Australian Brush Turkey

Can you hear the quiet grunt of an Australian brush turkey?

  • Australian brush turkeys are common ground dwelling birds, native to the eastern areas of Australia’s Queensland and New South Wales.
  • ‘Australian brush turkeys’ are also known as ‘Australian brush-turkeys’, ‘scrub turkeys’, ‘bush turkeys’ and ‘brush turkeys’.
  • An Australian brush turkey has the scientific name of Alectura lathami, and comes from the family Megapodiidae, the family of mound building birds.
  • Australian brush turkeys have mostly black feathers, yellow wattles and red necks and heads.
  • Male Australian brush turkeys use leaf matter and other organic litter to create mounds, up to 1.5 metres (5 feet) in height and 4 metres (13.1 feet) in diameter, that covers the 16 to 24 eggs that a female lays.

Australian Brush Turkey, animal, Mound, Tall, Male, Yellow, Maintaining, Ten Random Facts, Australia

Photo courtesy of Val Laird
  • Australian brush turkeys grow to be 60 to 75 centimetres (23 to 30 inches) in length, weigh 2.27 kilograms (5 pounds) on average, and have an 85 centimetre (33 inches) wingspan, although they only fly very short distances.
  • Australian brush turkeys are found mostly in rainforests, urban areas, and scrublands.
  • Male Australian brush turkeys use their mound as an incubator, often for more than one female’s eggs, and keep the mound at a constant temperature in the mid thirties °C (nineties °F), using their beak to test the temperature, and changing the temperature by adding or removing leaf matter.
  • Australian brush turkeys have a diet that mainly consists of seeds, insects and fruit.
  • Australian brush turkey chicks are not cared for by their parents and are capable of looking after themselves, although they are often preyed upon by animals and birds, and are said to have a 1 in 200 chance of survival to adulthood.
Bibliography:
Australian Brush Turkey, 2013, Wildlife, http://www.wildlife.org.au/wildlife/speciesprofile/birds/brushturkey.html
Australian Brushturkey, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Brushturkey
Brush-turkey: The Rainforest Rake, 2007, Skyrail, http://www.skyrail.com.au/news/skyrail-nature-diary/1040-brush-turkey-the-rainforest-rake

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Greater Flamingo

Tall, pink flamingos are greater flamingos.

  • Greater flamingos have the scientific name Phoenicopterus roseus, and are from the wading bird family, Phoenicopteridae, that only consists of six species of flamingos.
  • Greater flamingos are native to areas in Africa, Europe’s south and South Asia.
  • Greater flamingos are titled as the world’s largest flamingo, with figures of approximately 110 to 150 centimetres (43 to 60 inches) in height and 2 to 4 kilograms (4.4 to 8.8 pounds) in weight; with records of 187 cm (just over 6 feet) and 4.5 kg (10 lb).
  • Greater flamingos have red feathers in some areas, and black flight feathers, but they are well known for their pink-white feathers that are best seen when the bird is standing, although flamingos are born with white and grey feathers that are absent of pink colouration for two years or more.
  • Greater flamingos obtain their pink coloured body and plumage by eating organisms that contain carotenoid pigments, that are mostly found in the algae they eat, and if their diet consists mostly of algae, they will be a deeper colour pink than those that feed mainly on shrimp and the like.

Greater Flamingo, Pink, White, Adult, One Leg Full, Zoo, Bronx Zoo, New York, United States, statuesque, Ten Random Facts, National Geographic

Adult Flamingo
Image courtesy of National Geographic
  • The Greater flamingo’s diet mainly consists of shrimp, tiny fish, seeds, blue-green algae and other algae, molluscs and plankton, and they obtain their food by filtering the food from water in their bill.
  • Greater flamingos can live to be over 60 years old in captivity, with the oldest Greater in captivity dying at an age of around 83 years old in Australia’s Adelaide Zoo, in early 2014.
  • The tongues of Greater flamingos were historically eaten luxuriously by Roman emperors.
  • Greater flamingos generally live in colonies, which helps to protect them from predators, that can be as large as a thousand or more birds, in habitats of lakes, particularly alkaline lakes, and mudflats.
  • When calling, greater flamingos produce a sound like a honk of a goose, and they lay one white egg per season in a nest of mud.
Bibliography:
Greater Flamingo, 2014, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greater_Flamingo
Greater Flamingo, n.d, Adelaide Zoo, http://www.zoossa.com.au/adelaide-zoo/animals-exhibits/animals/birds?species=Greater%20Flamingo

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Emperor Penguin

Waddle like an emperor penguin.

  • Native to Antarctica, the emperor penguin is an aquatic species of  feathered bird, and is black-headed and black-backed, with a white torso and yellow neck.
  • The scientific name of emperor penguins is Aptenodytes forsteri, and they are from the family of penguins, Spheniscidae.
  • Of all species of penguin alive today, emperor penguins have the greatest height and weight, with up to 122 centimetres (48 inches) and between 22 to 45 kilograms (49 to 99 pounds) respectively.
  • Fish, squid and crustaceans are the main items in an emperor penguin’s diet, while they are preyed on by larger birds, whales and seals, and when breeding, if one emperor penguin out of a twosome becomes the meal of a predator, the egg or chick is deserted and the surviving penguin goes off to find food.
  • Emperor penguins can survive very deep depths of water, up to 535 metres (1,735 feet) or more from the surface, having the capacity to stay under water for at least 20 minutes, and can swim at speeds of up to 9 kph (6 mph).
Emperor Penguin, White, Black, Two, Pair, Antarctica, Cold, Ten Random Facts, National Geographic
Emperor
Image courtesy of National Geographic
  • Emperor penguins have a high density layer of  insulating feathers and fat, strong bones, and can survive on low oxygen levels.
  • Of all the species of penguin, emperor penguins are the only ones with winter as its breeding season, laying one egg every season, in breeding colonies of thousands.
  • Emperor penguins generally live to be 15-20 years old, although only 20% to 30% (approximately) of chicks born, live longer than a year.
  • The first person to discover the emperor penguins was possibly Johann Forster, a naturalist from Germany, in 1773 or 1774, although this is uncertain, however the the scientific name of the penguins is named after him.
  • Emperor penguins generally moult from January to February, typically moulting for a month, shedding their feathers quicker than most birds.
Bibliography:
Emperor Penguin, 2013, Animal Fact Guide, http://www.animalfactguide.com/animal-facts/emperor-penguin/
Emperor Penguin, 2013, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Penguin

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Yellow Chat

Do not chat all day long with yellow chats.

  • Yellow chats are birds from the family Meliphagidae, which is the family of honeyeaters.
  • Yellow chats have yellow coloured coats and the males have a black crescent on their chest.
  • The scientific name of yellow chats is Epthianura crocea and there are three subspecies.
  • Yellow chats are native to the Australian tropics and different subspecies are exclusive to specific areas.
  • Some subspecies of yellow chats are ranked from endangered, to least concerned, and they are threatened mainly by the destruction of their habitat by various invasive plant species, wild pigs and other feral animals, and salinisation issues.

Yellow Chat Capricornia, Rare, reeds, grass, stand, alert, birds, Australia, Ten Random Facts

Photo courtesy of Val Laird
  • Yellow chats grow to be 10-12 cm (4 to 4.7 inches) long, and on average 9.3 grams (0.3 ounce) in weight.
  • Some subspecies of yellow chats have a population of approximately 50 to 500, while others are more numerous.
  • Yellow chats generally live among long grass, particularly in the wetlands or grasslands.
  • Yellow chats build cup shaped nests from grass, feathers and other vegetation, and lay 2-3 eggs that are coloured white with black/red speckles.
  • Yellow chats have a diet mainly consisting of various insects that they find in a range of habitats.
Bibliography:
Yellow Chat (Epthianura crocea), 2013, Birdlife International, http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=5391
Yellow Chat (Epthianura crocea), n.d, The Internet Bird Collection,  http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=539

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Galah

Don’t be a galah!

  • Galahs are a common bird in almost all of Australia, and are a type of parrot, specifically a cockatoo.
  • Galahs have a pink and pale pink head, a pink chest and pale grey wings and back, while males have brown irises and females often having pink or red ones.
  • ‘Galahs’ are also known as ‘rose-breasted cockatoos’, ‘galah cockatoos’, ‘rosies, ‘roseate cockatoos’  ‘Willock cockatoos’ and ‘pink and greys’.
  • The scientific name for a galah is Eolophus roseicapilla and some indigenous Australians call galahs ‘gilaa’, which is where the term ‘galah’ comes from.
  • Galahs grow to approximately 35 centimetres (14 inches) in length and up to 350 grams (12 ounces) in weight.

Galah, Female, Male, Eating, Two, Red eye, Ten Random Facts, Bird, Australia

  • Galahs typically lay 2 to 5 eggs in their nest, a hollow in a tree, and when chicks hatch, they leave the nest after approximately 49 days.
  • The term ‘galah’ is Australian slang for ‘a fool’.
  • Galahs like eating vegetation, and small seeds of plants, as well as nuts and berries and they like to grind or chew objects to keep their beak sharp.
  • Galah’s can often be seen in large flocks of 500 – 1000 birds, although they only have one mating partner for life.
  • Galahs generally make small chitting or loud screeching noises, and can also impersonate other sounds or voices.
Bibliography:
Galah, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galah>
Galah, n.d, Birds in Backyard, <http://www.birdsinbackyards.net/species/Eolophus-roseicapillus>

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Pacific Black Duck

Have you seen a pacific black duck’s speculum?

  • Pacific black ducks are dabbling ducks, which are ducks that generally feed on the surface of the water, and poke their head into the water for food, while the back half of the duck remains out of the water.
  • Pacific black ducks are native to most of Australasia and the Pacific islands and parts of Southeast Asia.
  • ‘Pacific black ducks’ are also known as ‘grey ducks’, ‘black ducks’, ‘brown ducks’, ‘wild ducks’, ‘blackies’, ‘Australian wild ducks’ and ‘Parera’, a New Zealand Maori term.
  • Pacific black ducks live in or near ponds, wetlands, lakes or marshes and nest in woven grass, leaves and other foliage, laying 7-13 white eggs.
  • Pacific black ducks are typically dark brown in colour, with a paler head and neck, with distinctive stripes on their face.

Pacific black ducks, Brown, lake, swimming, group, adult, water, lake, Ten Random Facts

  • Pacific black ducks are generally between 50 to 60 centimetres (1.6 to 2 feet) in length, with males generally larger than females.
  • The scientific name of pacific black ducks is Anas superciliosa and they are from the family Anatidae, which is the family of ducks, swans and geese.
  • Pacific black ducks are similar to their introduced cousins, mallards, that the ducks can and do breed with.
  • Pacific black ducks are covered with waterproof oil that the ducks produce, and have a magnificent green speculum (patch on their feathers), which is best seen when the ducks are in flight.
  • Pacific black ducks feed on seeds of aquatic vegetation, shrimps, yabbies, crustaceans and insects, and they will sometimes forage for food on the ground.
Bibliography:
Davis D, Pacific Black Duck, 2013, Wires Northern Rivers, <http://www.wiresnr.org/pacificblackduck.html>
Pacific Black Duck, 2013, Wikipedia, <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Black_Duck>

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