Oystercatchers

Haematopodidae

Both the Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris and Sooty Oystercatcher H. fuliginosus are endemic to Australia. The only other species recorded in Australia is the vagrant South Island Pied Oystercatcher H. finschi, from New Zealand. All species have orange-red legs and a long straight orange-red bill.

Book Titles on Australian Wildlife Involving our Team

Book Titles on Australian Wildlife Involving our Team

Book titles on Australian wildlife written or co-authored by members of our team - please email us for pricing and availability: Recent Book Titles Australia's Birdwatching Megaspots (John Beaufoy Publishing ) Australia has almost 340 endemic bird species, and more than 730 endemic subspecies. This richly illustrated book guides birdwatchers to the country’s most species-rich areas, the 55 ‘megaspots’ – places where key endemics can be found. It is designed as both a reference and information guide to help plan a successful birding trip to sites where multiple species can  be viewed. Detailed descriptions of each site cover how to get to the site any fees payable or permits required facilities and nearby services GPS coordinates an overview of the site birding tracks and trails key species two important species per site the available accommodation "Australians have a strong affinity with their unique environment and wildlife.  I hope this book inspires you to observe Australian birds in their natural habitats  and to preserve the areas where they live. Their protection is in our hands and I  commend the authors of Australia’s Birdwatching Megaspots for their commitment to conservation." Dermot O’Gorman CEO, WWF-Australia "A terrific resource to enjoy Australia’s amazing native birds and the best birding megaspots. Spying on birds is also a great way to help BirdLife protect them - enter your sightings in our birdata app." Paul Sullivan CEO, BirdLife Australia

Cart

[woocommerce_cart]

Checkout

[woocommerce_checkout]

My account

[woocommerce_my_account]

Australian Travel & Wildlife Photography Galleries

Australian Capital Territory NSW Blue Mountains Region NSW Inland Region NSW North Coast Region NSW Riverina Region NSW South Coast Region

Australian Capital Territory

Welcome to the Australia's Wildlife photography gallery page for the Australian Capital Territory: The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) is a landlocked territory within the state of NSW (although the territory also has a coast port located at Jervis Bay, on the NSW mid-south coast), 274 km south of Sydney, 675 km north of Melbourne and 140 km from the NSW coast. The territory is generally referred ...

Blue Mountains Region

Welcome to the Australia's Wildlife photography gallery page for the Blue Mountains Region:

Inland NSW Region

Welcome to the Australia's Wildlife photography gallery page for the Inland NSW Region:

North Coast Region

Welcome to the Australia's Wildlife photography gallery page for the North Coast Region:

Riverina

Welcome to the Australia's Wildlife photography gallery page for the Riverina Region:

South Coast Region

Welcome to the Australia's Wildlife photography gallery page for the South Coast Region:

Fact Sheets for Australian Animals & Plants

Most Australian animals and plants are endemic (found only in Australia). We are continually adding fact sheets of these unique animals and plants, and the other interesting nature found in Australia. Please follow the links below to each of the Australian animal and plant groups to view, print or download individual fact sheets for your own education or for other non-for-profit educational purposes...

Australian Birds

All modern birds are housed in the subclass Neornithes, which branch into two main groups: the Palaeognathae, or palaeognaths, which comprises the ratites (ostrich, emus, cassowaries, rheas and kiwis, as well as the recently extinct moas and elephantbirds) and tinamous, and the Neognathae, which is made up of all the other birds. This then divides into the Galloanseres (waterfowl [Anseriformes] and...

Ostriches

Struthionidae The Ostrich Struthio camelus is the tallest bird in Australia, and is flightless, lacking a keel on the sternum. Individuals are characterised by their strong legs, feet that lack a hind toe (possessing only two forward facing toes), and loose barbless feathers. Males undertake nesting duties while the females are polygamous. The Ostrich occurred in isolated parts of Australia...

Emus & Cassowaries

Casuariidae Like the ostriches both the Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae and the Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius lack a keel on the sternum, have loose barbless feathers and are both flightless. They also have large powerful legs and lack a hind toe, but the feet differ from those of the ostriches by having three forward-facing toes. The Emu is endemic to Australia, and is represented...
Emu

Emu

What does it look like? Adults are grey brown with black streaks. The head and most of the neck is covered in thin black feathers. The sides of the face and the neck are plain with a pale blue to bluish grey streak. Juveniles are striped with black and white when first hatched but after a few weeks become a dull brown. Where does it live? Found over almost all of Australia, except for a small...
Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary

The prominent greyish casque and red wattle hanging from the neck, make the Southern Cassowary easily identifiable. The feathers of the body are black and hair-like, becoming more rufous toward the tail. The bare skin of the head and fore-neck is blue, while the hind-neck is red. The female is generally taller than the male and has a taller casque. Calls consist of a variety of guttural rumblings...

Mound-builders

Megapodiidae Three species of these mostly ground-dwelling birds are found in Australia. They are collectively known as mound-builders or megapodes (large feet) from the mounds of rotting vegetation they use to incubate their eggs, which can number over thirty in a single mound. The temperature of the mound is carefully monitored by the male, but the chicks must fend for themselves from the moment...
Malleefowl

Malleefowl

A large and unmistakable ground-dwelling bird that lays its eggs in a large mound of rotting vegetation and other ground matter. The male builds several mounds and the female selects the one she wants to lay her eggs in, burying them after she does so. The male returns regularly to the mound to monitor the temperature of the mound and consequently adding or removing material to maintain the desired...
Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

This large, mainly terrestrial bird is easily identified by its bright orange legs and feet, brown back and wings, and dark slate grey head, neck and underparts. The head has a small brown crest. Calls consist of a combination of loud clucks and screams. Although it is the smallest of the megapodes found in Australia, the Orange-footed Scrubfowl builds the largest incubation mound, up to three...

Guineafowl

Numididae Populations of the Helmeted Guineafowl Numida meleagris occur in Australia from escaped captive-bred individuals. While most of these are not considered to be self-sustaining and viable, several ongoing breeding populations continue to persist in areas of northern Queensland. Mostly ground-dwelling with strong legs and feet, and short, rounded wings.

New World Quail

Odontophoridae Represented in Australia by the introduced California Quail Callipepla californica , which is characterised by its ground-dwelling habits.  It is often seen in pairs and, if disturbed, runs erect or flies a short distance to cover. This species is most numerous on King Island (Tas) and Norfolk Island, and small populations may persist in restricted areas along the east mainland ...

Pheasants & Quail

Phasianidae These cryptic, ground-dwelling birds of grasslands, have short, rounded wings. Eight species occur in Australia, including one endemic (Stubble Quail Coturnix pectoralis ) and two breeding resident species (Brown Quail Synoicus ypsilophorus and King Quail S. chinensis ); the remaining five species are introduced.

Green Junglefowl

The male Green Junglefowl is easily-identified by its largely dark green, glossed plumage and bright red facial skin. The plumage is interspersed with highly reflective scales, adding brilliant yellow-gold, burnt orange, bronze and bright blue to its appearance, especially on the back, wings, neck and sides of the throat. The head is adorned with a semi-circular blue and pinkish-red crest. The female...

Magpie Goose

Anseranatidae The sole living representative of this family is the Magpie Goose Anseranas semipalmata . It differs from the ducks, geese and swans of the family Anatidae by having only partially webbed toes. This large goose is widespread throughout coastal northern and eastern Australia, although some individuals, mostly younger birds, are seen quite long distances inland. It is also found...
Magpie Goose

Magpie Goose

This large, noisy goose is readily recognised. The head and neck are black and there is a characteristic knobbed crow. The underparts are white with contrasting black margins on the underwing. The legs, feet and bill are orange. Males can reach up to 92 cm, but females are slightly smaller. It frequents floodplains and wet grasslands, where it is a specialist feeder, with wild rice Oryza, Panicum,...

Ducks, Geese & Swans

Anatidae Within Australia, there are 28 members in this group of fully web-footed waterfowl, including nine endemics, the Blue-billed Duck Oxyura australis , Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus , Cape Barren Goose Cereopsis novaehollandiae , Black Swan Cygnus atratus , Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides , Chestnut Teal Anas castanea , Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa...
Black Swan

Black Swan

What does it look like?  The only black swan found anywhere in the world, all other species being almost entirely white, except for one South American species that has a black neck. In flight the neck is held outstretched and the broad white wing tips contrast the otherwise black body. The bill of the adults is deep orange-red with a distinct narrow white band and paler white nail at the tip ...
Cape Barren Goose

Cape Barren Goose

Unmistakable large pale grey goose with bright yellowish cere and dark pink legs. Both sexes are similar and younger birds have an all grey bill and bluish-grey legs. Today the species is widespread throughout southern Australia, but in the 1950s it was considered to be close to extinction, and are still one of the world’s rarest geese, but the species was introduced to various locations (including M...
Wandering Whistling-Duck

Wandering Whistling-Duck

The plumage is generally dark, brown on the back, rear of neck and top of head, and chestnut-brown on the belly, with conspicuous white feathers along the side of the body and base of tail. Unlike the closely-related and superficially similar Plumed Whistling-Duck, the Wandering Whistling-Duck readily swims in water and obtains some food, mainly aquatic plants and seeds, by diving below the surface...

Tropicbirds

Phaethontidae These gull-like birds have long tapering wings and the adults are characterised by long central tail streamers. Three species in Australia, none of which are endemic. The Red-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon rubricauda (2 subspecies) and the White-tailed Tropicbird P. lepturus (3 subspecies) are resident, with the Christmas Island White-tailed Tropicbird P. l. fulvus not recorded...

Red-tailed Tropicbird

Phaethon rubricauda This is one of three similarly looking large white seabirds that occur within Australia and its territories. It can be generally identified by its long red tail streamers, although these are not present, or are greatly reduced, in young birds. The adult can be distinguished from the White-tailed Tropicbird P. lepturus (see p. ???) by its bright white plumage, red tail streamers...

Grebes

 Podicipedidae Grebes have fleshy feet set well back on the body, adapted for underwater manoeuvrability, but are unpractical for walking on land. Four species of these specialised waterbirds have been recorded in Australia. The Hoary-headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus is endemic to Australia, while the Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus is represented in Australia by a single ...

Hoary-headed Grebe

Commonly seen, but often mistaken for the Australasian Grebe, the Hoary-headed Grebe is perhaps the  most gregarious of the three grebes found in Australia, often seen nesting and roosting in groups.  It is found on open, fresh or brackish, waterways, throughout the majority of Australia.  The Hoary-headed Grebe is most easily identified during the breeding season, typically October to March, but ma...

Flamingoes

Phoenicopteridae A single record of the Greater Flamingo Phoenicopterus roseus has been accepted for the Cocos (Keeling) Islands from 1988. Unmistakable with any other bird recorded in Australia.

Pigeons & Doves

There are several groups of Australian pigeons including the colourful fruit-doves and partridge-like ground pigeons, all are generally plump, rounded birds with rapid flight. Within Australia the family consists of 36 recorded species, including 15 endemics, 10 wider-ranging natives, 5 vagrants, 4 introduced and 2 that have extinct Australian subspecies (Lord Howe White-throated Pigeon Columba vitiensis...
Bar-shouldered Dove

Bar-shouldered Dove

The Bar-shouldered Dove is a native to Australia.  It inhabits the wetter forests and woodlands, and vegetation along creeks and rivers.  It ranges across northern and eastern Australia, but has declined in numbers since the introduction of the Spotted Turtle-Dove.  Its slender build, brown upperparts, with distinct black edging to each feather, russet nape, grey face and throat and pale underparts, sh...
Common Bronzewing

Common Bronzewing

The Common Bronzewing is found in all but the most arid areas and densest rainforests, and is one of the most abundant of Australia’s pigeons.  When observed it is normally in small parties, feeding on the ground on seeds.  It is a very wary pigeon, and seldom allows close approach.  If startled it flies strongly and directly.  Birds are seldom found far from water, and the small groups will drink...
Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon

This native pigeon is common in much of mainland Australia.  The Crested Pigeon may be found in any habitat, with the exception of the denser forests and wetter coastal areas, but is seldom far from water.  There are only two Australian pigeon species that possess a crest.  The Spinifex Pigeon is markedly smaller, with cinnamon coloured plumage and a bright red facial patch.  The Crested Pigeon is ...
Diamond Dove

Diamond Dove

This slender dove is Australia’s smallest (19 to 21 cm) and is named after the numerous small white spots on its wings. The remainder of its plumage is bluish-grey on the head, neck and breast, cream on the belly and grey-brown on the back, wings and long thin tail. It has a conspicuous orange-red eye-ring which further distinguishes it from the superficially similar Peaceful Dove G. placida ...
Rock Dove

Rock Dove

The Rock Dove, Feral or Street Pigeon, is found in close association with human settlement throughout much of the world.  This association dates back through the centuries, when they were domesticated by the Egyptians, over 6000 years ago.  While there is no real indication as to when the species was introduced into Australia, large numbers of birds have been documented since the early to mid n...

White-quilled Rock-Pigeon

Petrophassa albipennis This plump, medium-large (28-30 cm) endemic pigeon inhabits the rocky sandstone and limestone escarpments and boulders of the WA and NT, in a broad band from the western Kimberley coast to central northern NT, where it is mostly ground-dwelling, feeding on seeds. There are two subspecies currently recognised. Both share the mottled dull brown plumage, each feather having...

Eared Nightjars

Eurostopodidae Two wide-ranging native species represent this family of cryptically-patterned, nocturnal insectivores, the Spotted Nightjar Eurostopodus argus and the White-throated Nightjar E. mysticalis . Both have bouncing flight and lack white patches in the tail.

Frogmouths

Podargidae These nocturnal birds rely on their cryptic plumage for camouflage against intruders. The widespread Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides is endemic. Both the Marbled Frogmouth P. ocellatus and the Papuan Frogmouth P. papuensis are also found in New Guinea.
Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth

The Tawny Frogmouth (34 to 53 cm) shows great variation in size throughout its large range, which covers the whole of Australia. Birds are larger in south-east than in north, and can be identified by generally silver-grey plumage, streaked and mottled with black and rufous, with large yellow eyes. Some birds may tend more russet-red instead of grey. In most regions this is the most commonly encountered...

Nightjars

Caprimulgidae Nocturnal, with typical bouncing flight, relying on cryptic plumage for camouflage on the ground during the day. The Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus is the only breeding species in Australia, while the Grey Nightjar C. indicus and Savanna Nightjar C. affinis have been recorded as vagrants.

Owlet-nightjars

Aegothelidae The single, wide-ranging species, the Australian Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles cristatus , is also found in PNG. It is small, cryptically-plumaged and nocturnal, roosting in hollows during the day. Its eyes to not reflect when illuminated by torchlight.

Swifts & Swiftlets

Apodidae Members of this family are long-winged and extremely weak-legged, and the two larger species in Australia have a spiny tail. They are specialised aerial feeders, capturing flying prey in the short, very wide beak. Nesting takes place in caves and crevices. Seven species have been recorded in Australia, although only three breed in the country, the Christmas Island Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia...

Northern Storm-Petrels

Hydrobatidae Both the Leach’s Storm-Petrel Hydrobates leucorhoa and Tristram’s Storm-Petrel H. tristami are listed as vagrants, whereas Matsudaira’s Storm-Petrel H. matsudaire and Swinhoe’s Storm-Petrel H. monorhis are non-breeding migrants. All are small, tube-nosed seabirds, with long legs and rounded wings.

Southern Storm-petrels

Oceanitidae Similar in most respects to the Hydrobatidae , and split on the basis of molecular evidence . Most of the seven species recorded in Australia are widely distributed. The White-faced Storm-Petrel Pelagodroma marina is believed to breed only in Australia. Both the New Zealand Storm-Petrel Fregetta maoriana and the Polynesian Storm-Petrel Nesofregetta fuliginosa are vagrants,...

Albatrosses

Diomedeidae Of the 22 recognised species (19 recorded in Australia) of this family of large, wide-roaming seabirds with long, narrow wings, only the Shy Albatross Thalassarche cauta breeds solely within Australia. Others occur as regular visitors from breeding sites outside the country. Three species have been recorded as vagrants. Unlike other similar tube-nosed species, albatrosses have a...
Wandering Albatross

Wandering Albatross

No other species of bird has grasped the admiration and respect of birdwatchers and fishermen alike. The Wandering Albatross may spend several days following a ship, gliding effortlessly on long slender wings, in all but the calmest winds. Its large size (80 to 135cm) and white plumage, with fine black wavy lines on the breast neck and upper back, and mottled with black on the back, readily distinguish...

Petrels & Shearwaters

Procellaridae All species of these oceanic birds have a single tube along their culmen, which contains the nostrils. This large and diverse family has had 57 species recorded in Australia, none are endemic, although two species are known to breed nowhere else, the Providence Petrel Pterodroma solandri and the Short-tailed Shearwater Ardenna tenuirostris . Of the remainder, 15 species are...
Short-tailed Shearwater

Short-tailed Shearwater

The Short-tailed Shearwater is dark brown in plumage, the underwing occasionally having traces of white in the center. The tail is rounded and when in flight, the dark grey feet trail slightly behind. This species should not be confused the the Sooty Shearwater A. grisea , which is larger with a longer bill. Immature birds are similar in plumage to the adults. During summer, this is the most...

Penguins

Spheniscidae Penguins are confined to the southern hemisphere. Fourteen species of these mostly ocean-dwelling, flightless birds have been recorded in Australia, most as vagrants. The Little Penguin Eudyptula minor is the only species to breed on the Australian mainland, Tasmania and coastal islands. The Royal Penguin Eudyptes schlegeli is believed to only breed on Macquarie Island, whereas...

King Penguin

Aptenodytes patagonicus An impressive crestless penguin, standing at a height of around 95 cm and can travel distances of over 450 km when foraging (mainly for fish) at sea. It is easily recognised purely by its size, the largest of the penguins to breed on Macca, and second only in size to the Emperor Penguin A. forsteri , which is a rare vagrant to the island. It has a black head and face,...
Little Penguin

Little Penguin

This small (32 to 34 cm), blue and white penguin is a common sight along the coastline of southern Australia, from Perth, Western Australia, to about Nelsons Bay, New South Wales.  Spending the daylight hours at sea, it awaits the cover of night before coming ashore to roost in rock crevices and burrows. On Phillip Island, the nightly “penguin parades” have become a tourist attraction. The Litt...

Royal Penguin

Eudyptes schlegeli This species is endemic to Macca, although vagrants do turn up as vagrants over a wide area and their exact winter movements (when much of the 7 month period is spent foraging for fish and crustaceans long distances offshore) are largely unknown. Macca (and the local smaller islets of Bishop and Clerk) is however, the only place where the 1.5 to 2 million strong breeding population...

Frigatebirds

Fregatidae Five species of these large seabirds, with long, pointed wings and long outer tail feather occur worldwide. Three species to breed in Australia, the Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel , Great Frigatebird F. minor and Christmas Island Frigatebird F. andrewsi , the last species has not been recorded in any other country.

Christmas Island Frigatebird

Fregata andrewsi This large (90-100cm) frigatebird has a deeply forked tail, long narrow wings and a large coral pink (adult female) or moderate dark grey (male) bill. The male is mostly black, with a white belly, and a large inflatable red throat sac. The female has a white belly and breast, with the white extending to the shoulders. It is larger than both the Great Frigatebird F. minor (86-93...

Gannets & Boobies

Sulidae Famed for their spectacular plunging dives, six species of these large, wide-ranging seabirds have been recorded in Australia. Five species are breeding residents of Australia, while the Cape Gannet Morus capensis , from South Africa, appears only as a vagrant. The Abbott’s Booby Papasula abbotti breeds only Christmas Island.

Masked Booby

Sula dactylatra At 75 to 85 cm, this is the largest booby. It is easily recognised by its predominantly white body, except for the prominent black flight feathers and thin black face mask. The long, pointed bill is normally yellow (brighter in males) with a black base, although it can have a greenish or orange wash. The eyes are yellow in all except the subspecies S. d. tasmani (present on...

Darters

Anhingidae The wide-roaming Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae is also recorded in Indonesia and New Guinea. It superficially resembles the cormorants, differing by having a pointed bill and long snake-like neck.

Cormorants

Of the six species of Cormorants that have been recorded breeding within Australia, only the Black-faced Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscescens is endemic. Four other species breed on the mainland, and one each on Heard Island and Macquarie Island. All share the characteristic long slender bodies and neck, short stiff tails, webbed feet, and slender bills with pronounced hooked tip. Cormorants are...

Pelicans

Pelicans are Large black and white birds, with a large, pouched bill. The Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus is the only pelican occurring in Australia and has not been recorded breeding in any other country. There is considerable truth to the popular saying that a pelican can hold more in its bill than it can in its belly.  In fact, in certain species, the large pouched bill of the ...
Australian Pelican

Australian Pelican

Its pouched bill, large size (1.6 to 1.8 m) and distinct black and white plumage makes the Australian Pelican unmistakable with any other bird when perched or feeding on the water. When soaring at great heights it can be mistaken for the White-bellied Sea-Eagle, although its long bill is normally visible when more closely scrutinised. The Australian Pelican feeds on a variety of aquatic prey, mainly...

Storks

Thee only stork recorded in Australia is the Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhnchus asiaticus . The subspecies that breeds within Australia, extends into Southeast Asia. Tall, with coral pink legs, dark head and large bill. The White Stork (not found in Australia) has been a noted part of European folklore for many centuries.  It has been a symbol of fertility and a bringer of good luck.  One story t...
Black-necked Stork

Black-necked Stork

This large bird (1.3 to 1.4 m), with black and white body plumage, glossed dark green and purple neck and robust black bill, is the only member of the stork family found in Australia. It inhabits wetlands, such as floodplains of rivers with large shallow swamps and pools, and deeper permanent bodies of water.  Within these areas the Black-necked Stork, or Jabiru, feeds on fish, small crustaceans ...

Herons, Egrets & Bitterns

Ardeidae Twenty-five species have been recorded in Australia, only one of which is endemic, the common and familiar White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica . Eleven appear as vagrants, while the remainder breed in Australia but have wider distributions, beyond the continent. Moderately tall, with extended neck and pointed bill.
Australasian Bittern

Australasian Bittern

Cryptically-plumaged dark to mid-brown and pale buff, with the markings of the throat and back arranged in a longitudinal pattern. When disturbed it freezes, with its head and bill pointing skywards, the longitudinal pattern mimicking the surrounding reeds of the wetlands within which it lives. In this way it usually avoids detection, although the white of the throat can betray its presence to...
Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

Smallest of the Australian egrets, this bird should not be larger Intermediate Egret, which occasionally occupies similar habitat. Both species have a yellow bill (unlike the Little Egret, which has a predominantly black bill). The Cattle Egret walks with a very obvious back-and-forth head movement. For most of the year it has almost entirely white plumage but, during the breeding season (October...

Ibises & Spoonbills

Threskiornithidae Superficially similar to herons but with long decurved (ibises) or spatula-like (spoonbills) bills, with five breeding residents, the Australian White Ibis Threskiornis moluccus , Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia and Glossy Ibis Plegadis falcinellus also breed in other countries, whereas the Straw-necked Ibis T. spinicollis breeds only in Australia. The Yellow-billed...

Hawks & Eagles

[Family: Accipitridae] Twenty-two species, including six endemics and three vagrants, falling into several groups including eagles, sea-eagles, goshawks, harriers and kites. The Osprey Pandion haliaetus is included here, but is separated by some taxonomists into its own family Pandionidae. All are carnivorous, with a hook-shaped bill and sharp claws, the larger species have broad wings for...
Black Kite

Black Kite

What does it look like?  This medium-sized dark brown bird of prey is a common sight around bush fires, where it seizes the unfortunate insects and small animals that flee the flames. Its drab plumage makes it sometimes difficult to distinguish from other birds of prey, such as the Little Eagle, Whistling Kite and Square-tailed Kite.  In flight, however, its long forked tail and almost unmarked un...
Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite

What does it look like?  This beautiful chestnut and white raptor is unmistakable. It is easily recognized by its head, neck and breast and contrasting chestnut belly and upperparts. First-year birds resemble Whistling Kites, but lack pale wedges on the underwing, and have a shorter tail. Where does it live?  Found in northern Australia, from about Carnarvon, Western Australia to Hastings R...
Wedge-tailed Eagle

Wedge-tailed Eagle

With a wingspan that exceeds 2 metres, the beautiful Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax is the largest of Australia’s raptors. The plumage is chiefly blackish-brown, with paler brown on the wings, nape and undertail coverts. In flight the wings are held upswept and the characteristic wedge-shaped tail is clearly visible. Pair-bonds are permanent and territories are held year-round. It is normally s...
Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

Although it feeds on live prey, the Whistling Kite resembles other kites in its scavenging behaviour and can often be seen feeding on animals killed on the road. Chiefly brown, paler and more streaked on the head, neck and underparts. In flight, the margins of the wings are darker, with a pale grey-brown wedge towards the tip of each wing. The underside of the tail is also pale grey-brown. The...
White-bellied Sea-Eagle

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

This unmistakeable large bird of prey is a common sight in coastal and near coastal areas of Australia, however they are rarer along the Victorian coastline. Adults have white on the head, rump and underparts and dark grey on the back and wings. In flight the contrasting black flight feathers are easily visible from below. Young birds may be confused with the Wedge-tailed Eagle, but differ in having...

Falcons

Falconidae The Black Falcon Falco subniger and the Grey Falcon F. hypoleuca are the only endemics of the seven species recorded in Australia. The Australian Hobby F. longipennis, Brown Falcon F. berigora and Nankeen Kestrel F. cenchroides also occur in neighbouring countries, while the Peregrine Falcon F. peregrinus , has a cosmopolitan distribution. The Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo...
Nankeen Kestrel

Nankeen Kestrel

This slightly-built (31 to 36cm) falcon is found in most habitats throughout Australia. When observed, its rich rufous upperparts and pale buff underparts, both sparsely spotted and streaked with black, and black-tipped wings and tail, distinguish it from other similar-sized birds of prey. In open woodland and agricultural areas, where it is most common, the Nankeen Kestrel is often seen hovering...

Cranes

Gruidae The most common and widespread crane in Australia is the Brolga Grus rubicunda , a breeding resident that also occurs in Indonesia and PNG. The Sarus Crane G. antigone is more restricted. Both are tall grey birds, with long legs and red heads.
Brolga

Brolga

The Brolga is a large (110 to 134cm) grey crane, with a red head and grey crown. It is widespread across tropical northern Australia, southwards through central New South Wales to western Victoria.  Within these areas it can be found in wetlands, coastal mudflats, grasslands, woodlands, crops and, less frequently mangrove-studded creeks and estuaries. Although omnivorous, the Brolga prefers to ...

Crakes & Rails

Rallidae Stocky semi-aquatic birds of wetlands and adjacent grassland, typically with elongated toes. The endemic White Gallinule Porphyrio albus was aggressively hunted by sailors and whalers in the late 1700s and early 1800s and likely became rapidly extinct around this time. The 21 other species on the Australian list includes four extant endemics, the Lord Howe Woodhen Hypotaenidia sylvestris...
Australian Spotted Crake

Australian Spotted Crake

This large crake can be distinguished from the smaller Baillon’s Crake by its all-white undertail and two-tone bill, which is olive-green with a red base to the upper mandible. Both crakes are, however, mottled brown and black above, spotted with white, and have black and white barring on the belly. (The Spotless Crake is chiefly grey-brown with bright orange legs and feet. The White-browed Crake h...
Eurasian Coot

Eurasian Coot

What does it look like?  Often referred to as the Bald Coot, the Eurasian Coot is an attractive bird.  The name Bald Coot stems from the Saxon word bald, meaning white, and refers to its snowy white bill.  The remainder of the bird is black, except for its bright red eye. Where does it live?  The Coot is found throughout Australia. It also self-transported itself to New Zealand, where it ...
Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen

This large (44 to 48 cm), predominantly purplish-blue and black rail is unmistakable with any other Australian waterbird. Its robust red bill and frontal shield and large orange-red legs and feet are also characteristic. The Purple Swamphen is a common sight throughout northern and eastern Australia, where it inhabits freshwater swamps, marshlands, and streams. The call, a loud “kee-ow”, is als...
Tasmanian Native-hen

Tasmanian Native-hen

This large flightless bird, with grey legs, yellowish bill, reddish eye and large, flattened tail, is endemic to Tasmania. It is similar to the smaller Black-tailed Native-hen T. ventralis of the Australian mainland, which has been recorded as a vagrant in Tasmania. The plumage is generally olive-brown above and grey below, with white patches on the thighs and some white flecking in the wings....

Bustards

Otididae Typically, stocky birds of open plains, with an erect stance. The Australian Bustard Ardeotis australis is a breeding resident of Australia, but also occurs in New Guinea.
Australian Bustard

Australian Bustard

No other Australian bird resembles the bustard. The back and wings are brown; black and white spotting in the front of the wings is most extensive in the male. The head and neck are grey-buff, except for the black crown, eye-stripe for the black crown, eye-stripe and breast band (browner and less prominent in the female). The remainder of the underparts are white. If alarmed, a bustard tends to...

Sheathbills

The only representative of this family in Australia is the Black-faced Sheathbill Chionis minor , found on Heard Island in the subantarctic region of the Southern Ocean, around 4,000 km south-west of the mainland. Scientific name: Chionidae (family)

Stone-curlews

Burhinidae Two species of long-legged, generally shy, cryptically-plumaged birds. Both the Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius and Beach Stone-curlew Esacus magnirostris are breeding residents in Australia, but are also found in New Guinea, while the Beach Stone-curlew is also found throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Beach Stone-curlew

Esacus magnirostris Is a large (56 cm), heavily-built wader with a thick-set bill and conspicuous bold black and white markings on the face and upper wings. The remainder of the plumage is grey-brown above and pale grey on the chest, becoming white on the belly. It inhabits coastal areas of Australia’s north, from around Exmouth WA to northern NSW, less commonly to the NSW-Vic border. Usually s...

Oystercatchers

Haematopodidae Both the Australian Pied Oystercatcher Haematopus longirostris and Sooty Oystercatcher H. fuliginosus are endemic to Australia. The only other species recorded in Australia is the vagrant South Island Pied Oystercatcher H. finschi , from New Zealand. All species have orange-red legs and a long straight orange-red bill.

Stilts and Avocets

Recurvirostridae Three species occur in Australia. Of these, both the Banded Stilt Chladorhynchus leucocephalus and Red-necked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae are endemic. The Pied Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus is a breeding resident, but also occurs worldwide. Long, slender legs and slander bills, upwardly curved in the Red-necked Avocet.

Plovers & Dotterels

Charadriidae Of the 20 species recorded in Australia, the Hooded Plover Thinornis cucullatus , Black-fronted Dotterel Elseyornis melanops , Red-kneed Dotterel Erythrogonys cinctus and Inland Dotterel Charadrius australis are the only endemics. Thirteen of the remaining 16 occur in Australia as non-breeding migrants (six) or vagrants (seven). Variable, but typically small to medium,...
Black-fronted Dotterel

Black-fronted Dotterel

This small (16 to 18 cm) wader is a breeding resident in Australia. When observed it is easily identified by its white underparts and distinct black Y-shaped band which extends across the chest, around to the base of the neck and through the eye to the forehead (this may be absent in younger birds). Its bill is orange-red, tipped with black, and it has a conspicuous orange ring around the eye....
Hooded Plover

Hooded Plover

This small shorebird inhabits sandy beaches, where it feeds on small insects, molluscs and crustaceans. Its range extends from Jervis Bay, NSW, south and west to the Eyre Peninsula SA and also from Esperance and Perth in south-western WA. In Tasmania they occur on all coastal beaches and islands. The adult is unmistakable, with its black head, orange eyering and two-toned orange and black bill....
Red-capped Plover

Red-capped Plover

This is a small (14 to 16.5cm) shorebird. Brown above, reddish on the crown and nape, and with a white face and underparts, the Red-capped Plover cannot be confused with any other shorebird regularly found in Australia. The vagrant Kentish Plover C. alexandrinus has a white collar around the nape. It feeds mainly on insects, which are caught on the drier shores of lakes, estuaries, marshes and...

Plains-wanderer

Pedionomidae A single endemic species, the endangered Plains-wanderer Pedionomus torquatus , is found in central, south-eastern Australia. A quail-like wader, but typically with a more upright stance, resident of short, sparse grasslands. Populations fluctuate greatly in association with rainfall and available food. The male incubates the eggs and rears the chicks.

Jacanas

Jacanidae Two species of these lily-trotting birds, with grotesquely elongated toes, appear in Australia. The Australian Comb-crested Jacana Irediparra gallinacea is the only breeding species, while the Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus is a vagrant.

Painted Snipe

Rostratulidae The endangered Australian Painted Snipe Rostratula australis is endemic to Australia. A nomadic inhabitant of temporary wetlands, generally secretive, with medium-length legs and a slightly decurved beak. The male incubates the eggs and rears the chicks.

Curlews & Sandpipers

Scolopacidae A large family of variably-sized waders, with 45 species recorded in Australia. None are resident, with 27 appearing as migrants and the remaining 18 as vagrants. The curlews are characterised by their long downwardly-curved bill.
Bar-tailed Godwit

Bar-tailed Godwit

This bird is a common sight throughout coastal Australia during August to April each year. A non-breeding migrant, the Bar-tailed Godwit can be identified by its large size (37 to 45cm), and long, slightly upturned bill. It is often difficult to distinguish from the similar Black-tailed Godwit, but its white underwing, barred rump, shorter bill, and lack of white wingbar should identify it when...
Red Knot

Red Knot

Australia is visited by the largest non-breeding numbers (>130,000) of the Red Knot, which breeds predominantly in Siberia, but also in the Canadian Arctic, Alaska and nearby areas. The species occurs in coastal areas around the Australian mainland and offshore islands during the summer migration period, although is most numerous along Eighty Mile Beach and Roebuck Bay, WA, and In the Gulf of...

Button-quails

Turnicidae Small, cryptically-plumaged, ground-dwelling birds of grasslands. Five endemic species and two wider ranging native species. Of the non-endemic natives, the only subspecies in Australia of the Red-backed Button-quail Turnix maculosus , the Australian Red-backed Button-quail T. m. pseutes also occurs in New Guinea, whereas both the Houtman Abrolhos Painted Button-quail T. varius...

Pratincoles

Glareolidae Tern-like shorebirds, with long pointed wings and a short tail. The Australian Pratincole Stiltia isabella is endemic, whereas the Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum is a non-breeding migrant from China and Mongolia.

Skuas & Jaegers

Five species of these predatory seabirds have been recorded in Australian waters. Of these, the South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki is a vagrant, whereas the three species of jaeger, the Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus , Arctic Jaeger S. parasiticus and Pomarine Jaeger S. pomarinus, are non-breeding seasonal visitors, and the Brown Skua Catharacta antarcticus is a wider-ranging...

Gulls & Terns

Laridae Thirty-five species have been recorded in Australia, of which on the Pacific Gull Larus pacificus is endemic. Of the 11 gulls, the only other breeding species are the Silver Gull Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae    and Kelp Gull L. dominicanus . Several of the 23 terns breed in Australia, while others occur as regular non-breeding visitors or as vagrants.
Crested Tern

Crested Tern

In coastal areas, this medium-sized tern, with  robust yellow bill, grey wings and back, white neck and underparts, and scraggy black crest, is perhaps the most commonly seen tern in Australia.   In size, it is the second largest Australian species, second only to the Caspian Tern, which measures 50 to 55 cm, and has a huge red bill.  The similar Lesser Crested Tern, found in northern Australia, has...
Pacific Gull

Pacific Gull

This is a large gull. The back and wings are black and the head, neck and underparts are white. The white tail, with a broad black band towards the tip, and large yellow bill with red tip, distinguish it from the otherwise similar Kelp Gull L. dominicus . Young birds are predominantly dark brown and buff in plumage, the yellow bill becoming visible after the first year. It often occurs in small...
Silver Gull

Silver Gull

This is the smallest of the resident Australian gulls.  In adult birds the plumage is grey above, with a white head, neck and underparts; younger birds have varying amounts of brown mottling on the back and wings.  Adult birds also differ from the young in having conspicuous red-orange legs, bill and eye-ring; these are black to brown in younger birds.   The Silver Gull is common and widespread and...

White Tern

Gygis alba The moment that you are coming into land at the International Airport, is likely to be the first time that you see these ethereal birds. The White Tern in its various subspecies are found across the world’s tropical oceans. Despite their common name, it is more closely related to the Noddies than to terns. It is a dainty, white tern with blue to black bill, black eye-ring and feet. T...

Kakas

Nestoridae Extinct in Australia. The only Australian representative of this family, the Norfolk Island Kaka Nestor productus , was restricted NI, and was closely related to the living Kaka N. meridionalis of New Zealand.

Cockatoos

Cacatuidae Eleven of Australia’s 14 species are endemic, with the others shared with New Guinea. Medium to large crested birds, except the Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus is more slender and parrot-like, with two toes facing forwards and two facing rearwards (zygodactylous). Many form noisy flocks, which can consist of several hundred individuals in some species.
Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo

Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo

Also known as the Short-billed Black-Cockatoo, the Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo is easily confused with the Baudin’s (or Long-billed) Black-Cockatoo Z. baudinii , which has a longer upper mandible, although this can often be partially obscured by feathers. Both are large (54-56cm) black cockatoos with a white cheek patch and white panels in the tail. The male of both species has a pinkish eye-ring. The...
Cockatiel

Cockatiel

The Cockatiel, or Quarrion as it is popularly called, is actually a cockatoo, although its slender body and long pointed tail is more characteristic to that of a parrot. It is widespread throughout mainland Australia, but large numbers are found in the more arid inland areas, where it can be seen feeding on a variety of grass seeds, nuts, berries and grain. Feeding may take place either on the...
Gang-gang Cockatoo

Gang-gang Cockatoo

The state bird emblem of the ACT, and can be identified by its general grey plumage, each feather edged with greyish-white, and its short, square tail. The male has a conspicuous red, curly crest. It is almost completely arboreal, venturing to the ground only to drink or to pick up fallen food. It is easily overlooked when feeding. The common call is a prolonged creaky screech. It inhabits the...

Glossy Black-Cockatoo

Calyptorhynchus lathami Although the smallest Black-Cockatoo (around 36cm) it is still very impressive. The male has a similar red band on the tail to the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus banksii , however the crest is reduced to a small crown and the head has faint yellow around the feather edges. The bill in both males and females is large and the rest is a charcoal black. The female...

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

Cacatua leadbeateri This is a beautiful salmon-pink and white cockatoo. When the crest is erected it reveals a dark pink-red colouration with a broad yellow band running through the centre. In flight, the dark pink of the under-wings is clear visible. It feeds on a variety of seeds, nuts, fruits and insects, both in trees and on the ground. Forming small flocks, occasionally in the company of...

Palm Cockatoo

Probosciger aterrimus Both sexes of this large (around 56cm), predominantly dark blue-black cockatoo, with massive upper bill and scarlet facial patch, are similar, although the females are generally smaller than the males. The crest consists of numerous elongated plumes, which appear untidy and backswept. The younger birds have a paler face and yellowish flecking on the feathers of the underparts....

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo

Calyptorhynchus banksii This is a large, black cockatoo. The male is easily identified by its dense crest of black feathers, almost entirely black plumage, and bright red undertail. The female is duller grey-brown, barred and spotted with yellow, and has a diagnostic whitich bill. The Glossy Black-Cockatoo C. lathami (see p. ???) of south-east Australia and Kangaroo Island, SA, has a paler...

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Cacatua galerita The white plumage, black bill and distinctive sulphur-yellow crest of the common and familiar Sulphur-crested Cockatoo distinguish it from all other cockatoos found in Australia. Although the normal diet consists of berries, seeds, nuts and roots, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has become a pest around urban areas, where it uses its powerful bill to destroy timber decking and panelling...
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

This cockatoo is easily identified by its predominantly black plumage, the feathers of the body edged with yellow, and its yellow cheek patch and yellow panels on the underside of the tail. (The Carnaby’s, or Short-billed, Black-Cockatoo, found in south-western Western Australia and having white tail panels instead of yellow, was formerly considered a subspecies of the Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo r...

Parrots & Lorikeets

A large family, with 43 species recorded in Australia, including the extinct Paradise Parrot Psephotellus pulcherrimus , which is the only mainland species of bird to have become extinct since European settlement. Thirty-six of the remaining 42 species are endemic to Australia. Some are widespread in the country, while others have very restricted distributions. The lorikeets have a brush-tipped...

Australian King Parrot

Found in wet eucalypt forest along the east coast and ranges of Australia, the Australian King Parrot is a striking bird. Adult males have an entirely red head, orange bill and pale green shoulder stripe, the female has a dark grey bill and a green head. The bird picture here is an immature male, that is developing the red colouration of the adult. It feeds on seeds, nectar, fruits and some insects,...

Blue Bonnet

Northiella haematogaster The beautifully decorated Blue Bonnet cannot be confused with any other parrot found in Australia. The breast, neck and upperparts are grey-brown, the belly and ventral area are yellow, with varying amounts of red, and the fore-crown, face and chin are blue. When walking on the ground or perched, the stance is very upright. The contact call is a harsh ‘cluck-cluck’, oft...

Blue-winged Parrot

Neophema chrysostoma The main populations of this slender parrot are in southern Vic. and Tas., although smaller populations are scattered throughout western NSW and eastern SA, and uncommonly further north to south-west Qld and the NT. It is olive-green above, becoming more blue on the tail and with broad blue wing patches. The belly is yellowish, and there is a yellow patch around the face and...

Budgerigar

The Budgerigar is a native to Australia.  Since its discovery by John Gould in 1794, it has become internationally popular as a cage bird.  The first captive breeding was performed in about 1840, by John Gould’s cousin, Charles Coxon.   Since this introduction into captivity, it has been bred into a variety of colour forms, including pure white, blue, yellow, mauve, olive and grey.  Naturally, the Bu...

Crimson Rosella

Although the adult Crimson Rosella is unmistakable in its rich crimson plumage and bright blue cheeks, young birds have caused much confusion.  Most young birds have the characteristic blue cheeks, but the remainder of the plumage is a mixture of greens, reds and blues.  The young bird gradually attains the adult plumage over a period of 15 months.  In adult birds the back and wings are black, with ea...

Green Rosella

Platycercus caledonicus Endemic to Tasmania, this solidly-built parrot is Australia’s largest rosella (33 to 37 cm). More yellow when mature, with a blue throat patch and reddish forehead and face, the red wash extends to below the blue throat patch in the adult female. The wings and tail are dark blue and the back is dark green, each feather with a darker blackish centre. Younger birds are p...

Ground Parrot

Pezoporus wallicus Cryptically-coloured. Predominantly grass-green, mottled with black and yellow, and with a bright red patch above the bill (adults). Ground-dwelling amongst the dense heath and most often seen only when flushed, after which it typically flies a short distance before dropping back into the dense vegetation. The call, a high-pitched “tee-tee-teeee”, uttered mostly at dawn and...

Norfolk Island Green Parrot

Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae cookii The Norfolk Island Green Parrot (a subspecies of the Red-fronted Parakeet), is an endemic bird. Like its congeners elsewhere in the South Pacific, it is primarily green with a blue leading edge to the wings but having a red crown and spot behind the eye. At the time of the first British settlement, they were described as being in destructive plagues of very large...

Orange-bellied Parrot

Neophema chrysogaster The Orange-bellied Parrot, or OBP as it is often called, is the most threatened bird species in Australia and one of the most threatened parrot species in the world, with an estimated 50 individuals left in the wild. It is known to frequent the WTP during the colder months, where it feeds on the ground, mainly on the ground on the fruits, flowers and seeds of sedges in areas...

Red-collared Lorikeet

Trichoglossus rubritorquis This large (29cm) lorikeet is easily recognised by its striking blue head, purplish and orange shoulders, green lower back and wings, bright orange to yellow-orange breast, purplish-blue belly, yellowish-green undertail and base of legs, and orange collar. The orange collar is the main character which distinguishes it from the closely-related Rainbow Lorikeet T. haematodus...

Regent Parrot

Polytelis anthopeplus Two geographically isolated populations of this endemic slender yellow parrot, with darker bluish-black tail and wings, are found in Australia. One population inhabits areas of eucalypt woodland and mallee within eastern Australia (south-western NSW, north-western Vic and eastern SA), and the other occurs within open forest and woodlands in the wheatbelt region of south-western...

Scarlet-chested Parrot

Neophema splendida A striking, colourful parrot. The male has bright scarlet chest, orange-yellow belly, bright green upperparts (wings edged with pale blue) and striking blue face. The female has a paler face and green chest. The somewhat similar Turquoise Parrot N. pulchella has a yellow chest and red in the wing (male) and the female is very similar to the female Scarlet-chested Parrot,...

Superb Parrot

Polytelis swainsonii Brilliant green, with a long, tapered tail and orange bill. The male has a bright yellow face and throat, bordered with orange below and with an orange wash on the forehead. The female has a bluish tinge to the facial feathers and has orange-red thighs. The wings of both sexes have a blue wash and the underside of the tail is reddish. The flight is fast and direct. Often seen...

Turquoise Parrot

Neophema pulchella This small (20 cm) parrot shows strong sexual dimorphism. The male has a turquoise head, yellow underparts and an olive-green back. While the median, outer lesser wing-coverts and secondary-coverts are turquoise blue with the innermost median coverts chestnut red, appearing as a band running down the shoulders when not in flight. The female lacks the chestnut wing patch and...

Cuckoos

These are renowned for laying their eggs in the nests of other birds, leaving the unsuspecting hosts to incubate the eggs and raise the young cuckoo.Of the Australian species, only the coucals build nests and raise their own young, a behaviour actually shared by most of the world’s cuckoos. No endemic species of this family occur in Australia. Of the 17 species that have been recorded here, three s...

Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo

Cacomantis castaneiventris The Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo is dark grey above and bright chestnut below, with inconspicuous narrow white barring on the undertail. The eyering and feet are yellow. Younger birds are brownish below and grey-brown above, with a rufous rump. Within Australia it occurs within Cape York Peninsula, Qld, where it overlaps with the somewhat similar Fan-tailed Cuckoo C. flabelliformis...

Common Koel

In September each year, the Common Koel arrives from India and New Guinea.  Light sleepers are immediately aware of its presence due to its habit of calling during the night, often from a perch adjacent a bedroom window.  The call is an incessant “ko-el, ko-el, ko-el” which is repeated in a rising pitch.  The call is also made during the day.  The Common Koel is a member of the cuckoo family.  The male...

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Cacomantis flabelliformis Throughout eastern Australia and south-western Western Australia and Tasmania, the descending mournful trill of the Fan-tailed Cuckoo is a familiar sound, particularly during the breeding season, which is between August and December in the east, and June to October in the west. Host species include flycatchers, fairy-wrens, scrubwrens and thornbills, particularly the...

Pallid Cuckoo

This large cuckoo, is almost hawk-like in appearance.  It is found in most open wooded areas and open country throughout Australia, where it is the most common and widely distributed of the cuckoos.  It is instantly identified by its grey plumage, and broadly barred black and white undertail.  No other Australian cuckoo has this colouration.  Younger birds are more brown and buff on the back and win...

Pheasant Coucal

The Pheasant Coucal ranges through northern and eastern Australia.  When breeding, the plumage the head, neck and underparts is black, with brown wings, back and tail.  Outside of this time the head and neck are straw-coloured, with paler feather shafts.  The call is also an unmistakable “oop-oop-oop-oop-oop...”, descending in the middle and then rising at the end. The Pheasant Coucal may breed ...

Hawk Owls

Strigidae These owls are characterised by their rounded head and short legs. They are moderately-sized to large birds, the largest in Australia being the endemic Powerful Owl Ninox strenua . Two other endemic species are the Tasmanian Boobook N. leucopsis and Christmas Island Hawk-Owl N. natalis . A further four resident species have endemic subspecies, Rufous Owl N. rufa , Barking Owl...

Christmas Island Hawk-Owl

Ninox natalis This small (26 to 29 cm) owl is endemic to Christmas Island, and is instantly recognised by its bold rufous and white barring on the underparts and reddish-brown back and wings (juveniles are paler, with whitish down). The large round eyes have a bright yellow iris. It is the only owl species on Christmas Island (which should aid identification), and was formerly considered to be...

Masked Owls

Tytonidae The masked or barn owls are moderately-sized to large birds, with large facial discs and long legs. Five species are resident in Australia, the endemic Lesser Sooty Owl Tyto multipunctata , wide ranging Eastern Grass Owl T. longimembris and Masked Owl T. novaehollandiae , and the Greater Sooty Owl T. tenebricosa, which is also found in New Guinea. The Eastern Barn Owl T. alba...

Eastern Grass Owl

Tyto longimembris A medium-sized (32 to 42m) masked owl with long legs and a somewhat skinny appearance, the Eastern Grass Owl is known for its frequent low level (5 metres above the ground) hunting glides and hovering at night, and otherwise general ground-dwelling habits. It is easily confused with other similar owls, namely the paler and more greyish Barn Owl T. alba and larger and more...

Kingfishers

Alcedinidae Both the Azure and Little Kingfishers feed on small fish, insects and crustaceans. They are both found in well-vegetated riverine areas, swamps and mangroves. The Azure Kingfisher Ceyx azureus is found in Australia’s north and east (mainland) and in Tasmania, while the Little Kingfisher Ceyx pusillus is confined to the north and north-east. Of the remaining eleven species that h...

Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher

Tanysiptera sylvia Between mid-October and early November this beautiful kingfisher arrives in Australia from New Guinea to breed, and indeed several pairs nest within the grounds of Kingfisher Park, within hollows in termite mounds on the ground. Eggs are typically laid in December and the young birds typically fledge by early March. Its blue, black and white upperparts, orange-buff breast and...

Forest Kingfisher

Todiramphus macleayii Usually seen sitting motionless on an open branch or telegraph wire, the Forest Kingfisher is easily identified by its deep, royal blue head and upper-parts and striking white underparts. Male birds have a broad white collar. Birds in eastern Australia are more turquoise and have a smaller white wing spot. A harsh repetitive ‘t’ reek t’ reek’ can be heard throughout the bre...

Laughing Kookaburra

Instantly recognisable in both plumage and voice, the Laughing Kookaburra Is the NSW bird emblem. It occurs throughout eastern Australia and the extreme south-west of WA, and inhabits most areas where there are suitable trees. The chuckling "koo-koo-koo-koo-koo-kaa-kaa-kaa" is a familiar sound throughout its range. It also has a shorter “koooaa”.  In the central north and north-west of Australia it i...

Yellow-billed Kingfisher

Syma torotoro This is a small kingfisher, with orange head neck and underparts, olive-black back and wings, and bright blue tail. The female is distinguishable from the male be her black crown. Immatures are similar to the adults but paler, with a black eye patch that extends into a stripe behind the eye, black stripe on the upper mandible, and have black flecking through the orange plumage. Juveniles...

Bee-eaters

Meropidae No endemic species in Australia. These birds are brightly coloured with long wings and a long central tail feather. The slender, slightly decurved beak is employed in aerial feeding. The single Australian species, the Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus , nests in an earthen burrow, and migrates to southern Australia from the north.

Rainbow Bee-eater

Merops ornatus This brilliantly coloured bird is unmistakable in both plumage and voice. Both sexes have beautiful blue-green body plumage, a rufous crown, a yellow throat, and conspicuous black lines through the eyes and on the two central tail feathers extend beyond the rest of the tail; these are longer on the male. In flight the wings are bright rufous-orange below. The call is a high-pitched...

Rollers

Coraciidae Rollers are so-named because of their rolling courtship display-flight. The Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis is a migrant to Australia, arriving in September each year to breed. Although the breeding season ends in about January each year, individuals remain in Australia until about April, before returning to New Guinea, the Solomons and the Philippines. The European Roller Coracias...

Dollarbird

The Dollarbird is a migrant to Australia, arriving in September each year to breed.  The name is derived from a large blue-white spot on each wing, resembling American dollar coins in size and shape.  The remaining plumage is dark brown, glossed with blue-green on the back and wings.  The bill is orange-red, finely tipped with black.  The Dollarbird is the sole Australian representative of the Rol...

Pittas

Pittidae These brightly coloured and generally terrestrial birds, with short, rounded wings and long legs, are represented in Australia by the Rainbow Pitta P. iris , the Noisy Pitta P. versicolor and the Red-bellied Pitta P. erythrogaster . Three other species have been recorded in Australia as vagrants.

Lyrebirds

Menuridae Both species of these largely terrestrial birds, with short, rounded wings, and stout legs and feet, are endemic. The Albert’s Lyrebird Menura alberti is confined to a small area along the Qld and NSW border, while the Superb Lyrebird M. novaehollandiae , much famed for its exceptional vocal mimicry, is more widely-distributed in south-eastern Australia and has been introduced i...

Scrub-birds

Atricornithidae This family of elusive, largely ground-dwelling birds, with cryptic plumage is confined to Australia. Similar to the closely-related lyrebirds, they are proficient mimics. The Rufous Scrub-bird Atrichornis rufescens lives in central eastern Australia, while the Noisy Scrub-bird A. clamosus is confined to south-western WA. Both species are endangered.

Noisy Scrub-bird

Atrichornis clamosus Although birds (mostly males) call for most of the year, the males are most vocal during the breeding season (May to October) and actively defend their territories. In fact the loud, piercing call is the best way to locate these cryptically plumaged, secretive birds, as this alone will usually betray their presence. Even if located by call, they can be very difficult to view,...

Treecreepers

Climacteridae All six species of this family found in Australia are endemic. The White-throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaea is common along the east coast. The Brown Treecreeper Climacteris. picumnus, Black-tailed Treecreeper C. melanurus and Rufous Treecreeper C. rufus replace each other around the country, as do the Red-browed Treecreeper C. erythrops and White-browed Treecreeper...

Brown Treecreeper

Climacteris picumnus Of the seven treecreepers found in the world, six are found in Australia (the seventh is found in New Guinea). The Brown Treecreeper, found in the drier open forests and woodlands throughout eastern Australia, is a common and familiar bird. Its call, a loud ‘spink’, uttered either singly or in a series, generally betrays its presence before the bird is observed. The Brown Tre...

Rufous Treecreeper

Climacteris rufus The Rufous Treecreeper is easily recognised by its rufous-brown face and underparts, brown back, wings and crown, and typical treecreeper behaviour of climbing up the trunks of trees, along branches or on the ground, prying under loose bark and leaf litter for insects and other invertebrates. The male is distinguished from the female by the dark streaks on his breast, the female...

Bowerbirds

There are eight endemic species of bowerbirds in Australia, with a further two also found in New Guinea. In all bower-building species, the male constructs, decorates and maintains the bower, which he uses to attract females for mating. The bower is wrongly referred to by most people as a nest. The nest, in most species, is a loose construction of twigs built by the female. Four basic types of bowers...

Great Bowerbird

Found across northern Australia, this dull, fawn-coloured bird with darker mottled upperparts inhabits the rainforest fringes, drier eucalypt forest and riverine woodlands.  The striking lilac crest, situated on the rear of the neck, is revealed only during courtship display, and much reduced or absent in the female.  The male constructs a large bower, with two parallel, interwoven stick walls, which i...

Green Catbird

Ailuroedus crassirostris The Green Catbird is a robust bird (29 to 34 cm) with bright green wings and tail, a pale white bill and a red iris. Both sexes have distinct white-spots on the otherwise green underparts, and a dusky crown, nape and face. The lack of blackish ear coverts and the uniform bright green plumage of the larger Green Catbird distinguish it from the Spotted Catbird. It has strong...

Regent Bowerbird

Sericulus chrysocephalus The Regent Bowerbird is a relatively small, slender bowerbird. It has a long, straight thin bill, which is yellow in the adult male and dark brown in the female. Both sexes are generally inconspicuous, which is surprising given the male’s striking plumage. The majority of the body is deep velvety black, with rich golden yellow plumage on the head, nape and wings. The y...

Spotted Catbird

Ailuroedus melanotis The Spotted, or Black-eared, Catbird inhabits the tropical rainforests of north-eastern Queensland, Australia, and is also found throughout New Guinea. It is a large, secretive, solid green, dark-headed bird with a red iris and a stout pale bill. It has long powerful legs and bounds from branch to branch in search for food. Feeding birds are quite difficult to detect because...

Western Bowerbird

Ptilonorhynchus guttatus The Western Bowerbird feeds mainly on fruits, including those of the Rock Fig ( Ficus platypoda ), Sandalwood ( Santalum spicatum ), Snake Gourd (T richosanthes cucumerina ) and mistletoe (family Loranthaceae). Other foods include nectar, flowers ( Acacia spp.), insects such as moths, ants, beetles, grasshoppers, and spiders. The Western Bowerbird drinks regularly...

Australian Wrens

Maluridae Nine species of fairy-wrens, three emu-wrens and eleven grasswrens are found in Australia and all are endemic. They are small birds and, generally, the adult males are the brightest coloured. They are generally found on the ground or low down in vegetation. The taxonomy of the grasswrens has undergone much change in recent times, from eight species in 1986, then to ten in 2004 and now...

Blue-breasted Fairy-wren

Malurus pulcherrimus Usually observed low down in foliage or foraging for insects and small arthropods on the ground, alone or in small groups, the Blue-breasted Fairy-wren is easily confused with the Red-winged Fairy-wren M. elegans (south) and the Inland Variegated Fairy-wren M. lamberti assimilis (north), both of which overlap in range with the Blue-breasted Fairy-wren. The male of the...

Dusky Grasswren

Amytornis purnelli An inhabitant of rocky, spinifex-clad ranges (generally in the vicinity of open woodland) of central Australia, this small (15.5 to 18cm) grasswren can be seen bouncing and scurrying, mouse-like, along the ground amongst the spinifex tussocks, stopping to feed on small seeds, fruits and some invertebrates. Cryptically-coloured with dull reddish-brown upperparts and greyish underparts,...

Purple-crowned Fairy-wren

Malurus coronatus There are two subspecies of this specialist inhabitant of dense vegetation along the fringes of permanent rivers. During the breeding season (September to March) the male is striking, with a bright purple crown, bordered below by black and with a black centre patch. The back and wings are brown, the underparts are pale buff to cream and the tail is blue. The purple crown is replaced...

Splendid Fairy-wren

Malurus splendens The male’s breeding plumage is striking, consisting almost entirely of pale and dark blue, although some subspecies have a broad black bands across the breast, at the base of the tail and from the bill to behind the eye. There are four subspecies currently recognised and differ slightly in plumage. The female and non-breeding male are brown above and pale buff below, with a l...

Variegated Fairy-wren

Malurus lamberti The bright blue, purple, chestnut, black and white plumage is found only in the male of this species, females and young birds are brownish to pale blue-grey in colour. The depth and variety of colours in the male varies among the four subspecies, scattered throughout the Australian mainland. The Variegated Fairy-wren is found in a variety of habitats, ranging from heathlands in...

White-winged Fairy-wren

Malurus leucopterus The male is spectacularly coloured, even more so when assessed against the backdrop of reddish soil of the interior. The cobalt blue mixed with white and brown is very distinctive. Females and immatures are less colourful, being predominantly greyish-brown with pale lores, orange-brown bill and a blue wash to the tail. Nob-breeding males resemble the female, but have a black...

Bristlebirds

Dasyornithidae Three species, all endemic to Australia. All are secretive, predominantly terrestrial species, with short stiff bristles at the base of the bill. The Eastern Bristlebird Dasyornis brachypterus and the Western Bristlebird D. longirostris are both endangered at species level, while the Rufous Bristlebird D. broadbenti is classed as ‘Least Concern’. One subspecies of the Ruf...

Eastern Bristlebird

Dasyornis brachypterus A medium-sized (21cm) secretive bird of dense, predominantly coastal, vegetation, where it feeds on the ground on ants and other insects. It is a secretive, predominantly terrestrial species, with short stiff bristles at the base of the bill, and a long tail, and is most often seen running through clearings or across walking trails. It rarely flies. It is dull brownish above,...

Western Bristlebird

Dasyornis longirostris Superficially similar to the Noisy Scrub-bird, and overlaps in part of its range, but is smaller (17 to 20 cm) and has bold white streaking and red eye. A couple of characteristics that distinguishes the two species is the Western Biristlebird’s tendency to call periodically from an elevated perch on top of a low bush, and also its habit of flying a short distance with i...

Australasian Warblers

Acanthizidae The ‘little brown birds’, the scrubwrens, gerygones and thornbills, can be either terrestrial or arboreal. All members of this family have thin beaks and short, weak, rounded legs. The Lord Howe Gerygone Gerygone insularis , is classified as extinct, and 35 of the 41 extant [Pg6]  species are endemic to Australia.  

Scrubtit

Acanthornis magna Predominantly found in wet beech, eucalypt or paperbark forests, this generally shy treecreeper-like bird feeds on small insects, which it gleans mainly from the trunk and branches of trees. It is brownish with a grey face and conspicuous white eyering and small wingbar. The underparts are buffalong the flanks and cream belly. Often seen climbing up and down the trunks of trees,...

Speckled Warbler

Pyrrholaemus sagittatus Small (65mm), predominantly ground-dwelling, thornbill-like warbler. It is grey above, speckled with blackish streaks on the back and whitish streaks on the crown, and creamish to white below, with numerous darker streaks, forming longitudinal lines on the breast, belly and flanks. The rump is yellowish (generally more visible in flight) and the tail feathers are tipped...

White-browed Scrubwren

The White-browed Scrubwren is a noisy and inquisitive bird.  Within Australia there are five species of Scrubwren, of which this species is the most common and widespread.  Its range extends from northern Queensland, in a broad coastal band through South Australia to the mid Western Australian Coast, and Tasmania.  Throughout this range it is found in rainforests, open forests, woodlands, scrubs an...

Pardalotes

Pardalotidae Pardalotes are arboreal, nesting in tree hollows or within earthen burrows. All four species are endemic to Australia. The Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus is found in the east and southwest,, the endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote P. quadragintus , occurs only in Tasmania, the Red-browed Pardalote P. rubricatus is a bird of the arid zone and the Striated Pardalote ...

Spotted Pardalote

Pardalotus punctatus Although common, this species frequently passes unnoticed because it spends most of its time near the top of the trees. Seen closely, it is a striking bird. The male has fine white spots on the black crown and wings, a yellow throat and undertail coverts, and a reddish chestnut rump. The female is duller, with an off-white throat and cream spots on the crown. The most obvious...

Striated Pardalote

Throughout the majority of the year, a sharp “tchip tchip” often first alerts us to the presence of  this brightly coloured little bird.  The Striated Pardalote, like other pardalotes, feeds on arthropods, which are gleaned from foliage high up it the tops of trees.  When breeding, however, the birds are often much more noticeable as they mostly construct their nests close to the ground,  usually in a tr...

Honeyeaters & Chats

Meliphagidae The honeyeaters are largely arboreal and, while there is considerable diversity in size, almost all have slender, decurved beaks. The chats are more terrestrial with shorter, more pointed beaks. The tongue is bifurcate and brush-tipped. Seventy-three species have been recorded in Australia; of these 59 are endemic.. Honeyeaters can be found in almost every habitat and location in...

Crescent Honeyeater

Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus A small to medium-sized honeyeater (14 to 16 cm). The male is dark grey above, paler and more grey-brown below, with a broad yellow patch on each wing and side of tail and a darker blackish crescent-shaped marking down each side of the white breast. The throat is also white. The female is duller and more brown than the male. Similar species include the New Holland Honeyeater...

Crimson Chat

The brilliant crimson, white and black plumage of this male chat  is diagnostic. Females and immatures are drab in comparison, being brownish and having a washed out redness on the rump and breast. Another red-coloured bird with which it could be confused is the Red-capped Robin Petroica goodenovii . Much time is spent feeding on the ground and in low shrubbery. It is frequently seen in loose flocks, ...

Lewin's Honeyeater

Meliphaga lewinii This honeyeater has dark greenish grey colouration, interrupted only by the creamy yellow of the gape and the yellowish crescent-shaped patch on the ear coverts. The sexes are similar in appearance. It is mostly frugivorous, eating berries and small fruits, but also takes insects and some nectar. The strong rattling notes of the Lewin’s Honeyeater carry long distances and instantly c...

Red Wattlebird

Anthochaera carunculata The Red Wattlebird gets its name from a fleshy reddish wattle on the side of the neck.  This is found only in this species, although it is often difficult to see. Besides this, the bird can be identified by its grey-brown body, boldly streaked with white, yellow belly and long, white-tipped tail. The smaller Little Wattlebird is somewhat similar in plumage, but lacks the ...

Regent Honeyeater

Anthochaera phrygia Once known as the Warty Bird, due to warty patch of yellowish facial skin around its eyes. The plumage is striking, with a distinctive black hood, and the black body feathers broadly edged with yellow and white, giving a scalloped appearance, and bright yellow panels in the feathers of the wings and tail. The Regent Honeyeater is strongly nomadic, moving northwards in the autumn...

Strong-billed Honeyeater

Melithreptus validirostris Slightly bigger than the similar Black-headed Honeyeater M. affinis , which is the only other member of this genus to be found in Tasmania. Both are endemic to the island. The Strong-billed Honeyeater is distinguished by its black head, with a broad white band around the nape, starting at the rear of each eye, and black patch below the bill. The back is olive green...

White-plumed Honeyeater

The White-plumed Honeyeater is common and familiar throughout the majority of the Australian Mainland.  Although the intensity of the overall colouration may change slightly throughout its wide range, it is predominantly olive-grey on the body with a paler yellow-olive face.  The name is derived from a conspicuous white line, edged with black, which is visible at the base of the cheek.  The bill is...

Yellow Wattlebird

Anthochaera paradoxa The Yellow Wattlebird is Tasmania’s unofficial bird emblem and is Australia’s largest honeyeater. Endemic to Tasmania, the Yellow Wattlebird inhabits mainly the eastern and central areas of the mainland and also King Island, where it feeds on insects and nectar. It is characterised by the long orange-yellow wattle that descends from each cheek and very long, graduated tai...

Australo-Papuan Warblers

Pomatostomidae Four species occur in Australia, including three endemics, Hall’s Babbler Pomatostomus halli , White-browed Babbler P. superciliosus and Chestnut-crowned Babbler P. ruficeps . The Grey-crowned Babbler P. temporalis extends into southern New Guinea. Gregarious, normally seen foraging on the ground or sunbathing in low shrubs. They have a decurved beak and short, rounded w...

Logrunners

Orthonychidae Ground-dwelling, thrush-like birds with strong legs and feet for digging in leaf litter. The feathers of the relatively short tail end with sharp tips. Both Australian species are endemic, the Australian Logrunner Orthonyx temminckii and Chowchilla O. spaldingii . A third species, the New Guinean Logrunner O. novaeguineae , is found in New Guinea.

Australian Logrunner

Orthonyx temmincki The plumage of this elusive ground-dwelling bird is mottled rufous-brown and olive-grey, streaked with black on the wings, back and sides of the throat. The face is grey, as are the sides of the breast, and the belly is white. The female is distinguished from the male by the cinnamon, instead of white, throat and upper breast. Food is found by raking through leaf-litter on the...

Whipbirds & Wedgebills

Psophodidae This family includes four endemic Australian species, the two whipbirds, Eastern Whipbird Psophodes olivaceus and Western Whipbird P. nigrgularis , and the two wedgebills, Chirruping Wedgebill P. cristatus and Chiming Wedgebill P. occidentalis . Typically ground-dwelling, or low down in vegetation and largely secretive, with short legs and rounded wings.   &n...

Quail-thrushes

Cinclosomatidae Seven species of plump, terrestrial birds are currently recognised. The Spotted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma punctatum is found in eastern Australia, but the others are birds of the semi-arid and arid zones.

Sittellas

Neosittidae This Australo-Papuan family has a single endemic species, the Varied Sittella Daphoenositta chrysoptera , which contains five very different looking subspecies, the Orange-winged Sittella D. c. chrysoptera , the White-headed Sittella D. c. leucocephala , the White-winged Sittella D. c. leucoptera , the Black-capped Sittella D. c. pileata and the Striated Sittella D. c....

Cuckoo-shrikes

Campephagidae Only seven of eight species recorded in Australia are still to be found here. The Norfolk Island Long-tailed Triller Lalage leucopyga leucopyga , the nominate subspecies of the Long-tailed Triller, now restricted to New Caledonia, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands, was last documented on Norfolk Island in 1942. Of the remaining seven species, the Ground Cuckoo-shrike Coracina maxima...

Whistlers & Shrike-thrushes

Pachycephalidae Thirteen species, including seven endemics, occur in Australia. These stout-billed birds can be identified by their melodious calls, given by both sexes, from which the common name is derived. Some species show strong sexual dimorphism, with males being brightly-coloured; others show little or no dimorphism and are more drab. Most of the subspecies of the six wider-ranging species...

Grey Shrike-thrush

Ranging throughout Australia, the Grey Shrike-thrush is a common and familiar bird.  Its alternate names of Harmonious Shrike-thrush and Whistling Shrike-thrush, have stemmed from its beautiful whistling song, which echoes loudly throughout the variety of wooded areas that it inhabits.  Typically, songs include phrases such as “pip-pip-pip—pip-hoee” and a sharp “yorrick”, but also include phrases tha...

Orioles & Figbirds

Oriolidae A widespread family with three species in Australia, none endemic, the Australasian Figbird Sphecotheres vielloti , Olive-backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatus and the Green Oriole O. flavocinctus . The orioles are found from Africa to Asia and Australia and the figbirds restricted to Australia, New Guinea and eastern Indonesia. Both groups have long, pointed wings and short, stout...

Butcherbirds, Currawongs & Magpie

Adult cracticids are typically black or grey, most with small to large patches of white, with the notable exception of the Black Butcherbird Mellioria quoyi of northern Qld and New Guinea. Three of the nine species have distributions outside of Australia [Pg7] . The Australian Magpie is one of the most widespread birds in Australia, just reaching southern New Guinea. Currawongs are endemic to this...

Australian Magpie

Gymnorhina tibicen This large black and white bird is a common and familiar bird, especially on open grassy areas, with scattered trees, where it walks along the ground searching for the insects and their larvae that constitute the bulk of its diet. Its conspicuous plumage varies throughout the species range. The nape, upper tail and shoulders are white in all forms and in most cases the remainder...

Black Butcherbird

Melloria quoyi The Black Butcherbird (up to 45 cm) is almost entirely deep bluish-black, except for the large silver-grey bill with a black tip. It inhabits rainforests and mangroves, including adjacent parkland and urban gardens, where it It is diurnal and largely sedentary, with pairs occupying permanent territories. The species has a range. Three of the four recognised subspecies are found...

Pied Currawong

This large black and white bird is often confused with the Australian Magpie, although it is quite different in plumage.  The Pied Currawong is almost entirely black, with large patches of white in the wings and a white base and tip to the tail.  Unlike the Magpie, the bill is wholly black and the eye is yellow.  Two other species of Currawong are found in Australia.  The Grey Currawong is found thr...

Woodswallows

Artamidae Very social aerial predators with triangular wings. Four of the six Australian species occur nowhere else.  Another barely reaches New Guinea and the White-breasted Woodwallow Artamus leucorynchus occurs as far away as India and Fiji.

Drongos

Dicruridae A single non-endemic species in Australia, with the north-eastern not believed to breed outside Australia. Slender birds with strongly curved upper mandible, ringing calls, stiff rictal bristles and prominent “fish-tail”.  

Fantails

Fantails are small, active insectivores, with a conspicuous broadly fan-shaped tail. None of the five species recorded in Australia are endemic. The Lord Howe Grey Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa cervina is listed as extinct. The Willie Wagtail R . leucophrys is one of the best known and widespread birds in Australia. Scientific name: Rhipiduridae (family)  

Magpie-lark

Grallina cyanoleuca Also called the Peewee, the Magpie-lark is confined to Australasia. The alternative name has arisen from its harsh “pee-o-wit” or “pee-wee” call. During the breeding season, birds often sit side by side and call alternately, each raising and lowering their  wings as they do so. The bold black and white markings also assist in identification. Male birds differ from females ...

Northern Fantail

Rhipidura rufiventris Also known as the Timor Fantail, this species has a large range that includes Australia, PNG and Indonesia. Within Australia it is found in lowland tropical and subtropical forests, dense vine thickets, mangrove fringes and some woodlands from north-western WA to north-eastern Qld. Unlike other fantails, it does not display the typical fanned tail and constant activity, instead...

Rufous Fantail

Within Australia, there are five species of fantail.  Of these, the Rufous Fantail is undoubtedly the most colourful.  Its range extends in a broad coastal band from the Kimberleys, Western Australia, through northern and eastern Australia to western Victoria.  The Rufous Fantail prefers the wetter forest and woodlands, and is a familiar sight in rainforest, dense eucalypt forest and mangroves.  Sim...

Shrikes

Laniidae Both representatives of this family of slender-bodied carnivores, with rounded wings and toothed bill, on the Australian mainland list are vagrants. The Brown shrike Lanius cristatus has been recorded on Christmas Island, the first in 1962. A single road-killed specimen of the Tiger Shrike L. tigrinus was found near Fremantle in Western Australia, possibly transported to the region...

Crows & Ravens

Corvidae The corvids are large black birds with an iridescent sheen to the plumage. Seven species have been recorded in Australia. The Little Crow C. bennetti , Little Raven C. mellori , Forest Raven C. tasmanicus and Australian Raven C. coronoides are endemic. The wider-ranging Torresian Crow Corvus orru reaches New Guinea and Indonesia. The Thick-billed Magpie Pica pica and the...

Monarch Flycatchers

Of the 13 species in Australia only the Pied Monarch Arses kaupi and the White-eared Monarch Carterornis leucotis are endemic, although both the Satin Flycatcher Myiagra cyanoleuca and Black-faced Monarch Monarcha melanopsis are believed to breed only in Australia. Most species are small insectivores with broad, compressed bills and slender legs. A notable exception is the considerably...

Black-faced Monarch

This beautiful bird, with blue-grey head, throat and upperparts, black face and russet underparts, is perhaps the most familiar of the monarchs.  Within Australia there are two distinct groups of monarchs.  The first, which contains the Black-faced Monarch, consists of three similarly coloured species and one species, the White-eared Monarch, which is black and white. The Rare Black-winged Monarch i...

Mud-nesters

Corcoracidae The only two species of this family are endemic to Australia, the White-winged Chough Corcorax melanorhamphos and the Apostlebird Strithidea cinerea . Both species use wet mud in the construction of their nests.  

Birds of Paradise

Mainly found in rainforests or other densely vegetated areas, the male birds of paradise generally have large patches of bright iridescent colours. All are found in the east and north-east of Australia, but only the Paradise Riflebird Lophorina paradiseus and Victoria’s Riflebird L. victoriae are endemic. Both the Trumpet Manucode Phonygammus keraundrenii and Magnificent Riflebird L. magnificus ...

Paradise Riflebird

Lophorina paradiseus Riflebirds are unlike any other Australian bird. Both sexes have long, slender, decurved bills and short tails. The adult male is velvet black above the oily green below; the crown, throat, breast and central tail feathers are iridescent. The female is brown and lacks iridescent, The female is brown and lacks iridescence but the white eyebrow, reddish wings and arrow-like...

Victoria's Riflebird

Lophorina victoriae Of the four birds of paradise found in Australia, three are Riflebirds.  Each are somewhat similar in plumage, the males being glossed black, subtly tinged with iridescent purple and blue-green, while the females are predominantly brown. Thankfully, the ranges of each species do not overlap, thus making identification much easier. The Magnificent Riflebird inhabits the rainforests ...

Australo-Papuan Robins

Petroicidae Most of the 21 Australian species are endemic, although a few such as the Mangrove Robin Peneothello pulverulenta and Lemon-bellied Flycatcher Microeca flavigaster extend to New Guinea.  Some like the Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis and Scarlet Robin Petroica boodang are common and confiding. The Tiwi Hooded Robin Melanodryas cucullata melvillensis is possibly ...

Dusky Robin

Melanodryas vittata Another Tasmanian endemic, and one of four robins found there, the Dusky Robin is dark olive-brown above and greyish below. It has an inconspicuous paler eyestripe and an indistinct greyish-white wingbar, which is partially concealed when at rest. Younger birds are heavily streaked and lack any white in the tail. Feeds on invertebrates, which are typically pounced upon from...

Eastern Yellow Robin

Eopsaltria australis This medium-sized (15 to 17 cm) robin with grey back and head and yellow underparts, is usually first seen perched on the side of a tree trunk or other low perch, as it inquisitively inspects passers-by. The Eastern Yellow Robin will readily approach humans, often accepting handouts of food from picnickers. This tameness has made it a familiar bird with even the non-ornithologists....

Flame Robin

Petroica phoenicea The  orange-red breast and throat of the male of this aptly named species, and the grey back and white wing-bar, separate it from other robins. The female is largely warm grey-brown, however, the wing-bar is pale buff, and only the outer tail feathers are extensively white. Flame Robins pounce on prey from prominent lookouts in the open, returning to a perch to eat. The attractive ...

Jacky Winter

Microeca fascinans Although somewhat drab, this flycatcher is an attractive bird, with plain brownish upperparts, pale underparts, a slight eyebrow and prominent white edges to the black tail. The Lemon-bellied Flycatcher M. flavigaster of tropical northern Australia is yellower below, lacks white in the tail and spends less time on the ground. From conspicuous perches within open woodland,...

Rose Robin

Petroica rosea The Rose Robin is an inhabitant of moist forests, where it feeds on insects, which are either pursued and caught in flight or gleaned from foliage. The plumage is pink below, grey above and with white sections on the outer tail feathers. The female is paler than the male and the young are brownish. The Pink Robin, which overlaps in range with the Rose Robin in the south is darker...

Larks

Alaudidae All have have pointed wings and a long hind claw. All nine subspecies of the widespread Horsfield’s Bushlark Mirafra javanica are endemic to Australia. The Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis , found south-eastern Australia and eastern Tas., was introduced from Europe in the 19th century.

Cisticolas

Cisticolidae The two species found in Australia, the Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis and the Golden-headed Cisticola C. exilis each have several endemic subspecies. Small birds, with a slender, pointed bill, rounded wings, and typically with a graduated tail.

Songlarks & Grassbirds

Locustellidae This group of secretive, grass or thicket-dwelling birds is represented in Australia by three endemic species, the Brown Songlark Cinclorhamphus cruralis , Rufous Songlark C. mathewsi and Spinifexbird Poodytes carteri , and two with populations outside this country, the Tawny Grassbird C. timoriensis and Little Grassbird P. gramineus . Both the Pallas’s Grasshopper-Warbler ...

White-eyes

Zosteropidae Some authorities combine the white-eyes with the True Babblers into the family Timaliidae. Within Australia there are four endemic species, the Christmas Island White-eye Zosterops natalis , Yellow White-eye Z. luteus , White-chested White-eye Z. albogularis and Slender-billed White-eye Z. tenuirostris . The most widely distributed is the Silvereye Z. lateralis The Ashy-bellied...

Leaf-warblers

Phylloscopidae Both species in Australia, the Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus and the Arctic Warbler Sericercus borealis , have been recorded only as vagrants. All are small, with thin bills and complex, melodious songs.

Golden-headed Cisticola

Cisticolas are distinguished by their rich golden plumage and pale pink-yellow legs. During the breeding season the male Golden-headed Cisticola attains a beautiful, unstreaked, golden crown. The female retains a streaked crown, similar to that of the non-breeding male. The song is a drawn out ‘zzzzt’, also a repeated metallic ‘link-link’ and a harsh ‘zeep’ in alarm. The Zitting Cisticola C. juncidi...

Swallows & Martins

Hirudinidae Of Australia’s seven recorded species, only the White-backed Swallow Cheramoeca leucosterna is endemic. Other breeding species are the Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena , the Fairy Martin Petrochelidon ariel and Tree Martin P. nigricans . The Barn Swallow H. rustica is a non-breeding migrant, while the Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus and Red-rumped Swallow Cecropis d...

Tree Martin

Petrochelidon nigricans This small (10 to 13 cm), swallow-like bird is similar in appearance to the Fairy Martin P. ariel and the Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena , an all three species overlap in range. The Tree Martin can be distinguished by its whitish-grey rump and short V-shaped tail (the Welcome Swallow has a dark rump and usually has long outer tail streamers) and dark blue-black crown...

Bulbuls

Introduced by Europeans, the Red-whiskered Bulbul Pycnonotus jocosus is a small bird with short wings and an erect crest. A previous introduction, the Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer , was established for a period but is now extinct in Australia. Scientific name: Pycnonotidae (family)

Red-whiskered Bulbul

The Red-whiskered Bulbul is a native of southern Asia.  Since its introduction into Australia in 1880, it has become a familiar sight in Sydney’s urban parks and gardens, where it feeds on a variety of native and introduced fruits, supplemented with insects. Birds were also successfully introduced into Melbourne, but no records are available as to when this occurred.  Although, the Melbourne population has...

Old World Flycatchers

Muscicapidae Skilled insectivores, typically perching upright in trees and seizing prey in mid-air. All nine species occurring on the list for Australia are vagrants.

Thrushes

Turdidae Generally terrestrial, with stout legs and a slender beak. Seven species have been recorded in Australia. Of these, the Bassian Thrush Zoothera lunulata is the only endemic, with the native Russet-tailed Thrush Z. heinei represented by a single endemic subspecies. The Christmas Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus erythopleurus is the sole remaining endemic subspecies of the wider...

Starlings

Sturnidae Seven species are present in Australia. The native Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica and the Singing Starling Aplonis cantoroides both have wider distributions, the Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris and Common Myna Acridotheres tristis are introduced and the Rosy Starling Pastor roseus , Purple-backed Starling Agropsar sturninus and Chestnut-cheeked Starling Agropsar...

European Starling

The European Starling was introduced into Australia in the late 1850’s.  It originated from Europe, where it was once a common bird of the deciduous woodlands, but now favours the more urban areas.  In Australia it has also become a familiar sight around human habitation throughout the east and south-east.  It is also a prominent bird in open cultivated areas, and is a well-known pest of orchards.  Other...

Flowerpeckers

Dicaeidae This family of tiny birds, with a short tail and slightly decurved beak, is widespread throughout Australia, southern Asia and the South Pacific. Two species have been recorded in Australia, the Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum is endemic to Australia, while the Red-capped Flowerpecker D. geelvinkianum occurs throughout the lowlands of New Guinea and has been recorded on islands...

Sunbirds

Nectariniidae A single breeding resident, the Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis occurs in Australia, but is also in North Moluccas and New Guinea. Strong sexual dimorphism, with the male brightly coloured, and long, strongly decurved bill.

Olive-backed Sunbird

Cinnyris jugularis Australia’s only sunbird is a familiar bird of the tropical north-eastern coast. The long downwardly curved bill resembles that of some honeyeaters, but the bright yellow underparts prevents any confusion. The yellow colouration extends to the throat and upper breast of the female but it is replaced in the male by glossy blue-black feathers. The Olive-backed Sunbird often h...

Weaver Finches

Ploceidae Historically three species of this family, the Asian Golden Weaver Ploceus hypoxanthus , the White-winged Widowbird Euplectes albonotatus and the Red Bishop E. orix , were introduced into Australia and established small breeding populations. No populations persisted and the family is now extinct within Australia.  

Australo-Papuan Grassfinches

Fourteen of the 21 species of this family recorded in Australia are endemic, five of,the other breeding species extend to New Guinea and the Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata is found in Timor. The Nutmeg Mannikin L. punctulata and Java Sparrow L. oryzivora are introduced, and the Pale-headed Munia L. pallida is recorded as a vagrant. Most species have bright markings, but the endemic Gouldian...

Beautiful Firetail

Stagonopleura bella Generally brown-grey, with fine black and white barring and contrasting crimson rump and bill. Conspicuous black face-mask and pale blue eye-ring, and red conical bill. The wing tips of the male whiten during the breeding season and the overall plumage darkens. The female resembles the non-breeding male, but has complete barring on the abdomen, whereas the male has a blackish...

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

Lonchura castaneothorax This beautiful, thick-set finch, with a powerful bill, is highly social, often forming vast flocks of several hundred birds. The upperparts are rich chestnut, with a grey crown. The underparts are generally white, with a broad chestnut breast-band, bordered below with black, and conspicuous black face and throat. The call, ‘teet’ or ‘tit’, which may be either bell-like or long...

Crimson Finch

Neochmia phaeton This large finch (16 to 17cm) with a long, tapered red tail and red face cannot be confused with any other Australian Finch. The upperparts are brown, washed with grey and red. The underparts are pale brown on the female, crimson on the male. Birds from Cape York Peninsula have a white belly. The Crimson Finch is not especially gregarious, usually occurring alone or in family...

Diamond Firetail

Stagonopleura guttata This brightly coloured finch inhabits open grassy woodland, forest and mallee, mainly in the vicinity of watercourses. The head is grey, while the remainder of the upperparts are greyish-brown, with the exception of the conspicuous red rump. The underparts are white, with contrasting black on the chest and flanks, the latter being heavily spotted with white. The iris and...

Gouldian Finch

Chloebia gouldiae The most colourful Australian grassfinch, and among the most strikingly coloured of all of Australia’s endemic bird species. Patchily distributed, but locally common in northern Australia from around Derby in tropical WA to Cape York Peninsula. Body colour is bright green on the back, yellow on the belly and purple on the breast, with adult males brighter than females. Face c...

Long-tailed Finch

This striking grassfinch can be identified by its fawn-brown upperparts, pinkish-brown underparts, blue-grey head and nape and black throat.  The tail is black and thread-like, with a contrasting white base.  Across its range, which extends from the North of Western Australia to north-western Queensland, its bill colour changes from yellow in the west to orange-red in the east.  Young birds have bl...

Red-browed Finch

This finch can be distinguished by its bright red rump and red eyebrow.  The remainder of the body is olive-green above and grey below.  The Red-browed Finch is distributed in a broad coastal band along the east coast of Australia, and a small population of escaped aviary birds exists near Perth, Western Australia.   It is found in open forest, grasslands, agricultural areas and urban parks and gar...

Zebra Finch

Taeniopygia guttata By far the most numerous grassfinch is the Zebra Finch, and is generally associated with the more arid areas of Australia, although its distribution is widespread through most of the Australian mainland. These small, predominantly grey birds, with white underparts, chestnut coloured cheeks (male), black tear-drop eye stripes, and ‘zebra-like’ barred black and white tails, can...

Old World Sparrows

Passeridae Both the House Sparrow Passer domesticus and the Eurasian Tree Sparrow P. montanus were introduced into Australia in the 1860s and 1880s (respectively). Distinctive short conical beaks and short legs.  

Pipits & Wagtails

Motacillidae Characterised by the constant upward and downward flicking of the long tail. All are terrestrial insectivores. Eight non-endemic species occur within Australia, the most common and widespread being the Australasian Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae . Both subspecies of the Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava are non-breeding migrants to northern Australia.

Old World Finches

Fringillidae Generally small, stout birds with conical bills. They have nine primary and 12 tail feathers.  None of the Australian members of this family are endemic, either appearing here as a result of introductions to the country or as vagrants from introduced populations of New Zealand. The European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis is widespread in southern Australia, while the European Greenfinch ...

Buntings

Emerizidae Sparrow-like birds, with short, conical bills. The Yellowhammer Emberiza citronella has been recorded on LHI in 1949, regarded as a self-introduced vagrant from New Zealand, where it was introduced between 1862 and 1871. The species was unsuccessfully introduced into Australia between 1863 and 1880. Records from Macquarie Island have not been accepted.

Australian Mammals

There are around 350 species of native mammals currently recognised in Australia, and a further 30 classed as extinct. Australia is also home to 33 introduced mammals, including ourselves, the humans. Follow the family links below to the individual species fact sheets:

Platypus

Ornithorhynchidae  

Platypus

Platypus    Ornithorhynchus anatinus     390-6o0 mm TL (males generally larger than females) (Duck-billed Platypus) What Does It Look Like?   Unmistakable. Dense dark greyish to brown fur above, with flat paddle-shaped tail and broad, greyish-brown ‘duck-like’ bill that extends over the forehead and chin. Underparts paler greyish or reddish-brown. Front feet fully webbed, with web extending past claw...

Echidnas

Tachyglossidae Echidnas are Monotremes . Monotremes are peculiar among the mammals. They have all of the mammal characteristics: are warm-blooded, have hair and they produce milk to suckle their young but, unlike any other mammal, they lay soft-shelled eggs from which their young hatch. Australia is home to the world’s only only short-beaked species of echidna. The three species of long-beaked ech...
Short-beaked Echidna

Short-beaked Echidna

Tachyglossus aculeatus 300-450 mm TL (Spiny Anteater) What does it look like? Pale brown to blackish fur above and below, which varies in length depending on range, and numerous protective spines on upper body, from back of neck to tail. Snout long and cylindrical, covered with sensitive skin, with nostrils and small mouth at tip. Where is it found? Australia-wide, including major...

Dasyurids

Dasyuridae Dasyurids are insectivorous and carnivorous marsupials, that are characterised by teeth that are made for biting and cutting, with 7 pairs of incisors (4 pairs in the upper jaw and 3 pairs in the lower jaw), 4 pairs of well-developed upper and lower molars, and at least 4 non-fused toes on the hind feet and 5 on the front. Australia is home to 60 species, that range from the world’s s...

Crest-tailed Mulgara

Dasycercus cristicauda   250-355mm TL, including tail 100-125 mm (males generally larger than females) (Mulgara; Ampurta; Crest-tailed Marsupial Mouse) What does it look like?   Generally pale yellowish-brown above, tail with reddish-brown base and latter two-thirds black with a hairy dorsal crest towards tip. Underparts greyish white, female with pouch, limbs short and with five toes on e...

Tasmanian Devil

Sarcophilus harrisii     815-910 mm TL, including tail 245-260 mm (males generally larger than females) What does it look like? Unmistakable. Predominantly black, occasionally with reddish wash, with white patches often present on chest, but may also appear on shoulders and rump, and female with complete, rear-facing pouch. Head wide (wider in males), with large, powerful jaws. Five toes on...

Stripe-faced Dunnart

Sminthopsis macroura 155-200 mm TL, including tail 80-100 mm What does it look like? Greyish-brown, washed with yellowish on face, with blackish longitudinal line on top of head. Underparts, including feet, white. Tail swollen at base (used as fat storage), and similar in length to head-body. Where is it found? Throughout arid and semi-arid mainland, from western WA, through inland NT and...

Bandicoots

Peramelidae

Eastern Barred Bandicoot

Perameles gunnii     340-460 mm TL, including tail 70-110 mm What does it look like? Yellowish-brown above, streaked with silvery-white, extending on to base of white tail, and with 3 or 4 paler bars on rump. Greyish below. Where is it found? Southern Vic, where it is now restricted to sites where it has been re-introduced into predator-proofed reserves in Mount Rothwell and Hamilton Co...

Koala

‎Phascolarctidae The Koala is famed throughout the world and is often, mistakenly, called a bear. The Koala lives solely on a low energy diet of eucalypt leaves and spends up to 20 hours per day sleeping. Perhaps more sloth-like in habits than bear-like, but nonetheless a marsupial that has a pouch for protecting the newborn young (joey), that are born in the very early stages of development a...

Koala

Phascolarctos cinereus 680-820 mm TL (size decreases south to north) What does it look like?   Stocky, arboreal marsupial, with thick greyish fur (shorter and paler in north, and longer and more brownish in south). Ears round and woolly, and nose smooth, black and vertically oval-shaped. Where is it found?   Eastern Australia, from north-eastern Qld (south of Cape York Peninsula), through c...

Wombats

Vombatidae Wombats are the bulldozers of the Australian bush, equipped with a compact, stocky body, muscular limbs and strong claws for digging, a thickened bony plate in the rump for protection and a rear facing pouch to protect its young. Three species occur today, including the Northern and Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats, both listed as threatened (Northern is Critically Endangered and Southern...

Bare-nosed Wombat

Bare-nosed Wombat    Vombatus ursinus     725-1175mm TL, including tail 25 mm (Common Wombat; Bass Strait Wombat [Flinders Island])   What does it look like?   Stock, with large, flattened head, short limbs and powerful claws for digging. Greyish-brown to blackish above, paler below, and with a bare nose, and short, slightly rounded ears. Female has a rear-facing pouch. Where is it...

Sugar Glider

Petaurus breviceps     325-420 mm TL, including tail 165-210 mm (northern individual smaller than southern) (Lesser Glider; Lesser Flying Squirrel; Sugar Squirrel; Short-headed Flying Phalanger; Lesser Flying Phalanger) What does it look like? Brownish grey to blue-grey above, with blackish stripe running from between eyes to centre of back, and cream to greyish below. Tail blackish and bu...

Eastern Ring-tailed Possum

Pseudocheirus peregrinus 600-760 mm TL, including tail 300-380 mm (Common Ringtail Possum; South-eastern Ringtail; Tasmanian Ringtail; Rufous Ringtail; Banga) What does it look like? Pale greyish to reddish-orange above, paler below, and with white patches behind eyes and ears. Tail prehensile, with short fur, and tapering towards white tip. Where is it found? Eastern Australia, from...

Common Brush-tailed Possum

Trichosurus vulpecula 600-950 mm TL, including tail 250-400mm (Common Brushtail Possum; Northern Brushtail Possum; Brushtail Possum; Silvery-grey Possum; Koomal) What does it look like? Usually silvery-grey above and pale grey or white below, but occasionally entirely blackish or rich orange. Males have dark orange wash on chest from scent marking. Tail prehensile and normally bushy, but...

Rufous Bettong

Aepyprymnus rufescens  TL 710–780mm, including tail 338–390mm What does it look like? Fur long and wiry, reddish-brown above, flecked with silverish-grey, and pale greyish below. Head has triangular, pointed ears, short, hairy shout and sparsely furred nosepad. Naked skin around eyes and inside ears pink to pinkish-orange. Where is it found? Formerly wider ranging (including along sect...

Black-footed Rock-wallaby

Petrogale lateralis TL 853–1,160mm, including tail 407–605mm (Warru) What does it look like? Generally dark brown, streaked with silver above, more greyish on shoulders, and with white and dark brown stripe along sides. Head brownish on forehead and snout, with pale buff cheek-stripe and greyish on lower jaw and cheeks. Ears have dark brown tips and white bases. Where is it found? Hi...

Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby

Petrogale xanthopus TL 1,050–1,365mm, including tail 600–715mm What does it look like? Pale brownish-grey above, with longitudinal blackish dorsal stripe from forehead to upper back, russet patch near armpit, and two-toned white-and-brown stripe on hip. Tail long and orange-brown, with dark brown rings. Underparts white. Where is it found? Highly fragmented within former range. Occurs in ...

Red-necked Pademelon

Thylogale theti TL 620–1,110mm, including tail 300–510mm What does it look like? Generally brownish above, more rufous on forehead, neck and shoulders, and flecked with grey on back, thighs and tail. Belly off-white, becoming more white on chest and throat. Tail short, about 45 per cent of head-body. Where is it found? Coast and range of eastern mainland, from around Wollongong NSW to ...

Western Grey Kangaroo

Macropus fuliginosu TL 1,370–2,225mm, including tail 425–1,000mm (Stinker) What does it look like? Fur shaggy. Brownish-grey above (more blackish on Kangaroo Island), slightly paler and more greyish below, with finely haired black ears and snout. Males have a distinctive strong odour. Where is it found? Southern Australia, from south-western WA (south of Shark Bay), through southern SA ...

Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Macropus giganteus TL 1,404–2,400mm, including tail 430–1100mm (Scrubber) What does it look like? Grey to brownish-grey above, paler on face and hindlegs, and paler grey to whitish below. Head with moderately short, somewhat rounded ears, darker eye-ring and hairy snout. Feet and tip of tail black. Where is it found? Eastern Australia, from around Cooktown Qld, south through majority of ...

Agile Wallaby

Notamacropus agili TL 1,180–1,700mm, including tail 587–840mm What does it look like? Yellowish-brown above, with pale buff stripe on thigh, and whitish below. Head has rounded snout, indistinct pale brown cheek-stripe and, short, dark brown, longitudinal stripe on forehead (not always present). Where is it found? Tropical northern Australia (including offshore islands), from Kimberley reg...

Parma Wallaby

Notamacropus parma TL 855–1,075mm, including tail 405–540mm What does it look like? Greyish-brown above, with darker longitudinal dorsal stripe and white cheek-stripe. Underparts whitish, paler on chest and throat, and tail often tipped with white. Where is it found? Ranges and slopes of eastern NSW, from border with Qld, south to around Gosford. What are its habitats & habits? Fo...

Red-necked Wallaby

Notamacropus rufogriseus TL 1,282–1,785mm, including tail 623–876mm (Bennett’s Wallaby) What does it look like? Grey-brown above, heavily flecked with white, and washed with reddish on head, shoulders, arms, upper back and base of tail. Underparts pale grey to whitish. Face has obscure cheek-stripe and blackish longitudinal line on forehead. Darker and more brownish in Tas. Where is it...

Common Wallaroo

Osphranter robustus TL 1,550–2,000mm, including tail 750–900mm (Euro) What does it look like? Heavily built (especially males), with shaggy fur and a characteristic hunched stance. Dark grey, yellowish-brown to reddish-brown or paler grey above, depending on subspecies, and generally paler below. Males darker than females. Where is it found? Throughout most of Australia and Barrow Isl...

Red Kangaroo

Osphranter rufus TL 1,645–2,400mm, including tail 645–1,000mm (Marloo; Blue-flier) What does it look like? Largest marsupial. Adult males reddish-brown above, and females blue-grey, with squarish snout, and white stripe between mouth and ear. Underparts white in both sexes, but males may be stained reddish on chest. Where is it found? Throughout arid and semi-arid inland Australia in ...

Swamp Wallaby

Wallabia bicolor TL 1,105–1,710mm, including tail 640–862mm What does it look like? Dark reddish-brown to black above, with pale yellowish-brown cheek-stripe (more prominent in northern individuals), and pale yellowish to orange-brown below. Tail darker, occasionally with white tip. Where is it found? Coast, slopes and ranges of eastern and south-eastern Australia (including Fraser Isl...

Quokka

Setonix brachyurus TL 680–850mm, including tail 245–310mm (Ban-gup) What does it look like? Uniformly brown, heavily flecked with grey and tinged with reddish-brown. Short, sparsely furred tail (about 60 per cent head-body length). Head has angled snout, short, rounded ears and naked, greyish-black nose. Where is it found? South-western WA, including Bald and Rottnest Islands, although sub...

Spinifex Hopping-mouse

Notomys alexis TL 215–260mm, including tail 120–150mm (Tarrkawarra) What does it look like? Pale brown above, washed with reddish-orange, with black guard hairs, and greyish face and snout. Underparts white to greyish-white, with small naked throat-patch. Tail long (about 125 per cent of head-body), with fine tufted tip of whitish-grey hairs. Rear feet elongated. Where is it found? Ar...

Black Fruit-bat

Pteropus alecto HB 185–280mm; FA 153–191mm What does it look like? Predominantly black, occasionally with white flecks on belly fur, and often with reddish-brown fur on rear of neck. Eyes reddish, with faint reddish-brown eye-rings visible in some individuals. Where is it found? Northern Australia (including offshore islands), from around Carnarvon, WA, through northern NT, northern and...

Grey-headed Fruit-bat

Pteropus poliocephalus HB 220–280mm; FA 152–177mm What does it look like? Fur greyish-black on back, paler grey on face and belly, generally heavily flecked or dusted with silverish-grey, and with some reddish-brown on belly. Full collar of reddish-brown fur. Where is it found? Coast, ranges and slopes of southern and eastern Australia, from around Mackay Qld, through NSW and Vic, to sou...

Little Red Fruit-bat

Pteropus scapulatus HB 120–200mm; FA 116–140mm What does it look like? Fur pale brown to rich reddish-brown, often becoming more greyish on head, and occasionally with yellowish patch on neck and shoulders. Exposed skin reddish-brown, and wings largely transparent in flight. Where is it found? Broad coastal and inland band (including several islands) from central Vic, through NSW, Qld...

Ghost Bat

Megadermatidae

Ghost Bat

Macroderma gigas HB 98–118mm; FA 96–113mm What does it look like? Pale brown or pale greyish fur above and greyish-white on underside, with skin of wing and tail membranes creamish-brown. Ears large, joining together in middle, and nose with fleshy leaf shape on top of snout. Where is it found? Widespread but heavily fragmented, with subpopulations throughout northern Australia. What are...

Dogs

Canidae
Dingo

Dingo

What does it look like? The Dingo is sandy yellow to red brown above, occasionally darker brown to black. Underside is lighter tan or whitish. Hybrids with domestic dogs are very common, but cannot be accurately be distinguished visually. Where does it live? Historically, found across mainland Australia. Now found across northern Australia, north-west SA and down the east coast to the Gippsland...

Eared Seals

Otariidae Seals come to shore to bask, sleep, mate and give birth, and appear somewhat cumbersome when on land, but they are truly at home in the water and superbly adapted for their semi-aquatic life.

Long-nosed Fur-seal

Arctocephalus forsteri TL 1.5–2.5m (New Zealand Fur-seal)   What does it look like? Thickset with long, narrow, pointed snout. Brown to blackish-grey, flecked with silvery-white, paler on chest and flanks, and snout light greyish or brownish with long, pale grey whiskers. Male has longer fur (mane) on neck, heavily streaked with silvery-grey. Where is it found? Southern c...

Australian Fur-seal

Arctocephalus pusillus TL 1.36–2.27m (Cape Fur-seal) What does it look like? Adult males much larger than females and young males, grey-brown (darker with age), with long silvery mane of coarse hair on neck and shoulders. Females more slender, silvery-grey above and brownish below, becoming more yellowish on chest and throat. Where is it found? Coast and islands along southern Australia, a...

Australian Sea-lion

Neophoca cinerea TL 1.3–2.25m What does it look like? Adult male larger than female, with thickened neck and chest. Coat (pelage) brown to blackish (becoming darker with age), and paler whitish-brown on head and nape. Adult female and young male silvery-grey above and yellowish-cream below. Rear flippers move independently. Snout blunt. Where is it found? Southern Australia, breeding o...

Cats

Felidae

Cat

  What does it look like? The cat is extremely varied in size, colour, shape and length of fur, and can range from white to black with any manner of tones of yellow red and brown between. Most are mottled or striped. Where does it live?  Introduced to Australia from Europe, and found in all states and territories. What are its habitats and habits?  The cat is a superbly designed p...

Horse

Equus caballus TL 2.1m What does it look like?  Usually brown to black or a mixture of both colours sometimes with white flashes on the feet and around the muzzle. Domestic horses occasionally breed with wild, feral horses introducing many other colour combinations. Where does it live?  Introduced, found in scattered populations around Australia. What are its habitats and habits?  ...

Pigs

Scientific name: Suidae (family)

Pig

  What does it look like?  The pig is extremely varied from white to black, with any manner of tones of yellow, red and brown between. Most wild pigs in Australia are black or dark brown as adults, paler forms with darker patches, and juveniles are usually mottled or striped. Where does it live?  Introduced. It is found throughout most of eastern and northern Australia. What are i...

Right Whales

Balaenidae

Southern Right Whale

Eubalaena australis TL 13.5–17m What does it look like? Large, thickset whale (weighing up to 80 tonnes), with no dorsal fin and body tapering to thin tail. Generally dark brown to bluish-black, with numerous white callosities on head and around jaw. Blow distinctly V shaped. Where is it found? In Australia, most commonly seen from south-western WA to south-eastern Vic. What are i...

Roquals

Balaenopteridae

Humpback Whale

Megaptera novaeangliae TL 18m What does it look like? Greyish-black above and sharply contrasting white below. Flippers long and slender (up to 5m) with knobs with barnacles on trailing edge. Tail flukes have black-and-white markings that are different in each individual. Where is it found? Within Australian waters, most numerous along east and west coasts. What are its habitats...

Dolphins

Delphinidae

Indo-Pacific Bottle-nosed Dolphin

Tursiops aduncus   TL 2.4m What does it look like? Grey to brownish-grey above, paler below. Beak with upwardly curving mouth and dorsal fin backwardly sloping and moderately tall. Beak longer and flippers larger than in the Common Bottle-nosed Dolphin . Where is it found? Temperate and tropical waters worldwide. Found in all Australian states and NT, but more common in southern oceans. ...

Common Bottle-nosed Dolphin

Tursiops truncatus TL 3.1m What does it look like? Grey to brownish-grey above, paler below. Beak with upwardly curving mouth and dorsal fin backwardly sloping and moderately tall. Beak shorter and flippers smaller than the Indo-Pacific Bottle-nosed Dolphin . Where is it found? Temperate and tropical waters worldwide. Found in all Australian states and NT, but more common in southern...

Australian Reptiles

There are more than 10,000 species of reptile in the world, and Australia is home to more than 1,000 of these. Australia has more reptile species than 95 per cent of other countries, and more than 95 per cent of Australia’s reptiles are found nowhere else in the world (endemic). The number of Australian reptile species described by scientists has grown quite markedly in recent years, doubling from t...

Lizards

Lizards belong to the suborder Sauria, which – along with the snakes in the suborder Serpentes – forms the order Squamata that comprises more than 95 per cent of the world’s reptile species. Australia’s largest lizard family is the skinks (Scincidae), with about 440 currently described species, most of which are found nowhere else in the world. Scientific name:  Sauria (suborder) ...

Dragon Lizards

Scientific name:  Agamidae (family)

Jacky Lizard

What does it look like?  Pale grey to dark brown lizard with spiny scales on sides of neck and bright yellow lining inside mouth. Black patches along middle of back, with 2 paler stripes on either side. Particularly large and prominent scales along back in longitudinal rows from neck to base of tail. Males generally have larger heads than females. Where is it found?  South-eastern Australian m...

Frilled Lizard

Frilled Lizard Chlamydosaurus kingii SVL 275mm, TL 890mm (Frill-necked Lizard; Frilled Neck Lizard; Frilled Dragon) What does it look like?  Unmistakable, with large, extendable, grey, red or orange frill that is folded along neck when at rest. Brown to orange-brown or blackish-grey above, with darker brown markings on back and sides, and generally paler or blackish below. Tail long and ...

Mallee Military Dragon

Ctenophorus fordi SVL 55mm (Mallee Dragon; Mallee Sand-dragon) What does it look like?  Brown to reddish-brown above, with black and smaller whitish spots on back and tail. Edges of back have whitish longitudinal stripes from neck to base of tail. Sides of body and tail blackish, more so in males than females, with several small paler spots, and lower longitudinal stripe, bordered with ...

Central Netted Dragon

Ctenophorus nuchalis SVL 120mm, TL 265mm (Central Netted Ground-dragon) What does it look like?  Small and stocky, with large, rounded head, short limbs and tapering tail. Spines scattered on sides of neck. Light orange-brown to reddish-brown above with white to creamish-yellow mid-vertebral stripe from nape to base of tail, and series of transversally aligned similarly coloured spots, ...

Boyd’s Forest Dragon

Lophosaurus boydii SVL 150mm, TL 500mm What does it look like?  Laterally compressed, angular head and body, with large, spiny nuchal crest, enlarged white scales on cheeks, ‘saw-like’, keeled vertebral scales, long, slender tail and long limbs. Greyish-blue to olive-brown above, with obscure light and dark transverse barring, and blackish patch on sides of neck, bordered above and below by s...

Southern Angle-headed Dragon

Lophosaurus spinipes SVL 105mm, TL 370mm (Rainforest Dragon) What does it look like?  Large dragon with long tail that is about twice as long as body (SVL), large, angular head, enlarged nuchal crest and raised, ‘saw-like’ vertebral crest. Grey to greenish or rich brown above, with numerous raised spinose scales, arranged in transverse rows along body. Dark band from ear to eye and dark...

Water Dragon

Intellagama lesueurii SVL 200mm, TL 900mm (Eastern Water Dragon; Gippsland Water Dragon) What does it look like?  Large, very distinctive dragon, with angular head, enlarged nuchal crest, raised, ‘saw-like’ vertebral crest running length of body, and laterally depressed, long tail. Colour variable between subspecies. I. l. lesueurii grey to brownish-grey above with black transverse dors...

Bearded Dragon

Pogona barbata SVL 250mm, TL 600mm (Common Bearded Dragon; Eastern Bearded Dragon) What does it look like?  Robust, flattened body, triangular head and long, tapering tail. Upperparts covered in raised tubercles, longer under expandable beard (throat). Pale grey, yellowish-brown or blackish above, with series of pale blotches arranged longitudinally on both sides of spine, either circular, ...

Central Bearded Dragon

Pogona vitticeps SVL 250mm, TL 550mm (Inland Bearded Dragon) What does it look like?  Robust, flattened body, broad, triangular head and short, rounded, tapering tail. Upperparts covered in raised tubercles, longer under expandable beard (gular pouch) and sides of body. Grey, yellowish, reddish-brown or blackish, with series of paler elongated, longitudinally arranged blotches on either ...

Typical Geckoes

Scientific name:  Gekkonidae (family)

House Gecko

Hemidactylus frenatus SVL 65mm (Asian House Gecko; Common House Gecko; Pacific House Gecko) What does it look like?  Whitish, pinkish-brown or dark grey above, with series of tubercles along back and edges of tail, and either unpatterned or variably mottled with blackish flecks and lines. Underparts whitish. Appearance changeable depending on activity levels and exposure to light, with ...

Southern Padless Geckoes

Scientific name:  Carphodactylidae (family)

Southern Leaf-tailed Gecko

Saltuarius swaini SVL 130mm What does it look like?  Brown or olive-grey above, with 3–5 paler cream-grey blotches along back and similarly coloured bands on broad, flat tail; narrower on regrown tails. Flat, triangular head, with several conspicuous large scales on snout, and series of transverse zigzag lines between eyes and on rear of head and neck. Whitish below with varying amounts of br...

Barking Gecko

Underwoodisaurus milii SVL 90mm (Thick-tailed Gecko) What does it look like?  Pink to purplish-brown above and white below, often with purplish wash. Upperparts decorated with numerous large, yellowish-white spots, covering tubercles, and original tail has several black-and-white bands; lacking, or greatly reduced, on regenerated tail. Tail narrow at base, then broadens out before tapering ...

Border Thick-tailed Gecko

Uvidicolus sphyrurus SVL 70mm (New England Thick-tailed Gecko; Granite Belt Thick-tailed Gecko) What does it look like?  Grey-brown, with numerous white spots and black speckling above, the spots forming loose transverse bands. Whitish below, occasionally with fine brown speckling. Original tail fat with long, tapering tip; blackish, with 4 conspicuous cream bands and numerous raised tubercles ...

Austral Geckoes

Scientific name:  Diplodactylidae (family)

Clouded Gecko

Amalosia jacovae  60 mm SVL (Alternative Name: Clouded Velvet Gecko) What does it look like?   Slender. Pale grey-brown above with a darker narrow zigzag pattern along both sides of the back and down the original tail, enclosing a broad, pale zone that is fragmented by narrow bars. The cylindrical tail is moderately long, tapered and slightly flattened. Whitish below, with noticeably la...

Fat-tailed Diplodactylus

Diplodactylus conspicillatus  65 mm (Alternative Names: Fat-tailed Gecko; Variable Fat-tailed Gecko; Burrow-plug Gecko) What does it look like?   Stout, with a short, bulbous tail and a pale stripe running from the tip of the snout to the front of the eye. Pale sandy brown to reddish above with varied darker brown spots and streaks; whitish below. Paler spots along the sides and on the le...

Crowned Gecko

Lucasium stenodactylum  55 mm SVL (Alternative Name: Sand-plain Gecko) What does it look like?   Variable, but generally pinkish brown to reddish brown above, normally with a pale vertebral stripe from the nape to the base of the tail, often commencing as separate stripes that pass through each eye from the snout, and meet at the nape. Sides, legs and tail with variable small pale spots, an...

Phasmid Striped Gecko

Strophurus taeniatus SVL 50mm (White-striped Gecko) What does it look like?  Small, slender-bodied gecko, with gradually tapering, cylindrical tail and thin limbs. Pale grey to brown above, with whitish, brown and yellow alternating longitudinal stripes from head to tip of tail. Back and side pattern continued on belly. Tail about 80 per cent as long as SVL, and prehensile. Where ...

Golden-tailed Gecko

Strophurus taenicauda SVL 70mm (Golden Spiny-tailed Gecko) What does it look like?  Very attractive gecko with large, bright red, orange or greyish eyes, and long tail, often with golden-yellow longitudinal stripe. White to pale grey above, cryptically patterned with small black blotches and flecks on body, head and limbs. Eyes have vertically elliptical pupils, and inside of mouth has ...

Snake-lizards

Scientific name:  Pygopodidae (family)

Burton’s Snake-lizard

Lialis burtonis SVL 270mm (Burton’s Legless Lizard) What does it look like?  Robust, smooth-scaled, ‘snake-like’ lizard. Elongated head with long, pointed, wedge-shaped snout, and short tail. Highly variable in colour, including grey, yellow, reddish-brown or blackish above, with or without longitudinal stripes or broken lines on body, and conspicuous white or cream stripe on sides of hea...

Skinks

Scientific name:  Scincidae (family)

Land Mullet

Bellatorias major SVL 300mm What does it look like?  Australia’s largest skink. Robust, glossy body with ‘fish-like’ head, medium-length tail and low-keeled scales. Blackish-brown to black above, and whitish to yellowish-orange underneath. Juveniles more bluish than adults, with scattered small white spots on sides. Where is it found?  Coastal and near coastal south-eastern Qld and nor...

Leopard Ctenotus

Ctenotus pantherinus SVL 100mm (females generally larger than males) (Leopard Skink) What does it look like?  Robust, strikingly patterned skink with long, tapering tail, and wedge-shaped head with scaled movable lower eyelid. Pale olive-brown to dark coppery-brown above, with rows of longitudinally aligned, black-edged white or yellowish spots on back, sides and hindlimbs, and dark brown ...

Pink-tongued Lizard

Cyclodomorphus gerrardii SVL 200mm (Pink-tongued Skink) What does it look like?  Smooth, glossy scaled skink, with large head and long, prehensile tail up to one and a half times body length (SVL). Light grey to pale brown above with strong, to obscure brown, to blackish, angled transverse bands; more distinct in juveniles than adults and may be absent in some individuals. Head with or ...

Cunningham’s Skink

Egernia cunninghami SVL 250mm What does it look like?  Large, robust skink with prominent keeled scales on back and tail, and short legs. Variable colouration and patterning. Brown, reddish-brown or black above, often with numerous scattered paler spots and flecks. Underparts whitish with darker mottling or banding on throat. Individuals in southern parts of range tend to be darker and more ...

Gidgee Skink

Egernia stokesii SVL 190mm (Stokes’ Skink, Spiny-Tailed Skink) What does it look like?  Large, robust skink with sharply keeled scales, short tail and short legs. Yellowish-brown to reddish-brown above, with numerous dark and light flecks and blotches that create obscure transverse pattern, which is most conspicuous on flattened, spiny tail. Underparts white to yellowish. Where is...

Tree Skink

Egernia striolata SVL 120mm (Striated Skink) What does it look like?  Scales smooth or bluntly keeled, and moderately flattened body and slender tail. Grey to dark olive-brown with broad, paler greyish dorsolateral stripe from head to base of tail; lower sides of neck and lips white. Underparts whitish, with brown flecks on throat and chest, and with yellowish or orange flush. Where ...

Broad-banded Sand-swimmer

Eremiascincus richardsonii SVL 105mm What does it look like?  Glossy scaled, moderately robust skink, with long, thickened, tapering tail and movable scaly lower eyelids. Pale yellow to golden-brown above, with numerous darker brown transverse bands on body and tail, which can be either strong or obscure, and are narrower on tail than on body. Bands number 8–14 between nape and hips, and 19...

Centralian Blue-tongue

Tiliqua multifasciata SVL 280mm (Centralian Blue-tongued Skink) What does it look like?  Large skink with broad head, short limbs, moderately long, tapering tail and large blue tongue. Generally greyish with numerous orange-brown transverse bands on back and tail, and broad blackish stripe from eye to above ear. Underparts creamish. Top of head unpatterned, or with some thin blackish marks. ...

Blotched Blue-tongue

Tiliqua nigrolutea SVL 275mm (Blotched Blue-tongue Lizard; Blotched Blue-tongued Skink; Southern Blue-tongue) What does it look like?  Large skink with broad body, short limbs, moderately long, tapering tail and large blue tongue. Generally dark brown to blackish above, with large cream, yellow or pinkish blotches on back and tail. Blotches can be loosely aligned to form transverse bands, ...

Shingleback Lizard

Tiliqua rugosa SVL 300mm (females slightly larger than males) (Shingleback; Shingle-back; Stumpy-tail; Stumpy-tailed Lizard; Boggi; Sleepy Lizard; Bobtail Lizard; Two-headed Lizard; Pinecone Lizard) What does it look like?  Robust, rough-scaled body, with large, triangular head, short, rounded tail, short limbs and large blue tongue. Colour variable, subject to range, from orange-brown ...

Eastern Blue-tongue

Tiliqua scincoides SVL 320mm (females bigger than males) (Eastern Blue-tongue Lizard, Common Blue-tongued Lizard) What does it look like?  Large skink with broad head, short limbs, moderately long, tapering tail and large blue tongue. Generally silvery-grey to olive-green or brownish above, with broad dark brown to blackish, irregular transverse bands on back and tail, and sometimes with ...

Goannas

Scientific name:  Varanidae (family)

Ridge-tailed Monitor

Varanus acanthurus TL 650mm What does it look like?  Reddish to blackish-brown above, with numerous pale to bright yellowish spots on back and flanks forming conspicuous eye-like rings. Head with pale to bright yellowish spots and longitudinal stripes, and tail with similarly coloured or pale brown rings, occasionally fading to uniform blackish towards tip. Tail long and slightly flattened, ...

Perentie

Varanus giganteus TL 2.5m What does it look like?  Australia’s largest lizard. Pale brown to brown above, with large, yellow, dark-edged spots on body and tail forming transverse rows, and heavy dark brown or blackish speckling. Head and throat paler, with thin dark lines forming reticulated pattern, and head with distinctive angular brow. Neck long with large, sagging throat, and long tail wi...

Gould’s Goanna

Varanus gouldii TL 1.6m (Sand Goanna; Sand Monitor) What does it look like?  Moderately robust, with long, laterally compressed tail and large, angular head with dark stripe behind eye. Yellow or reddish-brown to blackish above, with numerous large and small yellow spots and speckles, forming largely cryptic pattern of transverse rows and longitudinal lines. Belly white or yellowish with ...

Yellow-spotted Monitor

Varanus panoptes TL 1.4m (Northern Sand Goanna; Floodplain Monitor) What does it look like?  Stocky, with powerful limbs and moderately long, laterally compressed tail. Reddish-brown to blackish above, with alternating transverse rows of larger dark brown and smaller, dark-edged, pale yellow spots. Neck has longer longitudinal streaks and lines, with blackish stripe extending from eye ...

Heath Monitor

Varanus rosenbergi TL 1.3m What does it look like?  Moderately robust, with medium-length, laterally compressed tail. Dark grey to blackish above, with fine yellow or white spotting, forming alternating wider pale and darker narrow transverse bands, which extend from neck to tip of tail, and larger yellowish blotches on sides and legs. Head long and narrow, with pale-edged dark line extending ...

Spencer’s Monitor

Varanus spenceri TL 1.2m (Spencer’s Goanna) What does it look like?  Heavy, thick-set goanna, with short, laterally flattened tail and rounded snout. Greyish-brown above with numerous paler and darker spots, and broad, pale yellowish-grey transverse bands on back and tail. Head darker and lips paler and barred. Yellowish-cream below, with dark grey mottling, more prominent on throat. We...

Lace Monitor

Varanus varius TL 2m (Tree Goanna) What does it look like?  Moderately robust goanna with long, laterally depressed tail that extends to thin, ‘whip-like’ end. Generally bluish-black above with numerous various-sized, creamish-yellow spots arranged in transverse bands, becoming less intense with age and almost absent in older adults. Snout and chin have yellow and black barring. In sub-...

Snakes

Snakes, of the suborder Serpentes, form the second largest group of reptiles after the lizards, containing just over a third of the world’s currently known species. While Australia has less than 10 per cent of these species, it is home to some of the most toxic (and potentially deadly) land and sea snakes in the world, as well as non-venomous file snakes, pythons and blind snakes. Scientific n...

Pythons

Scientific name:  Boidae (family)

Black-headed Python

Aspidites melanocephalus TL 2.5m (Black-headed Rock Python) What does it look like?  Moderately sized, smooth-scaled python, with cylindrical body and head similar in thickness to neck. Cream, yellowish or light brown, with irregular reddish to dark brown or blackish transverse bands, occasionally with small blotches in between. Head and neck glossy black, with head lacking heat-sensory ...

Woma

Aspidites ramsayi TL 2m (Sand Python; Woma Python) What does it look like?  Smooth-scaled and moderately sized body, with head similar in thickness to neck. Yellowish, pale brown or light olive above, with irregular dark brown to reddish-brown transverse bands. Head yellow to brownish-orange, lacking heat-sensory pits, and often with dark mark above each eye. Belly yellow to cream, with ...

Carpet Python

Morelia spilota TL 3m What does it look like?  Highly variable large python. Generally, blackish, brownish or olive-green above, with greenish-yellow spots, irregular bright yellow stripes, or pale brown to olive-grey, dark-edged blotches, transverse bands and longitudinal lines. Yellowish, cream or white on undersurface. Head large and triangular, and visibly distinct from neck, with row of ...

Green Python

Morelia viridis TL 1.7m (Green Tree Python) What does it look like?  Unmistakable. Emerald-green above with a few scattered white spots on sides and longitudinal row of white or yellowish scales that follow prominent vertebral ridge. Tail tipped blue-grey. Belly cream to yellow. Young bright yellow with purplish-brown line on vertebral ridge, and with scattered purplish-brown spots and ...

Colubrid Snakes

Scientific name:  Colubridae (family)

Brown Tree Snake

What does it look like?  Slender, with narrow neck, distinct head and bulging eyes with vertical pupils. Two distinct colour patterns. Eastern Australian individuals orange to reddish-brown above with irregular dark cross-bands on back and sides, and cream or orange underparts. Northern Australian individuals cream above and below, with bold reddish-brown bands. Where is it found?  Coastal a...

Green Tree Snake

Dendrelaphis punctulatus TL 1.6m (Common Tree Snake) What does it look like?  Variable, based on distribution. Olive-green or blue-grey above in south-east, black further north-east, and yellow with blue-grey or brown head across north. Pale blue skin, which appears as flecks between body scales, visible during threat display. Typically has bright yellow throat and paler yellow underparts, ...

Elapid Snakes

Scientific name:  Elapidae (family)

Common Death Adder

Acanthophis antarcticus TL 700mm What does it look like?  DANGEROUSLY VENOMOUS. Triangular-shaped head, short, stocky body and thin, pale-coloured tip to tail. Grey to reddish-brown above, usually with alternating lighter bands, and greyish-cream below. Where is it found?  Eastern Australian mainland from north-west NT, through Qld and NSW, to northern Vic, although absent from western f...

Lowland Copperhead

Austrelaps superbus TL 1.5m What does it look like?  DANGEROUSLY VENOMOUS. Variable, ranging from pale brown to black above, with white edging on scales of upper lip. Young snakes are generally paler, and have obscure stripe on nape. Cream to grey underparts. Where is it found?  Lowlands of far south-eastern NSW, southern Vic, Tasmania and south-western SA. What are its habitats &...

Stephens’ Banded Snake

Hoplocephalus stephensii TL 1.2m (Yellow Banded Snake; Stephens’s, or Stephen’s, Banded Snake) What does it look like?  DANGEROUSLY VENOMOUS. Variable. Brown, grey or blackish, usually with brown or cream cross-bands, but occasionally unbanded. Head broad and dark, blotched with cream, and with black-and-white vertical lines on lips. Underparts cream to grey, with each scale keeled. Unba...

Tiger Snake

Notechis scutatus TL 2m (size varies greatly between populations) What does it look like?  DANGEROUSLY VENOMOUS. Robust, with large, flat head and squarish frontal shield. Highly variable in colour and size, but most commonly dark olive-brown to blackish with numerous yellowish cross-bands above, and cream to grey underparts. Unbanded individuals can be yellowish brown to black. Where ...

Taipan

Oxyuranus scutellatus TL 2.5m (Coastal Taipan; Eastern Taipan) What does it look like?  DANGEROUSLY VENOMOUS. Large, robust snake with rectangular-shaped head. Generally yellowish-olive to dark russet-brown above, occasionally dark grey to black, with paler head and reddish-orange eye. Underparts cream with irregular orange flecks. Colour changes seasonally, becoming darker in winter and ...

Collett’s Snake

Pseudechis colletti TL 1.5m (males larger than females) (Down’s Tiger Snake) What does it look like?  DANGEROUSLY VENOMOUS. Reddish-brown to black above, with large cream, pink or reddish blotches and irregular bands. Top of head uniformly dark, with paler snout. Belly and flanks salmon-pink to cream. Where is it found?  Central Qld. What are its habitats & habits? Found in ...

Red-bellied Black Snake

Pseudechis porphyriacus TL 2m (Common Black Snake; Red-belly) What does it look like?  DANGEROUSLY VENOMOUS. Uniformly glossed black above, often with paler brownish snout. Crimson on lower flanks, fading to duller red, orange-pink or pale pinkish-cream on middle of belly, and black under tail. Eye is dark. Where is it found?  Eastern and south-eastern Australian mainland from Adelaide S...

Common Brown Snake

Pseudonaja textilis TL 1.8m (Eastern Brown Snake) What does it look like?  DANGEROUSLY VENOMOUS. Adults typically pale to dark brown and unpatterned, darker forms may have paler head. Underparts yellowish-cream or pinkish-orange, blotched with brown or grey. Eyes typically orange with dark surround and distinct brow. Juveniles have black head and black nape; occasionally banded on body. ...

Bandy-bandy

Vermicella annulata TL 800mm (Eastern Bandy-Bandy) What does it look like?  Alternating black-and-white cross-bands wrapping completely around body, with up to 75 black rings evident. Snout black, eyes small, and tail short and blunt. Does not overlap with any other members of the genus, all of which have similar colour patterns. Where is it found?  Widespread through eastern and f...

Blind Snakes

Scientific name:  Typhlopidae (family)

Blackish Blind Snake

Anilios nigrescens TL 550mm What does it look like?  Moderately stout and worm-like, with glossy scales that are generally uniform in size around body and small, dark eye-spots. Body thickness generally uniform along length and tail bluntly rounded, with horn-like scale at extremity. Pinkish-brown to purplish-black above, and white or pinkish below. Where is it found?  South-eastern A...

Crocodylians, Alligators, Caimans & Gharials

The order Crocodilia groups together the world’s 25 currently described species of crocodylians, alligators, caimans and gharials. Australia is home to two crocodylians, the ‘true’ crocodiles, one of which, the Saltwater Crocodile, is the largest known living reptile in the world.

Crocodiles

Scientific name:  Crocodylidae (family)

Freshwater Crocodile

Crocodylus johnstoni TL 3m (Johnston’s Crocodile; Johnson’s Crocodile; Freshie; Johnstone’s River Crocodile; Johnstone’s Crocodile; Fish Crocodile) What does it look like?  Grey to greenish-brown in colour, with irregular darker patches along sides, flanks and top of body. Smooth, slender snout compared to Saltwater Crocodile’s (see p. 000), and large, triangular scutes (thickened scales) al...

Saltwater Crocodile

Crocodylus porosus TL 5m (rarely to 7m) (Estuarine Crocodile; Salty) What does it look like?  DANGEROUS. Unmistakable. Long, broad snout, heavily built body and long, powerful tail. Back and limbs mottled grey-brown to blackish, with numerous osteoderms (bony plates) visible on neck, back and flanks. Underside pale cream. Males typically larger than females. Where is it found?  Coastal r...