Birds and lizards …

… share a number of morphological features and behaviours. This pair of Nankeen Kestrels, spotted yesterday on the plains, highlight one of these characteristics.

On a clear, but bitterly cold morning, the birds were perched on the north side of a stack of hay bales soaking up the winter sunshine. The set of photographs below show them posing to maximise the surface area of plumage exposed to the suns rays … just like lizards do!


Female Nankeen Kestrel, Moolort Plains, 12th July 2014.


The male kestrel using one of its wings as a solar panel.


The male kept shuffling to warm its whole body.


Note the grey tail and crown, compared to the chestnut colouring and bolder streaking of the female above.


All fluffed up!

4 responses to “Birds and lizards …

  1. Such a nice looking pair. What is really interesting to me is the male All fluffed up, and the individual control he seems to have over each of those tail feathers.

    Great find.

  2. Having just signed up for your Posts and as a Bird Watcher I have been thrilled to see your great photography and finds. What camera, lens etc are you using, would love to know as am considering up grading to a bigger camera. Helen. San Remo. Vic.

  3. Hi Helen, have a look at the page on my blog on gear – its under the events etc. page at the top. I use a Canon 7D and 400mm prime lens for birds and this is a very good rig. All up you are looking at about $3000 for this combination. Like all things you get what pay for. The Canon 7D is an excellent camera to start with bird photography as it has excellent autofocus and fast burst rate for capturing birds in flight. Canon are about to bring out a 7D MkII so there should be some good bargains around in about 2 months. An alternative to the 400mm lens is the Sigma 150-500mm telephoto. This lens can be got for less than $1000 and is capable of producing good quality images. Anything less than 400mm struggles with birds and I’d be loathe to recommend shorter lenses unless you are looking for a general purpose telephoto (eg 70-300mm) and occasional bird shots. It is always better to spend $$ on a better lens than a camera body if you have the choice. Hope this helps and good luck!
    PS – You might be interested in one of our Spring bird photography workshops which I run with Chris Tzaros (more details on the blog). These are also a chance to test out a range of gear which can be useful before you make a decision to buy.

  4. Hi David – good to hear from you and congratulations on the Brown Falcon pic in Australian Wildlife.
    All the best, geoff

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