Birds common to the
Adelaide Botanic Garden
Walking through the 16 hectares of Adelaide Botanic Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide Inc.
Birds common to the
Garden it soon becomes obvious that in addition to the
wonderful collection of trees, shrubs and plants, it is also
North Terrace, Adelaide
South Australia 5000
Adelaide Botanic Garden
home to a large number of birds. Telephone: (08) 8222 9367 Your guide to
This brochure has been developed to help identify some Facsimile: (08) 8222 9399 identifying some
of the more common birds that can be seen throughout www.fbga.asn.au of the birds seen
the Garden and, hopefully, add to the enjoyment of firstname.lastname@example.org
within the Garden
• For your convenience provision has been made to This brochure is also available on
✓ record a bird sighting by placing a tick inside the box. www.fbga.asn.au (select: Birds–ABG)
• Some scientific names will include an additional name
shown in brackets. This indicates the bird specific to Compiled and supported by
the Garden where several races may exist throughout Friends of the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide Inc.
• Natural food for ducks is green weeds and grasses of
dryland and water. Bread or food scraps are not good
for them and should not be fed to them.
Ducks are also endangered by discarded cigarette butts
and plastics: please use the waste bins placed to keep
the Garden tidy and help protect birds from such dangers.
Bird body-parts referred to in the text
eye-ring ear area
wattle area neck
Photographs courtesy of Brian Furby
Bird length (shown in brackets) is measured from tip of Printed on recycled content paper
bill to tip of tail. Issue 1: 05/06
Birds normally associated with water
Black Swan Grey Teal Dusky Moorhen
Cygnus atratus (106–142cm) Anas gracilis (37–48cm) Gallinula tenebrosa (35–38cm)
This large and graceful black swan The nomadic Grey Teal can be seen Found mostly in swamps and
has a long slender neck and white- throughout Australia in all types of parklands throughout eastern
tipped wings. Bill is red with a wet areas. Plumage is mottled grey- Australia. Identified by red frontal
white bar near the tip. brown: side of head and throat shield and yellow tipped red bill.
almost white. Red eyes. Body plumage dark grey, wings
brown. Tail black with white
Australian Wood Duck Aythya australis (42–49cm) Eurasian Coot
Chenonetta jubata (44–50cm) Male has dark brown head and Fulica atra
mottled brown plumage: undertail (australis) (32–39cm)
Dark brown head and paler body
plumage. Male has darker head and white. Bill black with tip of grey-blue. Coots feed mainly on vegetable
neck with short mane. Eyes brown. White eyes. Female has brown eyes matter but will eat food scraps
Females lighter than males having and lighter plumage. given by Garden visitors. Easily
white bars above and below the recognised by white frontal shield
eyes. Often perches and nests Australasian Grebe and beak, almost black plumage
in trees. Tachybaptus and red eyes.
During breeding season head black:
Mallard * yellow eyes and facial patch. Main Masked Lapwing
Anas platyrhynchos (52–68cm) plumage mottled brown. Bill black Vanellus miles
with white tip. Non-breeding plumage, (novaehollandiae) (35cm)
Male has green head, white neckring, throat and side of head white, bill paler.
chestnut brown breast and yellow Also know as Spur-winged Plover.
bill: underparts white. Female head Plumage olive brown above, white
and neck buff, body mottled and Little Black Cormorant below. Head and outer wing
streaked dusky brown. Most Garden Phalacrocorax feathers black: wing has a yellow
birds are hybrids being a cross with sulcirostris (60–65cm) spur. Bill and face wattle yellow.
Pacific Black Duck which is a closely Common to inland waters this
related species. Cormorant is often seen perching on
tree branches or poles. Plumage is
black, bill dark grey. Legs and feet black.
Pacific Black Duck Silver Gull
Anas superciliosa (47–60cm) Larus novaehollandiae (41cm)
Body plumage and top of head White-faced Heron The common seagull of Australian
dark brown: face white to buff with Egretta (Ardea) beaches, pastures and parklands.
black stripes above and below the novaehollandiae (67cm) Plumage white with grey back and
eyes. Most Garden birds are hybrids wings which have outer feathers
of the closely related Mallard. The most common heron seen black, spotted white. Bill and legs
throughout Australia feeding in bright red.
shallow water. General plumage
mostly grey: face white. Bill black,
Pigeons and Turtledoves Parrots
Rock Dove * Galah Purple-crowned Lorikeet
Columba livia (33cm) Cacatua roseicapilla Glossopsitta
(roseicapilla) (36cm) porphyrocephala (16cm)
Descended from wild Rock Dove
(pigeon) of the Northern Hemisphere Can be seen in small flocks throughout One of the smaller lorikeets.
and now found in most Australian the Garden eating seeds that have Keeps to the treetops and moves
towns. This feral pigeon has variable fallen to the ground. This beautiful very quickly – not easy to see.
plumage colours however most are bird has pink head, neck and breast Crown purple, upperparts green.
blue-grey with a glossy sheen on plumage: wings and tail grey. Throat and breast blue-green.
the neck. Bill black.
Spotted Turtledove * (sanguinea) (36–39cm) Crimson Rosella
Streptopelia chinensis (31cm) This very noisy corella is often seen Platycercus elegans
in large flocks roosting in trees. (adelaidae) (35cm)
Native to southern Asia the Spotted
Turtledove was first released in General plumage white with a Locally known as ‘Adelaide
Adelaide 1881. Recognised by the colouring of yellow under wings Rosella’, which is one of the three
spotted white black nape and neck and tail. races of this species. Head and
feathers. Undertail feathers tipped underparts rich red: cheeks and
white. Sulphur-crested Cockatoo throat blue. Back black and yellow.
Cacatua galerita (45–52cm) Tail green-blue.
This large cockatoo generally can be
seen in small flocks feeding on the
Crested Pigeon ground. Plumage white with undersides Eastern Rosella
Ocyphaps lophotes of flight and tail feathers washed Platycercus eximius (30cm)
(lophotes) (31–35cm) yellow. Head crest sulphur-yellow.
Often seen in pairs or small
Common throughout most of inland groups searching the ground
Australia. Grey body and head with for seeds. This colourful rosella
black upright head crest. Wings Rainbow Lorikeet has red head and breast, white
brown with black bar marking and Trichoglossus cheeks. Belly yellow-green. Back
green/purple iridescent patch edged haematodus (28cm) black edged yellow and green.
white. Red eye-ring. Has habit of The most colourful of the Australian Tail blue-green.
raising and lowering tail when landing. parrot family. Can be very noisy in a
group. Head dark blue: yellow-green
collar on nape. Bill bright red. Colour
of back, wings and tail green.
Walking through the 16 hectares of Adelaide Musk Lorikeet
Botanic Garden it soon becomes obvious Glossopsitta concinna (22cm) Mostly seen in pairs feeding on
the ground. General plumage
that in addition to the wonderful collection So named because according to some, green with the male displaying
this lorikeet emits a slightly musty a red rump. Shoulder patch and
of trees, shrubs and plants, it is also home
odour. Plumage generally is green, belly are yellow. Female is pale
to a large number of birds. scarlet forehead and ear patches. Blue grey-green with a green rump,
crown. When in groups the loud white belly.
chatter is continuous.
Birds of woods and gardens
Laughing Kookaburra New Holland Honeyeater Little Raven
Dacelo novaeguineae (45cm) Phylidonyris novaehollandiae Corvus mellori (50cm)
Largest of the kingfisher family whose Distributed throughout south-
call is one of the characteristic sounds Easily seen foraging for nectar and eastern Australia. Little Ravens can
of the bush. Large bill, head off-white, insects. Recognised by the distinctive be identified from other ravens or
back dark brown. Wings brown with black and white streaked plumage with crows by the flick of wings above
blue markings. yellow wing and tail patches. Head black the back when calling whilst perched.
with white eyebrow and ear patches. Plumage glossy black: white eyes.
Red Wattlebird Magpie-lark House Sparrow *
Anthochaera carunculata Grallina cyanoleuca (27cm) Passer domesticus (15cm)
Also known as Murray Magpie. Introduced into Australia from
The two races of Red Wattlebird are Plumage black and white. Bill white. Europe about 1860. This common
common throughout south-west and Has distinctive white patches on the city dweller has a grey crown, upper
south-east Australia. Plumage grey- parts chestnut brown; white wing
wings seen when in flight. Male has
brown streaked white, crown brown, bar. Cheeks, chest and lower parts
cheek patch white. Red wattle at ear. white eyebrows and patch on the neck. pale grey. Male has black bib and
Belly yellow. breast.
Little Wattlebird Willie Wagtail Welcome Swallow
Anthochaera chrysoptera (30cm) Rhipidura leucophrys (20cm) Hirundo neoxena (15cm)
The smallest of the wattlebirds with One of the best known Australian The swift and graceful flight of
a misleading name – it does not have birds that can be found in parklands the Welcome Swallow can make
a wattle. Plumage grey-brown with and most towns and cities. This busy identification difficult unless flying
close by. Upper plumage glossy
streaks of white. Head darker. Tail dark bird has mostly black plumage with
blue-black, wings and forked tail
brown tipped white seen during flight. white underparts and distinctive dark brown. Forehead, and throat
white eyebrows. chestnut brown.
Noisy Miner Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Common Blackbird *
Manorina melanocephala (26cm) Coracina novaehollandiae (33cm) Turdus merula (25cm)
Perhaps the best known honeyeater A misleading common name. The Introduced into Australia 1863
in Adelaide and, as the name suggests, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike is not and can now be seen throughout
very noisy when in groups. Crown closely related to cuckoos or shrikes. the south-eastern part of the
and face black, rest of head and Upper plumage grey: breast light grey country. Male plumage all black:
underparts grey. Yellow bill and skin paling to white belly. Forehead, face yellow bill and eye ring. Female
behind the eyes. and throat black. plumage and bill dark brown.
White-plumed Honeyeater Australian Magpie Common Starling *
Lichenostomus penicillatus (17cm) Gymnorhina tibicen Sturnus vulgaris (21cm)
Common to the Garden in pairs or Introduced into Australia during
small groups seen darting noisily Of the various races of magpie, South the 1850s, the Common Starling
about the trees and shrubs. Can be Australia has the ‘white-backed’ which now occupies most eastern and
is also the State bird emblem. Plumage south-eastern towns and cities.
very aggressive. Plumage olive-grey;
black and white. Male back is all white, Plumage glossy black with iridescent
head yellow-grey. White neck plume patches of purple and green. Bill
behind the ears. females and young mottled grey.
dull yellow in summer.