Southern Cassowary (1.75 m); Jabiru (Black-winged Stalk) (2.2 m); Brolga (2.4 m); Emu (2 m)

As we continue in lock-down and restricted to a 5 km radius of movement from our home, birding is almost impossible, but for our backyard birds, which are always a treat, as they become more trusting of us being around them.  As I was writing this post one of our adult Crested Pigeons came and looked into my study window to call on my help as it was pursued by a coalition of Noisy Miners. When the Miners saw me through the window they fled, and the Pigeon was safe and happy to sit and watch me. Within seconds, it was included in this post. This bird has often come to me to save it and its brood from local terrorist attacks from Miners, Ravens and Currawongs.

Our Primulus also delight us as we sit having coffee and lunch in our courtyard in the warm Winter sun, as Noisy our local supervising Noisy Miner bathes and splashes before our eyes, letting everyone know about it. He is happy for us to watch a few feet away, We are suppose to leave for our holiday today, but it is cancelled (again) due to extended lock-down.

This weeks post features 4 of our largest endemic birds, 2 of which are flightless (Emu and Cassowary).

The Emu (1.5 – 2 m) is the worlds second largest living bird by height and is found all over the Australian Mainland, and not Tasmania. Dwarf emus (once hunted to extinction in just 5 years of settlement) once inhabited Kangaroo and King Island in Bass Strait. The Ostrich is the tallest, and also found wild in parts of Australia, as they are feral, being introduced from Africa.  The Emu is a very unique bird of the semi desert, open woodlands, farm paddocks and grassy plains where it feeds on grasses and other vegetation. It has several great survival properties which assist its ability to thrive in the harshest conditions. It can go long distances without water and can run up to 50 km/hr for a long period, outrunning its predators, as you will see in the video below where it ran alongside our bus, maintaining speed for about 7 minutes. It has two eyelids per eye, a specialized second closing opaque eye lid to protect it from dust storms. It uses its tiny wings to cool itself.

Here is a pic of one leading its young along. Notice how they are striped to assist in their camouflage.  Emus also have very powerful feet which can tear down a metal fence and open up a human body if provoked, which usually only occurs if they believe their  young are threatened. They have been known occasionally to cause serious injury and fatalities when excessively provoked, but this is rare.

The Brolga  (1.7 – 2.4 m) is Australia’s tall, graceful, elegant bird, known for its dancing courtship displays and bugling calls. I have never seen them dance in the wild, but have mainly seen them in northern Australia in the sugarcane country, but can be found in pairs in far northern and much of eastern mainland Australia. This wading waterbird is found in fresh water lagoons, lakes swamps and flood grasslands feeding mainly on wetland plants, insects and amphibians.

The Jabiru or Black-necked Stork (1.9 – 2.2 m) are a large wader bird often found alongside the Jabiru in wetlands and lagoons and basically in the same locations (as seen in the following video). Both Brolga and Jabiru can fly well. The Jabiru feed mainly on very large quantities of fish, molluscs, and amphibians.

The male has a dark eye and the female a yellow eye.

We were blessed so see a family of juvenile Jabiru fly and soar on the thermals with their new found wings while at Cairns wetlands.

The Southern Cassowary (1.5 – 1.8 m) is labelled the world’s most dangerous bird, responsible for death and serious injury of humans. It is a rainforest bird found in northern Queensland and important in maintaining the rainforest ecosystem, though currently listed as  endangered with number dropping due to loss of habitat, illegal hunters, dogs attacks, and road fatalities.  They feed on all forms of native fallen fruit, but will eat small vertebrates, invertebrates, fungi, carrion and plants. This one was more tame and checked out this caravan park daily for food.

Their long razor sharp bladed central toe can rip open a human or animal in seconds when they jump up. The female is taller than the male having a taller head casque (helmet).


Have a wonderful week and stay safe.

Find out more about our Aussie birds and educate your children with my book releases available here at my online store. The most significant gift you could give to encourage a happy and healthy life, by assisting them to make wise life choices.


” I will bless the Lord who guides me;  even at night my heart instructs me.          I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. No wonder my heart is glad, and I rejoice.  My body rests in safety.”                                                                                                – Psalm 16:7-9 (NLT)


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ashley@aussiebirder.com

‘To introduce people to our unique Australian birds,

To learn from them how to live a healthy and happy life.’

NOTE: All photos, videos and music used on this website are photographed, composed, performed  by the site owner and remains his copyrighted property, unless otherwise stated. The use of any material that is not original material of the site owner is duly acknowledged as such. © W. A. Hewson 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021.

15 Comments »

    • Thanks Lee, yes it is wonderful weeing them in their natural habitat, especially the Cassowary, which is now endangered and seldom seen . We have been blessed with several good close up experiences.

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  1. Loved the video of the emu running along with the bus! I remember many years ago, I was on a bus trip out at Broken Hill, and a heap of emus ran ahead of the bus and across the road, it was exciting to see as it was the first time I had seen emus in the wild. Sorry that your holiday was cancelled again, very disappointing for you. I hope the lockdown finally ends for you at the end of the month and you can get away.

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    • Thanks Sue, yes these emus can certainly run fast. We only see them out west but it is a buzz when we do. We are just keeping low at present inside our home as this virus just gets worse. Thankfully we are both fully immunized. It has been good for me to reshape my website and write my 3rd book. Enjoy your week 🙂

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  2. I’m so sorry you had to cancel your holiday again. I hope you’re able to reschedule it and go sooner rather than later.

    The Cassowary is a very interesting and prehistoric dinosaur like bird. It and the crested pigeon are my favorites in this post.

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    • Thanks Deborah, yes it makes you nervous to be close to a Cassowary when you see it in the wild, especially if it has a juvenile with it, as was the case once, which is a very rare delight. You just have to get away from it as carefully as you can without making eye contact. Research has found that the bony casque on its head is a form of temperature moderator with both warming and cooling functions. Yes we love out Cresteds, they are such gentle natured birds. Enjoy your week my friend. 🙂

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  3. All of them are wonderous! That seems to be the thing with Oz. You don’t really need to leave home to be blown away by birds. I still have bird photos from 2019 that I have yet to properly identify. I think one may be a double eyed fig parrot, not very good photos, but you can clearly see the bird, and the other is an emerald dove. Those photos are actually good.

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    • Thanks Cindy, yes we are blessed with a very many beautiful bird species, many of which we are being kept from seeing, due to lock-down. The double-eyed fig parrot is our smallest parrot and many never get to see it down here, you have done well to get a photo Cindy.The Emerald dove is a rainforest dove found down our east coast and also in SE Asia. I also see them on Lord Howe Island when I visit. Thanks for sharing, I hope you get to visit again to see many more of our birds.

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  4. Very much enjoyed seeing your ‘big birds’, Ashley! I think I am most impressed with the Jabiru with it’s stark contrasting and the iridescence in the black with the right lighting (as you caught!). I adore how your Crested Pigeons feel protected by you, that is a sweet experience I am sure you love too. So sorry you had to cancel your holiday again. I fear things are going to change rapidly here in the U.S. by the sounds of the news. So we are talking about once we leave Montana early next week, we might head home and hunker down for whatever. Smoke has engulfed our two next big destinations and it doesn’t seem exciting to experience them that way. We’ve had a marvelous couple months traveling and cannot be happier with our experiences. I have a heart full of blessed memories I’ll not forget (and photos too, just in case!) 😊

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    • Thanks Donna, yes you have both had an amazing time touring with many great memories. Sad you are experiencing the smoke like we did earlier this year and late last year, it has a way of sending the birds packing. Some of ours never returned, or were incinerated. I hope you arrive safely and are able to stay safe homeward. We are restricted even more heavily by the week, and it just gets worse as these selfish rebellious young people keep willfully spreading the virus. Everyone is over it, as we all worked so hard to stem it earlier this year and late last year, and we had our freedom back for a while. Yes, you have the photos to enjoy together, but you were living the dream many of us have been prevented from so far. Enjoy your journey my friend. 🙂

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  5. All these large birds are so interesting, now you can just imagine what dinosaurs were about with their gigantic sizes. Great post, Ashley, thank you. 🙂 I’m sorry about the lockdown. 🙂

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    • Thanks HJ, yes it must have been an amazing place when these giants walk the earth. They are digging up bones in our desert on a farm in SW Queensland from one of the largest dinosaurs yet found here in Aus called the ‘southern titan’ Australotitan cooperensis, a new species, and they are reconstructing it for exhibition.Thanks again for your appreciative comment my friend 🙂

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  6. I’m so glad the beautiful Crested Pidgeon knows where to go! I have to admit, when pidgeons come on my fire escape, Starry and I say, “Get lost!” If not for the window, he’d love to pounce!
    The Brolga reminded me of the Armenian Groong, which is sometimes translated as stork or crane. They nest atop the highest tree, building roof, or tall chimney. They are beloved.
    Emus products are so popular, for aesthedic and medicinal uses. I’m not sure if Australians oppose Emu farming.
    Brother, this is a wonderful lock-down post. May more feathered visitors arrive for us to see!
    P.S. Starry & I might say “get lost” but Bob leaves for work with rice, bread, and seeds!

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    • Thanks Lisa Beth, yes these are our own Aussie pigeons which we love, the introduced feral ones get ousted by our local native Miners, as well as by our neighbors, as they try persistently to nest beneath the solar panels on the roof. The White Stork looks a lovely bird, and appears to be very sacred to the Armenians. Our Brolgas prefer being away from humans on swamps and wetlands and sugar cane fields, especially if recently flooded with rain. We do not see them here where we live as they are usually further north. Years ago they were common all the way down the coast, but people and guns changed that. Thanks again for your encouraging comments dear sister, it is also encouraging that Bob is prepared for birds he might come across, even if they are feral, as all living things are made ny our same amazing Creator Father. Your book purchase is on its way to you, and the last report was that it had been signed off at out airport awaiting a flight to the US. Enjoy your week and may you be blessed with some special bird moment gifts from our Lord. I hope Starry also enjoyed my post, though these birds may have seemed rather threatening to him. 🙂

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