Noongar people have a deep respect for Djirda (birds) and the role they play within their spirit and physical world and environment. Djirda are often messengers in Noongar boodjar (country). The Noongar names for birds often come from their calls. Next time when you hear a bird call, think about their name in Noongar.

Karrakin (Forest red-tailed black cockatoo) acquired its red tail markings on its tail from Ngolak (Carnaby's or White-tailed black cockatoo).

Ngolak was trying to defend a Dwert (Dingo) which was attacking Djitti Djitti (Willie Wagtail).

Mulal (or Kwirlman) the swamp hen was feeding at the time on a sedge, the roots of which ooze red sap.

He cut a reed and struck Ngolak across his back. When Ngolak spread his tail to protect his back, Mulal threw lumps of red sap at his tail. Ngolak became so hoarse from screaming that he could only vocalise "karrak" instead of the Carnaby's/White-tailed black cockatoo call of "wola".

Learn more

Did you know that the City's Libraries has an extensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection?

Click here to find our more about the beautiful and inspiring stories available to borrow and reserve across all four of our locations, that celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Click on the audio files spoken by Ingrid Cumming to learn how to say some bird names in Noongar. 

Images courtesy of Elaine Vesperman, Etienne Brits and Creative Commons. Content gathered from Incubator Wikimedia
                     Boodalung - Pelican
         Karrakin - Red Tailed Black Cockatoo
    Mulal (also known as Kwirlman) - Swamphen
                       Maali - Black Swan
                        Koolbardi - Magpie
                         Wardong - Crow
                   Djitti Djitti - Willie Wagtail
             Darlmoorluk - Australian Ringneck
                   Manitj - Western Corella

                   Djakal- Ngalkal - Galah

                 Djangkang - Red Wattlebird

extraMile by Integranet