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Birds

Birds of Taronga 2.

Album Two of just some of the birds we saw in the aviaries of Taronga Zoo.
After a year or more of taking wild bird photos, it was a strange feeling to be editing photos of birds in captivity. Whilst all zoos – and Taronga in particular – do outstanding and invaluable work in research and conservation, and while the caged habitats they provide for their birds are definitely state of the art, we felt a slight poignancy with every photo of a bird with a ring around its leg. These were the first such photos we’ve taken.
That said, it was such a privilege to get up close to birds that we would never have a chance of even glimpsing from afar in the wild.

The beautiful Forest Kingfisher (Todiramphus macleayii):

In the Wetlands Aviary were many Java Sparrows (Lonchura oryzivora). These birds are also called Java Finches and Java Rice Birds. They are endemic to Indonesia, but have been introduced to many other countries, due to their popularity as cage birds.

Still in the wetlands, a male Lady Amherst’s Pheasant (Chrysolophus amherstiae), native to South-West China and Northern Myanmar. The female is much less showy.

The Metallic Starling (Aplonis metallica) lives in coastal Mid- to Far – North Queensland. Its plumage has a metallic purple and green iridescence (not apparent in these pictures), and its eye is a distinctive scarlet.

The Australian Pelican (Pelicanus conspicillatus)… first time we have ever noticed the blue coloration in the bill

The Regent Bowerbird (Sericulus chrysocephalus) is smaller and less stocky than the more common Satin Bowerbird. The male is jet black and yellow, the female mainly grey-brown. Their bower is constructed out of grass but is flimsier than the Satin Bowerbird’s, and is generally only maintained for a few weeks. Another way to identify the Regent Bowerbird’s bower is that his collected ornaments are inside the avenue, whereas the Satin Bowerbird decorates around the outside of his bower.

In the Palm Aviary we spotted the Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla). This bird is found throughout South East Asia, India, China, Nepal the Philippines and even Hawaii. This one pictured here seems to have some sort of growth around its head, more pronounced on the left. He was being very secretive, keeping well in the shadows and hiding behind foliage whenever possible. The only usable shots we got was when he stopped for a drink.

A wide variety of ducks call Taronga home. Amongst them, the Wandering Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna arcuata)…

…this type…

…and this one! (any help with identification gratefully received).

… and Australian Wood Ducks.

A Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia) with the yellow “eyebrows”and red central forehead dot that indicates this one is in breeding mode.

A Macaroni Penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus), we believe…

and Little Penguins (Eudyptula minor):

And finally, the Black-breasted Button Quail (Turnix melanogaster). Reportedly extremely furtive in the wild, they will freeze or hide when disturbed and are seldom flushed out. The pair we found in the Australian Rainforest Aviary seemed quite happy to forage right by the path edge and were well aware we were watching.

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