Superb Fairy-Wrens are lovely little birds, only about 13 cm in size. Common in southeast Australia, they are much-loved welcome companions in gardens and well-vegetated city parks, their downward cascading song distinctive and pleasant. Males have an iridescent bright blue head and upper back, which catches the light and flashes. Females are plainer and browner but still very attractive. Fairy-wrens of different species can be seen in various parts of the Australian continent.
Even smaller than Fairy-Wrens, Striated Pardalotes are also favourites of mine, partly because of their name, pretty grand for such a tiny bird! Only about 9.5 - 10 cm, Striated Pardalotes are the most widespread of the four pardalote species found in Australia. The birds above were nesting in a tree cavity but they are also known to nest in holes in banks. These birds forage for insects and other tiny creatures in the tree bark, leaves and flowers. The song is clear, sharp and musical, often repeated at length.
The aptly-named Blue-faced Honeyeater is a large (25 - 31 cm) honeyeater with a golden-olive back, unique bare bright blue face and white underparts. Far from being rare, these birds are abundant in the north and east where they are locally nomadic, feeding on nectar, fruits and insects. Noisy and gregarious, they fly with an undulating flight.
Here's another colourful beauty. Crimson Rosellas are bright splashes of colour in the foliage. They are a common sight in the southeast in eucalypts, coastal forests, inland river belt trees and farmland gardens. They are large birds at 32 - 37 cm, but in spite of this and their bright colour can be missed when they are silent.
And another apt name! The Rainbow Lorikeet is a surprisingly common bird in the north and east of Australia. Large flocks gather to feed on nectar, fruit, blossoms, seeds, berries or orchard fruits. In flight they give frequent rasping high-pitched screeches as they dash past at high speed. When feeding they chatter softly. They are vibrantly coloured and spectacular to watch, yet like many other highly-coloured Australian birds they can 'disappear' into dense foliage much more easily than you would think possible!
And another Rainbow species! Rainbow Bee-eaters are gloriously coloured and aptly named birds, widespread across Australia wherever there is open airspace in which they can hunt bees, dragonflies and other flying insect prey. Surprisingly they nest underground in burrows in soft loamy soils, which are strong enough to support the chamber and access tunnel. The two pictures on the left show a parent bird entering and leaving the nest after feeding its young. You can see the deep orange wing colour. When a Rainbow Bee-eater is pursuing its prey, these orange wings flash brilliantly again the blue sky. If the bird is going to eat the prey itself, it will often return to a favourite perch and beat the unfortunate captive against the wood. The photo below shows such a moment.