Nocturnal birds

Rustles and strange cries from the darkening bush… a sudden silent dark swoop and things that go hoot in the night… nothing to fear here, it’s only the birds.


Stealing curlews

Bush stone curlew/bush thick knee

Curlews cry in the bush outside my bedroom window. They steal through the bush on long thin legs like thunderbird puppets, with jerky, wary movements, huge eyes ever watchful. They bob their heads. They sit on funny backward bending knees. They are enchanting.
The nocturnal house at the Territory Wildlife Park gave me a great opportunity to sit and watch them. Eventually they got used to me and would come quite close, bobbing, nodding, bobbing.

Tyto Alba

Barn owl

Silent hunters of the night, the barn owl is one of the most widespread birds on the planet. 

Megapode Scratch!

Orange footed scrub fowl

These birds are not technically nocturnal but can be quite active at night (as evidenced by the number of Darwinites who complain about being kept awake by their night-time carryings on).

I adore these kooky birds – but they’re not digging up my garden. Keen gardeners in the Top End tend not be a fan of this bird who is an enthusiatic composter with no regard for your plants. The males build huge mounds and the female birds choose a mate depending on how impressed they are with his efforts. The eggs are laid deep in the mound where the warmth of the composting organic matter incubates them until they hatch and dig their way out as little independent garden wreckers.


There will be more nocturnal birds coming soon.

Head back to birds.