The Black Necked Stork

The Black-necked stork aka Jabiru (Ephippiorhyncus australis) is a BIG bird of the wetland, standing 1.4m tall and with a wingspan to two metres. In languages of western Arnhem Land it is known also by two names — Kandji and Djanarra. The standing bird above is a male, distinguished by a dark eye while the bird flying above the burned acacia scrub is a female with a distinctive yellow eye. The two lower shots were taken from a helicopter on the way back to camp after surveying for rock art on Gumarrirnbang Creek and the standing bird was photographed at Yellow Waters in Kakadu. The bird in silhouette was enjoying time in Darwin, photographed against late afternoon sun at Rapid Creek. Kandji is found in singles, pairs and families in coastal and sub-coastal north Australia and also in Papua New Guinea.

The Comb-crested Jacana

The Comb-crested Jacana, aka Lotus Bird (Irediparra gallinacea) walks with ease on single floating lily pads thanks to a delicate build and the longest toes on the wetland billabongs. The bird in the top photo is a mature adult with a striking-red comb while below is a younger bird, out of its immature plumage, but still a young adult, with a smaller, paler comb. The bird below is in an artificial lake in the mining town of Jabiru. The lake has been infiltrated by a smallish (1.2m) saltwater crocodile from the neighbouring Kakadu National Park. I watched the Jacana moving bravely (or foolishly) around near the crocodile for quite a while but it seems the crocodile had drawn the conclusion that the bird was keeping one eye open for it and was ready to fly swiftly away from danger. The Jacana usually lays 4 eggs and incubates these in a nest of floating vegetation.

The Plumed Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna eytoni) and the Wandering Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna arcuata) are waterbirds commonly seen in Kakadu National Park, in mixed flocks of dozens to thousands. The Plumed Whistling-duck is seasonally migratory and favours the Deep North in the wet season and south eastern locations in the winter and spring seasons. The Wandering Whistling-duck is also found in the Philippines, PNG, Indonesia and Pacific Islands. A more erect posture, pink spotted bill and the distinctive yellow plumes on the PWD distinguish it easily. These birds were photographed in the artificial lake in Jabiru, Kakadu National Park.In Kundedjnyenghmi language the PWD is known as Mabarladjidji and the WWD as Djilikuybirr.