Archive for February, 2011

Glossy Ibis, Adelaide Zoo

Glossy Ibis, Adelaide Zoo

The Glossy Ibis is one of three species of ibis found in Australia. The others are the White Ibis and the Straw-necked Ibis. The glossy is a beautiful bird when one can get up close and see the sunlight shining on its iridescent feathers. In the natural environment it is no easy to get up so close that one can see these feathers glowing. That is why I enjoy places like the walk-through aviary at the Adelaide Zoo which is where I managed the photo above.

The Glossy Ibis has been something of a bogey bird for me. They are widespread throughout the part of South Australia where I live, yet I only saw my first one near the river at Mannum just north of home a few years ago. I have not seen another, so I need to get out birding more often.

Except for the drier parts, the Glossy Ibis is widespread throughout much of Australia where there is suitable habitat. It has a wide range of habitats, including grasslands, swamps, mangroves, wetlands, irrigated pastures, mudflats and flood plains.

Further reading:

Glossy Ibis in walk through aviary at Adelaide Zoo

Bar-shouldered Dove, Adelaide Zoo aviary

Bar-shouldered Dove, Adelaide Zoo walk-through aviary

The Bar-shouldered Dove is found in eastern and northern Australia. It’s preferred habitats include vegetation near to water, scrubland in sub-topical areas, woodlands, well-treed parks and gardens, along creeks and waterways, gullies, mangroves, swamps and plantations.

Like many doves and pigeons, its nest is a flimsy platform of a few sticks, twigs and grass. It breeds in the months of February to April in the northern parts of its range, and from September to January in the southern parts. It usually lays two eggs.

I’ve only had the delight of seeing this species on one occasion in its natural habitat, and that was many years ago. I was therefore delighted to be able to see it and photograph it in a walk-through aviary at the Adelaide Zoo recently.

Bar-shouldered Dove, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

Opportunistic and Cheeky Sparrows

House Sparrow

House Sparrows are a very common introduced bird species here in South Australia. They seem to breed in good numbers in our garden. They can also be very opportunistic where it comes to feeding, and they can be very cheeky when doing so.

I saw a classic example in the CBD of Adelaide on Wednesday. I’d just been to the Royal Adelaide Hospital for a specialist appointment (everything was okay). I then visited one of my favourite bookshops in Rundle Mall. After a short wander through the shop – I resisted spending any money – it was time for some lunch.

I wandered into a nearby food mall where there were about a dozen choices of fast food. I resisted the less healthy options and bought an “Aussie Spud” – a potato with a variety of trimmings like cheese, beetroot, corn and pineapple. It was delicious and quite filling.

On entering the mall I noticed it was inhabited by a significant number of House Sparrows. The entrance is open throughout the day at both ends so it was easy for the birds to take up residence. Half way through my meal I accidentally dropped a small portion of potato on the floor.

Ooops. Careless of me.

I needn’t have worried. Within a second or two, about four sparrows swooped down from their perch on top of a television screen on the wall and the mess I’d made was devoured instantly.

Sadly I didn’t have my camera with me at the time.

Pied Heron

Pied Heron, Adelaide Zoo

Pied Herons are found in the northern parts of Australia, from far north Western Australia through coastal Northern Territory and coastal Queensland. I haven’t had the delight of birding in this part of Australia yet, so I have to rely on zoo collections to get photos of this beautiful species. It is also found in Papua New Guinea and parts of Indonesia.

The preferred habitats of Pied Herons include rivers, mangroves, wetlands, mud flats, lakes and lagoons.

UPDATE: you can now buy the above image on various items, including coffee mugs – just click here. This site also has many other items for sale, including shirts, aprons, placemats, keyrings and much more. Many feature bird photos first shown here on Trevor’s Birding.

Pied Heron, Adelaide Zoo

Neat hairdo, Little Pied Cormorant

Little Pied Cormorant, Adelaide Zoo

Birds sometimes do amusing things. Take this Little Pied Cormorant shown in the photo above. Some would think he has a very neat hairdo. Others might think he’s having a very bad feather day. I think he’s just been for a swim trying to catch his lunch and hasn’t time to rearrange his feathers.

What you can’t see in this photo is the zoo keeper throwing the water birds, the cormorant included, some small fish for their mid-afternoon snack. Below is a photo of him earlier – when his coiffure was just a little neater.

Little Pied Cormorant, Adelaide Zoo