My previous post highlighted some of the many colorful and unusual birds of Australia, and today we’ll cover the little penguin and a few other special birds from Down Under.
One favorite sighting was the little penguin on Kangaroo Island, just off the southern coast.
Penguins are only found in the southern hemisphere, many reside in the colder climates of Antarctica. Flightless seabirds, penguins are warm-blooded, and have feathers and lay eggs like other birds.
The little penguin, found in southern Australia and New Zealand, is the smallest penguin on earth. More info here.
A ranger had told us to go to this coastal corner at dark and look around the rocks. He warned not to turn on our “torch,” because that would startle them.
So there we were in the dark, tripping around between parked cars with steamy windows, looking for another bird.
Eventually, on the other side of the parked cars, a few quietly clambered toward us. I backed up, thinking it was three large rats. But then a few more appeared over the crest of some rocks, and we got a better look.
Only knee-high, they waddled among the rocks and in about ten minutes they had all disappeared into their burrows.
Another favorite was in Queensland on the mainland, in a rainforest. The rainforest is a cacophony of vibrant bird song; screeches, squawks, and screams burst forth from the tangle of palms and vines.
One bird song I found especially soothing was the onomatopoeic call of the Wompoo Fruit Dove.
This dove was especially difficult to see or photograph because they are well-hidden in the upper canopy, and have quiet ways.
Amid the loud whip sound of the Eastern Whipbird, and other shrieks, the wompoo dove has a gentle, almost human call: “wom-poo.”
Wompoo Dove sound, click here.
Other fun Australian bird anecdotes can be found on previously-written posts:
It’s impossible to share the hundreds of birds I experienced in Australia, but I trust the dozen or so I have highlighted in this series gave you a glimpse of the lively bird life in this country.
Photo credit: Athena Alexander unless otherwise specified.
Mystery novel I wrote set in Australia: e-book for $4.99 available here.