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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

BirdNote®: Australia’s Rainforest Birds

Air Date: Week of

An Eastern Whipbird, which lives primarily in the understory of the Australian rainforest. (Photo: Brian McCauley)

Northeastern Australia’s rainforests are home to a number of some intriguing species, as Mary McCann describes in today’s BirdNote®.



CURWOOD: A visit to a far-off country can offer the chance to experience the truly exotic and unfamiliar – and as Mary McCann tells us in today’s BirdNote, that’s certainly true of the land down-under.

Australia’s Rainforest Birds
[http://macaulaylibrary.org/audio/193295, 0.02-.05]
MCCANN: 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.

A Southern Cassowary, the largest bird found on the Australian continent. (Photo: OZinOH)


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]
I’m Mary McCann.
Written by Bob Sundstrom
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
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Dominic Black
© 2005-2018 Tune In to Nature.org March 2018 Narrator: Mary McCann


CURWOOD: Burrow on down to our website, loe dot org, to see some photos and learn more.



This story on the BirdNote® website

The call of the Eastern Whipbird

The call of the Wompoo Fruit-Dove

About the Southern Cassowary


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