Cuckoo

Ten species of parasitic cuckoos breed in Australia, ‘conning’ about a hundred kinds of smaller birds into raising their young. The mother will lay her egg (which will often be similar in shape, size and colour to the ‘host’s’), throwing out one to replace it. After hatching, the young will …

Curlew

The sound of a curlew crying at night has many meanings according to Aboriginal lore.  Xavier Herbert writes in “Poor Man My Country” that curlew calls the spirits of souls wanting to be born. In the northern areas of Queensland, it is the sound of the dead returning to the …

Dingo

There has been much controversy over the Dingo, it’s origins as well as its behaviour as a carnivorous animal (towards humans), and thus it’s ‘acceptability’ on the loose in modern society. It is believed the Dingo was originally brought here as a domestic animal from Indonesia. For this reason, some …

Dolphin

There are records of Aboriginal and dolphin interaction from the early days of settlement to as recently as fifty years ago; I heard a first hand account from the late Ted Gubboo Thomas years ago. The dolphins would be called from the beach, (either by whistling and calling, or hitting …

Dugong

The dugong is a popular traditional food source for the people of Northern Australia, although they are no longer hunted as often due to the fact they are a threatened species. As well, the use of nets in certain areas by general fishermen is banned, and shark nets have been …

Echidna

The echidna and platypus are both from the same family, although they are very different in appearance. Both with characteristics the same as reptiles, they are anatomically very primitive.  The platypus and echidna are the only mammals that lay eggs.  The female echidna lays one egg which is carried in …

Emu

Emu has a very big place in the Dreaming and the energies of this land. Originally found everywhere, the settlements of white man have pushed Emu farther out, away from ‘civilisation.’ And the only way you can truly see Emu in the sky is if you too are away from …

Fairy Penguin

All penguins in Australia are only found on the southern shores where temperatures are cooler, and predominantly off the coast of Tasmania. The Little Penguin, otherwise known as a Fairy Penguin, is smaller than the usual penguin being only about thirty-three centimetres long.  They are the only type of penguin …

Finch

There is something very cheerful and exciting about a flock of finches flying across the skies, moving from tree to tree, or foraging in long grass; chattering and making such an abundantly happy sound! These birds are predominant in the northern parts of Australia. The journeys of the Finch brothers …

Firefly

In the corner of your eye you might see a falling star, but, before you can make your wish, the light re-appears.  Zipping across the night sky, their lights turning on and off, the firefly is a fascinating insect, and one not every Australian has had the pleasure of witnessing. …