duck

Scientific Name: Biziura lobata

Population Estimate: 13K - 33K

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found on inland wetlands in the southeast and southwest corners of the country and Tasmania.

Field Notes: Low-slung black duck with wispy tail and wedge-shaped bill. Male with large lobe under bill as above.

Personal Notes: Photographed at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, outside Canberra.


Magpie Goose

Scientific Name: Anseranas semipalmata

Population Estimate: 1M

Range / Habitat: Inland wetlands of northern and eastern Australia, parts of Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.

Field Notes: Large goose with black head, neck and tail. Body white. Light bill. Knob at the top of the head. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Seen at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve outside Canberra

10 July, 2012

Hardhead

Scientific Name: Aythya australis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Inland wetlands throughout most of Australia. Vagrant to surrounding items.

Field Notes: All brown duck, darker upper parts, lighter underneath. White rump and white tip to bill. Male with white eye. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Photographed at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, outside Canberra.

Brolga

Scientific Name: Grus rubicunda

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Inland wetlands in northern and eastern Australia, parts of Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.

Field Notes: Large, grey waterbird with red on head. Sarus similar but red extending through eye.

Personal Notes: Photographed at Tidbinbilla Wildlife Refuge, outside Canberra.


Emu

Scientific Name: Dromaius novaehollandiae

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found year-round throughout the country in open, unsettled areas.

Field Notes: Extremely large, flightless bird. Brown overall with white face. Southern Cassowary black with different coloration on head.

Personal Notes: Seen at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, outside Canberra.

Scarlet Robin

Scientific Name: Petroica boodang

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Found in forest and savannah of southern Australia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, and Samoa.

Field Notes: Small passerine with large round head, large eye, and small bill. Male with black head, back, wings, and tail. White patch above bill; white wing bars. Bright red chest patch on white belly. Female similar but with grey instead of black, less distinct wing bars, and dull orange chest patch. Flame Robin with smaller white patch above bill and chest patch extending up to neck. Rose Robin without white wing bars. Red-capped Robin with red patch above bill.

Personal Notes: Bright, welcome sight on our tour of southeastern Australia. This bird is considered a subspecies by some authors.

Red-browed Finch

Scientific Name: Neochmia temporalis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to woodlands in eastern Australia.

Field Notes: Adult male and female identical and unmistakable in range, as above.

Personal Notes: Dramatic-appearing little bird, seen in a variety of locations on our holiday throughout southeastern Australia.

Black-shouldered Kite

Scientific Name: Elanus axillaris

Population Estimate: 100K

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in open would lands and grasslands throughout the mainland.

Field Notes: Small grey and white falcon with black shoulder patch and red eye. Similar to nocturnal Letter-winged Kite in central Australia

Personal Notes:

Common Bronzewing

Scientific Name: Phaps chalcoptera

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in forest and woodlands throughout the country, including Tasmania.

Field Notes: Medium-sized, ground-feeding pigeon with marked iridescence in the wings. Distinctive white line under the eye and pale forehead and throat. Brush Bronzewing similar but with rufous eye stripe and throat.

Personal Notes: Bonus sighting on our way out of Campbell Park, Canberra just after visiting with the kangaroos.


Grey Currawong

Scientific Name: Strepera versicolor

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in dry savannah and woodland in the southern part of the country.

Field Notes: Large grey passerine with large, stout bill and yellow eye. White tinged wings and tail and white underneath the tail. There are brown and black forms to this species. The black form is similar to, and in some places overlaps with, Pied Currawong, though lacks the white rump of the latter.

Personal Notes: One of the highlights to an otherwise tiresome trip through the Blue Mountains.

07 July, 2012

Australian Golden Whistler

Scientific Name: Pachycephala pectoralis

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Forested and savannah areas in southern and eastern Australia, Indonesia, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, and nearby Islands.

Field Notes: Medium-sized passerine with black cap, extending down to a thick necklace in breeding male. White throat. Bright yellow underparts, extending to a nuchal collar. Wings olive. Females generally drab with olive upper parts, white underneath, and faint yellow under tail. Rufous Whistler similar but with grey cap, not black, and more drab yellow that does not extend to a nuchal collar.

Personal Notes: Photographed at Australian National Botanical Gardens in Canberra, Australia.

Eastern Spinebill

Scientific Name: Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in forested and savannah areas long the east coast and into the southeastern corner of the country.

Field Notes: Fine billed honeyeater with black head and crescent down sides. Red eye. Rufous neck, flanks, and throat patch. Extensive white in outer tail feathers. Non-overlapping with similar Western Spinebill.

Personal Notes: Quite a lucky photo taken at Australian National Botanical Gardens in Canberra.

Superb Fairywren

Scientific Name: Malurus cyaneus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia, where found in forested areas in southeastern part of the country.

Field Notes: Small passerine with long, thin tail almost always cocked up. Female light brown above, white below, with orange patch around the eye (bottom photo). Juveniles and non breeding males similar except tail blue. Breeding males with black upper parts, white underneath, and bright blue cap, cheek patch, and collar around back of neck (top photo). Non-overlapping with similar Splendid Wren.

Personal Notes: Quite common around Canberra, particularly in the Australian National Botanical Gardens. As it was winter, we were surprised to find a male in breeding plumage, which Richard persevered to get an excellent photo of! Later seen in abundance on the coast, where they were jumping straight up into the air to get bugs.

Nankeen Kestrel

Scientific Name: Falco cenchroides

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Open areas throughout Australia, Papua New Guinea, and nearby Islands. Occasionally found in New Zealand.

Field Notes: Small falcon with rufous upper parts and white underparts. Male with grey cap, female with rufous as above.

Personal Notes: Several of these birds seen on a lovely drive between the Blue Mountains and Canberra, Australia.

06 July, 2012

White-winged Chough

Scientific Name: Corcorax melanoramphos

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in woodland and scrubland of eastern part of the country. 

Field Notes: Large, sociable black bird with hooked bill and red eye. Large white patch in wing, noticeable in flight.

Personal Notes: Seen in Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra, Australia.

Diamond Dove

Scientific Name: Geopelia cuneata

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in arid regions throughout the country.

Field Notes: Small dove with grey head and neck, brown wings with white spots and white underneath.  Red ring around eye. Peaceful Dove with extensive barring and blue eye ring.

Personal Notes: Seen at an aviary in Canberra, Australia

Galah

Scientific Name: Eolophus roseicapilla

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in woodlands, grasslands, and urban areas throughout the country.

Field Notes: Large, loud grey bird with pink head and neck. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: "The pigeon of Canberra."

Spotted Pardalote

Scientific Name: Pardalotus punctatus

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Endemic to Australia where found in forest and savannah in the east and south of the country.

Field Notes: Small passerine with black head and wings with white spots and extensive white eyebrow. Throat and flanks yellow. Unmistakable in range.

Personal Notes: Photographed at the Australian National Botanical Gardens of Canberra, Australia.

Crimson Rosella

Scientific Name: Platycercus elegans

Population Estimate: Unknown, but Least Concern status

Range / Habitat: Forested and artificial habitats throughout Australia. Introduced to New Zealand and Norfolk Island.

Field Notes: Classically a red parrot with blue wings, tail and cheek patch as above. Variants throughout Australia may have yellow, green, or orange bodies. Western Rosella orange body with yellow cheek patch. Eastern Rosella with red head and neck but yellow chest and white cheek patch.

Personal Notes: "Road parrot" common throughout parts of NSW. The taxonomy of the rosellas is still quite a topic for debate.