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Alice Springs Waste Stabilisation Ponds

The Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis) is a large dark bird, up to 38 cm in length. It has an erect tail and is almost brownish-grey on the wings, with bluish-grey head, breast and tail. Its long legs and lower beak are a pink-orange colour. the eyes are a bright orange to yellow colour.

Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer

Common throughout Australia, the Black-tailed Native Hen has a large range, often seen where there is permanent and intermittent water sources.

Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer

Their diet consists of insects, plant material and seeds. Breeding usually takes place between August and December or when conditions are favourable.

Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer

The Black-tailed Native Hens pictured here at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds in April, September and November.


  • Scientific classification
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Vertebrata
  • Informal: Gnathostomata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Gruiformes
  • Family: Rallidae
  • Subfamily: Rallinae
  • Genus: Tribonyx
  • Species: Tribonyx ventralis
Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer
Black-tailed Native Hen (Tribonyx ventralis), Alice Springs Sewage Ponds © Dorothy Latimer

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