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AUSTRALASIAN Temperate Seashore

The birds of the temperate seashores of Australasia...

Family Anatidae, Ducks, Geese & Swans

(Yalgorap National Park, Western Australia)

Tadorna tadornoides, 'Australian Shelduck'. Female has white on face, male just has black.

(Maria Island, Tasmania)

Cereopsis novaehollandiae, 'Cape Barren Goose'. A bird of uncertain taxonomy, is it a duck or a goose. This is one of the rarest geese in the world. They can drink brackish water, so it they can survive on islands. They have been introduced to Maria Island off Tasmania.

Family Recurvirostridae: Stilts & Avocets

(Rottnest Island, Australia)

Recurvirostra novaehollandiae, 'Red-necked Avocet'. Endemic to Australia. Can turn up anywhere there is open areas of shallow fresh or salt water.

Family Haematopodidae: 'Oystercatchers'

'Pied Oystercatcher' (Wineglass Bay, Australia)

Haematopus longirostris, 'Pied Oystercatcher'.

Wineglass Bay, Tasmania

The egg of the Pied Oystercatcher is laid in a simple scrape in the sand on the open beach.

Family Charadriidae: Plovers, Dotterels

(Rottnest Island, Australia)

Charadrius ruficapillus, 'Red-capped Plover'.

Family Laridae: Terns and Gulls

Greater Crested Tern (image by Damon Ramsey)'Greater Crested Tern' (Rottnest Island)

Thalasseus bergii, '(Greater) Crested Tern'.

Tribe Larini: ‘Gulls’

There are over 48 species of gull and they can be found all over the world. Most people would recognize gulls as a group and they were once placed in their own family. The bills are straight and strong, and the wings are long. The legs are strong for running, but also webbed for swimming. They are similar in many ways to their close relatives the terns, but differ in the fact that they have heavier bodies and are less aerial. Generally, adult gulls are coloured in whites and greys, with patches of blacks for contrast. As in some other types of seabird, blood brightens the bill and the legs in many species of breeding adults. Many species appear to be fairly long-lived, so there is a slow change of plumage colour and pattern from juvenile to adult over a few years. Gulls are familiar birds that are found all over the world. More species are found in the Northern Hemisphere than the Southern, and they are much more common along the temperate seashores of the world than in the tropics. Gulls are not usually found too far out to sea, and thus are often a good indicator of nearby land.

(Rottnest Island, Australia)

Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae, 'Silver Gull'. Slim gull with light grey upperparts, snow white head underparts. Breeding adults have bright red bill and legs. This is the common gull in Australasia, and often just referred to as a ‘seagull’. It is taken for granted as has increased in urban areas, and even considered a nuisance. Common all around Australia's coast.

(Kaikoura, New Zealand)

Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae scopulinus, 'Red-biiled Gull'. The New Zealand form of the Silver Gull.

Family Spheniscidae: Penguins

Damon RamseyThe author with a Yellow-eyed Penguin in New Zealand; the author is the short creature on the left (photo by Mark Steadman)

Contrary to many people's expectations, there are just as many, if not more, penguin species along the cool temperate seashores of Australia and New Zealand than there are along the Antarctic continent.

Snares (Crested) Penguin(Snares, New Zealand)

Eudyptes robustus, 'Snares (Crested) Penguin'.

(Fiordland, New Zealand)

Eudyptes pachyrhynchus, 'Fiordland (Crested) Penguin'.

Yellow-eyed Penguin walking on sand (image by Damon Ramsey)(Otago Peninsula, New Zealand)

Megadyptes antipodes, 'Yellow-eyed Penguin', 'Hoiho', 'Tarakaka'.

Family Phalacrocoracidae: Cormorants

Family Sulidae: Boobies, Gannets

(Cape Kidnappers, New Zealand)

 Morus serrator, 'Australasian Gannet'.

Throughout the virus I am working in Australia on and off as local borders close, mostly in the Kimberley with Coral Expeditions (May-September). If you can't go travelling until everything settles down, then until then, here I am doing online guided walks for Noble Caledonia and online lectures for Silversea.