Some more information
For all practical purposes the NEW, modern names for birds, as listed in the BIRD INDEX, should be used.
Navigation through the bird pages
Since we moved to Australia in January 2003, we have developed an interest in the birds around us. Here we collect records of sightings and photos of birds. Obviously, this collection cannot be complete in any way. There are different ways of accessing the information on birds:
- If a name is known, by using the Bird Index;
- alternatively, the search engine in the top-level header can be used;
- if one knows the scheme by M. Morcombe of sub-dividing all Australian species into 26 family groups, one can navigate directly to the pages describing individual birds by clicking on the number of the family group in the second-tier header;
- for the same purpose the family group table can be used;
- those who know what a bird looks like, but don't know a name, can try to identify birds on the thumbnails page (note that there are thumbnails only for species of which we have reasonably good photos).
Structure of bird pages
There is a separate page describing how bird pages are structured.
Some bird species can hybridise, such as e.g.
Rosellas with Eastern Rosellas.
See also the example of a hybrid Scaly-breasted/Musk
Hybrids of different species are usually mules (infertile). Since
there can be only one generation of hybrids, no gradations are
observed in colour patterns in areas were the different species
This is different from the hybridisation of different races or subspecies of one bird species. In such cases fertile offspring is produced and there are, or can be, gradations in characteristics and colours. This is the case, e.g., for the various types of Australian Ringneck. There is a gradual transition from the so-called "Port Lincoln Parrot" (i.e. the nominate race) and the "Mallee Ringneck". For images showing this, have a look at the page on Australian Ringnecks.
Birds with deformities are observed only rarely, because they have a hard time surviving in nature. So far we have encountered three examples (two in Australia, one in Oman), all of which show deformities of the bill:
On these pages we use the term "sighting" to describe where a bird species was seen. This is distinguished from "habitat" information, which describes the range where a species is found and which type of environment it prefers.
Not being ornithologists and without prior experience with Australian wildlife we may make the occasional mistake in identifying species. These are ours, not the field guides', and tips from more experienced Australian bird watchers are very welcome.
Camera and Lenses
The equipment used by us is entirely non-professional. From 2003 to 2005 we used almost exclusively an old-fashioned, all-manual 36x24 mm Nikon FM2 camera. The only electronic equipment it has is a built-in light meter, which is independent of the (mechanical) shutter and blend selection.
Bird photos were usually made with a 70-210 mm tele-zoom lens with a starting blend of 4.0. Only very few photos were obtained with a 28-70 mm zoom lens with a macro setting. Both zoom lenses have 55 mm objective lenses (standard, non-professional equipment).
On 19 December 2005 we made the switch to digital photography. using a Sony DSC-H1, with a 32-400 mm equivalent zoom (up to 12x magnification) and 2500x2000 image pixels.
In December 2007 the DSC-H1 was replaced by a DSC-H9, now with a 32-500 mm zoom (up to 15x magnification) and about 3250x2450 pixels.
The next upgrade, to a Canon EOS 1000D camera with a 75-300 mm telezoom and a 10-megapixel CCD, came in November 2009.
Basically all photos prior to 19/12/2005 have been made with Fuji Color or, more recently, Fuji Sensia (I or II) 100 ASA slide film.
Together with the light-consuming, low-power zoom lenses, such a slow film is not optimal for bird photography, but one can see that they did their job.
It is equally clear that the use of a digital camera with a powerful tele-zoom and a light-sensitive CCD makes life a lot easier.
All old photos shown on these pages are low-resolution digital scans of slides. All photos for which no credits are given were taken by Michael.
All photos are obtained in the birds' natural habitat, without interference and thus with minimum impact, not even climbing trees (although we will not shy away from taking photos through a window of our house, if a bird happens to sit just outside).
No setups are used of any kind. Except for a few shots of birds taken in captivity (which are labeled as such), all photos were taken without artificial helps or constraints. No motion detectors, no camera motor or winder, no filters other than a colour-neutral UV rejection filter were or are used. Birds are not unduly disturbed by us (which might, for example, lead to them abandoning their nests).
No camouflage clothing, tents, hideouts or other disguises are used either. If the birds won't accept us as part of their environment, they will not be spotted or photographed by us. This implies that we will not be able to show, for example, photos of eggs of birds nesting in tree hollows.
Birds are neither trapped nor captured to obtain good photos (as is the case in some professional animal photography or films).