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Australian birds

The most famous of Australian birds is 'Kookaburra Jackass, whose derisive call seems to mock everyone who hears it. The Kookburra's head is almost as big as his body which has a downy grey waistcoat, brown feathers, and wings speckled with pale blue. He is a brave little bird and will seize a snake in his strong beak, fly up to the treetops and drop the snake on the ground, doing this again and again until the snake is dead.

The Lyre Bird gets his name from the unusual shape of his tail. He is about the size of a chicken and is fine singer and mimic. He can imitate, not only forest sounds, but any noises that he hears, and practise new imitation for hours until he has them perfected.

The largest and stateliest of Australian birds is Emu which is about seven feet high and has brownish black plumage, small wings, and a very shot tail. The emu cannot fly, but it does swim, and it can run almost as fast as kangaroo can hop. Young emus, with their vivid black and white stripped feathers, come from dark green eggs hatched out not by their mother, but by the male emu.

There are other interesting birds -- the Bell Bird, whose silver-voiced call gives him his name, and the Whipbird which whistles and makes a noise like the crack of a whip, the Bower Bird which likes brightly-coloured things, and the Scrub Turkey. More common is the black-and-white magpie, whose song is a delight to hear.
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