A few of the larger locals

April 29, 2010

While I am certainly no birdwatcher, I have to admit that I love seeing and hearing our avian friends when i am out and about. Some are inquisitive and cheeky, some spectacular and here in Australia one species is both awesome and a little scary! Scary bird I hear you say? Well, picture yourself in some dense Daintree rainforest, slowly picking your way through the Lawyer cane and Stinging Trees. You have a handlens in one hand, and you’re concentrating on the ground looking for an ant colony. Aside from the occasional crack of a whipbird and a few distant cicadas, it’s fairly quiet. You hear a deep booming sound, and it is getting closer. It’s an incredibly rich sound, and easily penetrates the dense forest. The next thing you see is a Licuala palm split and a 2 metre tall black, blue and red monster stands there sizing you up. It is, of course, a Southern Cassowary (Casuarius casuarius). Attacks are rare, but they do happen, and if you meet a large female the best defense is usually a combination of making yourself look big and holding an object at arms length, at head height in front of you. They don’t like to duck!

Luckily… she ran off and I survived to go annoy a few more ants. Here is a pic of a male I also came across, photographed from a car window this time.

Here are a few more birds I have come across recently. Unlike the Cassowary those below are all common, and unlikely to chase you down if you irritate them!

Spangled Drongo (Dicrurus bracteatus)

Yellow-bellied Sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis)

Sooty Oystercatcher (Haematopus fuliginosus)

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8 Responses to “A few of the larger locals”


  1. 2m tall! That’s a hecka big bird.

  2. myrmecos Says:

    I love the motion blur/action in the Oystercatcher shot.

    • peteryeeles Says:

      Thanks, Alex. Just wish I had caught the whole eye on the rear bird…

      Also, just FYI, the link from your name in a comment still links to your old site.

  3. TGIQ Says:

    Now you KNOW I had to google the call of a whipbird, right? Wow! That’s one distinctive sound!

  4. Dave Says:

    I saw my first wild cassowary near Mt Spec as I was wandering down a rainforest trail lugging a 5m pole prunner and gazing wistfully at all the interesting branches just out of reach. I immediately froze, laid down the pole, and then steathily tried to get closer for a better look. Then I noticed the big bird wasn’t moving away. In fact it was moving directly towards me. I backed up and grabbed the pole. The bird followed. I backed up some more and the bird closed the gap. I then decided that it really was bad manners to disturb the wildlife, turned around and dashed up the trail as fast as I could with the unwieldy aluminium pole. The bird actually chased me for what seemed like far too long, but was probably only a few seconds. I maintained a small level of self respect by not abandoning the pole.


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