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Australasian Gannets are one reason to get out bird-watching this weekend. Martin Sharman/Flickr

Six extraordinary Australian birds you need to see

Here’s an activity for you this weekend: either staying at home or heading bush, count the number and type of birds you see. It’s all part of BirdLife Australia’s Challenge Count, an annual event that’s…
Budgies in flight – how come they don’t crash into each other? Flickr/Jim Bendon

Bird brains may help drones fly and avoid crashing

Imagine a sky full of autonomous flying machines delivering anything from fast-food to important documents, medical supplies or just a surprise gift for someone special. How do you stop them all colliding…
A Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans) in the wild near Melbourne. Raoul Ribot

Colour variability in Crimson Rosellas is linked to a virus

Despite its name, the Crimson Rosella is perhaps Australia’s most colour-variable bird and a cause of this striking and beautiful diversity seems to be a disease that’s potentially deadly to many other…
A 9-metre-long early relative of T rex that stalked the Early Cretaceous of northern China was the first truly terrifying feathered dinosaur discovered. Brian Choo

Book review: Flying Dinosaurs – How fearsome reptiles became birds

While a week can be a long time in politics, palaeontology typically moves more sedately, in keeping with its subject matter (the slow progression of the aeons). But one area of fossil research is seeing…
Some of the bird world’s mimicry superstars. Clockwise from top left: superb lyrebird; silvereye; satin bowerbird; Australian magpie; mistletoebird; brown thornbill. Alex Maisey; Justin Welbergen; Johan Larson; Leo/Flickr; David Cook/Filckr; Patrick/Flickr

The mimics among us — birds pirate songs for personal profit

From Roman classics to British tabloids, humans have long celebrated the curious and remarkable ability of birds to imitate the sounds of humans and other animals. A recent surge of research is revealing…
The Rufous Scrub-bird: will it have to move to Tasmania to survive? Allan Richardson

Finding new nests for birds threatened by climate change

Rufous Scrub-birds have been calling loudly from the mountains of eastern Australia ever since Australia parted from Gondwana 65 million years ago. They are still there today – as noisy as ever, though…
Tinamous are the closest living relatives of the flightless ratites. Brian Gratwicke/Flickr

Study explores evolution of flightless birds

Ratites – a group of flightless birds including the emu, ostrich and extinct moa – were long believed to have evolved from…
Caught: a female swift parrot emerging from her tree-hollow nest. Dejan Stojanovic

Sugar gliders are eating swift parrots – but what’s to blame?

Swift parrots are one of Australia’s most endangered birds, but until very recently we didn’t know why. New research shows that they’re being eaten by sugar gliders at their breeding grounds in Tasmania…
Don’t even go there, girlfriend! KOO/Shutterstock

Ravens have social abilities previously only seen in humans

Humans and their primate cousins are well known for their intelligence and social abilities. You hear them called bird-brained, but birds have demonstrated a great deal of intelligence in many tasks. However…

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