Lesson 4
Content Review Test



Classes of Uncommon birds of Northern Victoria

I. Relatively common elsewhere in Victoria or Australia , but rare in North Victoria.
II Uncommon in Victoria and Australia generally, but present in North Victoria.

Government Legislation regarding bird protection.

1. The Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act)
2. The Advisory List Of Threatened Fauna In Victoria - 2003
3. Scientific Concern
4. Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

Listing of Uncommon birds of Northern Victoria.

Some Uncommon Birds Unique to the Mallee

Uncommon Birds Of Northern Victoria

There are two classes or types of uncommon birds in Northern Victoria:

I. Relatively common elsewhere in Victoria/Australia , but rare in North Victoria.

Within approximately 50 km of Cohuna there are a variety of birds that are relatively common elsewhere in the state of Victoria or in other parts of Australia . They are rare in Northern Victoria simply because this area is not really within their normal habitat or the historical range of the birds has shrunk so only a remnant population remains in the district. They are however still to be found in such numbers elsewhere that they are not considered threatened or rare in the overall scheme of things. An example is the southern form of the beautiful Eastern Yellow Robin which can be seen in the wetter areas in the eastern areas of Victoria and southern New South Wales and into South Australia, but are only present in such small numbers in this area that they are unusual for the area, and not often seen or widely distributed. There are a small number of Eastern Yellow Robins in the woodland section of the Terrick Terrick National Park (Terricks) and also in parts of the forests bordering the Loddon River etc. Another bird in this category are Chestnut-crowned Babblers. These shyest of the Babblers were found in this area in reasonable numbers in earlier days, but are now almost extinct here. A small population also continues to hold on in the pine and box tree section of the Terricks but is still in reasonable numbers in the Mallee areas in the north and west of Victoria . There are birds that occasionally come into Northern Victoria during migration that are not considered threatened or uncommon in other areas of the State or other States of Australia where they occur. A couple of examples are Pink Robins and Bassian Thrush that occur in secure numbers in the wetter highlands to the east of Cohuna but who sometimes follow the Murray River and come west to this area some winters where it is relatively warmer and dryer than in the highlands. Other birds such as the striking Dollar Bird found around the creeks and rivers of this area, as well as Budgerigars, Cockatiels, White-browed, Masked & Black-faced Woodswallows, Crimson & Orange Chats etc. These could all be said to be in this category.


II.  Uncommon in Victoria and Australia generally but present in North Victoria.

The second category of uncommon birds in Northern Victoria are those that are uncommon and threatened in Victoria or Australia generally. They may or may not be uncommon here. Such birds are usually protected by special legislation. Northern Victoria is especially privileged to host an amazing number of such birds. Some occur here (at least at present) in numbers rarely found elsewhere in Australia . A good example of this is the threatened and beautiful Painted Snipe – one of the rarest water birds not only in Australia , but the world! It haunts the lignum and grasses around the edges of swamps and wetlands in the area, and has been especially found at Hird Swamp . Another bird in this category, but in a completely different habitat, found out on the more bare grassland plains of the area is the Plains-wanderer. Apart from these however, there are a range of birds that come into or are found in the area that are recognized by governmental or scientific organizations as uncommon and said to be threatened. Some examples are Blue-billed & Freckled Ducks, Intermediate Egret, Little & Australasian Bittern, Glossy Ibis, White-bellied Sea-Eagle, Lewin’s Rail, Baillon’s Crake, Little Button-quail, Bush-stone Curlew, Grey-crowned Babbler, Barking Owl, Red-backed Kingfisher etc. There is quite a number of them, as can be seen from the list below. Some are even quite common in this area, but are rare in many other places, such as the Gilbert’s Whistler & Diamond Firetail Finch. In such areas as Hird Swamp and the Terricks we have an amazing concentration of threatened birds in our area making it a very special area bird wise in Australia .

There are some rare birds too that only occasionally come into Northern Victoria . These are generally species of birds that are known to move great distances depending on the seasons. Some only occur very infrequently, such as Black-breasted Buzzard, Letter-winged Kite, Grey Falcon, Bustard & Magpie Goose. Others of this type are found more frequently in the area, for example, Black, Pied & Painted Honeyeaters.


Uncommon Birds Protected By Government Legislation.

These uncommon and more rare types of birds (point 2 above), are said to be ‘threatened’ and therefore venerable to extinction. The State of Victoria has listed them under statue law. The other states have acted in a similar way for birds in their states. The Commonwealth Government also lists some birds as threatened throughout the country generally. Each has particular legislation in place to try to help protect and care for these special birds. There are also organizations such as Birds Australia, which have professional ornithologists on staff or contracted to such scientists which from their research conclude certain birds are endangered or ‘threatened’. This latter class goes through a vetting process of scientific study and methodology and if found to indeed be ‘threatened’ are placed on the States or Commonwealth Lists of especially protected birds.

1. The Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act)

This Act is the key piece of Victorian legislation for the conservation of threatened species and communities and for the management of potentially threatening processes. It provides for the listing of taxa (genera, species, subspecies, varieties) and communities of flora and fauna, which are threatened, and potentially threatening processes.

This act lists the statutory threatened taxa under Victorian law . For simplicity’s sake, the term ‘threatened’ is also used by the Victorian Department of Sustainability & Environment to describe all species listed as either extinct in the wild, critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable. (The Commonwealth’s EPBC’s Act , referred to below, also uses the same classifications).

The list for birds that are relevant for Northern Victoria that are listed by the FFG Act (and so receiving statutory protection), is as follows: (NOTE: The Advisory List Of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna In Victoria – 2003 [See below] maintained by the DSE uses the following further classification of ‘threatened’ birds.)

Australasian Bittern
Australian Bustard
Baillon’s Crake
Barking Owl
Blue-billed Duck
Bush-stone Curlew
Caspian Tern
Diamond Dove
Diamond Firetail
Freckled Duck
Great Egret
Grey Goshawk
Grey-crowned Babbler
Ground Cuckoo-shrike
Gull-billed Tern
Intermediate Egret
Lewin’s Rail
Little Bittern
Little Egret
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo
Painted Honeyeater
Painted Snipe
Red-chested Button-quail
Swift Parrot
* Critical
# Endangered
+ Vulnerable
^ Near Threatened


2. The Advisory List Of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna In Victoria – 2003

This advisory list is not the same as the statutory list of threatened taxa established under the Victorian FFG Act discussed above. There are no legal requirements or consequences that flow from inclusion of a species in this advisory list apart from those applying to all native fauna. However, some of the species in this advisory list are also listed as threatened under the FFG Act. They are under scientific consideration as to their being placed for protection under the FFG Act. While these species have no special legislative protection apart from that afforded to all fauna and flora in Victoria , the very fact that they are on an advisory list for consideration as needing extra legislative protection and care shows that such species deserve special consideration by all authorities and those responsible for decisions affecting their habitat and welfare.

In addition to the list above of bird species, the DSE’s Advisory List includes the following species of birds relevant to North Victoria as Vulnerable:

Australasian Shoveler
Black Falcon
Inland Dotterel
Magpie Goose
Musk Duck
Royal Spoonbill
White-bellied Sea-Eagle
Wood Sandpiper

The following are on the DSE’s Advisory List as Near Threatened :

Australian Pratincole
Azure Kingfisher
Black-chinned Honeyeater
Black-eared Cuckoo
Brown Quail
Brown Treecreeper (South-Eastern Subspecies: victoriae )
Glossy Ibis
Hooded Robin
Latham’s Snipe
Little Button-quail
Nankeen Night Heron
Pied Cormorant
Red-backed Kingfisher
Spotted Harrier
Whiskered Tern
White-winged Black Tern


3. Scientific Concern

Other birds for which scientific concern is expressed, and are either in the process of being placed under special statuary protection or are being monitored for that possibility found in Northern Victoria are:

Black-chinned Honeyeater
Brown-headed Honeyeater
Diamond Firetail
Jacky Winter
Painted Button-quail
Flame Robin
Scarlet Robin
Red-capped Robin
Western Gerygone
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill
Dusky Robin
Eastern Yellow Robin
Gilbert’s Whistler
Restless Flycatcher
Rufous Whistler
Southern Whiteface
Varied Sittella
White-browed Babbler
White-browed Woodswallow

4. Commonwealth Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999

There are also threatened species listed under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 that are found in this region. Those relevant for Northern Victoria are:

Swift Parrot
Superb Parrot
Australian Painted Snipe


A List Of Uncommon/Rarely Seen Birds Of Northern Victoria (1985-2004)

Below is a listing (read from left to right) of the uncommon (or rarely seen) birds of Northern Victoria.

Magpie Goose Plumed Whistling Duck Blue-billed Duck Musk Duck

Freckled Duck

Australasian Shoveler Chestnut Teal Great Crested Grebe
Little Egret Intermediate Egret Little Bittern Australasian Bittern
Glossy Ibis Magpie Goose Letter-winged Kite Black-breasted Buzzard
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Spotted Harrier Brown Goshawk Grey Goshawk
Collared Sparrowhawk Grey Falcon Black Falcon Brolga
Lewin’s Rail Baillon’s Crake Australian Spotted Crake Spotless Crake
Australian Bustard Little Button-quail Red-chested Button-quail Painted Button Quail
Plains-wanderer Latham’s Snipe Black-tailed Godwit Wood Sandpiper
Ruddy Turnstone Red-necked Phalarope Painted Snipe Bush Stone-curlew
Banded Stilt Pacific Golden Plover Double-banded Plover Oriental Plover
Banded Lapwing Australian Pratincole Gull-billed Tern Caspian Tern
Spotted Turtle Dove Diamond Dove Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo Little Corella
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo Cockatiel Musk Lorikeet Little Lorikeet
Purple-crowned Lorikeet Superb Parrot Australian Ringneck Blue Bonnet
Swift Parrot Budgerigar Blue-winged Parrot Turquoise Parrot
Pallid Cuckoo Brush Cuckoo Fan-tailed Cuckoo Black-eared Cuckoo
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Barking Owl Grass owl Spotted Nightjar
Australian Owlet-nightjar White-throated Needletail Fork-tailed Swift Red-backed Kingfisher
Dollarbird Variegated Fairy-wren Chestnut-rumped Thornbill Striated Thornbill
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater Yellow-faced Honeyeater Singing Honeyeater Fuscous Honeyeater
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater Black-chinned Honeyeater Brown-headed Honeyeater White-naped Honeyeater
Painted Honeyeater White-fronted Honeyeater Eastern Spinebill Black Honeyeater
Pied Honeyeater Crimson Chat Orange Chat Scarlet Robin
Flame Robin Pink Robin Eastern Yellow Robin Grey-crowned Babbler
Chestnut-crowned Babbler Crested Shrike-tit Gilbert’s Whistler Golden Whistler
Leaden Flycatcher White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Ground Cuckoo-shrike Olive-backed Oriole
Masked Woodswallow White-browed Woodswallow Black-faced Woodswallow Grey Butcherbird
Apostlebird Skylark Eurasian Tree Sparrow Red-browed Finch
White-backed Swallow Golden-headed Cisticola    


Some Uncommon Birds Unique To The Mallee

In the North and West of Victoria, but not within the 50 km radius of Cohuna, are some other uncommon birds that are unique to the Mallee woodlands. The Mallee, which is well represented in this area of Victoria , has unique species of fauna and flora.

Being so close to where we live in Northern Victoria , we ought to appreciate these plants and animals, and use our privilege by getting to see and know them. There is of course the Malleefowl that especially striking bird, the size of a small turkey, which builds a mound for its nest of sand and vegetation and incubates its eggs by using the heat produced by the decaying vegetation.

But there are also other special birds of the Mallee and its associated Triodia , Spinifex, or Porcupine Grass, and the Callitris and Casuarina woodlands. Among them are such quintessential Australian birds as the incredible dainty little Mallee Emu-wren , now seemingly found only in the Mallee of Victoria. There is the secretive little Striated Grasswren dashing like a little marsupial mouse between clumps of Porcupine Grass and the Southern Scrub-robin with seemingly tears weeping from their eyes and their sad calls. There is the Shy Heathwren and its melodious song. Don’t forget the Chestnut Quail-thrush , the Crested Bellbird and the Mallee (form of the Grey) Currawong, which is in fact black! Then there is the Yellow-rumped Pardalote, the wonderful but shy and rare Red-lored Whistler with its haunting songs and the very difficult to find Mallee Whipbird . You may even get to see one of the most rare and beautiful parrots of the world, the Red-chested Parrot in these and other areas of Mallee . In the associated woodlands you can find such special birds as White-browed Treecreepers, Splendid Fairy-wrens, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo and many others that are found in the drier inland of our wonderful country such as Woodswallows, Chats etc.


When we talk of Uncommon birds there are two categories: Those relatively common elsewhere in Victoria or Australia , but rare in North Victoria and secondly those uncommon in Victoria and Australia generally, but present in North Victoria.

Uncommon birds are protected by Government legislation. There is The Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act); The Advisory List Of Threatened Fauna In Victoria - 2003; those of Scientific Concern
and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

The Mallee, a nearby region, has some interesting birds too.

Review the listing of Uncommon birds for Northern Victoria and view the slides to enrich your knowledge of these special creatures.


The test is comprised of three parts:

  1. A colour - in sheet of bird outlines. Download sheet [hint]
  2. Make a sightings list of at least 20 birds that you have seen and identified. (Do this between lessons) [hint]
  3. The online test Test for Lesson 4
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