Capricorn Coast Birds
   
 
  Parrots, Cockatoos and Lorikeets  
 
Characteristic features of parrots include a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet (two toes facing forward and two back). Many parrots are vividly coloured, and some are multi-coloured. The plumage of cockatoos ranges from mostly white to mostly black, with a mobile crest of feathers on the tops of their heads. Almost all parrots nest in tree hollows. 
 
 
  Rainbow Lorikeet
Trichoglossus haematodus
Average size 30cm
  Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus
Average size 23 cm
 
 
 
 
 
 
These are found in Australia, eastern Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. In Australia they are common along the east coast from Queensland to South Australia and northwest Tasmania. They live in rainforest, coastal bush and woodland areas; they have adapted well to urbanisation and are commonly encountered in well-treed suburbs.  They are often seen in loud and fast-moving  flocks, or in communal roosts at dusk.
Their diet is mainly fruit, pollen and nectar, and they possess a tongue adapted especially for their particular diet; the end of it is covered with small knobs to help in collecting nectar from flowers. They also eat crops such as apples, and will raid maize and sorghum.
Males and females look the same and the nest is usually in the hollow limb of a eucalypt tree lined with chewed or decayed wood. Both adults prepare the nest cavity and feed the young, but only the female incubates the eggs. They defend their feeding and nesting areas aggressively against other bird species  chasing off not only smaller birds like the Noisy Miner, but also larger and more powerful ones such as the Magpie.
 

These occur across coastal regions of eastern Australia from the tip of Cape York in Queensland down to Wollongong in New South Wales. They are closely related to the Rainbow Lorikeet which is very common here, however the Scaly-breasted Lorikeets are not nearly as numerous and are much shyer.
 They live in lowland eucalypt forests and woodlands but also occur in heath lands and well-treed urban areas, including parks and gardens.
Their diet is  nectar and pollen that they harvest with their brush-tongues, mostly from eucalypts  but also from shrubs such as paperbarks, bottlebrush and banksias, they also forage from a range of garden plants. The bird in the photo was one of a small flock feeding on the flowers of a Golden Cane Palm, these are flowering at the moment so if you have one keep an eye on it, you stand a good chance of seeing a scaly.
Males and females look the same and the nest is  a bed of decayed wood in a hollow limb, generally well above the ground. Only the female incubates the eggs, but the male feeds her on the nest and both sexes feed the young.

 
 
  Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
Calyptorhynchus banksii
Average size 60cm
  Galah
Eolophus roseicapilla
Average size 35cm
 
     
 
 

These large birds are widespread and abundant across much of northern and western Australia and in parts of N.S.W. and western Victoria, although in the last two areas they are less common and under threat through habitat destruction.
Males are completely black in colour with prominent red bands across the tail while female and immature birds have yellow spots on the head, neck and wings, yellowish bars across the chest and a paler red band across the tail. Females are brownish black with yellow-orange stripes in the tail and chest and yellow spots on the cheeks and wings. Juveniles resemble females until puberty but have paler yellow barred underparts, as the birds reach maturity males gradually replace their yellow tail feathers with red ones; the complete process takes around four years.
Breeding generally occurs from May to September with nesting taking place in large vertical hollows in tall trees, isolated trees are generally chosen so birds can fly to and from them relatively unhindered, the same tree may be used for many years.
more about Red-tailed Black Cockatoos  

 

Galahs are found only in Australia and are common in all states, they are only absent from the driest areas and the far north of Cape York Peninsula. They live in open grasslands with scattered trees for shelter and nesting. The changes wrought by European settlement, a disaster for many bird species, have been highly beneficial for the galah because of the clearing of forests in fertile areas and the provision of stock watering points in arid zones.
They are ground feeders and often congregate and forage for food on foot in open grassy areas, they eat  grasses, herbs, seeds, nuts, berries, roots, green shoots and sometime eat insects and their larvae when additional protein is required, such as when breeding. After the arrival of European settlers galahs also feed on, and often prefer,  grains, cereal crops, sunflower seeds and sometimes fruit.
The sexes look the same and partners form strong life-long bonds, they nest in tree cavities lined with dry leaves, both the male and female share the incubation.

 
     
  Long-billed Corella
Cacatua tenuirostris
Average size 40cm
  Little Corella
Cacatua sanguinea
Average size 38cm
 
     
 
 
These are normally found only in the extreme south-east of Australia from south-eastern South Australia through western Victoria to southern New South Wales. However they have established populations in other parts of eastern Australia, probably from escaped cage birds, the small flock we see around Yeppoon would be in this category.
They live in grassy woodlands and grasslands, including pasture and crops, as well as parks in urban areas.
Their diet is mainly  grass seeds, corms, bulbs and roots, a large part of their diet now comes from introduced food plants, insects are also eaten. During feeding they use their long upper mandible to grub up seeds, bulbs and roots from in the ground.
The sexes are alike and form monogamous pairs, nests are made in the hollows of large old eucalypts. The eggs are laid on a lining of decayed wood,  both parents prepare the nest, incubate the eggs and feed the young.
 
These are widespread throughout Australia, although large gaps separate some populations. I haven't seen them on the coast but photographed this pair at the Rockhampton Botanic Gardens recently. There was a large flock of them dispersed in the gardens carrying on in a boisterous and raucous manner and I found their lively antics very engaging and amusing. Their habitat ranges from the arid deserts of central Australia to the eastern coastal plains, but they are not found in thick forests, they can also be found in urban areas where they feed on lawns and playing fields.
Little Corellas feed mainly on the ground in large noisy flocks, they eat grass seeds and grains  although bulbs and fruits are also be eaten.
Males and females look alike and begin breeding at the start of a long period of rain. The nest site is a suitable tree hollow, lined with shavings of wood and is normally used for several years in a row. Both sexes incubate the eggs and both care for the young chicks, these hatch naked and totally dependent on their parents. Breeding pairs nest in large colonies and several nests may be found in the same tree.
 
       
 

Red-winged Parrot
Aprosmictus erythropterous
Average size 32cm

 
     
         
 

These are widespread in northern and eastern Australia and are also found in southern New Guinea and Irian Jaya. They live in open, dry woodlands, along timber-lined watercourses and in dryer scrubland, they are partly nomadic in response to local conditions.
They are not common in residential areas on the coast but appear every so often, they are more common in rural areas. The photo was taken in Cooee Bay but I sometimes see a small flock around Barwells Creek on Farnborough Beach.
Their diet is mainly  seeds, nectar, pollen and blossoms but  insects and their larvae are also eaten. They forage in the canopy and outer branches of flowering trees and shrubs. They occasionally come to the ground to drink or to eat fallen seeds.
The photo is of a male, females are  similar but with a smaller wing patch, a dark green back and a paler rump, young birds resemble females but are duller and without much red. They breed once each year in the hollow trunk of a tall tree and usually close to water. Only the female incubates, leaving the nest to feed or to be fed by the male.

 
       
  Pale-headed Rosella
Platycercus adscitus
Average size 31cm
  Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Cacatua galerita
Average size 55cm
 
         
     
         
 
These are found from the Cape York Peninsula south through to Cardwell in central-northern Queensland. There is a broad range of intermediate forms with the southern subspecies palliceps extending from Townsville south into northeastern New South Wales.
They are found in lightly timbered woodlands with a grassy understorey, tree-lined watercourses, farmland, parks and gardens. Here they are fairly common and you can find them in all but the thickest or wettest forests.
Their diet is mainly the seeds of grasses and the fruit and flowers of shrubs and trees but insects and their larvae are also eaten.
The sexes are similar with breeding season varying according to region, southern birds nesting from September to December and northern ones later from February to June. They nest in the hollows of either dead or living trees, usually eucalypts, or hollow stumps and often near water. The nest hollow can be over 1 m deep in a tree trunk and up to 30 m above the ground. The eggs are laid on wood dust at the bottom of this hollow and are incubated by the female, though a few days after hatching the male helps with feeding the young.
 
These noisy and conspicuous birds are found throughout the northern and eastern mainland and Tasmania, they also occur in New Guinea and nearby islands. They live in a wide variety of timbered habitats and are common around human settlements.
Their diet is mainly native berries, seeds, nuts and roots but large flocks can seriously damage fruit and cereal crops. Feeding normally takes place in small to large groups, with one or more members of the group watching for danger from a nearby perch. When not feeding  birds will bite off smaller branches and leaves from trees, although these items are not eaten.  It is thought this activity may help to keep the bill trimmed and from growing too large.
Males and females look alike and nest in a suitable tree hollow, which is prepared by both sexes, both birds also incubate and care for the chicks. The chicks remain with the parents all year round and family groups will stay together indefinitely.
These birds are naturally curious, as well as very intelligent and have adapted well to European settlement in Australia. They are also friendly and inquisitive  and have become a  very popular cage bird.