Azure kingfisher (Alcedo azurea)

The Azure kingfisher is one of the smaller birds in the Kingfisher species and is related to the Kookaburra.

  • It is up to 19cm in body length and has a wing span up to 30cm.
  • The azure blue that gives it its name is found on its head, neck and the upper parts of its body. In contrast, there are distinctive orange stripes on either side of its body. The sexes are similar in appearance but the younger birds have a darker cap and their colours are generally not as vibrant.
  • The Kingfisher catches its prey by diving from overhanging perches into the water. It is not unusual for them to hit their prey against the perch before swallowing it head first.
  • The Azure kingfisher is most commonly seen along the banks of well vegetated, slow-flowing rivers. It is a solitary bird that is occasionally seen in pairs and nests in a burrow built into the river bank.
  • People may glimpse a rare sighting along the Yarra River, which provides an important habitat and linkages through the landscape.
  • To help conserve the Azure kingfisher it is recommended that cats are kept in at night.

Eastern spinebill (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris)

Eastern Spinebill

Eastern Spinebill. Image by Ian Moodie.

The Eastern spinebill can be recognised by its fine, long curved beak, which it uses to probe the flowers of indigenous plants for nectar.

  • It grows to a size of 13cm to 16cm and belongs to the Honeyeater family of birds.
  • The male Eastern spinebill has a distinct grey black crown that extends down either side of its breast. Its breast and throat are white, the wings and lower back are grey with the underparts and upper back a buff colour. The female Eastern spinebill is similar in appearance but with less distinct markings.
  • Their habitat is Mountain Ash forests, woodlands, heathlands and gardens.
  • They feed in the shrub layer on nectar and insects.
  • Females build cup-shaped nests made from twigs, grass and bark bound by hair and spiders web.
  • In Boroondara it is possible to encounter the Eastern spinebill in home gardens and parklands throughout Ashburton, Camberwell, Hawthorn, Kew and Balwyn.
  • The Eastern spinebill is considered vulnerable in Boroondara.
  • We can help the Eastern spinebill by planting nectar-rich flora and by providing a shallow dish of water in a high, safe place for it to drink and bathe in. Threats to the Eastern spinebill include cats, dogs and foxes, as well as the loss of its natural habitat. Beneficial vegetation consists of banksias, correa, bottlebrush, bursaria and tree violet.

Nankeen night heron (Nycticorax calendonicus)

Nankeen Night Heron

Nankeen Night Heron. Image by Ian Moodie.

Nankeen night herons grow to around 60cm in height and are fawn and white.

  • They're a night-time hunter that quietly moves in shallow water on the lookout for insects, crustaceans, fish and frogs.
  • Nankeen night herons breed in colonies alongside egrets and cormorants in trees above water.
  • Both parents incubate the eggs.
  • They are seasonally nomadic and are found where there is permanent water in mangroves, riverine floodplains, billabongs and urban parks.
  • In Boroondara, Nankeen night herons may be glimpsed perched on a branch or log in water in Willsmere-Chandler Park, at the wetland in Burke Road South Reserve or along the Yarra River corridor.
  • The Nankeen night heron is endangered in Boroondara.
  • We can help by walking along tracks and keeping our dogs on leads when close to nesting and roosting places around billabongs and waterways.

Purple swamp hen (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Purple Swamphen

Purple Swamphen. Image by Ian Moodie.

The Purple swamp hen is a medium-sized water bird with a broad dark blue/purple collar and dark blue chest on its dusky black body.

  • They are generally found wading along the edges of the water using their long toes to catch food.
  • They are also competent swimmers and can take flight to avoid predators.
  • The Purple swamp hen usually lives in small groups.
  • All family members share in the incubation and care of the young.
  • The Purple swamp hen is commonly seen around freshwater wetlands and swamps. It is found throughout Victoria except in forested mountain areas and mallee.
  • They make their nests from trampled weeds.
  • The Purple swamp hen is commonly seen in local wetlands at Hays PaddockWillsmere-Chandler Park and Freeway Golf Course.
  • To help protect the Purple swamp hen, walk your dog on a lead when near billabongs and wetlands.

Rainbow lorikeet (Triglossus haematodus)

Rainbow Lorikeet. Image by Ian Moodie.

The colourful plumage of the Rainbow lorikeet is distinctive. Both sexes look alike with a blue head and belly, green wings, tail and back and an orange/yellow breast.

  • A medium-sized bird, it grows to 25cm to 30cm.
  • The Rainbow lorikeet can be found in coastal regions as well as urban parks and gardens. It lives high up in tree hollows in eucalypt forests, woodlands and in gardens.
  • The Rainbow lorikeet can be easily seen in the City's parks with mature native tree canopies such as Belmont Park and Willsmere-Chandler Park.
  • To help conserve these birds, keep cats in at night and leave out a shallow dish of water in a high, safe place for drinking and bathing.
  • You can provide shelter from predators such as cats, foxes and predatory birds by planting dense plants at various levels in your garden.

Spotted pardalote (Pardolotus punctatus)

Spotted Pardalote

Spotted Pardalote. Image by Patrick_K59.

The Spotted pardalote is one of Australia's smallest birds being only 8cm-10cm long. They are brightly coloured with a smattering of jewel-like white dots and are sometimes known as the diamond bird.

  • They can be recognised by their cheerful three-note call.
  • The Spotted pardalote lives in Eucalypt forests, woodlands, scrubs, watercourses, parks and gardens.
  • They breed in burrows excavated into creek banks and cliffs.
  • They can be seen along the Yarra River around Pridmore Park and along Back Creek.
  • The Spotted pardalote is endangered in Boroondara. We are revegetating along waterways to improve habitat and provide shade and protection.
  • You can provide shelter from predators such as cats, foxes and predatory birds by planting dense plants at various levels in your garden.

Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouth. Image by Ian Moodie.

Tawny frogmouths are often mistaken as a species of owl, but are actually a member of the nightjar family.

  • Tawny frogmouths are sometimes classified as part of the order of Coraciiformes, which in Australia includes Kingfishers and Kookaburras.
  • They are a native of forests and woodlands and the colour of their feathers allows them to easily camouflage themselves while perched in a tree.
  • They spend their days hidden among the tree branches and their nights hunting for their prey - insects, slugs, snails, moths and mice.
  • Their call makes a soft 'ooo-ooo-ooo' sound.
  • They breed from August to December with both sexes incubating the eggs.
  • Tawny frogmouths reside in forests and wetlands.
  • If you look closely, you may see a Tawny frogmouth perched hidden among the branches and bark of large old trees in Stradbroke Park or Back Creek Reserve.
  • Tawny frogmouths are considered vulnerable in Boroondara.
  • To help protect the Tawny frogmouth, keep cats in at night and leave out a shallow dish of water in a high, safe place for drinking and bathing.
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