Horses and Asses

Equidae

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 visit our store for pricing, availability and ordering: 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

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...

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? Adult emus 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?  Emus are found over almost all of Australia, except ...
Southern Cassowary

Southern Cassowary

What does it look and sound like?  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 ...

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

What does it look like? A large and unmistakable ground-dwelling bird. The head and neck are grey, becoming more cream on the belly, and with a dark blackish stripe between the throat and breast. The wings and remaining upperparts are mottled and barred with black, grey, brown and cream. Where does it live? This species occurs west of the Great Dividing range in New South Wales, south into north-western...
Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Orange-footed Scrubfowl

What does it look and sound like? 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. Where does it live? It inhabits rainforests and dense vine forests, where individuals defend exclusive feeding ...

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

What does it look like? The large, noisy Magpie Goose is readily recognised. The head and neck are black and there is a characteristic knobbed crown. The underparts are white with contrasting black margins on the underwing. The legs, feet and bill are orange. Where does it live?  The Magpie Goose is found throughout most of eastern and northern Australia, but more common in north. What are its ...

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 of the ...
Cape Barren Goose

Cape Barren Goose

What does it look like? 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. Where does it live? 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 w...
Wandering Whistling-Duck

Wandering Whistling-Duck

What does it look like? 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. Where does it live? Found throughout northern Australia, from around Carnarvon, Western Australia, to southern New South Wales. Breeding range more confined to north and north-east.  ...

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 ...
Australasian Grebe

Australasian Grebe

What does it look like? Shown here in breeding plumage (season runs  from September to January in the south). Outside of the breeding season, however, both sexes are dark grey-brown above and mostly silver-grey below, with a yellow-white patch of  bare skin at the base of the bill. In this plumage it is often confused with the also non-breeding Hoary-headed Grebe, but can be distinguished by its d...
Hoary-headed Grebe

Hoary-headed Grebe

What does it look like? The Hoary-headed Grebe is most easily identified during the breeding season (typically October to March, but may breed at any time in response to rainfall), at this time its has generally grey upperparts, white underparts, black throat and dark grey head, streaked by numerous overlying white plumes. Outside of this time the head loses its long plumes, instead the crown is blackish...

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

What does it look like? Its slender build, brown upperparts, with distinct black edging to each feather, russet nape, grey face and throat and pale underparts, should easily identify it.  Where does it live? The Bar-shouldered Dove is a native to Australia. What are its habitats and habits?   It inhabits the wetter forests and woodlands, and vegetation along creeks and rivers.  It ranges ac...
Common Bronzewing

Common Bronzewing

What does it look and sound like? The Common Bronzewing can be identified by its pinkish-grey breast and paler brown back, with iridescent patches of green, blue and red in the wing, and conspicuous white line below and around the eye.  The male has a yellow-white forehead and darker pink breast. The related Brush Bronzewing, which is found in southern Australia, is smaller and has more chestnut-coloured h...
Crested Pigeon

Crested Pigeon

What does it look like?  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 a robust, soft pink and grey pigeon, with a long black crest, with a small pinkish-red ring around the eye.  If startled it takes to the air with a characteristic whistling flight, and...
Diamond Dove

Diamond Dove

What does it look like? This slender dove is Australia’s smallest 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 Geopelia p...
Rock Dove

Rock Dove

What does it look like? Robust, moderately large pigeon, with much colour variation, although is most commonly a mixture on pale and dark greys or pale browns. Legs are coral pink. Where does it live? 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 ...

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

What does it look like? Readily 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. Where does it live? It is found througout the whole of Australia. What are its habitats and habits?  In most regions this is the most commonly encountered nocturnal bird in Australia, normally s...

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

What does it look like?  Its large size and white plumage, with fine black wavy lines on the breast neck and upper back, and mottled with black on the back, readily distinguish it. It has the longest wingspan of all bird species.  Where does it live? The Wandering Albatross breeds on subantarctic islands, beginning in early December, but spends the majority of its life soaring low above the southern oc...

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...
Little Penguin

Little Penguin

What does it look like?  This is a small, blue and white penguin  Where does it live? It is a common sight along the coastline of southern Australia, from Perth, Western Australia, to about Nelsons Bay, New South Wales.   What are its habitats and habits? The Little Penguin spends the daylight hours at sea, and awaits the cover of night before coming ashore to roost in rock crevices and burro...

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

What does it look like?  Its pouched bill, large size 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. Where does it live?  It can be found in suitable w...

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

What does it look like?  This large bird, 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. The female can be identified from the male by its yellow eye. Where does it live?  The range of this majestic bird has been reduced due to the modification of floodplains and tall reedbeds for agriculture, mi...

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

What does it look like?  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 ...
Cattle Egret

Cattle Egret

What does it look like?  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 ...

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 and sound 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 un...
Brahminy Kite

Brahminy Kite

What does it look and sound 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. The call is a drawn-out ‘pee-ah-ah-ah’ or ‘ kee-e-yah’. Where does it live?  Found in northern A...
Wedge-tailed Eagle

Wedge-tailed Eagle

What does it look like?  With a wingspan that exceeds 2 metres, the beautiful Wedge-tailed Eagle  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. What are its habitats and habits?  Pair-bonds are permanent and ...
Whistling Kite

Whistling Kite

What does it look and sound like?  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 call, a descending whistle ‘psee-err’, followed by a staccato ‘si-si-si-si-si’, is similar to that of the Black Kite Milvus migrans ...
White-bellied Sea-Eagle

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

What does it look and sound like?  A large bird of prey. 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 a paler head and tail and more steeply upswept wings when soaring. The call is a loud “goose-like” honki...

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

What does it look like?  When observed, the Nankeen Kestrel's 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. Where does it live?  This slightly-built falcon is found in most habitats throughout Australia. What are its habitats and habits?  In open woodland an...

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

What does it look like? The Brolga is a large grey crane, with a red head and grey crown. Another species of crane, the Sarus Crane Antigone antigone , which is confined to Australia’s north, can be identified by its dull pink legs (grey in the Brolga), and the red of the head extending down the neck. Where does it live?  It is widespread across tropical northern Australia, southwards through ce...

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

What does it look like?  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. Th...
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 has qui...
Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen

What does it look like?  This large, 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 call, a loud “kee-ow”, is also distinctive. Where does it live?  The Purple Swamphen is a common sight throughout northern and eastern Australia, where it inhabi...
Tasmanian Native-hen

Tasmanian Native-hen

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

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

What does it look like?  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. Where ...

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

Beach Stone-curlew

What does it look like? This is a large, 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. Where does it live?  It inhabits coastal areas of Australia’s north, from around Exmouth WA to northern NSW, less commonly to the NSW...

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

What does it look like?  This small 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). The Black-fronted Dotterel has an orange-red bill, tipped with black, and it has a conspicuous ...
Hooded Plover

Hooded Plover

What does it look like?  The adult Hooded Plover is unmistakable, with its black head, orange eyering and two-toned orange and black bill. The upperparts are brown and the underparts are white, with a black streak across the hindneck and down on to the chest. Young birds can be distinguished from other similar shorebirds by their orange eyering and the typical head-bobbing behaviour that plovers exhibit. ...
Red-capped Plover

Red-capped Plover

What does it look and sound like?  This is a small 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. The call is a faintly trilled ‘tik’ or ‘twink’. Where does it live?  It is a c...

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

What does it look like?  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 the two are compared. Where does it live?  This bird is a common s...
Red Knot

Red Knot

What does it look like?   The Red Knot is a small to medium-sized shorebird and has two plumage phases, the most common in Australia (non-breeding) is greyish above and paler below, with numerous grey chevron markings along the flanks. The breeding plumage is bold reddish on the head, chest and belly in front of the legs. The back has a mixture of black, grey, white and red. Both plumages have an i...

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

What does it look like?  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...
Pacific Gull

Pacific Gull

What does it look like?  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 Larus dominicus . Young birds are predominantly dark brown and buff in plumage, the yellow bill becoming visible after the first year. ...
Silver Gull

Silver Gull

What does it look like?  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. Where does it live?  Th...

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

What does it look like?  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 Zanda baudinii , which has a longer upper mandible, although this can often be partially obscured by feathers. Both are large black cockatoos with a white cheek patch and white panels in the tail. The male of both species has a pi...
Cockatiel

Cockatiel

What does it look like?  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. Where does it live?  It is widespread throughout mainland Australia, but large numbers are found in the more arid inland areas. What are its habitats and habits?   It feeds on a variety of grass seeds, nu...
Gang-gang Cockatoo

Gang-gang Cockatoo

What does it look and sound like?  The Gang-gang Cockatoo 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. The common call is a prolonged creaky screech.  Where does it live?  Found throughout south-eastern mainland Australia and northern Tasmania, being common in certain areas, but le...
Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo

  What does it look like?  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. Where does it live?  It is found in the arid and semi-arid areas of inland Australia. What are its habitats and habits?  It feeds on a v...
Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo

  What does it look like?  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 white bill. The Glossy Black-Cockatoo Calyptorhynchus lathami  of south-east Australia and Kangaroo Island, SA, has a paler he...
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

What does it look and sound like?  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.  It is a noisy and conspicuous cockatoo, both at rest and in flight, there have also been instances where people have heard a Sulphur-crested Cockatoo say a human word or phrase. The most c...
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

What does it look and sound like?   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...

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

Australian King Parrot

What does it look and sound like?  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. Where does it live?  It is distributed along the east coast and ranges of Australia. What are its habitats and habits?  Found in wet eucalypt forest, where it feeds on seeds, nectar, fr...
Crimson Rosella

Crimson Rosella

What does it look and sound like?   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 bir...
Green Rosella

Green Rosella

What does it look like?  This solidly-built parrot is Australia’s largest rosella. 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 predominantly green.  Where does it liv...
Red-collared Lorikeet

Red-collared Lorikeet

What does it look like?  This large 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 the Red-collared Lorikeet from the closely-related Rainbow Lorikeet ...
Superb Parrot

Superb Parrot

What does it look like?  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.  Where does it live?  Found in a br...
Turquoise Parrot

Turquoise Parrot

  What does it look and sound like?  This small 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 a...

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...
Common Koel

Common Koel

What does it look and sound like?  The male differs quite markedly from the female in plumage.  It is entirely glossy black, tinged with blue and green, and has a striking red eye.  The female and young birds are more cryptically coloured, with glossed brown upperparts, heavily spotted with white, and a black crown.  The underparts are more buff with numerous fine black bars. Adult females differ fro...
Fan-tailed Cuckoo

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

What does it look and sound like?  When sighted, it can be identified by its dark grey upperparts and soft buff underparts. The black tail is notched with white above, and barred black and white below. It can be distinguished from the superficially similar Brush Cuckoo, by its bright yellow eyering.  Its descending mournful trill is a familiar sound. Where does it live?  Found throughout eastern Au...
Pheasant Coucal

Pheasant Coucal

What does it look and sound like? 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. Where does it live?  The Pheasant Coucal ranges through northern and ea...

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...
Forest Kingfisher

Forest Kingfisher

What does it look like?  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 breeding season. August to December. Where does it live?  This species o...
Laughing Kookaburra

Laughing Kookaburra

What does it look like?  Instantly recognisable in both plumage and voice.  The chuckling "koo-koo-koo-koo-koo-kaa-kaa-kaa" is a familiar sound throughout its range. It also has a shorter “koooaa”.   The chuckling call is a prominent and raucous part of the dawn chorus.  In outback areas this early morning wake-up call gave the bird the nicknames of Bushman’s Clock, Alarm Bird and Breakfast Bird. W...

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

Rainbow Bee-eater

What does it look and sound like?  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 ...

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

Dollarbird

What does it look and sound like?  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 distinctive, harsh “kak-kak-kak” call is repeated several times, and is often given in flight. Where does it...

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

Australian Logrunner

What does it look and sound like?  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 Logrunner is distinguished from the male by the cinnamon, instead of white, throat and upper breast. The common call is a repeated ...

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

Grey Shrike-thrush

What does it look and sound like?   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 typically include phrases such as “pip-pip-pip—pip-hoee” and a sharp “yorrick”, but also include phrases that are often unique to the individual birds. The song somehow makes up fo...

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

Australian Magpie

What does it look and sound like?  This large black and white bird is common and familiar. 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 of the body is black. Birds from Tasmania, the south-east, centre and extreme south-west of mainland Australia have an entirely white back. In addition to this, ...
Black Butcherbird

Black Butcherbird

What does it look and sound like?  The Black Butcherbird is almost entirely deep bluish-black, except for the large silver-grey bill with a black tip. Where does it live?  The species has a large range. Three of the four recognised subspecies are found in Australia, with Melloria quoyi spaldingi found from western NT to the Gulf of Carpentaria, M. q. jardini in northern Qld, from Cape York P...
Pied Currawong

Pied Currawong

What does it look and sound like?   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. The name Currawong was derived from the “currawong” call of...

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

Magpie-lark

What does it look and sound like?  The alternative name for this species is the Peewee, which 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 in having a black forehead...
Northern Fantail

Northern Fantail

What does it look and sound like?  The plumage is grey to blackish above, with a small whitish eyebrow, cream belly and white vent. The breast is paler grey with numerous vertical ‘tear-drop’ streaks, and the throat is white. Where does it live?  Also known as the Timor Fantail, this species has a large range that includes Australia, PNG and Indonesia. What are its habitats and habits?  Within Austra...
Rufous Fantail

Rufous Fantail

What does it look and sound like?   Within Australia, there are five species of fantail.  Of these, the Rufous Fantail is undoubtedly the most colourful. Its long grey-brown tail, with bright rufous base, is fanned out as it busily flits from tree to tree.  The rump is also rufous in colour, as is the forehead, while the remaining plumage is brown above and white below, with black mottling on the th...

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

Black-faced Monarch

What does it look and sound like?   This beautiful bird, with blue-grey head, throat and upperparts, black face and russet underparts, is perhaps the most familiar of the monarchs. It is similar in colouration to both the Spectacled and Black-winged Monarchs. It's call is a distinctive “why-you-which-yew”. Where does it live?  It is found along the eastern coast, south to Melbourne, while the White-f...

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 ...
Victoria's Riflebird

Victoria's Riflebird

What does it look and sound like?  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. All Riflebirds have short square t...

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

Dusky Robin

What does it look and sound like?  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. Males are readily distinguished from other robins that share the same range, namely the Pink Robin Petroica rodinogaster ...
Eastern Yellow Robin

Eastern Yellow Robin

What does it look and sound like?  This is a medium-sized robin with grey back and head and yellow underparts. The superficially similar Pale Yellow Robin is comparatively smaller, has pale lores and lighter underparts.  The characteristic calls of this delightful bird are also easily recognised, an assortment of high bell-like piping, some harsh scolding notes, and a repeated “chop chop”. What are i...
Jacky Winter

Jacky Winter

What does it look and sound like?  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 Microeca flavigaster of tropical northern Australia is yellower below, lacks white in the tail and spends less time on the ground. The song of the Jacky Winter i...
Rose Robin

Rose Robin

  What does it look and sound like?  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 above and has paler pink on the undersurface, which also extends to the lower belly. The call is a soft trill, rising in pitch an...

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

Golden-headed Cisticola

What does it look and sound like?  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. Th...

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

Tree Martin

What does it look and sound like?  This small, swallow-like bird is similar in appearance to the Fairy Martin Petrochelidon ariel and the Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena , and 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 ...

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

Red-whiskered Bulbul

  What does it look like?   It is instantly identifiable by its pointed black crest.  The remaining plumage is brown above, with a white cheek and throat, mottled underparts and reddish undertail.  The red whisker, from where it derives its name is situated below the eye, but is often difficult to see. Where does it live?  The Red-whiskered Bulbul is a native of southern Asia.  Since its introduction into ...

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

European Starling

  What does it look and sound like?   The European Starling shows considerable variation in plumage.  Both adults resemble each other, although the female is considered less glossy than the male.  In autumn, the plumage is glossed black, with a purple and green iridescence.  The feathers have a buff tip, which gives the bird a spotted appearance.  These spots are almost completely absent from birds...

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

Olive-backed Sunbird

  What does it look and sound like?  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. High-pitched notes are given in flight and display.  Where does it live?  Australia’s only sunbird is a ...

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

Beautiful Firetail

  What does it look and sound like?  The Beautiful Firetail is generally brown-grey, with fine black and white barring and a contrasting crimson rump and bill. Conspicuous black face-mask, pale blue eye-ring, and red conical bill. The wing tips of the male whiten during breeding season and the overall plumage darkens. The female resembles the non-breeding male, but has full barring on the abdomen, w...
Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

Chestnut-breasted Mannikin

  What does it look and sound like?  This is a beautiful, thick-set finch with a powerful bill. 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 and drawn out, is used in a variety of situation...
Diamond Firetail

Diamond Firetail

  What does it look and sound like?  This is a brightly coloured finch. 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 eyering are red, as is the short conical bill, and there is broad black l...
Red-browed Finch

Red-browed Finch

What does it look and sound like?   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 high‑pitched ‘seeee’ or ‘ssitt’ accompanies most movements. Where does it live?  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 ...
Zebra Finch

Zebra Finch

  What does it look and sound like?   Small, predominantly grey birds, with white underparts, chestnut coloured cheeks (male), black tear-drop eye stripes, and ‘zebra-like’ barred black and white tails. The most common calls are a loud nasal ‘tiah’, often given in flight, and a soft ‘tet-tet’ in close contact. Where does it live?  Found throughout most of the Australian mainland. What are its ...

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

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 claws, and rear feet partially webbed. Males have a poisonous spur on ankle of each hind leg. Where does it live?   Ea...

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

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 islands. What are its habitats & habits? Found in a variety of...

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

Crest-tailed Mulgara

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 each foot. Ears short and rounded, and snout pointed. Where is it found?   Arid deserts of south-eastern NT, north-eastern SA and far south-western Qld. What a...
Tasmanian Devil

Tasmanian Devil

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 the front foot and four on the rear. Emits loud, guttural vocalisations. Where is it found? Once widespread...
Stripe-faced Dunnart

Stripe-faced Dunnart

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 SA to central and western Qld and north-western NSW. What are its...

Bandicoots

Peramelidae
Eastern Barred Bandicoot

Eastern Barred Bandicoot

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 Community Parklands, and Tas, including Bruny and Maria (introduced) Islands....

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

Koala

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 central and eastern NSW and Vic (and along Murray River), to far south-eastern S...

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...
Sugar Glider

Sugar Glider

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 bushy, occasionally tipped with white, snout short and rounded, ears broad and large gliding membrane (edged with blackish and white) attached at wrists and ankles. Where is it found? Northern and eastern Australia (including coastal...
Red-necked Wallaby

Red-necked 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 found? South-eastern mainland, from south-eastern Qld, through eastern NSW and south Vic to far south-eastern...
Red Kangaroo

Red Kangaroo

What does it look like? The Red Kangaroo is the largest marsupial. Adult males are reddish-brown above, and females appear blue-grey, with a squarish snout, and white stripe between mouth and ear. Underparts are white in both sexes, but males may be stained reddish on the chest. Where is it found? Throughout arid and semi-arid inland Australia in all states except Tas. Reaches coast in north-western...

Ghost Bat

Megadermatidae
Ghost Bat

Ghost Bat

What does it look like? The Ghost Bat has 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 its habitats & habits? Occurs...

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.

Cats

Felidae

Pigs

Scientific name: Suidae (family)
Pig

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 its habitats and h...

Right Whales

Balaenidae

Roquals

Balaenopteridae

Dolphins

Delphinidae

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

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

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 whip-like, often with blackish tip. Where is it found?  Northern and eastern Australia, from Kimberley region WA, through n...
Mallee Military Dragon

Mallee Military 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 blackish below. Front limbs have thin whitish bands in midlateral area. Belly, ...
Central Netted Dragon

Central Netted 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, forming reticulated (netted) pattern. Back of head and nape has thin, spiny scales. ...
Boyd’s Forest Dragon

Boyd’s Forest Dragon

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 short white horizontal bars. Large, extendable, yell...
Southern Angle-headed Dragon

Southern Angle-headed 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 bars on jaw. Back and tail have yellow flecks or spots, and belly is w...
Water Dragon

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 dorsal stripes, and broad blackish facial stripe. Yellowish-brown underneath, but males often flushed with...

Typical Geckoes

Scientific name:  Gekkonidae (family)

Southern Padless Geckoes

Scientific name:  Carphodactylidae (family)

Austral Geckoes

Scientific name:  Diplodactylidae (family)

Snake-lizards

Scientific name:  Pygopodidae (family)

Skinks

Scientific name:  Scincidae (family)

Goannas

Scientific name:  Varanidae (family)

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)

Colubrid Snakes

Scientific name:  Colubridae (family)

Elapid Snakes

Scientific name:  Elapidae (family)
Bandy-bandy

Bandy-bandy

What does it look like?  The Bandy-bandy has 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 far northern Australia, from central northern N...

Blind Snakes

Scientific name:  Typhlopidae (family)
Blackish Blind Snake

Blackish Blind Snake

What does it look like? The Blackish Blind is 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 Australian mainland, ...

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

Freshwater 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, and large, triangular scutes (thickened scales) along top of tail. Where is it found?  Found in near coastal and adjacent inland areas of northern Australia from Kimberleys, WA, to Gulf of Carpentaria a...
Saltwater Crocodile

Saltwater Crocodile

What does it look like? DANGEROUS. The Saltwater Crocodile is 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 regions and drainage systems of northern and north-eastern ...