Tag Archives: bird

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



Zosterops lateralis

Another common bird that I’ve only recently identified in the backyard. The Silvereye gets it’s name from the distinct patch of white around it’s eyes. It’s a small bird, only 11cm – 13cm in length, it moves about quickly making it hard to spot and identify. Silvereye live on the coast and adjacent inland areas of almost all of the country, they’re also found throughout New Zealand and southwest Pacific islands including Lord Howe, Fiji and Vanuatu.

Silvereye in the garden

Sources and further reading

Birds in Backyards


Atlas of Living Australia

New Holland Honeyeater

Phylidonyris novaehollandiae

Another ( former ) unknown bird in the yard. It’s a New Holland honeyeater, a not uncommon bird thats distribution stretches from the southern Queensland coast, all the way down the east coast, throughout Tasmania, then westwards following the mainland coast wrapping up a few hundred km north of Perth. They’re small birds reaching a maximum size of 20cm. This one was hard to photograph, it kept moving about, not staying still for long at all.

New Holland Honeyeater – in a tree in the front yard.

Sources and further info

Birds in Backyards


Atlas of Living Australia