Tag Archives: bird

Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (cockie)

Cacatua galerita

Cockies are a very common bird around here, it can be easy to become a bit indifferent but when you step back and look they really are remarkable. They are are a large bird measuring 44 – 55cm in length, their whole body is snow white, except for the bright yellow “sulfur” crest on the tops of their head. They have a large powerful parrot beak that they use for crushing food and also as an extra grip when climbing.  The sound they make can only be described as a loud piercing screech. Like many parrots they can learn to talk a few words.

We have a bird feeder hanging just outside the window out the back. The cockies have become quite aggressive with it, scaring the other smaller birds away and often fighting each other for a perch. When the seed has run out they sit in the feeder and tap on the window, if we don’t feed them they sometime start tearing away at the side of the house. They are not afraid, often when I fill the feeder with new seed they will hold their ground and grab the spoon in their beak before I get a chance to empty the seed into the tray. Their beaks look like they would do a lot of damage to a finger!

Sulfur Crested Cockatoo – feathers all puffed up, probably because it was cold
Out on the dog walk, a flock ( are they called that when they are on the ground ?) of cockies having a feed. There was one up in the tree behind them keeping a look out for threats.
I got too close and they flew away screeching with annoyance

Pied Cormorant

Phalacrocorax varius

This Pied Cormorant was spotted perched by the bank of Middle Harbour River. The noise of the family must have been too much for it as it soon flew away. I’ll have to go back to try and get some clearer photos.

Pied Cormorant sitting near the bank of Middle Harbour River

The Pied Cormorant is a large bird with white underside and black wings and top. They are found in marine habitats and feed mainly on fish but will also take crustaceans and mollusks. Like all Cormorants they catch their food by swimming underwater making use of their large webbed feet. Their feathers are not waterproof which is why cormorants are so often spotted standing wings outstretched in the sun.

Pied Cormorant in flight – The family was too loud for it

Sources and more info

Peewee (Magpie lark)

Grallina cyanoleuca

These medium sized black and white birds were hanging about in the trees out the back, it’s yet another species that I couldn’t identify! By the time I got the camera they were gone. Luckily they returned the next day, this time I was ready.

I’ve mentioned the method I use to identify birds and other plants and animals before but wanted to say it again as I find it really effective. First try to take a photo to closely study the features of the animal, then go to Google image search and type in a visual description with a location. When an image matches check it out, all you need is a name then you’re set. This is how I identified the Peewee. “black and white bird australia” brought up exactly what I’d seen.

The Peewee is also commonly known as the Magpie-lark,  there were a few sites saying it’s called the Peewee in New South Wales ( where I am ) so I’ll call it that. I also think it’s a better sounding name.

The Peewee is a common bird found throughout Australia except Tasmania and central Western Australia. It’s black and white markings mimick that of a true Magpie, which it sometimes uses to advantage by infulrating magpie flocks for the protection of the larger birds.

Peewees build their nests out if mud and line them with feathers and grass. Peewees can be aggressive and territorial and are known to swoop and attack people that get to close to their nests.

Males have white markings on their cheeks and eyebrows, females have white on their forehead chin and throat.

Magpie-lark or Peewee. Walking through the yard


Sources and further reading

WA Today

Altas of Living Australia

Birds in Backyards