Archive for October, 2006

Bird Word: Bar

  • Bar: a band across the breast, tail or wing of a bird that is contrasting in colour or shading.

When trying to identify birds in the field I look for any special features that might distinguish that bird from another species. Bands or bars of colour can be very distinctive and can help ID one species from another. In the photo of the Rainbow Lorikeet below, the orange bar or band across the chest allows one to instantly identify this species. No other parrot looks just like this one.

For more in this series of articles check out the Glossary of Bird Words here.

A Collection of Collective Nouns for Birds

The contributors of Birding-Aus, an Australian forum about birding, have sometimes debated the relative collective nouns for birds. I recently discovered a list that seems fairly comprehensive and its on Wikipedia.

We all know about:

  • a flock of geese
  • a murder of crows
  • a brood of hens
  • a clutch of chicks
  • a parliament of owls

I was rather surprised to read about:

  • a wake of vultures (I just hope it’s not MY wake!)
  • a pandemonium of parrots (the author of this one must have been thinking about either Galahs or Lorikeets)
  • a quarrel of sparrows (isn’t that apt!)
  • an exultation of skylarks (how poetic)

Finally, I will not accept this one, and even Wikipedia lists this as spurious.

  • A gulp of Swallows!


  • Birding-Aus – a forum for Australian birders

Great Birding Moments #17 Musk Lorikeets

Musk Lorikeet

Musk Lorikeet

A few days ago I wrote about a recent visit to a private native garden at Cockatoo Valley, north of Adelaide in South Australia. While visiting that garden I photographed several Musk Lorikeets feeding in a eucalypt tree.

Musk Lorikeet

Musk Lorikeet

Lorikeets are not easy to photograph. They tend to feed in the thick foliage and rarely show themselves clearly. When they do show themselves, it is usually as a streak of green or red as they dart overhead, heading like arrows to the next tree for another feed.

The individual shown in the above photos was unusual; it stayed out in the open, within camera zoom range, and in focus for long enough for me to take about a dozen shots.

Sometimes you get lucky.

Related articles:

  • Musk Lorikeets – another encounter with this species, this time in my daughter’s garden in Clare, South Australia.

Australian Hobby

I was out in the garden a few minutes ago. I was checking to see if the vegetables needed watering. I heard the warning calls of a variety of honeyeaters, especially the New Hollands, and this is usually a signal for me to scan the sky in all directions, looking for a bird of prey.

Sure enough, what looked like an Australian Hobby went skimming across the property at tree level, scaring the smaller birds silly. I can’t be 100% certain it was a Hobby, as I didn’t have my binoculars with me, but the shape, size, wing beat, manner and general appearance indicated that species.
The Australian Hobby (also called Little Falcon) is found throughout Australia but is not common anywhere. I have observed it on a number of occasions up the hill from home, about a kilometre away so it is not an unexpected visitor.

I have not yet been able to get a photo of this species so you will have to click here to see one.

My Most Popular Bird Photos

The family photo gallery has been up and running now for about four months now and we are getting plenty of views (over 90,000 and counting). During that time some of the photos have proved to be very popular.

For those who may have missed these photos, or who are new visitors to this blog, here are the three most viewed bird photos:

1. Mallee Ringneck 361 views

Mallee Ringneck Parrot

Mallee Ringneck Parrot

2. Eastern Rosella 323 views

Eastern Rosella

Eastern Rosella

3. Noisy Miner 321 views

Noisy Miner at Swanport Reserve

Noisy Miner at Swanport Reserve