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THE BIRDS OF BANYULE
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
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
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.
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.
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 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 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
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.
THE MAMMALS AND REPTILES OF
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
Found singly and in pairs where there is dense undergrowth to hide
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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