Birds

Australian Brush-turkey

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Australian brush-turkeyGenus: Alectura
Species: Alectura lathami
Common names: Brush-turkey, Scrub-turkey
ALA reference

Rather surprisingly, over the last few years, these birds have shunned the Reserve in favour of suburban back yards for the location of their nesting/incubation mounds. There is plenty of evidence that they did use the reserve in the past but may have been driven away by the thick carpet of cat’s claw runners covering the ground. However this male has decided to start a new mound just inside the reserve on the edge of Eddystone Road. He has scraped leaves, grass and sticks from up to 20 metres away to form the mound that is now over a metre high. By carefully churning the material in the mound he can maintain the temperature of the eggs that are laid in the mound at about 35 degrees Celsius. When the chicks hatch from the eggs they are on their own and must first struggle up to escape from the mound and then find their own food. Even at that early stage they can fly!

(July 2011)

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Australian King-parrot

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Australian King-parrotGenus: Alisterus
Species: Alisterus scapularis
Common names: Australian King-parrot
ALA reference

I found a small group of 3 or 4 Australian King-parrots eating the fruit on the Toon tree that is growing next to the table in the picnic area. This is a male bird and has a brilliant red head and breast. The female has a dullish green head and body with a dullish red underbelly. (May 2008)

Crested Hawk

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Crested HawkGenus: Aviceda
Species: Aviceda subcristata
Common names: Crested Hawk, Pacific Baza
ALA reference

At the end of December the parent bird started to leave the nest unattended so I assumed the egg/s had hatched. A few days later I occasionally caught a glimpse of a chick and then about a week later saw two chicks in the nest. The two chicks grew rapidly and the larger of the two had started to develop barring on the breast feathers when I took this photo. The smaller chick is just visible in the background. Regrettably this story has a sad ending. Both chicks were found on the ground under the nest on 17/18 January. The larger chick had a broken wing which the vet was unable to mend as it was too badly broken and the smaller chick was dead. I don’t know what went wrong but can only guess that possibly other birds such as crows drove them out of the nest. The Saturday was very windy so it is possible that they were blown out of the nest. (January 2009)

Last month a pair of Crested Hawks built this rather flimsy looking nest in the fork of a horizontally spreading branch of a Eucalyptus propinqua (Small fruited Grey Gum) located on the eastern boundary of the reserve. Since then I’ve never seen the nest without one of the parent birds sitting on it. These birds prey mainly on insects and small lizards. (December 2008)

Fan-tailed Cuckoo

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Fan-tailed CuckooGenus: Cacomantis
Species: Cacomantis flabelliformis
Synonym: Cuculus pyrrhophanus
Common names: Fan-tailed Cuckoo
ALA reference

This bird is common in the Reserve and its call, a mournful descending trill, can frequently be heard. It feeds mainly on caterpillars, including hairy caterpillars, which it finds by sitting quietly on a perch scanning the ground and surrounding foliage. Like other cuckoos it is a brood parasite laying a single egg in another bird’s nest. While there are records of 50 different species of birds acting as its host parents, it prefers domed nests rather than cup shaped nests. Common hosts are thornbills, scrubwrens, fairy wrens and flycatchers.

(August 2012)

The fan-tailed cuckoo feeds mainly on caterpillars but also eats moths and other insects. Like most cuckoos it lays its eggs in the nests of other birds.

(June 2011)

Grey Shrike-thrush

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Grey Shrike-thrushGenus: Colluricincla
Species: Colluricincla (Colluricincla) harmonica
Common names: Grey Shrike-thrush
ALA reference

While this bird might have a relatively drab grey and buff plumage, it must surely have one of the most melodious calls to be heard in our bushland. Pairs bond for life and they can often be seen relatively close to each other in the bush. They seem to be relatively unafraid of people and can usually be found close to or on the ground hopping about in their hunt for food on the ground or under fallen branches.

(August 2012)

White-throated Treecreeper

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White-throated TreecreeperGenus: Cormobates
Species: Cormobates leucophaea
Common names: White-throated Treecreeper
ALA reference

This is a bird that loves the rainforest or other heavily timbered areas. It spends almost all its time in the trees and rarely ventures onto the ground. It can often be seen hopping up tree-trunks and even performing the seemingly impossible feat of hopping up the underside of branches searching for ants or other insects.

(July 2012)

Australian Magpie

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Australian MagpieGenus: Cracticus
Species: Cracticus tibicen
Synonym: Gymnorhina tibicen
Common names: Australian Magpie
ALA reference

Magpies are territorial birds and there seem to be two “tribes” of Magpies in the reserve. One tribe is centred around the picnic area and the other near the end of Eddystone Road. The ones at the end of Eddystone Road are very tame and will stand right next to you and rarely fly away. (May 2008)