Wandering Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna arcuata

Common name: Wandering Whistling-Duck

Scientific name: Dendrocygna arcuata

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Distribution and habitat: Wandering Whistling-Ducks are found in northern and eastern Australia. They live in lagoons, swamps and flooded grasslands. They prefer deep waters where they can find plenty of water plants and insects.

Feeding: The Wandering Whistling-Duck eats water plants and seeds. It also eats grasses, the bulbs of water plants, insects and small water animals. Wandering Whistling-Ducks feed in a flock.

Breeding: Wandering Whistling-Ducks breed from January to April. The nest is a scrape in the ground lined with grasses. It is hidden in tall plants. The female lays 7 to 15 eggs. The chicks hatch after 30 days.

Did you know? Wandering Whistling-Ducks whistle while they fly.

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Little Penguin Eudyptula minor

Common Name:  Little Penguin

Scientific Name: Eudyptula minor

 Wiki Little Penguin 1

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.

*photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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

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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.

*photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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.

Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae

Common Name: Grey Goshawk

Scientific Name: Accipiter novaehollandiae

 IMG_0358 Grey Goshawk

Distribution and habitat: Grey Goshawks are found near the coast in northern, eastern and south-eastern Australia. Only the white form is found in Tasmania. They live in rainforests, forests and woodlands.

Feeding: The Grey Goshawk eats insects, reptiles, birds and small mammals. It chases its prey in flight and strikes at high speed with its long toes.

Breeding: Grey goshawks breed from July to December in the south and from January to May in the north. Both parents build a stick nest lined with leaves in the fork of a tree. The female lays 2 – 4 eggs. The chicks hatch after 35 days and leave the nest after 35 – 40 days.

Did you know? Grey Goshawks pair for life. They defend a home territory all year and often re-use a nest.

Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae

Common Name: Australasian Darter

Scientific Name: Anhinga novaehollandiae

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Distribution and habitat: Australasian Darters are found in eastern, northern and western Australia. They live near ponds, swamps and lakes that have branches and stumps for resting and drying wings.

Feeding: The Australasian Darter eats fishes and some insects and plants. It dives into water to catch a fish. It pierces the fish from underneath, flicks it onto the water surface and swallows it head first.

Breeding: Australasian Darters breed when there is plenty of water and food. The female builds a nest platform in the fork of a tree standing in water. The female lays 2 – 6 eggs. The chicks hatch after 28 days. They swim soon after hatching and fly after about 50 days.

Did you know? Australasian Darters can travel more than 2000 km when not breeding.

Southern Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae

Common Name: Southern Boobook

Scientific Name: Ninox novaeseelandiae

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Distribution and habitat: Southern Boobooks are found throughout Australia, and on some islands on the coast. They mostly live in forests and woodlands.

Feeding: The Southern Boobook eats insects such as moths, as well as bats, birds and mice. It mostly eats at night. It listens and watches from a high perch then seizes flying animals in mid-air or pounces on ground animals.

Breeding: Southern Boobooks breed from September to February. The nest is a hole in a tree lined with wood shavings, leaves and twigs. The female lays 2 – 5 eggs. The owlets hatch after 26 – 33 days and leave the nest after 35 – 42 days.

Did you know? Young Southern Boobooks are fed by their parents for 2 – 3 months after leaving the nest.

*photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons