Last updated January 11, 2018 at 10:46 am
Another debate is sweeping our nation – what is Australia’s favourite bird?
The poll, kickstarted by The Guardian and BirdLife Australia, invites people to vote for the 2017 Australian Bird of the Year, out of 51 candidates.
There are so many worthy candidates. The current favourite in the lead is the bin chicken aka the white ibis. And there’s a sly underground movement for the hideous bush turkey.
Vote for the tawny frogmouth
Personally, my favourite is the tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides). This native bird is found all around Australia and is one of the best birds we have for pest control. It’s wide gaping, frog-like mouth ensures it’s able to eat many delicious insects and bugs (and occasionally frogs and small rodents).
This short, stocky, nocturnal bird reminds me of myself. It’s ability to camouflage into its environment and resemble dead wood is truly all of us at some point or another.
The tawny frogmouth mates for life and their relationships are more progressive. When it comes to looking after the egg, it’s the male that sits on it during the day, with shared responsibilities at night.
During winter, it spends its time in bursts of torpor for a few hours. Different from hibernation, torpor is energy conservation via a slower heart rate and metabolism.
Plus, their brow game is on point. What’s not to love?
The other bird candidates
All’s fair in love and war. We’re fans of all birds. Some of the candidates are truly spectacular from the brilliant-coloured rainbow lorikeet to the mighty powerful owl to the laughing kookaburra. There’s plenty of other worthy shout outs.
The beady-eyed magpie is a source of terror for many Australians cycling past trees and bushland in spring, renowned and feared for their swooping abilities. Although, don’t take it personally, they’re just protecting their young.
The Little Penguin are the smallest species of penguins. Recently some research highlighted that their unique calls reflect the type of habitat they live in, and it could be the key for their conservation.
Crested pigeons are another one on the list. Some would say that pigeons are flying rats but they deserve more credit. Researchers recently found out they make their unique sound with their feathers, not their vocal chords, as a warning signal to other pigeons.
There are many other birds which did not make the list such as the critically endangered swift parrot. You can choose to add your own bird to the poll but you’ve been warned – Birdy McBirdface will not be considered. Extinct birds are also excluded but if they weren’t I’d be voting for the giant kangaroo-sized flying turkey, Progura gallinacea, aka the Australian Big Bird.
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