Noisy Miner - Manorina melanocephala

Noisy Miner

Manorina melanocephala

Family: Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters, 74 species in Australia)
Size: 24-28 cm
Distribution: Within about 1000 km of the east coast of Australia, except the northern tip of QLD. Almost all of VIC and most of TAS. A small part of southeastern SA.
Status: Common
Habitat: Woodlands, suburbs
References: Simpson and Day, Reader's Digest

The noisy miner is a very common bird in much of the parts of Australia where it is found. It is a native to Australia unlike the common or "Indian" myna. It is loud and agressive to other birds. It is usually much more shy around people than the common myna.

The beak and feet of the noisy miner are dark yellow with a small, dark yellow patch behind the eye.

Noisy Miner - Manorina melanocephala
Photo: Lake Parramatta, NSW.

Noisy Miner - Manorina melanocephala
Photo: Watsons Bay, NSW.

Noisy Miner - Manorina melanocephala
Artwork: John Gould, 'The Birds of Australia', 1848. Original Scanned Image.

I made the drawing below as part of the Kamana Naturalist Training Program. It is not meant to be artistic or even particuluarly technically correct. The main purpose of drawing in the course is that it is a great aid to learning the identifying details of what you are drawing.

Noisy Miner - Manorina melanocephala
The above photo shows my drawing of the noisy miner from the Kamana Naturalist Training Program. High resolution (1749 x 2434)

Some Birdwatching Resources

Nikon COOLPIX P1000 Super Zoom Camera - Noisy Miner - Manorina melanocephalaNikon COOLPIX P1000 Super Zoom Camera

The Nikon COOLPIX P1000 is Nikon's longest zoom range camera, and probably still the longest zoom range of any camera in the world. For bird photography (and other wildlife photography) having a long zoom range is a massive help, since you don't have to be within a few metres of the birds/animals to get a good photo.

I'll write more about these super-zoom cameras soon as I have a loan of a Nikon COOLPIX P900, a slightly older model which also has a massive (though not as massive) zoom range as the P1000. The P900 can take photos of the rings of Saturn. It's basically a portable telescope with a camera built into it.

Most of the reviews from professional photography websites of the super zoom cameras complain far too much that their picture quality isn't up to that of a DSLR or other expensive modern camera. The problem here is that it's basically impossible to have a zoom anywhere near as long as the P900, P950, or P1000 on a typical DSLR with the "full-size sensor" that would keep the magazine reviewers 5-star-happy. To get things into perspective, with a full size (a.k.a. full frame) sensor of 35mm, the lens would need to have a physical focal length of 3000 mm (yes that is 3 metres). Even if made as a "mirror lens" where the light path can bounce back and forth once or twice, so that the lens can be physically shorter than 3 metres in length, it's still going to be something like almost metre long. And to have an aperture ratio of f/8 at the long end of the zoom range means the diameter of the aperture has to be 3000 divided by 8. Which equals 375 mm across. In other words, the diameter of the lens itself would have to be about 40 centimetres across (like a decent-sized telescope, which it literally would be). To carry your high optical quality 3000mm full frame lens, with a 40 centimetre wide end, made of heavy optical-quality glass, is probably going to require a vehicle of some sort. So that's what I mean by "basically" impossible to have a lens that zooms this close in a full size sensor type of camera. Incidentally, Nikon does make an actual 2000mm lens. It costs about $25-30,000 USD and weighs 18 kilograms. It's about 25 centimetres diameter across the front of the lens, and it's only f/11, which is smaller and dimmer (i.e. worse) than the f/8 of the Nikon P1000. But it would give you "full-frame sized sensor picture quality" (apart from the limitation of the aperture only going as big as f/11).

If you want to take photos of something small (e.g. a bird) from far away, these cameras are a truly new type of technological innovation — something which really did not exist before a few years ago. When, a few years ago, my mother saw one on a TV infomercial ad, and told me the P900 camera had an "83 times optical zoom", I honestly just assumed she had misheard and meant an 8.3 times optical zoom. The P100 has a 125x optical zoom, and can zoom in even further than the P900.

Purchase from Amazon.com.au

See Also

Australian Bird Field Guides

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