While Australians are known for their love of meat pies, kangaroos, and other famous animals, some lesser-known creatures can be found throughout the region.
This list of 15 birds of Australia will introduce you to some of the region’s most popular avian inhabitants, as well as others that aren’t as famous but still have their special place in Australian culture and history.
These species include the Cockatoo, Little Corella, Galah, Rainbow Lorikeet, Wedge-tailed Eagle, and more!
1. Blue Winged Kookaburra
The blue-winged kookaburra is a kingfisher that is native to eastern Australia. It has a distinctive call that sounds like laughing, which is how it got its name.
The blue-winged kookaburra is primarily brown with blue wings and a white chest. They are medium-sized birds of Australia, measuring about 17 inches from head to tail.
The blue-winged kookaburra eats reptiles, amphibians, and small mammals, and it nests in tree hollows and lays 3-5 eggs simultaneously. The blue-winged kookaburra is not considered to be endangered.
2. Rainbow Lorikeet
The Rainbow Lorikeet is a species of parrot found in Australia. They are brightly colored with red, blue, and green feathers, and their diet consists mainly of nectar and pollen. Lorikeets are very social birds of Australia, often seen in pairs or small groups.
They are known for their loud, screeching calls. Rainbow lorikeets are one of the most common parrots found in Australia.
Red-rumped Parrot (eight sentences): The Red-rumped Parrot is a small parrot found in woodlands and forests across southeastern Australia.
They are primarily green with a red rump, hence their name. These parrots feed on seeds, fruits, and flowers. Red-rumped parrots often travel in flocks and can be pretty noisy.
3. Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is a large white cockatoo found in Australia and New Guinea wooded areas. They are brilliant in Australia, and their loud screeching is often considered a nuisance.
The Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is a protected species in Australia, and their populations are thought to be stable.
These Cockatoos feed on seeds, flowers, fruit, and invertebrates. In captivity, they can live to be 90 years old, but in nature, their life expectancy is more like 20-30 years. They lay one egg per breeding season and generally mate for life.
4. Golden Pheasant
The Golden Pheasant is a bird native to China but has been introduced to other countries, including Australia. These birds of Australia are usually found in woodlands and forests and are known for their bright plumage.
The male Golden Pheasant has a golden-yellow body with black markings, while the female is mostly brown with some yellow on her wings.
These birds of Australia are not often seen in the wild in Australia, but they can sometimes be found in zoos or aviaries.
The Galah is a medium-sized cockatoo with grey plumage and a distinctive pink and grey head. They are found throughout mainland Australia and Tasmania, and Galahs are very social birds of Australia and often form large flocks.
They are known for their loud calls and ability to mimic human speech. Galahs are not endangered but are considered pests in some areas because of their destructive feeding habits.
6. Australian Brush Turkey
The Australian Brush-turkey is a large bird with dark brown and grey plumage, and it is found in woodlands and forests across Australia and on some offshore islands.
These birds of Australia are notable excavators, using their powerful beaks and claws to dig deep into the ground in search of food.
The Australian Brush-turkey is also known to build large nests used by the male and female of the species to incubate their eggs. The bird is not considered to be threatened in its native habitat, although humans hunt it for its meat.
The emu is the tallest bird in Australia and can reach up to two meters. Females are usually slightly smaller than males and have dark brown feathers and long, muscular legs.
Emus cannot fly, but they can run very fast, up to 50 kilometers per hour! They are found all over Australia except for Tasmania. Emus primarily eat plants but will also eat insects and small animals.
8. Magpie Goose
The Magpie Goose is a waterbird found throughout northern and eastern Australia. With a wingspan of up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft), the adult Magpie Goose are large birds of Australia, although it is substantially smaller than the Australian swan at 1.1–1.3 m (3.6–4.3 ft). The body plumage is black and white, with the wings being predominantly white with black flight feathers.
The head and neck are black, with a small white band around the neck. The legs and feet are pinkish-grey. Young birds have brown heads and necks with buffy streaks on the back.
After leaving the nest, juveniles gradually acquire more black in their plumage as they mature. A whitish or yellowish patch can identify males on their foreheads.
9. Australian King Parrot
The Australian King Parrot is a large parrot found in the eastern parts of Australia. It has a red head, shoulders, green body, and blue wings. The male and female have similar plumage, but the male is larger than the female.
These birds of Australia are usually found in pairs or small groups in rainforests or woodlands. They feed on fruits, seeds, flowers, and insects.
Their call is high-pitched and sounds like kreee-kreee-kreee. Their eggs are white with brown speckles and take about 27 days to hatch.
10. Black Swan
The Black Swan is a species of waterbird that is native to Australia. The Black Swan is predominantly black with white flight feathers. The Black Swan is a large bird with a wingspan of up to 2.5 meters.
The Black Swan is a powerful swimmer and can reach speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour. The Black Swan are social birds of Australia and can often be seen in groups of up to 100 birds.
The Black Swan is an essential part of the Australian ecosystem and plays a vital role in the health of our waterways.
The Black Swan’s diet consists mainly of plants, insects, fish, frogs, worms, and small mammals. The Black Swan is classified as near threatened due to ongoing habitat loss.
The budgerigar, also known as the common pet parakeet or shell parakeet and informally nicknamed the budgie, is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot.
Budgerigars are the only species in the genus Melopsittacus. The budgerigar is green and yellow with black stripes down its neck and wings.
However, captive-bred budgerigars often display a wide variety of colors. These include blue, grey, white, pink, and turquoise.
Natural coloring can be restored to a blue budgerigar by providing access to foods such as figs and blackberries.
A famous cage bird, it has been kept domestically since 1840–1850; numbers in the wild have dropped due to competition from feral European honeybees, which were introduced for honey production but destroyed native insect populations on which the bird depended for food supply.
The Lyrebird is fantastic bird of Australia. It is best known for its beautiful tail feathers, which it can use to create an intricate display. The Lyrebird is also a great singer and can imitate the sounds of other animals.
You will surely be impressed if you’re lucky enough to see one in the wild! Red-necked stint: Found mainly on the Australian coastlines, this large wading bird spends most of its time feeding at sea.
The cassowary is a large, flightless bird that is native to the tropical forests of New Guinea, northeastern Australia, and the Maluku Islands. The cassowary is the third-heaviest living bird, surpassed in size only by the ostrich and emu.
Females can grow up to 1.5 m (4.9 ft) tall and weigh 58 kg (128 lb), while males can reach 1.8 m (5.9 ft) in height and weigh 85 kg (187 lb).
The cassowary has a distinctive plumage, with a bright blue neck and red wattles. The head is small and covered in blue-grey feathers, while the body is grey with black streaks.
There are three toes on each foot, two facing forward and one backward, an adaptation for running through undergrowth.
The cassowary lives on a diet consisting mainly of fruit but will also eat insects, spiders, frogs, lizards, snakes, and even rats; it will forage during the day or night depending on what it finds or catches. It builds nests high in trees using sticks and leaves to sleep at night.
14. Gouldian Finch
The Gouldian Finch is one of the most brightly colored birds of Australia. They are found in the tropical savannas of the north and are a famous bird in aviculture. These finches are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males and females look different.
Male Gouldian Finches have blackheads with red breasts, while females have green heads with yellow breasts.
Both sexes have multi-colored bodies with green, blue, and purple plumage. These finches are seed eaters, and their diet consists mainly of grasses.
Gouldian Finches live in flocks of up to 100 birds in the wild. They typically breed from October to December, laying eggs in loose soil at the base of trees or shrubs.
Females usually lay two eggs at a time, and both parents help raise the chicks for six weeks before they leave on their own.
15. Satin Bowerbird
The Satin Bowerbird are birds of Australia. The adult male has a black head, neck and breast, blue-grey wings, and a tail. The back and rump are brown, and the belly is white.
The female is similar to the male but with brownish plumage. The Satin Bowerbird gets its name from its habit of building bowers out of sticks and leaves, which it decorates with blue objects such as berries, flowers, and feathers. It also has a satin-like sheen to its plumage.
These birds of Australia are found in forests and woodlands throughout Australia. They feed on insects, larvae, nectar, and fruit. The satin bowerbird’s range is largely restricted to coastal areas of eastern Australia.
It inhabits a wet sclerophyll forest in Victoria and nests in tree hollows or old scrub ferns. The population trend for this species seems stable so far; their numbers have not changed significantly since the 1990s.
There are around 800 species of birds in Australia. Here are 15 that you might see during your travels Down Under.