Australian birds are extraordinary! Not just their colour and shape but their noise! They honk, squark, squeak, tweet and call, as if they had been given a range of party hooters and horns. You know those plastic hammers with concertina heads that make a particular bonking sound? Australian birds own a wide variety of these!
They argue flamboyantly. They are often much bigger than you’d expect.
Let’s take the Ibis, a water wading bird with a wonderful curved beak for slurping up under mud goodies. These have joined the ranks of pigeon and seagull who frequent parks and cares. Some are bold and land on cafe tables, demanding food or simply stealing it. Some take to hopping into giant wheelie bins grabbing a feast of old hamburgers.
Rainbow lorikeets are incredibly raucous. When they roost for the night they behave like Starlings in England, and meet and greet in their hundreds to agree the perfect spot in one particular tree. The air is thick with their quarrels, shrill, high querulous. In some places they have learned certain feeding times and amass in vast quantities for bread in water.
Honey coloured egrets accompany cows. I’ve seen this in many countries but here they are particularly honey. And too far away for me to take their photo so far.
Cheeky myna birds thrive everywhere, hopping in and out of trouble. The Kookaburra is a wonderful sentry. High up, keeping a lookout and then giving his typical laugh at all he sees.
The Bush Turkey likes to lurk around car parks too, sometimes. His tail permanently stuck in display mode. But he more often creeps in the undergrowth of jungles to trick you into jumping in case he’s something more threatening.
All round Australia the ‘green man’ sound at pedestrian crossings reminds me of a squelched bird whose squeaker has broken. The nearest I can find in the real bird world is the Whip bird. Just before he is trodden his mates issue an increasingly insistent ‘tut tut’ warning. It’s fun crossing roads just to hear it!
If you can identify this Australian bird from my description, I’d love to know what it is. About as big as a magpie, a green akin to olives, no obvious marking, seen in Port Douglas but I’m sure is wide spread because I have heard him often. When he calls he opens his throat wide, and sounds a little like a cuckoo. Except his rhythm is different and more varied. Any guesses?