Common Ringtail Possum Pseudocheirus peregrinus

Common Name: Common Ringtail Possum

Scientific Name: Pseudocheirus peregrinus

 

Distribution and habitat: Common Ringtail Possums are found in eastern and south-western Australia, and in Tasmania. They live in rainforests, forests, woodlands and gardens.

Feeding: The Common Ringtail Possum eats eucalypt and other leaves, flowers and fruits. It feeds in trees during the night.

Breeding: Common Ringtail Possums breed from April to December. The female usually gives birth to two young, called joeys. The joeys stay in their mother’s pouch and drink her milk for 4 months. They leave the pouch and ride on their mother’s back until they are weaned at 5 – 8 months of age.

Did you know? The Common Ringtail Possum eats its own poo to get all the nutrients from its food.

Short-beaked Echidna Tachyglossus aculeatus

Common Name: Short-beaked Echidna

Scientific Name:Tachyglossus aculeatus

Distribution and habitat: Echidnas are found all over Australia, including Tasmania, King Island, Flinders Island and Kangaroo Island. They live in most habitats, from snowy mountains to deserts.

Feeding: An echidna eats ants and termites. It finds food using its sense of smell and catches food with its long sticky tongue.

Breeding: Echidnas breed from June to September. The female develops a pouch then lays an egg into it. The young, called a puggle, hatches in 10 days. The puggle stays in its mother’s pouch and drinks her milk for 3 months. It leaves the pouch and stays with its mother until it is weaned at about 6 months of age.

Did you know? An echidna curls up into a ball, wedges itself beneath rocks, or burrows into soft soil when frightened.

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus

Common Name: Koala

Scientific Name: Phascolarctos cinereus

Distribution and habitat: Koalas are found in eastern and south-eastern Australia, but not in Tasmania. They live in eucalypt forests and woodlands.

Feeding: The Koala eats eucalypt leaves. In a given area, a koala may eat leaves from only a few species of eucalypts. It may occasionally eat leaves from other trees such as acacias and bottlebrushes.

Breeding: Koalas breed from August to February. The female is pregnant for 35 days then gives birth to a single young, called a joey. The joey stays in its mother’s pouch and drinks her milk for 6 months. It leaves the pouch and rides on its mother’s back until it is weaned at 12 months of age.

Did you know? Koalas sleep for 18 – 22 hours each day!

Galahs 2014: Maverick, Iceman and Viper

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Each year we hope galahs will breed in one of the nesting boxes in our backyard.

When they do, we love watching each baby grow bigger and stronger. Nothing compares with the thrill of seeing a baby parrot leap out of the nesting box for the first time and fly away with its parents.

Volume 1 of Nesting Box Diary, Galahs 2014, describes the first three months in the lives of Maverick, Iceman and Viper.

Galahs 2014

Little Penguin Eudyptula minor

Common Name:  Little Penguin

Scientific Name: Eudyptula minor

 

Distribution and habitat: Little Penguins are found along the southern edge of Australia, including Tasmania. They also live in New Zealand and the Chatham Islands. They live in seas with water temperatures of 13 – 20oC.

Feeding: The Little Penguin eats small schooling fishes, squids and krill. It catches and swallows its prey underwater.

Breeding: Little Penguins breed from August to February at Phillip Island and April to December in Western Australia. The nest is a burrow in a sand dune. The female lays 2 eggs. The chicks hatch after 36 days and leave the nest after 56 – 63 days.

Did you know? Little Penguins are the only penguins that breed on the Australian mainland.

Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae

Common Name:  Australasian Grebe

Scientific Name: Tachybaptus novaehollandiae

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Distribution and habitat: Australasian Grebes are found all over Australia. They live in ponds, lakes and rivers.

Feeding: An Australasian Grebe eats water insects and small fishes. It catches prey by diving underwater or takes food from the surface of the water.

Breeding: Australasian Grebes breed between September and January in the south and January and April in the north. The nest is a floating mound of plants attached to an underwater branch or reed. The female lays 4 or 5 eggs. The chicks hatch after 23 days and swim soon after hatching.

Did you know? Australasian Grebes eat their own feathers and feed them to their chicks. They may do this to prevent injury from sharp fish bones.

Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides

Common Name: Tawny Frogmouth

Scientific Name: Podargus strigoides

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Distribution and habitat: Tawny Frogmouths are found all over Australia, including Tasmania. They live in most places, except thick rainforests and treeless deserts.

Feeding: The Tawny Frogmouth eats insects, worms, slugs, snails, frogs, reptiles, birds and small mammals. It sits on a branch or post and pounces on prey. It also catches insects in flight.

Breeding: Tawny Frogmouths breed from August to December. The nest is a loose platform of sticks on the horizontal fork of a tree branch.  The female lays 2 or 3 eggs. The chicks hatch after 28 – 30 days and leave the nest after 27 – 31 days.

Did you know? During the day, Tawny Frogmouths stand still and close their eyes to blend in with tree branches.

Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae

Common Name: Laughing Kookaburra

Scientific Name: Dacelo novaeguineae

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Distribution and habitat: Kookaburras are found in eastern Australia, Tasmania and south-western Western Australia. They live in forests, woodlands, parks and gardens.

Feeding: A kookaburra eats insects, worms, crustaceans, frogs, lizards, snakes, birds and mammals. It sits on a perch and pounces on prey. It eats small prey whole and bashes large prey against the ground or a branch.

Breeding: Kookaburras breed from August to January. They nest in a hole in a tree or a termite nest in a tree. The female lays 2 or 3 eggs. The chicks hatch after 24 days and leave the nest after 35 days.

Did you know? Other kookaburras in the group help the parents care for the chicks.

Barn Owl Tyto alba

Common Name: Barn Owl

Scientific Name: Tyto alba

 

Distribution and habitat: Barn Owls are found all over Australia. They live in open country, heathlands and forests.

Feeding: A Barn Owl eats insects, frogs, lizards, birds, mice, rats and other small mammals.

Breeding: Barn Owls can breed at any time of year. They nest in a hole in a tree, a cave or an old building. The female lays 3 – 6 eggs. The owlets hatch after 30 days and leave the nest after 63 days. They stay with their parents for another four weeks.

Did you know? Barn Owls have such good hearing that they can hear and catch prey in complete darkness.

Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus

Common Name: Whistling Kite

Scientific Name: Haliastur sphenurus

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Distribution and habitat: Whistling Kites are found all over Australia. They live in woodlands, open country and wetlands.

Feeding: A Whistling Kite eats insects, fishes, birds, mammals and dead animals. It soars above the ground, trees and water when searching for food.

Breeding: Whistling Kites breed from July to January in the south and from March to October in the north. Both parents build a stick nest in a tall tree. The female lays 1 – 3 eggs. The chicks hatch after 38 days and leave the nest after 46 days.

Did you know? If there is plenty of food, Whistling Kites can breed two or three times a year.