Birds of Australia, Part 1 of 2

Rainbow Lorikeet, Australia

Rainbow Lorikeet, Australia

Some of the world’s most colorful birds live in Australia, a continent boasting over 800 bird species.


For anyone new to this curious land–whether they’re a birder or not–seeing brightly-colored parrots and birds as big as humans is a fun adventure.


This week I present a two-part series on the birds of Australia, highlighting photos and anecdotes of some of my favorite birds.


Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Here is a list of Australia’s birds, impressive with so many exotic species.


Do I have a favorite? Oh yes.


My favorite Australian bird siting:Β  the southern cassowary.


Southern Cassowary, male, Australia

Southern Cassowary, male, Australia

Listed as threatened and declining, this was a true thrill. The bird was taller and heavier than me, and took an aggressive approach when we unknowingly came close to what we suspected was his nest.


Never have I been so threatened by a bird.


Emu greets us at Mareeba Wetlands

Emu greets us at Mareeba Wetlands

You can read about it here: cassowary andΒ  bowerbirds.


As an American where we have no native parrots, I can never get enough of the parrots, parakeets, and cockatoos in Australia.


It seemed the sky was an endless kaleisdoscope.

Blue-winged Kookaburra, Queensland, Australia

Blue-winged Kookaburra, Queensland, Australia


Crimson Rosella, Australia

Crimson Rosella, Australia

Previously posted stories on parrot-like species: the crimson rosella, rainbow lorikeet, and gang-gang cockatoo.


Look for more bird stories and photos this Friday. I hope you have a great week full of living color, my friends~~


Tawny Frogmouth, Granite Gorge

Tawny Frogmouth, Granite Gorge, Australia







All photos taken by Athena Alexander.

Wicked Walkabout by Jet Eliot

For more wildlife adventures in Australia, here’s a mystery novel I recommend–lively with bird and wildlife scenes.

Click here to buy e-book Wicked Walkabout – $4.99


80 thoughts on “Birds of Australia, Part 1 of 2

  1. I love the concept of the sky looking like a kaleisdoscope – absolutely beautiful. When I read your book I learned about the Cassowary – and can only imagine what an experience that must have been. Australia has so many unusual species…I have only been to Sydney and surrounding areas, and the Great Barrier Reef….but know that the country is chock a block with amazing creatures and colour. Thank you, Jet – I look forward to learning more. Janet:)

    • Thanks so much for your kind and generous comment, Janet. I am glad you have had the delight of experiencing the beauties and colors of Australia. I can imagine as an artist who works constantly with colors, this must have been very vivid and enlivening for you. My best wishes to you for a great week~~

  2. The colors are fantastic! Here in Florida we do have parrots , but they’re not native (and they’re all green), set free after being bought as pets – that goes for finches too. It used to be a novelty back in the 1970’s to buy a finch in a bamboo cage – then after a while just set free. Now that I think of it we have a few non-native species such as pygmy rattlers that spread north after a crate of them broke open at Miami International Airport!! I could sure do without them!!

    • Enjoyed hearing about your Floridian non-natives, GP. I have read about all the problems Fla. has had with non-native birds and mammals, and I can imagine pygmy rattlers must be extremely unsettling. Thanks so much for your comment~~

  3. I think it would be a bit of a shock to the system to see colourful parrots flying around – although we do now have resident populations of green parrots in London, I believe – though I haven’t seen any.

    • It sure stopped me in my tracks a number of times, to have big and bright birds flying by. We have wild non-native parrots in San Francisco too, and I’ve seen them — that’s pretty fun. Thank you Andrea~~

  4. Hi Jet,
    So here’s the deal (as you Americans say – maybe, I think). I don’t read books. (Well, I have been known to, but only about 20 or so in my whole (long) life – and mostly of sports persons or humorous, like ‘Around Ireland with a Fridge’ by Tony Hawkes, which ought to be compulsory reading for everyone). But I’d like to purchase a copy of your book, but I think it would have to be signed by you… (If that’s ok – as I like the personal touch πŸ™‚ ) At 4.99 it seems a steal to me (especially being a ‘Swiss’ person now). So just let me know the cost (inc. post and packaging etc and I’ll ‘wire’ it to you… I’ve loved all of your posts, (& I like a good thriller) so I’m sure your book will be fantastic and I can’t wait to have it. So please, please say you’ll send me a copy ? πŸ™‚

    • I find this comment so very kind, Mike, you gave me the biggest smile. If I could I would, espec. after your wonderful request. But it is an e-book and only available digitally, even to me. I think it is so kind of you to go for it, even though you’re not a big reader…this is means a lot to me. My next book, which is due out next month, will be a paperback. It is set in San Francisco, entitled Golden Gate Graveyard, also a mystery. I will be announcing when it is out, but the paperback version is $USD 20.00; if you would still like to buy, let me know and we can work something out. With humble thanks and a big smile~~Jet.

      • Hi Jet,
        I’m glad you were pleased, as afterwards I thought I might have been a bit cheeky to ask! I’d most definitely like a copy of the new book when it comes out. Even though I don’t have many of my own, I think ‘real’ books are to be treasured. Yours will certainly have pride of place on our shelves. πŸ™‚
        Please email me directly on to organise something.
        With many thanks in advance – I can’t wait !

      • Hi Jet,
        I’m sure you won’t have forgotten about my request. πŸ™‚ But just to let you know that Jude and I are heading to Sicily tomorrow for a week, so don’t be surprised if you don’t get a reply to your email. My phone (or rather Microsoft) has a habit of deleting all my emails when I’m away.
        I shall look forward very much to reading your book and learning all about San Francisco. πŸ™‚

  5. Great post! Australia hit the evolutionary jackpot – all those wonderful creatures evolving in such unique ways, what a place. Gang-gang?! I had to follow the link, and what a story, and what a colourful pair they were. Always fun to read about your travel tales and the lengths you both go to track down the unusual!
    Thanks, and have a good week!

    • Your wonderfully written comment gave me a chuckle, pc. We do go to some length to track down the birds. It’s a great way to enjoy the wilderness and escape the cities too. And you’re right, it is an evolutionary jackpot there. More fun Australian bird photos and stories on Friday. My thanks to you for your many visits and great comments.

    • Your comment, David, as always, gave me a big smile. It surely is a bird paradise in Australia. And the little penguin and others are coming up next. My thanks to you, for always bringing me a smile, even on this rainy day.

  6. How wonderful! Great to see the cassowary πŸ˜€ I was born in Australia but left as a baby so I don’t remember it at all sadly! My parents have photos of me with emus though πŸ™‚ Love the frogmouth! Looks a lot like our nightjars. Really hard to get to see them!

    • Great comment, Sarah. You must be a native because you picked out the two most rare birds from this post. The frogmouth is nearly impossible to find, had to go to a specific tree with the help of several people. And of course the cassowary is even more rare. I love that you were with emus as a baby! My thanks~~

      • I’m hoping to get to see a nightjar on a guided walk next year in local woodland! Getting to know the people who manage the area and monitor the wildlife there πŸ™‚ It always helps to get the right advice from local experts wherever you are in the world! One day I hope to be able to make the journey over to Australia and revisit the places from my first year on earth. New Zealand too as we also have family there and it’s where I had my first birthday πŸ™‚

      • I have never seen a nightjar without a guide, so I think it’s great you’re going on a guided walk, Sarah. So much to see! So little time! lol. My best to you~~

    • Thanks so very much, Bill. The blue-winged kookaburra was in a eucalyptus tree (they call them gums) and high in a limb about 200 ft away. It was great to see the frog in his mouth, only visible with binoculars and the long camera lens. πŸ™‚

  7. When I was 10 years old I felt in love at the moment I saw a sulphur-crested cockatoo. But My Father said: no chance! Therefore I got the smaller one, cockatiels. 30 years those wonderful birds took part of my life! And I hope one time I can see all these amazing birds of Australia in their natural surroundings. Your pictures were a little sunbeam in my heart today πŸ™‚

    • Such a delight to receive your kind and warm comment, Simone. The first time I saw sulphur-crested cockatoos in the wild we were on a highway heading toward the Blue Mtns. and there was a huge flock in green grass. I thought they were seagulls because there were so many and they were on the ground. What a delight that was. I do hope you get to see them in the wild someday; until then, more Australian birds (Part 2) on Friday.

    • Zipping around the bush in a 4WD, having this incredible guide sometimes, and not some times, spotting so many birds and mammals , it was great fun. Thanks so much, Nan.

    • Thank you, Lesley. The cassowary is one of the coolest birds on this planet–and there are not many of them left–so I am really happy to introduce you. Thanks for your visit.

  8. Oh Australia really is a show off in the bird and animal department I must say. We did see parrots when we were there. Stunning to see them sitting in the wild. Wonderful captures especially the cassowary. Thanks for the link to your book and congratulations to you!

    • Finding parrots just flying by is such a joy, isn’t it, Sue? They’re so big and bright, colorful and vocal. I’m glad you’ve had this pleasure. thanks so much for your kind words. Many thanks for the congrats too.

  9. Now I know how you knew all the birds I wrote about in my post Jet πŸ˜€ Wonderful photos Athena. Rainbow Lorikeets are very common where I live on the Gold Coast but I never tire of their gorgeous colours nor their chatter as they feed on flowers.

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