I love visiting the walk-through aviaries at Adelaide Zoo. It enables me to get close up photos of many species I have trouble approaching closely enough for good photographic studies, like the one above. When one is only a few metres from a bird of this size (48-53cm high) and puts the zoom on the lens into action, amazing shots can result. The fine details of plumage come to life and the colours can be impressive. Please note that the photos on this post have not been altered in any way from the originals.
Cattle Egrets are widespread throughout northern and eastern Australia and parts of SW Western Australia. They are widespread in my part of South Australia but my experience of them is that they are not present in huge numbers here. They take on the beautiful orange plumage during breeding. I love the plumes on the back of the bird shown in the photo below (click to enlarge).
Whenever I go out birding, I delight in seeing spoonbills. My favourite would have to be the Yellow-billed Spoonbill, but I also enjoy seeing the Royal Spoonbill. We only have the two species of spoonbills here in Australia.
Sometimes in the natural environment it is not easy to get up very close to the birds like I’ve managed in this series of photos. On this occasion I was photographing a captive bird in a walk-through aviary at the Adelaide Zoo.
The Royal Spoonbill is found throughout Australia where there is suitable habitat, except for the drier areas of South and Western Australia. You may notice in the photos on this post that the bird has a rather prominent plume of feathers coming from its head, prominent yellow marks above the eyes and a small red mark on the forehead. All these indicate breeding plumage; there was a nest in a tree planted in the aviary.
I must say that I’m struck by the yellow mark over the eyes; it gives the bird something of an evil look!
Australia has many beautiful parrots. One of the more intriguing – and beautiful – would have to be the Eclectus Parrot, shown in the photos on this post. This is a species I have yet to see in the natural environment which is not surprising seeing it is found in remote locations in far north Queensland, a state I am yet to visit.
The beautiful plumage on this large parrot is interesting because the male (shown above) is not as outstanding as the female (see below). This is unusual in the bird kingdom because most male birds are more colourful than females, but only where there is dimorphism. This means that the male and female plumage is different. Of course, many species display no dimorphism; male and female are identical.
Forget about the scientific explanations: I think the male looks rather neat in green. They both look stunning with such pure and startling colours.
I must attempt to get to northern Queensland soon as see them “at home.”