The Australian continent is a smattering of islands in the southern hemisphere where many species of birds live. Some endemic, and some related to birds in other continents – but one thing is for sure: all the unique birds of Oceania are beautiful and perfectly suited to their habitats.
The lyrebird is a ground-dwelling bird that prefers the dense rainforest of New South Wales, southeast Queensland, Victoria, some parts of Melbourne, and Sydney.
First recorded in the 1800s, this bird has always been prized for its elegance.
Male lyrebirds have a beautiful, long tale that they display during courtship. Their brown bodies are similar to chickens, but their tail has eight pairs of delicate feathers. Some of these charming feathers are curled and silvery. Others are stiff and wiry. These feathers resemble a lyre when held upright, giving the bird its name.
These unique birds can mimic sounds in their environment. They can even, on rare occasions, mimic the sounds of humans.
Lyrebirds are insectivores dining on a large range of beetles, cockroaches, moths, earwigs, and the like. They will also eat spiders, centipedes, and earthworms.
The Laughing Kookaburra is an Australian national symbol. It is a member of the Kingfisher family and has an off-white bellow, barred dark brown back and wings. Its tail is barred black.
This bird lives throughout eastern Australia. They have also been introduced to Tasmania, southwest Australia, and New Zealand.
Laughing Kookaburras feed on insects, crustaceans, and worms. They have a sound that resembles laughter.
They choose a mate life, with the mating season being between August to January. Offspring from previous years often act as helpers during the breeding season. They create a nest in a hollow tree or termite mound where both parents share the responsibility of incubating and caring for the young.
Birds of Paradise
The Bird of Paradise is a colorful, medium-sized bird that lives in the forest. It is related to the lyrebird and other Passeriformes. They live mostly in the highlands and nearby islands in New Guinea. They also live in Indonesia and the Aru Islands. There are about 39 species of birds of paradise.
These birds have been recorded since the early 16th century when Europeans named them and described their beauty.
The male Birds of Paradise have ornate plumage that they use in their courting rituals. They spend hours clearing space on the forest floor. Then, they perform an elaborate dance, trying to attract females. Females watch and evaluate the potential mate from a nearby perch. If they find the male’s dance acceptable, they will mate.
Females are dull-colored, and once they have laid the eggs, they will raise the young on their own.
These birds mainly eat fruits, seeds, and small insects.
Budgerigar, also known as Budgies, are small parakeets popularly kept as pets. They are only about 17 to 18 cm in size. They have been bred to have a variety of colors, including white, blue, yellow, mauve, olive, and grey. But, in the wild, they are green and yellow with a patch of blue on their cheeks.
These birds live in large flocks. They are distributed across mainland Australia. Budgies feed on seeds, herbs, and grass. They also travel around Australia, staying in spots near water sources.
Budgies breed any time of the year, usually after rainfall. They may produce several broods in a year. They nest in natural tree holes and have clutches of around 6-8 eggs.
Fairy Wrens, also known as Blue Wrens, is a part of the Warbler family. They live mostly in eastern Australia. They have blue heads with black markings. They grow to about 5 inches long and have narrow, blue tails. There are 27 species of Fairy-wren.
Their blue colorings can range from a cobalt shade to violet. They live in semi-arid and arid areas with plenty of dense shrubs and acacia. They feed on insects and work in groups to forage for food.
They have a high-pitched pip sound that they repeat in a rapid series.
The breeding season of the Fairy Wren happens between September to December. The females build an oval, domed nest out of dry grass. They lay between 2-4 eggs which they singularly incubate. Once the chicks hatch, the entire family group feeds the chicks.
There are so many splendid and beautiful species of birds found in Australia and its neighboring islands. From the long-tailed lyrebird to the tiny, spectacularly blue Fairy Wren, there is a lot of diversity of birds on this continent. These birds have bold colors, melodic calls, and curious mating habits.