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Birds of Australia

Birds Guide

Birds of Australia

List of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic birds | List of Australian birds

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A flock of Galahs
A flock of Galahs
A Cockatiel
A Cockatiel

Australia has about 800 species of bird, ranging from the tiny 8 cm Weebill to the huge, flightless Emu.

Many species will immediately seem familiar to visitors from the northern hemisphere - Australian wrens look and act much like northern hemisphere wrens and Australian robins seem to be close relatives of the northern hemisphere robins, but in fact the majority of Australian passerines are descended from the ancestors of the crow family, and the close resemblance is misleading: the cause is not genetic relatedness but convergent evolution.

For example, almost any land habitat offers a niche for a small bird that specialises in finding small insects: the form best fitted to that task is one with long legs for agility and obstacle clearance, moderately-sized wings optimised for quick, short flight, and a large, upright tail for rapid changes of direction. In consequence, the unrelated birds that fill that niche in the Americas and in Australia look and act as though they are close relatives.

Contents

Kinds of Birds

Australian birds can be classified into six broad categories:

The Australian Wood Duck
The Australian Wood Duck

Regional Lists

For comprehensive regional lists, see:

A Kookaburra
A Kookaburra

Organisations

National organisations include:

  • Birds Australia, also known as the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union, the leading Australian NGO for birds, birding, ornithology and conservation
    Australian Bird Study Association, for banders and other field ornithologists
    Birding-Aus - an Internet mailing list about Australian birds
    Bird Observers Club of Australia, a major birdwatcher's organisation with 40 branches and affiliate groups

Regional References and Guides

Important regional references include:

  • The Handbook of Australian, New Zealand and Antarctic Birds (HANZAB), the pre-eminent scientific reference, a seven-volume encyclopedia.
    The Atlas of Australian Birds, an extensive detailed survey of Australian bird distributions.
    The Action Plan for Australian Birds 2000, Garnett, Stephen T.; & Crowley, Gabriel M., Environment Australia, Canberra, 2000 ISBN 0-642-54683-5, a comprehensive survey of the conservation status of Australian species, with costed conservation and recovery strategies.

Full-coverage field guides in print are as follows, (grouped in rough order of authority):

  • Pizzey: Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, Pizzey, G and Menkhorst, P (ed), 7th edition, 2003
  • Slater: The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds, Slater P, Slater P and Slater R, 2003 revised edition
  • Simpson and Day: Field Guide to Australian Birds, Simpson K and Day N, 7th edition, 2004 ISBN 0-670-04180-7
  • Morcombe: Field Guide to Australian Birds, Morcombe, M, 2nd edition 2003, and complete compact edition 2004
  • Flegg: Photographic Field Guide: Birds of Australia, Flegg, J, 2nd edition, 2002
  • Trounson: Australian Birds: A Concise Photographic Field Guide, Trounson D and Trounson M, 2005 reprint
  • Caley: What Bird is That?, Caley, N, 2000 edition

External links


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This guide is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia.