In the city, in the bush, and at the beach, Australia has some of the world's most stunning birds

 

Look out for these amazing birds. They are living with us and all around us. Help them out when you can and they will reward you with cheerful songs and beautiful colours.

 

City birds learn to live with people, making the most of our gardens, and our rubbish bins. These Red-collared Lorikeets drink from a sprinkler head in the Northern Territory town of Pine Creek.

Bush birds adapt to loss of trees and swamps and make the most of the farm landscape and remaining bush. Here a Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove enjoys well-ripened fruit from a palm tree.

At the beach birds compete with people, vehicles and development to feed, breed and rest. In the photo regal Australian Pelicans swim in formation, a common sight around the Australian coast.

Places

Australia provides a wide range of habitats for birds and animals; the tropical northern rain-forests of the east coast blend into temperate forests further south and then the mountains of the Snowy and Tasmania. Further inland broad woodlands become progressively drier toward the central deserts, then back to the grasslands and bush of the west coast. Marine habitats range from the tropical Coral Sea in the north to southern oceans that reach towards Antarctica. Above, the waters of Kings Canyon, Central Australia provide cool refuge for birds and animals from the desert heat.

Families

Australia with its territories is home to over 800 species of bird and of these around 350 are native (endemic). The parrot and pigeon families are thought to have originated in Australia. Also dominant are the songbirds that began their worldwide conquest in Australia and now make up half of the world’s 10,000 bird species. Australian songbird families such as the Honeyeaters proliferated to make use of the plentiful nectar from eucalypt and paperbark trees. The Red-capped Robin pictured looks similar to the famous European Redbreasts but in fact is another songbird that evolved independently in Australia.

Neighbours

Neighbour New Zealand shares many seabird and land-bird species with Australia. Some New Zealand bird species may be descendants from birds that were blown across the Tasman sea, for example the rare New Zealand Takahe shares ancestry with the Australian Purple Swamphen. To the north, Asian bird neighbours share many common species and ancestries with Australia. The New Zealand Tui, above, is a member of the same Honeyeater family that dominates the Australian bush.