12 Aussie Christmas Crackers of Nature
As the temperature heats up, our minds turn to time with loved ones, fun in the sun and overdoing it with the food and drinks.
So let’s get into the silly season! We’re sharing our favourite parts of Australian nature that remind us of Christmas. Don’t worry, no animals were forced to wear Santa hats for this photo shoot, but warning, tenuous links abound!
1. Red-capped Robin
What a lovely Santa suit the male Red-capped Robin seems to be wearing. Robins have been associated with Christmas since the Victorian era when postmen, delivering the Christmas mail, wore bright red coats and were nicknamed ‘robins’.
2. Australian Brush-turkey
Renowned for their large messy nests rather than as Christmas lunch, the Australian Brush-turkey is in fact a Megapode (mound nesting birds like Malleefowl). They are not closely related to North America’s domestic or Wild Turkeys. Gobble gobble.
3. Western Australian Christmas Tree
Stunning floral displays every year around Christmas time in south-west WA, give this native hemiparasitic tree its common name. Its botanical name of Nuytsia floribunda means ‘one species with abundant flowers’ which seems highly appropriate don’t you think?
5. Common Wombat
Images of a white Christmas are still common in Australia, despite feeling the heat at this time of year. Going with the flow, we really love this Common Wombat taking on the mountain seemingly unperturbed by the ski lifts and snow boarders around it.
Koalas are notoriously sleepy with 18 to 22 hours of sleep a day. After Christmas breakfast with the kids, lunch with the in-laws and dinner with the parents, we know how they feel.
7. King Parrot
The male King Parrot seems completely devoted to the Christmas theme with his almost embarrassing display of bright red and green attire – and a ‘nose’ Rudolph would be proud of.
Here’s a neat trick — the Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that relies on Mistletoebirds to move its seeds from the branches of one host tree to the next. To ensure the seeds eaten by the Mistletoebird don’t fall wasted to the ground once expelled, the birds turn sideways to ensure their droppings are placed carefully on a branch. What an absolutely brilliant trick! You’re safe to kiss under the mistletoe in the Australian bush.
9. Partridge Pigeon
Ok, not exactly a partridge and very unlikely to be found in a pear tree, but nonetheless the Partridge Pigeon is a wonderful Australian native bird of our tropical north. It prefers to feed in recently burnt woodlands which means they greatly benefit from traditional cool season burning by indigenous land managers. Find out more here.
10. Christmas Spider
These delightful little spiders spin their sticky orb webs between shrubs in their bushland habitat to catch their tiny prey. It’s beautifully ornamented abdomen is designed to deter predators such as birds.
11. Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Six white boomers, snow white boomers. The well-known Australian Christmas song has Santa swapping his reindeers for ‘white boomers’ on his Australian run. Occasionally ‘white’ (albino) kangaroos do occur in nature, while ‘boomers’ is the slang term used to describe big, male kangaroos (and the Australian men’s basketball team). Like these two, male kangaroos often battle it out for dominance over the mob.
12. Christmas Island Red Crab
The annual migration of millions of these land crabs to the sea to spawn is one of the world’s great wildlife spectacles. Named on Christmas Day 1643, this remote Australian island close to Java has unfortunately been accidentally invaded by the Yellow Crazy Ant. It is estimated that the ants have killed up to 15 million red crabs in recent years.