Course CodeBEN102
Fee CodeS1
Duration (approx)100 hours
QualificationStatement of Attainment

Open Learning Course -Learn about the Biology, taxonomy and management of birds.


The course consists of nine lessons.

  1. Classification & Introduction to Birdwatching
    History of birds; Classification (Classes, Subclasses, Superorders, etc); Bird Migration; Birdwatching clubs & Other information sources, etc Binoculars, etc
  2. The Biology of Birds
    Anatomy, external & internal structure, breeding, eggs etc.
  3. Common and Widespread Land Birds
    Pests, introduced birds, pigeons, crows & their relatives, etc.
  4. Giant Birds & Long Legged Birds
    Emu, Ostrich, Herons, Storks & Relatives etc
  5. Seabirds & Waterbirds
  6. Hunters
    Birds of Prey, Owls, Kingfishers
  7. Passeriformes includes all song birds, plus lots of other birds including: larks, jays, magpies, swallows, nightingales, wrens, mockingbirds, robins, bluebirds, thrushes, pipits, shrikes, warblers, blackbirds, orioles, finches, grosbeaks, tanagers, and more
  8. Other Birds
    Parrots, Honeyeaters, Swifts & others
  9. Attracting, Feeding & Keeping Birds

The aim of this course is to introduce the student to the many interesting and diverse bird species, and their physiology and habitats. You will learn a wide variety of things, through a combination of things such as reading, interacting with tutors, undertaking research and practical tasks, including observing birds.


  • Discuss the study of birds, including bird taxonomy
  • Describe anatomical and physical characteristics of birds.
  • Discuss a range of different common and widespread land birds.
  • Discuss a range of different flightless and long legged birds including Ratites and Ciconiiformes.
  • Discuss and describe a range of water birds and sea birds.
  • Discuss and describe a range of hunting birds.
  • Discuss and describe a range of Passeriformes.
  • Discuss and describe a range of parrots and other birds..
  • Explain domestication of birds and the methodology and implications of attracting and feeding wild birds.


Contact a Birdwatching Club or organisation in your own country, or region of the world, and find out what services and information they offer. You may locate groups on the internet, or listed under clubs and organisations in the Yellow Pages section of your phone book. You could contact them on the phone, or by email, by letter; or by attending a meeting.

Write a brief history of the evolution of birds (150-300 words). Include mention of species that have become extinct and give reasons as to why you think this occurred.

Discuss the breeding cycle of one particular bird species (of your own choosing). Identify any traits or behavioural patterns that are unique to this species

Select 6 different birds from groups studied in this lesson, and research each different bird using any resources you have available to you, such as textbooks, the internet, libraries, etc.  Write a paragraph describing each of the six birds you selected, giving a detailed description of their external appearance, together with details of their distribution, structure, feeding habits and breeding. If possible, focus on any birds from each group that inhabit or regularly migrate to your region.

Duration:   100 hours

Tips for Birdwatching:

  • Get some binoculars - if you can afford it, buy a good quality pair, this will definitely enhance the experience.
  • Buy a field guide, this will help greatly with identification.
  • Get out into the bush - getting away from urban areas will widen your chances of seeing more birds
  • Get up early - dawn chorus is a wonderful experience and a great way to practice your hearing i.d. skills
  • Practice your skills, there is an art to watching a bird through binoculars, practice focusing and targeting.
  • Do it with a friend - as they say two heads are better than one and you will have someone to share the experience with.

Love bird watching? Then this course is for you.

  • Learn to identify different species of birds.
  • Classify and understand the biology of birds.
  • Learn about the different species habitats.
  • Understand the anatomy of birds.


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All prices in Australian Dollars.

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Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!