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Birds

Black Swan (Cygnus atratus)

Description: 

Unmistakable, world's only predominantly black swan. Pumage entirely black and sooty grey with the exception of pure white primary wing feathers mostly hidden while at rest. The bill is red with a white band close to the tip.

Black Swan pair and young, November, Merri Creek, Coburg. Photo, Brian Bainbridge

Black-shouldered Kite (Elanus axillaris)

Description: 

Small white hawk whoose wings are grey with black shoulder patches. Eyes are red with a black marking which runs from front to back over the eye. Seen from below the bird is white with grey and black markings from the middle to the end of the wing. It is frequently seen perching on dead trees or hovering over grasslands.

One of two small species of raptor which are frequently seen hovering over open grassy areas searching for prey, the other being the Nankeen Kestrel. Once prey is spotted the kite will drop down to catch it.

Black-shouldered Kite. Photo. Matthew Frederiksen

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Description: 

Small owl, white below with a buff and gold back with fine brown markings.

A bird photographed in a backyard in Fawkner. Such birds, found on the ground, during the day are likely to have been weakened by starvation, be affected by a rodenticide or injured by collision with a vehicle. Photo. Brian Bainbridge

Australasian pipit (Anthus novaeseelandiae)

Description: 

A small lark-like pipit, a little larger than a sparrow but slender with long legs, wings and tail. The tail has a broad white band on either side which is noticeable as it flies away from you. This trait is shared with the very similar European Songlark and the smaller, sparrow-like Singing Bushlark. The European Songlark was a crest on its head which is frequently raised. The Pipit has a white chin while the Songlark has a streaky chin.

Australasian Pipit, Fawkner. Photo. Brian Bainbridge

Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata)

Description: 

A medium sized duck with a Goose-like shape and feeding habits. The underparts has mid-brown spots and the upper-parts are grey with black and white plumes. Males are distinguished by a rich brown head and a black 'mane' (giving rise to one of its other names, Maned Goose) and has pale flanks finely patterned with dark lines, appearing grey from a distance. Female heads are paler brown and have white stripes above and below the eye.

Australian Wood Duck, Male, Craigieburn. Photo. Brian Bainbridge
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