These small diving birds are found throughout Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand. Living around fresh water, they feed on small fish, aquatic invertebrates, amphibians, and plants. Unlike most swimming birds, the Australasian Grebe has the ability to control its own buoyancy by adjusting the angle of its waterproof feathers. This allows the grebe to sink like a submarine with only its head remaining above the water and to swim higher or lower at the surface. They are territorial and often live in solitary breeding pairs, or small groups. Like other grebes, they eat their own feathers, which helps protect their digestive system from the sharp fish bones they swallow.
Also known as the Australian avocet, cobbler, cobbler’s awl, and painted lady. A wader of the family Recurvirostridae, and fairly common and widespread throughout to Australia, except for the north and north east coastal areas of the country. It used to be seen quite often in New Zealand, but not for the last century or so.
Red-necked avocets prefer saline water, but can tolerate anything from
fresh to hypersaline. Salt-evaporation ponds, sewage works, and
ephemeral ponds are all good habitats - in this case they were standing around in the lake, ignoring the Black-winged Stilts that were strolling through the flock. Breeding typically takes place at
inland saltlakes, either directly on the ground or amongst low
vegetation. They’re largely silent, but if disturbed make a yapping call, and flocks in flight sound like dogs barking.
Unlike other species of avocet, the red-necked avocet is not recorded as
stirring mud with its bill. Instead they sweep the bill
back-and-forth, whilst wading through the
water, swimming, or even when the head is completely submerged.
Alternatively, they peck at prey items, including brine
shrimps, annelid worms, molluscs, aquatic insects, fish, seeds and
Silver Gull, Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae, also known simply as seagull in Australia, is the most common gull seen in Australia. It has been found throughout the continent, but particularly at or near coastal areas.
#760 - Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae - Australian Silver Gull
One last species from the Wellard Wetlands, because it was amusing to watch a dozen birdwatchers swivel their binoculars towards a new arrival, and then go ‘oh’ when they realised it was just a Silver Gull.
Not to be confused with the Herring Gull of Europe, despite the similar
appearance, and the shared common name in some languages. Probably THE most common bird around Australian cities, but mostly because our cities are almost all on the coast, and we produce so much edible waste that the Silver Gull population has exploded. It’s all across the continent anyway, and in New Zealand and New Caledonia too. They’ve twice been recorded in the US - in Lake Ontario in 1947, and New Jersey, in 1996. Both are now thought to have been escapees, but I’m baffled that anybody would want to keep one in the first place.
It’s pretty much universally known as the seagull over here, and much smaller than other other two resident gulls - the Pacific and the Kelp. Quite an elegant white and grey bird, really - juveniles are mottled with brown.