One of the aims of the "Friends of Herring Island" in planting native plants on the island has been to encourage native birds to return to the island. The following native birds have been sighted recently on the island and we trust that with more plantings of indigenous plants, even more will return.

Illustrations by students from Richmond Primary School
Water Birds | Parrots | Other Birds


Taeniopygia guttata 100 mm (4")

Small active bird. White rump and barred tail, fine black and white barring on throat and white tear stripes below eye give it its name. Wax red bill. Male shown here has light rufous ear patch and light chestnut flanks with white spots. Female has whie abdomen.

Feeds on seeds in open country and farmland.

Nest is cup shaped.

Illustration by Ruby Mansell

Zebra Finch (male) by Ruby Mansell

Spotted Pardalote by Mimi Cummins


Pardalotus punctatus 80 - 95 mm (3 - 4")

Very small active bird. Crown, wings and tail black with rows of white spots. White eyebrows and grey cheeks. Stout black bill.

Feeds on scale and other insects.

Nests in a hole dug into a vertical clay bank - entrance up to 50 cm long leading to a ball shaped nest chamber lined with grass and bark. Sometimes in a hollow limb. Lays 4 white eggs in a breeding season from September to January.

Illustration by Mimi Cummins


Phylidonyris novaehollandiae 160 - 190 mm (7")

Streaked black and white with yellow wing patch. White beard and small white earpatch. Eyebrow commencing above the eye. White iris.

Lays two to three pale eggs blotched with darker tones in Spring, but may breed anytime conditions are favourable. Cup-shaped nests of grass, twigs and grass are lined with soft material.

Illustration by Jessie Griffiths

New Holland Honeyeater by Jessie Griffiths

Crested Pidgeon by Samantha Sparvelis


Ocyphaps (Geophaps) lophotes 330 mm (12")

Medium small grey pidgeon with dark crest. Wings brown with bronze tinge, tail black with white band.

Inhabits lightly wooded areas near water. Food includes seeds, leaves and some insects collected on the ground. Lays two white eggs in a nest of twigs on a horizontal bough.

Breeding season: All seasons except winter.

Illustration by Samantha Sparvelis


Vanellus miles 350 mm (13")

Also known as 'Spur-winged plover'. Brown wings and back, other parts white with a black crown and flight feathers. Has yellow facial wattles.

Inhabits grasslands, mud-flats and urban parks. Food includes insects and larvae, spiders and yabbies. Lays (usually) four stone-coloured eggs spotted brown and purple. Nests in a depression in the ground or on a mound near water. Very defensive during nesting.

Breeding season: July to December.

Illustration by Ritika Bhandari

Masked Lapwing by Ritika Bhandari

Grey Butcherbird by Ella Meehan


Cracticus torquatus 280 mm (11")

Moderately common in woodland, coastal scrub and heathland. Frequency varies from place to place.

Medium small black and grey bird with white throat and neck and white markings on wings and rump. Has a strong hooked bill feeding on larger insects, small reptiles, rodents, birds and their young.

Lays 3 to 4 stone coloured eggs in a large cup-shapped nest of sticks located in the fork of a tree up to 20m high.

Breeding season: July to November.

Illustration by Ella Meehan


Strepera graculina 480 mm (16")

Common in all areas of the Great Dividing Range, visiting Melbourne during winter. First seen on Herring Island on Sunday 2 July 2000. Large black bird with white on wings and tail base and tip. Feeds on fruit and seeds, insects, eggs and young of smaller birds.

Lays two to five (usually three) eggs in a large open nest of sticks located in the fork of outer branches of tall eucalypts.

Breeding season: September to January.

Illustration by Catherine Shannon

Pied Currawong by Catherine Shannon

Willy-Wagtail by Eleni Spiliotis


Rhipidura leucophrys
220 mm (8.5")

Small black and white bird (with white underparts), which gets its name from the way it wags its tail sideways. Very common in Australia generally except Tasmania.

Inhabits open areas, frequently in the vicinity of water. It is exceptionally tame and is a familiar bird in parks and gardens. Feeds on insects, chiefly flies, mainly caught in flight.

Lays three to four eggs in a cup-shaped nest, built of fibrous material bound with cob-web; usually placed on a horizontal limb of a tree, frequently one growing near water.

Breeding season: August to December.

Illustration by Eleni Spiliotis


Hirundo neoxena 150 mm (6")

Small black and white bird with reddish breast. Very common in Australia generally (except the far north).

A common and well known bird, frequenting park-lands and settled areas. It is, for the most part, a migratory species but in many districts numbers remain throughout the year. The species has a sweet, twittering song. Food: Small flying insects.

Lays four or five white eggs in a cup-shaped nest, made of pellets of mud reinforced with small pieces of fibrous material and feathers; built under eaves of buildings, verandas, bridges, and in caves and mining shafts.

Breeding season: August to December, occasionally during Autumn.

Illustration by Shannyn Mills

Welcome Swallow by Shannyn Mills

Nankeen Kestrel by Richard Lau


Falco cenchroides 320 mm (12")

Moderately common throughout , medium size bird with cinamon-brown back and wings with pale underparts. Long pointed wings and tail, with black bar on tail. Feeds on large insects, small reptiles or mice. Hovers over prey before descending swiftly.

Lays five buff eggs in a hollow tree, crevice or ledge, even on city buildings.

Breeding season: August to November.

Illustration by Richard Lau


Anthochaera carunculata
Height 340 mm (13.5")

Medium, long tailed bird, streaked brown and grey, with yellow underparts and red wattles. Common from Southern Queensland to Victoria, South Australia, and southern Western Australia.

Visits the island to feed on insects and the nectar producing plants. It has a series of loud, harsh call-notes.

Lays two to three eggs in a cup-shaped nest, composed of twigs, grasses and bark, and lined with softer materials; placed in a bush or tree at up to 10 metres (30 feet) or more from the ground.

Breeding season: July to December.

Illustration by Jade Foster

Red Wattle-bird by Jade Foster

Grey-breasted Silvereye


Zosterops lateralis
Height 110 mm (4.5")

Very small greenish bird with grey breast and white eye ring. Common from Queensland through eastern Australia to southern South Australia.

Feeds on insects, native fruit and berries.

Lays three eggs in a small, cup-shaped nest, composed of fine grasses, horse-hair and other soft materials, fastened with cobweb; placed in a horizontal fork of a bush or small tree at up to 5 metres (15 feet) from the ground.

Breeding season: September to January.

Illustration by Sadira Campbell


Meliphaga penicillata
Height 170 mm (7")

Small greenish bird with distinctive white plumes. Very common in Australia generally, except parts of the far north.

Inhabits trees fringing inland streams and open forest country in coastal areas, including suburban parks in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney.

Lays two or three cup-shaped nest, composed of grasses bound with cobweb and lined with wool or hair; suspended from the thin twigs of a drooped branch of a tree, usually a eucalypt, at 1.25m to 12.5m (4 to 40 feet) from the ground.

Breeding season: June to December, sometimes later.

Illustration by Tammy Nguyen

White-plumed honeyeater by Tammy Nguyen

Laughing Kookaburra by Shannyn Mills


Dacelo gigas

Large (450mm - 18") brown and white bird best known for its "laughing" call heard at their strongest in the early morning and at sunset. Common from northern Queensland to southern South Australia and Kangaroo Island; introduced to Western Australia and Tasmania.

In pairs or small parties, chiefly frequenting open forest lands. Food: small reptiles (including snakes up to about 2 feet 6 inches (75cm) in length), insects, crabs, and fish.

Lays two to four white eggs from September to December, in a nest made in a hollow in a tree.

Illustration by Shannyn Mills


Gymnorhina hypoleuca

Common throughout the eastern states (excluding Queensland) and southern South Australia. A medium black and white bird (430mm - 17").

A conspicuous inhabitant of open fields, and probably more abundant since white settlement. The song, often uttered in chorus, is highly melodious. Feeds on insects and small reptiles.

Builds a deep, bowl-shaped nest, composed of sticks and twigs, placed in a forked branch of a tree, usually from about 20 to 60 feet (6 - 20m) from the ground.

Lays three to five eggs throughout a breeding season from July to February.

Illustration by Richard Lau

Play the
magpie call. 38kb

White-backed Magpie by Richard Lau

Mudlark by Vesna Jugovic


Grallina cyanoleuca

Common throughout Australia. Small to medium black and white bird (300mm - 12")

Found mostly in open areas, usually near water. Feeds on insect life procured on the ground, and pond-snails.

Lays three to six eggs, in a bowl-shaped nest, composed of mud, reinforced with grass; lined with grass and occasionally feathers; built upon a horizontal limb of a tree, not infrequently one growing in or near water. The wagtail often nests in the same tree or one adjacent, usually on a lower branch.

Breeding season: July to January, but sometimes throughout most of the year.

Illustration by Vesna Jugovic


Corvus coronoides

Common, large (600mm - 24") black bird found from Townsville (Qld) through south-eastern Australia, and southern South Australia to Eyre Peninsula; also in southern Western Australia and Tasmania.

Prefers open country where it spends most of the day, returning to the timbered areas at dusk. The call-note, usually uttered during flight, is a loud and deep "Gwar-gwar-gwar-r", varied at times in a softer "Wa-a-ah". This species is omnivorous but prefers the flesh of animals.

Lays four to six eggs in a large, open, rather deep nest composed of sticks and twigs, and lined with grass and wool; usually placed in the forked branches of a tall tree. Breeding season is June to December.

Illustration by Zac Bratcher

Play the little* raven
(Corvus mellori) call. 72kb

*until I get an
Australian Raven call. (SB)
Australian Raven by Zac Bratcher

Barn Owl by Richard Lau


Tyto alba

Large (300mm -12")very pale owl found throughout Australia where suitable habitat exists. White, heart-shaped face disc with large black eyes. Upperparts sandy, mottled with greys, buffs and browns. Underparts white with a few dark spots.

Prefers forest land where it spends the day roosting in a tree hollow, hunting for rodents, bats, small birds, insect and reptiles at night.

Lays three to seven dull white eggs, in a tree hollow. Breeding season is April to October.

Illustration by Richard Lau

The bird featured on the original logo of Herring Island Park, adopted by the Friends Group as our logo.


Coracina novaehollandiae

Moderately common, (330mm - 13") large blue-grey bird with black face, throat and main wing feathers. Found in Australia generally.

In pairs or in flocks, according to season; inhabits open forest-lands. It is partly nomadic. The chief call is a pleasant, trilling note, often uttered while in flight. Feeds on insects and their larvae, procured among the leaves of trees; berries are also eaten.

Lays three eggs in a small, saucer-shaped nest, composed of dry twigs and bark bound with cobweb; built fork of a horizontal branch of a tree at from about 20(6m) to 40(12m) feet above the ground.

Breeding season: August to December.

Illustration by Tammy Nguyen

Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike by Tammy Nguyen

Reed Warbler by Ivan Reljic


Acrocephalus australis = Acrocephalus stentoreus

Moderately common throughout Australia, wherever suitable habitats occur.

In pairs, frequenting reed-beds. It is a migrant, arriving in southern Australia during August or September and departing in March or April; occasionally some birds winter in the south. It is often heard in ornamental lakes of parks. The song, hearty and melodious, is often poured forth at intervals both by day and night. Feeds on insects.

Lays three or four eggs in a deep, cup-shaped nest, composed of soft paper-like sheaths of reeds and dead aquatic plants, firmly woven round the stems of the reeds between which it is placed; lined with fine dried grasses.

Illustration by Ivan Reljic


Halcyon sancta

Medium-large (230mm - 9") greenish-blue bird with off-white throat, collar and underparts. Moderately common in Australia generally and Tasmania.

Arrives in southern Australia in August or early September and departs on March; odd birds may remain throughout the year. It has a loud note, "Kee-kee-kee" uttered several times. Feeds on small lizards, fish, crabs and insects.

Lays four or five white eggs in a nest made in a hollow limb of a tree, or in a bank through a breeding season from October to January.

Illustration by Daniel Piekarski

Sacred Kingfisher by Daniel Piekarski

Superb Fairy Wren (Male) by David Burke


Malurus cyaneus

Small (140mm - 6") bird with blue head and tail, black neck and breast, brown wings and off-white underparts. Very common in SE Australia and Tasmania.

Female wren is brown with off-white underparts. It has a loud animated chatter. Feeds on insects found on the ground or low plants.

Lays three to four reddish-white eggs with brown spots, in a dome shaped nest with side entrance made in a low growing plant or grass breeding season from August to January.

Illustrations by David Burke and Jess Rasmussen.

Superb Fairy Wren (Female) by Jess Rasmussen

Red-browed firetail finch by Con Kapetanios


Emblema Temporalis

Very small (120mm - 5") bird with red beak, eye-stripe and rump, other parts dull olive-green with greyish underparts. Common on coastal side of Great Dividing Range.

It has a high pitched, "Seeee". Feeds on seeds, usually on the ground and sometimes insects.

Lays five to eight white eggs in a bottle shaped nest made in a low dense bush or tree, through a breeding season from September to January.

Illustration by Con Kapetanios.


Theskiornis Aethiopica

Medium bird (500mm - 20") with long dark curved beak, black head and tail, other parts white with reddish legs. Common on floodplains and irrigated farmland.

Groups feed on insects and larvae on the ground.

Nests in colonies and lays 2 - 5 dull white eggs in a nest made by bending aquatic plants over. Breeding season generally from September to December.

Illustration by Wayde Mills.

Sacred Ibis by Wayde Mills

Crested Shrike-Tit by Elle Rasmussen


Falcunculus frontatus

Small bird (200mm - 8") with dark crest, grey back, yellow underparts, black legs and strong beak. High piping call and a good mimic. Common in all areas of the mainland ranges.

Feeds on insects by stripping bark, in pairs or family groups.

Deep cup shaped nest of bark and cobwebs lined with finer fibre, in high foliage. Lays 2 white eggs from September to December.

Illustration by Elle Rasmussen.


Rhipidura fuliginosa

Small grey bird (150mm - 6") with white bars on wings. Soft musical twittering call. Very common in all areas of south eastern Australian ranges.

Feeds on insects caught in flight, generally seen in pairs.

Small cup shaped nest with a long stem, of grass on a thin branch of a low shrub. Lays 2 - 3 white eggs with brown and pale lavender, more heavily on larger end. Breeds from September to December.

Illustration by Poppy King.

Grey Fantail by Poppy King

Play the
Bell Miner call. 63kb

Bell Miner (Bellbird) by Jasiah Buckley

BELL MINER (Bellbird)

Manorina melanophrys

Small olive-green bird (180mm - 7") with yellow bill and legs, orange-red spot behind the eye. Because of the bird's colouring, it is more often heard than seen. "Tink" call, with groups producing tinkling bell like sounds. Common in Melbourne's eastern suburbs, river woodland and wooded gullies.

Feeds on nectar, scale and other insects, generally seen in small or large groups, driving away other honeyeaters.

Cup shaped nest of sticks and grass bound together with cobwebs, in a tree or shrub close to the ground. Lays 2 - 3 buff eggs with brown speckling. Breeds from July to December.

Illustration by Jasiah Buckley.


Acanthorhyncus tenuirostris

Small brown and white bird (130 - 160mm; 5 - 7"), with long thin curved bill, dark head and white tail shafts. Shrill, staccato piping call. Moderately common in woodland, coastal heath and scrub.

Active feeder on nectar, insects, and berries, often hovering while feeding. Seen in pairs or singly.

Cup shaped nest of bark and grass lined with finer material, suspended from a horizontal branch. Lays 2 - 3 pale buff eggs with purplish-grey and brown markings. Breeds from September to January.

Illustration by Molly Flynn.

Eastern Spine Bill by Molly Flynn

Richmond Primary School

Text by Stanley Barker sourced from "What Bird is That? A Guide to the Birds of Australia" by Neville Cayley; Published by Angus & Robertson 1973
and the "Birds of ..." series by the Gould League.

Artwork by students of Richmond Primary School, Year 6, 1999/2000/2001/2002/2004

Water Birds | Parrots | Other Birds

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