Black-tailed Native-hen

This has been a day of discovery. We went to St. Kilda Beach north of Adelaide, looking for different birds to photograph, to celebrate Paladian's 365th blip birthday today. (See her new bird for Blipbigyear. A grey fantail "Rhipidura albiscapa").

It was very quiet and rather frustrating day with not much happening. Apart from seeing a fantail, a willy wagtail, singing honeyeaters and a blue wren, there was nothing else of note.

As we were about to leave we took a detour down to the boat ramp and there we discovered a huge flock of a fast running water birds called the Black-tailed Native-hen (Tribonyx ventralis). On checking, I was pleased to find that they are also a new addition to the birds of Blipbigyear.

The Black-tailed Native-hen is a large, solid, dark, fleet-footed rail with an erect narrow black tail which is held folded. Reminded me of a small chicken. The bird is mainly brownish-grey, with white spots on the flanks.

The bill and frontal area is green, with an orange-red lower jaw. Legs and feet are bright pink. The eyes are bright yellow.

This bird is similar in size and shape to the Dusky Moorhen, but has a more upright stance. The Black-tailed Native-hen eats seeds, plant material and insects. It feeds on open ground near wetlands or at the edge of water and often feeds by running, then stopping, to stir up insects.

Bigger hen.

This is an extremely shy bird, impossible to get up close, especially when only using a 200mm lens! The cranes in the distant background are at Adelaide's Outer Harbour.

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