As is the case with everything else biological on this very strange continent, the number and diversity of bird species in Australia borders on the excessive. There are 700 species that breed on the continent, including a few exotics introduced since European settlement, plus some migrants and a few odd strays from Asia. A great number of species have been lost in the 200-odd years since European settlement, exactly how many is unsure. Some are endangered or threatened, but in general populations are healthy or recovering to some extent.

One thing that strikes visitors to Australia is the number of spectacular birds to be seen in and around its largest cities. Sydney in particular hosts some very conspicuous pelicans, and of course countless gulls around the harbour, magpies, currawongs, butcher birds, honey eaters of several species, wrens, several species of owl, rosellas, and the favourite, the ubiquitous, noisy and spectacularly colourful rainbow lorrikeet. Many of these species are common sights in the most densely populated inner suburbs. In times of drought, such as this year, species normally found further west move towards major population centers on the coast. These include the big cockatoos, Yellow- and Red- tailed Black cockatoos, sulphur crested cockatoos, Galahs and a few Major Mitchell cockatoos.

The sheer number of species is nicely illustrated by the list below. I should know, I had to find them all and type it out… I hope I haven’t missed any.

Bird families found in Australia:

There is a sad lack of information on this topic, and indeed birds in general, on E2. I intend to make this node the center of a mighty one-Mollusc quest. Maybe a bit over a dozen nodes, information on the more interesting genera linked back to here. It’ll take a while, and if anyone wishes to help it would be greatly appreciated, feel free to drop me a /msg!

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