Do you know an owl from an albatross? Test your bird knowledge in this quiz

The Guardian

The Guardian

Author 2019-10-29 19:30:30


Which of the following is not a real Australian bird?

Howard’s duck Latham's snipe, Bourke's parrot and, yes, even Abbott’s booby are actually all real Australian birds. The Abbott's booby is an endangered seabird that only nests on Christmas Island.

Latham’s snipe

Bourke’s parrot

Abbott’s booby Abbott’s Booby is actually a real bird — an endangered seabird that only nests on Christmas Island.

What Australian bird has a sharp, five-inch toe that is capable of disembowelling you?



Cassowary Earlier this year, a Florida man was kicked to death by the southern cassowary he kept in captivity.


What has been the most commonly seen bird every year of BirdLife Australia’s Aussie Backyard Bird Count since 2014?

Australian Magpie

Rainbow Lorikeet In 2018, twice as many Rainbow Lorikeets were recorded as the next most common bird, the Noisy Miner.

Noisy Miner

Common Myna

In what country does Australia’s Welcome Swallow spend the winter?

Papua New Guinea



Australia Contrary to popular belief, the Welcome Swallow does not migrate. There is some movement north in winter but that is wholly within Australia.

Which ‘Australian’ bird is not endemic to Australia?

Australian Brush-turkey

Australian Raven

Australian Bustard The Australian Bustard also occurs in the Trans-Fly area of New Guinea.

Australian Logrunner

Which migratory Australian seabird washed up in their thousands on the Alaskan coast earlier this year?

Short-tailed Shearwater Scientists suspect that the deaths of tens of thousands of seabirds in the Bering Sea are due to warming waters linked to climate change that make their prey harder to find.

Little Penguin

Providence Petrel

White-faced Storm-Petrel

What is the smallest Australian bird?


Weebill The Weebill is no longer than 9 cm.

White-winged Fairy-wren

Zebra Finch

What species was “Karak”, the mascot of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games?

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo


Gang-gang Cockatoo

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo There are only around 1500 Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos left in south-western Victoria and South East South Australia.

What bird has been observed starting fires in order to flush out its prey?

Black Kite Long known to Indigenous observers, the Black Kite picks up burning sticks from bushfires and carries them to a new site where it drops them to start a new fire.

Straw-necked Ibis

Black-breasted Buzzard


“Custard Head” is the unfortunate colonial name for which species?

Australian White Ibis

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Brown-headed Honeyeater

Pale-headed Rosella The Pale-headed Rosella has a yellowish head with a white cheek, as much vanilla slice as custard tart.

As of 2019, what is the only species of bird to known to have gone extinct on the Australian mainland?

Night Parrot

Paradise Parrot Last verified sighting of the Paradise Parrot was in 1927 inland from Bundaberg.

Orange-bellied Parrot

Golden-shouldered Parrot

Which Australian bird is known to ‘kidnap’ the young of other members of its species?

White-winged Chough White-winged Choughs have been observed stealing the offspring from other chough families to bolster the strength of their family groups. The new recruits are thought to be brought in to help raise the new generation of chough chicks.

Bell Miner

Wedge-tailed Eagle

Great Bowerbird

After the supply ship Sirius was wrecked off Norfolk Island in 1790, Australia’s second British settlement would have starved to death if it wasn’t for which hapless species of breeding seabird?

Masked Booby

Sooty Tern

Australian Pelican

Providence Petrel An estimated one million birds were slaughtered to feed the Norfolk Island population, leading to the bird’s extinction on the island. Luckily another population survived on Lord Howe Island and now a few pairs of Providence Petrels have returned to a small island off Norfolk.

What percentage of magpies swoop?

10% Most studies show that it is only 10 per cent of male magpies (and it is almost always the males) that swoop, and generally only when they have chicks in the nest.




Which of these birds does not build a mound to incubate its eggs?


Brolga The other three belong to the megapode family which use their large feet to scrape a mound of vegetation that provides heat as it decomposes to keep the eggs warm.


Orange-footed Scrubfowl

Which of the following is not a native Australian bird?

Eurasian Coot The Eurasian Coot is a waterbird found across Africa, Eurasia and Australia. The other three are introduced or have hitched a ride on ships.

Eurasian Magpie

European Goldfinch

European Greenfinch

Riflebirds are part of which more famous bird family?

Birds-of-paradise The Magnificent, Victoria’s and Paradise Riflebirds occur in the rainforests along the east coast and like their better-known relatives, they have elaborate courtship displays.




The Glossy Black-Cockatoo exclusively eats the seeds of which type of tree?



She-oaks Glossy-blacks have one of the most limited diets of any bird.


The booming call of which bird is thought to have inspired the bunyip myth?


Australasian Bittern Hidden away in dense reedbeds, male bitterns emit a far-carrying lowing across the wetlands.

Australian Bustard


The word ‘cockatoo’ is thought to have originated from which language?



Malay The English word cockatoo comes originally from the Malay word, via Dutch. Several species of cockatoo are found on islands north of Australia with the Yellow-crested Cockatoo reaching Lombok and Sulawesi.


You got…

Hmm, looks like you don't know your owls from your albatross.

Not too bad. Keep looking up!

Impressive. On the verge of being a true bird-nerd.

Uber twitcher. Be prepared for people to avoid you at parties.

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