Exotic animals of Eastern Australia
The Laughing Kookaburra is found along the eastern side of Australia and is named for it’s distinctive call which sounds more like a cackle than a laugh. The wings have an iridescent blue spotting and across the eye is a wide brown stripe. This bird was very patient and let me get within a meter without flying off, allowing me to capture the reflection of the forest in it’s eye.
The Crimson Rosella has a stunning blue and red pattern on it’s wings. While visiting the Great Ocean Road we came upon a group of tourists feeding these birds which were landing on their arms and shoulders. We decided to give it a try without food but the bird above didn’t find this very amusing and decided to take a bite of Nathaniel instead.
The Koala is an iconic Australian animal. Native to the region, Koalas are marsupials that live off a diet of eucalyptus. Because eucalyptus leaves contain very little nutrients and are extremely fibrous, they take a long time to digest. Koala have adjusted to be able to survive on a diet of eucalyptus leaves by having a very slow metabolism which causes them to sleep 18-22 hours a day. To see an active koala like the one above is an uncommon sight.
The bird above we were told is an Australian King Parrot. The males have a completely red heads while the females have a green head and breast with a red stomach; both have green backs and wings. These birds didn’t quite look like either the female or the male and may be juveniles who are currently moulting.
The Pacific Black Duck has an unusual black stripe across the eyes with two cream stripes above and below. These ducks were wandering around in the same place we found the parrots, rosellas and koalas. They weren’t shy at all and came right up to our van looking for food.
Sulphur crested cockatoos are named for the bright yellow feathers on their head which they fan into a crest. They also have yellow on the inside of their wings, their tails and very faintly on their cheeks and chest. These white birds have an awful call but are beautiful to watch when they fly in groups.
The purple swamphen has a distinctive red plate on it’s head and beak. In the light they have a shimmering blue-black colouration. They stand on two long legs and will often bring food to their mouths with a leg rather than eat it from the ground.