A bird by any other name

Keith Ireland snapped this Atherton Scrub Wren while on a driving holiday in North Queensland.

All birds have a family name but to be able to differentiate between members, they have an individual name as well.

Many of these names are related to colour. Sometimes a size name like ‘Great’ or ‘Little’ separates the different family members. In Today’s column, we will be covering some birds that have the names of places, towns, or even countries.

Some years ago when we were on a driving holiday round North Queensland, we had stopped for a break one morning. Fortunately I had kept my camera beside me, which I normally do in case a new subject comes within range.

The little bird in the illustration did just that. It was foraging through nearby trees. I had no idea what bird it was, but as I hadn’t seen one before, I was pleased to get the photos. It turned out to be an Atherton Scrub Wren, so named because it is only found in that part of the country.

Australia has a pigeon that illustrates the name of where it can be found, the Torres Strait Pigeon. This bird spends part of the year in New Guinea. It then flies across the Strait to the islands off the Queensland coast and the Northern Territory.

One of our Parrots lives solely in South Australia and is known as the Adelaide Rosella. It is also called the Crimson Rosella which is different to the one found along the Eastern Coastline.

Birds from overseas or resembling some from there, may have a country as the first part of its name. One of these is the Japanese Snipe and another, the Eurasian Coot.

Because it spends part of its time in Australia and part in New Zealand, our Gannet has as its full name, the Australasian Gannet.