Frequently Asked Questions: Bird Identification

What if I can’t identify some of the birds? 

There is a Field Guide/Bird Finder built into the app and on the website to help you identify birds. When looking at the bird try to note its size, shape and colour. This will allow the app to give you the most accurate choices. 
We don’t have every single bird in Australia in there, but there are 400 available – and these are the more common ones, so your bird should be in there. 
There are many wonderful field guides available as books or apps – try your local bookstore or even library to get a hold of one. 
If you are still unsure after referring to a field guide, please leave the bird out. 

What if I don’t see many/any birds? 

Don’t worry, we still want to hear from you. We want all counts submitted, even if you didn’t see many birds. This will be the best way for us to get a true representation of the birds around Australia. 

What if I hear a bird but don’t see it? 

If you can accurately ID the bird/s calling, you can include it in your count, even if you don’t see it. If you are unsure, leave it out. 

Can I count birds that fly overhead? 

Yes, but you don’t have to. If you can accurately identify the bird/s that is flying overhead, you can include it in your count. A single bird may be easy to identify, but a flock may have mixed species in it, so be sure that you are able to make a correct ID. Again, if you are unsure leave it out. 

What if I know the name of the bird and I can’t find it in the field guide? 

When selecting the colours of the bird you’ve seen in the field guide, please keep in mind that males, females and juveniles can look very different within a single bird species and are not necessarily represented by the images. Sometimes the colour you have selected is in the text rather than the image of the bird. 
The app Field Guide features just under 400 species even though there are around 800 species of birds in Australia. Be as general as possible when searching. There are some birds that are known colloquially by a different name that may not be their common name. 

  • There is a bird called a Topknot Pigeon – it is white and lives up in the tree-tops. However, a much more common backyard visitor is also called a ‘Topknot but its actual name is the Crested Pigeon 
  • Blue Wren and Jenny Wren= Superb Fairy-wren (east coast) or a Splendid Fairy-wren (WA) 
  • Soldier Birds = Noisy Miners 
  • Ravens are often mistaken for crows and vice versa; be sure to check the field guide to get your ID correct 
  • Fairy Penguin = Little Penguin 
  • Shag = Cormorant (various species) 
  • Fork-tailed Kite = Black Kite 
  • Topknot Pigeon = Crested Pigeon 
  • Cocky = Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 
  • Mopoke or Boobook Owl = Southern Boobook 
  • Mopoke = Tawny Frogmouth 
  • Greeny = White-plumed Honeyeater 
  • Robin Redbreast = Flame Robin, Scarlet Robin 
  • Cranky Fan = Grey Fantail 

I can’t find the answer to my question

If still have a question that hasn’t been answered on this page, please contact us.

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