Birds are spectacularly diverse and found in almost every shape and size from tiny honeyeaters to imposing eagles standing at almost 1 metre tall. They occur in just about every colour and are loved for their songs and vocalisations. Some can even mimic human speech.
All birds lay eggs to incubate their young, and all have feathers - a trait no other animals can claim. Birds also have wings, evolutionary adaptations of ancient forelimbs. Most use their wings for flight, but some like emus and penguins, are grounded.
Most birds are insectivores (they eat insects), although some, like owls and eagles, are carnivores (meat-eaters). Others are herbivores (plant-eaters) or fruit-eaters. As they do not have teeth, birds cannot chew food. Instead they have a gizzard, a special grinding organ in their stomach that crushes their food.
Birds have adapted to almost all environments in Victoria and occupy the air, oceans, rivers, seashores, forests and deserts. Victoria is home to over 450 different species of birds, including parrots, birds of prey, waders, waterfowl and songbirds.
Did you know?
- Little Penguins do their flying underwater and can swim up to 50km a day and dive to depths of up to 30m. That’s not bad for a small bird!
- Wedge-Tailed Eagles can soar at heights of over 2,000m and have a wing span of about 2.5m.
- Emus can run at speeds of almost 50 kph and have specially adapted feet to move across a range of terrain.
- Brolgas “dance” to court and bond with their partner.
- Owls have eyes that are so big there's no room in the skull for muscles to move them. They make up for this by having a head that can turn 180 degrees. They can move their head in almost any direction without moving their body.
- Bird bones are hollow and thin walled to make them lighter and enable them to fly. Birds also breathe using a unique one-way respiratory system. This system is much more efficient than our lungs.
- The Peregrine Falcon has been clocked at almost 200 kph when diving at prey.
Download the following fact sheets for interesting facts and information on some of Victoria's bird species:
[PDF File - 241.3 KB]
Brolga (accessible version)
[MS Word Document - 247.0 KB]
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
[PDF File - 408.6 KB]
Sulphur Crested Cockatoo (accessible version)
[MS Word Document - 533.5 KB]
[PDF File - 279.5 KB]
Emu (accessible version)
[MS Word Document - 331.0 KB]
[PDF File - 298.3 KB]
Galah (accessible version)
[MS Word Document - 637.5 KB]
Document(s) on this page are presented in PDF format. If you do not have the Adobe Reader, you can download a copy free from the Adobe web site