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BirdNote®: Strange Birds from Down Under

Air Date: Week of

Eastern Whipbird (Photo: Brian McCauley)

Isolated from all other rainforests on Earth, in Northeastern Australia they are home to many unique species. BirdNote's Mary McCann describes some of the peculiar-looking birds found only "down under".


CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth, I'm Steve Curwood.


CURWOOD: We head down-under now – to an exotic, strange, damp world full of unique creatures. Here’s Mary McCann with today’s BirdNote®.


Australia’s Rainforest Birds
[http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/193295, 0.02-.05]
The rainforests of Northeastern Australia are isolated from all other rainforests on earth. As a result, they harbor many species of birds found nowhere else.
[http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/193295, 0.02-.05]
The Eastern Whipbird hangs out in the dense understory. It’s dark, crested, 10 inches long – and more often heard than seen. Like its neighbor, the Spotted Catbird, that’s nearly a foot long and emerald-green with white spots.
[http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/202015, 0.37-.42]
Easier to lay eyes on is the large, pigeon-like Wompoo Fruit-Dove, perching high in a tree, gulping down small fruits. Feathered in a stunning combination of green, purple, and yellow, this bird is clearly named for its voice. [http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/202015, 0.37-.38]
While pig-like grunting on the forest floor tells us we’re in the company of the largest bird on the continent – the Southern Cassowary.

Wompoo fruit-dove (Photo: Joe Novella)

On average, the female weighs 130 pounds and stands around 5 feet tall, looking like a giant, lush, black hairpiece on thick legs.
A helmet called a casque makes it look as much like a dinosaur as any living bird.
http://www.xeno-canto.org/species/Casuarius-casuarius, first recording in list]
Written by Bob Sundstrom

Southern Cassowary (Photo: Jan Anne)

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York: Eastern Whipbird [193295] recorded by David A McCartt; Spotted Catbird [189064] recorded by Cedar A Mathers-Winn; Wompoo Fruit-Dove [202015] recorded by Emma I Greig.
Southern Cassowary recorded by Marc Anderson, sourced from
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org March 2016 Narrator: Mary McCann


I’m Mary McCann.

CURWOOD: For photographs of these strange birds from down-under flutter on over to our website, LOE dot org.



Australia’s Rainforest Birds on BirdNote©

The call of the Eastern Whipbird

The call of the Wompoo Fruit-Dove

About the Southern Cassowary


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