Feathers, Furs and Fins


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Black Swan

BLACK SWANS nest every winter at Banyule Swamp. Both birds share nest duty, then lead fluffy white cygnets to feed on water plants. By summer the young are strong enough to fly to other waters, if the swamp dries out. The breeding pair return with autumn rains.


Latham's Snipe

LATHAM'S SNIPE breed in northern Japan in the northern summer, but migrate to Australia's wetlands in August. They feed on insects and worms in muddy places until they migrate north again in March. They are protected by an international treaty. 

 Common Bronzewing

COMMON BRONZEWINGS are large pigeons, which were rare in suburban and farming areas, until  native bush areas were re-planted in suburban parks. They are now  moderately common in suitable habitat. Iridescent wing feathers catch the sunlight, but in the shade the birds are hard to see.


White-faced Heron

The WHITE-FACED HERON hunts fish, yabbies and frogs, darting its beak down to seize its prey as it stalks in wetlands and grassland. In flight the neck is folded and the head pulled back on its shoulders.

 Tawny Frogmouth

The TAWNY FROGMOUTH relies on camouflage during the day,  disguised as a dead branch. At night it dives onto large insects, mice and lizards on the ground. Quite common but seldom seen.

Rainbow Lorikeet

RAINBOW LORIKEETS are aggressive, noisy parrots, which feed on nectar and fruit. Now very common in Melbourne parks and gardens, they need tree-hollows to nest in, like all parrots.

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

SULPHUR-CRESTED COCKATOOs must have old trees with hollows to nest in. When a flock feeds on the ground, a few birds remain in trees as sentinels, warning of danger with a raucous screech.


Red Wattlebird 

The RED WATTLEBIRD is our largest Honeyeater. It feeds on nectar, fruit and insects. Its raucous call and the yellow patch on its belly distinguish it from the similar Little Wattlebird.






Bluetongue Lizard (baby)

Blue-tongued Lizard
A harmless and useful reptile which feeds on insects, slugs and snails. It basks in sunny places but must have rocks and fallen timber to hide under. On the move in spring, they may be seen crossing roads, at risk from cars and dogs. Females give birth to up to 10 live young in summer.


Bushtailed Possum

Brush-tailed Possum
The most common native animal of the suburbs - often trapped and illegally dumped in parks, where they are very vulnerable to owls, foxes, cats and dogs, unless they are lucky enough to find an unoccupied tree-hollow. Possums eat gum-leaves, grass, fruit and vegetables and may also rob birds' nests.

Common Brown Butterfly

Common Brown Butterfly
The mosts common butterfly of our parks - this is a male. The larger female has black and yellow markings. Seen in spring, summer and autumn. They mate in spring; females hide in cool places till autumn, when they lay their eggs on native and introduced grasses. The green caterpillars feed after dark.

Delias Aganippe Butterfly

Delias aganippe
Wood White Butterfly or Spotted Jezebel. These summer butterflies tend to fly among the foliage where they feed on nectar from gum-blossoms. They lay eggs on Mistletoes and Cherry Ballarts, which are both parasitic plants. The caterpillars are smooth and dark brown with tiny white spots.

Eastern Grey Kangaroo

Eastern Grey Kangaroo
During the drought a small mob of Kangaroos re-colonized the Banyule Flats area. They grazed from twilight and through the night, but returned to rest in long grass in the early morning. Solitary males may be found away from the main group. Uncontrolled dogs are a serious danger to young Kangaroos.

Southern Water Skink

Southern Water Skink
An agile, elegant lizard found near water, where it hunts insects, tadpoles and small frogs. It can grow about 30 cm long.  The female gives birth to between two and five live young. Often seen basking on a stone or log, but very quick to make its escape.

Swamp Wallaby

Swamp Wallaby
Found singly and in pairs where there is dense undergrowth to hide in,
Swamp Wallabies are active during the day. They feed by browsing on foliage and blossom of bushes and shrubs, often pulling branches within reach with their hands. In recent years, they have returned to Banyule Flats Reserve, but are seldom seen. 


An occasional visitor to Banyule's riverside parks, coming downstream from Westerfolds Park. It feeds almost entirely on Manna Gum leaves, but also takes other eucalypt species. Moving on the ground to another tree puts the Koala at great risk from uncontrolled dogs, and many have been killed.

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