Species of the month: The majestic and iconic Brolga

Our February species of the month is the Brolga (Grus rubicunda) – also affectionately known by many people on the land as the “Native Companion”. This spectacular bird is an iconic species of Australian wetlands, but is now highly threatened as a result of the broad-scale loss of wetlands in the landscape.

But if we restore wetlands with the right attributes, in the right locations, the Brolga will return to feed and/or breed. It really is that simple.

At Green Swamp (another NGT Reserve), we have restored flocking habitat, and at nearby Walker Swamp in October 2020, we had our very first nesting attempt on the newly restored wetland – as shown below.

Look closely at the centre of the image: our first Brolga nesting attempt on Walker Swamp since it was restored. Photo by Greg Kerr – 5th October 2020.

While heavy rainfall fell soon after, resulting in rapidly rising water levels which ultimately drowned this first nesting attempt, we are very excited by this early success. This Brolga pair have decided the site has everything they need to attempt breeding and we are confident they will be back.

To make up for the lack of clarity on the Walker Swamp nest photo, Steve Bourne (General Manager with the Limestone Coast Landscape Board) has kindly shared some of his photographs of another Brolga nest in the region – to give you a sense of what to look out for.

Needless to say they are very hard to get this up-close to. Amazing photos Steve!

PS – And if anyone sees a Brolga nest in their travels in the future, we’d love to hear from you.

Brolga on nest. Photo by Steve Bourne.
The more common sight when people are around! – Brolga leaving its nest. Photo by Steve Bourne.
Mark Bachmann