I’m in the wrong birding business

Ostrich, Monarto Zoo, South Australia

I’m in the wrong business – I shouldn’t be writing about birds I see in their natural environment, or in zoos. I should be breeding and selling Ostriches. Yesterday I had another request for the purchase of Ostriches, something which happens every few weeks. I could be making my fortune out of selling these interesting birds, mostly to buyers in India and Pakistan.

The reason I get so many requests of this nature is because I once wrote an article here about the Ostriches living near my home – in the nearby Monarto Zoo which is part of Adelaide Zoo. As a result – and despite having a disclaimer on the page – I still keep on getting orders for either eggs or chicks. I’ve even closed comments on the article – but they still keep on sending me orders via my contact page. Sigh.

One of the problems is that this web site is so popular, and searching online will bring the article up in the first few links. The curse of being popular, I guess.


Buy Ostriches here:

I bet I still get plenty of orders!

Happy birding.

Common Blackbird, Adelaide Zoo

Common Blackbird (male), Adelaide Zoo

Despite having Common Blackbirds in our garden I have found them to be hard to get good photographs of them.  This is probably because we have a fairly open garden with only a few bushes where they can hide or skulk around. I was therefore quite pleased to get this shot of a male blackbird on a recent visit to Adelaide Zoo. He was in one of the animal enclosures, scratching around in the leaf and bark litter under a tree.

Further reading:

Figbird, Adelaide Zoo

Figbird (female), Adelaide Zoo

The Adelaide Zoo has a very strong collection of Australian birds, including some that are rare and endangered. It also includes a number of species I have yet to see in their natural environment. Observing these birds in the zoo’s aviaries is a good way to become familiar with these birds before heading out to see them. The two walk-through aviaries are also a great opportunity to hone my photographic skills. Being able to get close to the birds is a great advantage.

One species in the collection which I have yet to add to my Australian list is the Figbird. There are two races: the Green Figbird (shown here) and the Yellow Figbird. It is a bird of the rainforests and woodlands in northern and eastern Australia where it is common. It also occurs in PNG and Indonesia. Its preferred food is fruit, hence the name.

The top photo is a close-up of a female who later sat on her nest – shown in the photo below. The third photo is a very poor, out of focus shot of the male. I only include it to show the difference in plumage colours between the male and the female. Next time I walk through that aviary I will try to get a photo which is in focus.

Further reading:

Figbird (female) on nest, Adelaide Zoo

Poor photo of a male Figbird, Adelaide Zoo

Flamingos, Adelaide Zoo

Chilean Flamingo, Adelaide Zoo

The Adelaide Zoo has only two flamingos in its good collection of birds. The one shown in the photo above is the Chilean Flamingo.The other one is the Greater Flamingo, shown below.

The Chilean Flamingo is found in many parts of South America, while the Greater Flamingo is found in parts of Africa, Asia and Europe.

Further reading:

Greater Flamingo, Adelaide Zoo

Tawny Frogmouth, Adelaide Zoo

Tawny Frogmouth, Adelaide Zoo

It is not easy to get good photos of nocturnal birds like the Tawny Frogmouth shown above.

I have had some unusual opportunities to get good shots of the Southern Boobook Owl, Spotted Nightjar and the Australian Owlet Nightjar in the past, but generally it is more a matter of taking unique opportunities when they present themselves.

The Tawny Frogmouth is certainly one of my favourite birds. We first encountered this fascinating bird while camping at Hattah Lakes in Victoria many years ago. The bird on that occasion was perched on a branch above our tent calling persistently and annoyingly – until we found out what it was in our torchlight. Once we knew what it was we were able to relax and get some sleep. Its “oom-oom-oom-oom” call has an unusual quality; it seems to be coming from far off but can be only metres away.

Tawny Frogmouths are found throughout Australia in a wide range of habitats. While they are most often heard at night it is possible to see them during the day. If other birds become aware of them roosting in a tree they can draw attention to the bird by mobbing it. I’ve expereinced this a number of times in recent years. While I can’t say this is a resident species in our garden, it is probably a more frequent visitor than we realise. It is certainly present in our district and we are only aware of one when we hear it calling at night.

The above photo is the best I have of this species but it is not brilliant. It was taken through the wire of an aviary at Adelaide Zoo.

Further reading: