A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Australia Part 1 2023

September 29-October 19, 2023 with Chris Benesh and Alex Sundvall guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of Australia's most well known animals, we got incredible views of a number of Koalas on this trip. This one was along the Kennett River near the aptly named Koala Cafe. Photo by guide Alex Sundvall.

Australia is a massive and incredibly diverse country. With over 350 endemics and nearly 900 species of birds calling it home, Field Guides has decided to break up our tour into two main parts: Part 1 for the southern half, and Part 2 for the northern half and Tasmania. This first part of Australia is an absolute whirlwind journey across FIVE states and territories, with long drives and multiple interior flights. This is not a trip for the faint of heart, as there are multiple moving parts and we were constantly shifting around the Australian countryside to best base ourselves to take advantage of the diverse habitats and regions.

We started off our trip in the state of New South Wales birding around Sydney, the largest city in all of Australia. Our first afternoon we walked through Centennial Park getting our first taste of the local birds. We were definitely not in Kansas anymore! Highlights there were our first Galahs, Pied Currawongs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Rainbow Lorikeets, and Crested Pigeons, nesting Tawny Frogmouths and Gray Butcherbirds, and some roosting Powerful Owls, the largest owls in Australia. Next we went to the Cumberland State Forest, where we saw the strange Australian Brushturkeys and tracked down a group of Bell Miners. Our second day we drove to the famous Royal National Park where we had a lovely walk down Lady Carrington Drive, seeing Beautiful Firetails, Green Catbirds, Satin Bowerbirds, Black-faced Monarchs, Rockwarblers, Variegated and Superb Fairywrens, another Powerful Owl, and experienced the incredible Superb Lyrebird. That afternoon we took a walk through The Needles were we saw our first Koala sleeping high up in a tree, and stopped at the Woolooware Bay to get our first taste of shorebirds and coastal birding.

Next up was a quick flight down to Melbourne in the state of Victoria. We hit the ground running and spent a few hours in the off and on rain at the Western Treatment Plant, an extensive collection of ponds and marshes that was a magnet for birds! Many of the birds here we never saw again on the trip, such as Brolga, Australasian Bittern, Banded Stilts, Cape Barren Geese, and Striated Fieldwren. We also got exceptional looks at Baillon's and Australian Crakes, with multiple close, and out in the open! With nearly 80 species, this was our most diverse birding location of the entire trip. That evening we took a short boat cruise around the St. Kilda Pier, where we watched Little Penguins returning to their burrows after feeding all day.

From here, we started our multi-day trek driving through Victoria. Our first day we spent some time along the coast, stopping for some seawatching and taking in our first Albatrosses and Shearwaters, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, an incredible cooperative Rufous Bristlebird, Hooded Plover, saw some more Koalas, and had some beautiful parrots land on our heads. From the coast, we headed inland up towards the Grampians, stopping along the way for some adorable Rose Robins, yet another pair of Koalas, some displaying Musk Ducks in the rain, and a huge flock of Magpie Geese. We ended the day at our hotel in the Grampians National Park listening for and eventually seeing Southern Boobooks right on the property. The next morning we walked around the National Park, seeing Gang-gang Cockatoos and Long-billed Corellas, Bassian Thrush and Shining Bronze-Cuckoos, and a troop of Eastern Gray Kangaroos! Our afternoon took us even farther inland to a lake covered in Black-tailed Nativehens. We started to see the habitats change from the dense mountain forests of the Grampians to the stunted more open Mallee woodlands known from northern Victoria. We stopped at the famous climbing area Mount Arapiles which gave us our first taste of the new birds to expect, including incredible looks at both White-browed Babblers and Gilbert's Whistlers. Our next morning was spent walking around the incredible grounds of the Little Desert Lodge where highlights included our first Purple-crowned Lorikeets, Red-rumped Parrots, Shy Heathwren, Scarlet and Red-capped Robins, Southern Scrub-Robin, Diamond Firetails, a Painted Buttonquail, and a bucket list mammal for nearly everyone: a Short-beaked Echidna! We took a walk through the desert scrub to see Rufous Fieldwrens and got a guided walk through a Malleefowl sanctuary by local expert Wimpy. Our next day we started birding the Mallee around Wyperfeld National Park, where we got our main target: Malleefowl (thanks to some sharp spotting by Nancy and some bird dogging by Alex). Some other fun highlights around the park were great looks at Pallid Cuckoo, the Mallee form of Australian Ringnecks, Greater Bluebonnets, and some Brown Treecreepers. That afternoon we continued even farther north where we encountered a huge mixed flock of White-fronted, Orange, and Crimson Chats and a small group of White-winged Fairywrens. The final birding morning in Victoria, we went to Hattah-Kulkyne National Park, where we birded the Mallee and roadsides searching for a number of new and unique species. Some major highlights included incredible views of two of Australia's most elusive species, Mallee Emuwren and Striated Grasswren, multiple Emus often crossing right in front of the bus, Chestnut Quail-Thrush, Apostlebird, Little Friarbird, the Yellow form of Crimson Rosella, and Regent Parrots. After a quick stop for lunch, we began our long drive west towards Adelaide.

We only spent one morning in South Australia birding around the parks and beaches of Adelaide. We walked to the park across the street from our hotel, seeing Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets, found the unique Adelaide form of Crimson Rosella, and went to the beach to see the huge roost of Black-faced Cormorants. From here, we headed to the airport and flew off to Perth to begin our adventure through the southwestern coast of Western Australia.

Before leaving Perth to head to the woods, we connected with some Banded Lapwings hanging out in a field with a huge troop of Western Gray Kangaroos. Then we headed to the Wungong Dam, where we saw Splendid and Red-backed Fairywrens, White-breasted Robin, got our only looks at Square-tailed Kite, and some Red-capped Parrots. The main attraction that afternoon and the next morning, however, was the Dryandra Woodlands. Here, we targeted a number of new and unique species, thankfully getting most of them! Some of the incredible birds we had here across our two days were the endangered Carnaby's Black-Cockatoo, Varied Sittella, Rufous Treecreeper, Blue-breasted Fairywren, Elegant Parrot, the distinct Campbell's subspecies of Scarlet Robin, Little Eagle, and Rainbow Bee-eater. After our successes in Dryandra, we made a quick stop at the base of the Stirling Range where we saw Chris's lifer Western Fieldwren, and then made our way toward the coast to enjoy a few days of birding one of the most endemic-rich areas in all of Australia.

We spent our first morning birding around Cheyne's Beach seeing Brown Quail, Common and Brush Bronzewings, Western Bristlebirds, and Red-eared Firetails. Unfortunately, the Western Whipbird and Noisy Scrub-birds were uncooperative and heard only, so we planned to return the next morning. In the afternoon we stopped at a city park to get some Western Rosellas and did some seawatching, where we saw our first group of the critically endangered Baudin's Black-Cockatoo. On our second morning at Cheyne's Beach, we managed some views of the Western Whipbird, but unfortunately the Noisy Scrub-bird continued to elude our eyes as it sang incredible loudly from deep within the thick brush. The real star of the morning were the adorable Honey Possums foraging in the Scallop Hakea flowers along one of the two tracks! In the afternoon we birded around Hamelin Bay where we enjoyed incredibly close study of Rock Parrots foraging in the lawn, and Southern Emuwrens with Splendid Fairywrens in the scrub. The next day, we looped around the coast heading to the very windy Cape Leeuwin, the place where the Indian and Southern Oceans meet along Australia's coast. From here we headed north back to Perth: stopping at the Malbup Bird Hide where we had a nice flyover of White-bellied Sea-Eagle, The Chimneys for some Australian Fairy Terns and shorebird action, and the Ellis Brook Valley Reserve for our final night of birding Western Australia.

Our final leg of this incredible journey took us to the desert town of Alice Springs, situated in the Northern Territory. Because of our multiple flights, we didn't have too much time to go birding on our first night in town. But we made the most of it, visiting the Olive Pink Botanic Garden where we had an incredible experience with a Western Bowerbird attending to his bower, showing off his vast collection of white objects and straightening his sticks. The next day was spent visiting some of the various desert canyons around town. Our first canyon was the Simpson's Gap, where we had our first good looks at Pink Cockatoo, Diamond Dove, Zebra Finches, and lucked into some Slaty-backed Thornbills. From here, we went to Serpentine Gorge and took a longer walk down to the watering hole. Because it was some of the only water around, it attracted a great variety of birds including Spinifex Pigeons, Red-backed Kingfishers, Painted Firetails, and a large flock of Zebra Finches. Our next stop was Ormiston Gorge, where the Spinifex Pigeons were somewhat tame and were fighting for food right at our feet! We also had an incredible experience with a couple pairs of Pink Cockatoos at nest holes. Truly a place I think none of us will forget! On our way back to town, we made a couple stops along the road for Spinifexbird and Black-breasted Kite. Our final morning of birding was centralized around birding the Santa Teresa Road, a wonderful road cutting through the desert and spinifex habitats around town. It was here where we had Red-browed Pardalote, Mulga Parrots, White-backed Swallows, Chiming Wedgebill, Budgerigar, and Crested Bellbird. In the afternoon we took a brief walk around the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds were we added a few species of shorebirds to our list, like Marsh and Wood Sandpipers and Black-tailed Godwit, and picked out a White-winged Tern hiding among all the Whiskered Terns. From there we headed back to our hotel for the final dinner. The next day we headed to the airport, where some of us continued on to part two with John and Cory, and the rest of us headed home!

Pink Cockatoo received the most votes for bird of the trip, with Spinifex Pigeon, Superb Fairywren, Mulga Parrot, and Musk Duck also receiving multiple votes.

From Chris and Alex, and everyone at Field Guides, we want to thank all of you for joining us on this incredible whirlwind adventure through Australia's southern half. The trip certainly had its ups and downs, and we thank everyone for being patient and understanding with the situation at the hotel in Alice Springs. Thank you for choosing Field Guides and we hope to see you again soon!

—Chris and Alex

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Casuariidae (Cassowaries and Emu)

EMU (Dromaius novaehollandiae) [E]

One of Australia's most charismatic and well known species! We were treated to great looks at some birds right off the road at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.

Anseranatidae (Magpie Goose)

MAGPIE GOOSE (Anseranas semipalmata)

This taxonomic oddity is the sole member of its family! We came across a nice-sized group of these hiding in the tall grasses at Lake Purrumbete.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

CAPE BARREN GOOSE (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) [E]

These big guys made people think of muppets! We watched a pair at close range eating yellow flowers at the Western Treatment Plant. Omnomnomnomnomnom!

FRECKLED DUCK (Stictonetta naevosa) [E]

After much searching, we finally got some decent but distant views of these at the Natimuk Lake Caravan Park.

BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus) [E]

Fairly common in wetlands, what a treat to see this beautiful swan in its native range!

AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadornoides)

We had our first looks at these at the Western Treatment Plant.

MANED DUCK (Chenonetta jubata) [E]

Also called the Australian Wood Duck, these were seen around towns and forest streams.

AUSTRALASIAN SHOVELER (Spatula rhynchotis)

Most of our sightings came from the Western Treatment Plant.

PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)

Like our Mallards back home, we saw these mostly around towns and general wet areas.

GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis)

Our most common duck, seen in numbers most places with water.

CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea) [E]

We had a good sized flock at the Western Treatment Plant.

PINK-EARED DUCK (Malacorhynchus membranaceus) [E]

We even got to see the tiny pink ears of these zebra ducks!

HARDHEAD (Aythya australis)

Our largest numbers came from the Western Treatment Plant.

BLUE-BILLED DUCK (Oxyura australis) [E]

Very similar to our Ruddy Ducks; we had our best looks at Lake Purrumbete.

MUSK DUCK (Biziura lobata) [E]

These ducks are so strange looking! With their odd throat wattles and frilly tails, we had great views of two displaying males at Lake Purrumbete.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Shockingly blue and wonderfully friendly, Splendid Fairywrens were truly dazzling! Photo by Sue Norris.
Megapodiidae (Megapodes)

AUSTRALIAN BRUSHTURKEY (Alectura lathami lathami) [E]

One of the friendliest Megapodes, we had three walking around the picnic area at the Cumberland State Forest in Sydney.

MALLEEFOWL (Leipoa ocellata) [E]

The exact opposite of the Brushturkey, this shy Megapode really made us work! Thanks to some great spotting by Nancy and some bird dogging by Alex, we were able to get some brief glimpses as this Sage Grouse-sized bird disappeared into the Mallee.

Phasianidae (Pheasants, Grouse, and Allies)

BROWN QUAIL (Synoicus ypsilophorus)

After only hearing these in Adelaide, we had great views of one crossing the road at Cheyne's Beach.

STUBBLE QUAIL (Coturnix pectoralis) [E*]

Heard only, unfortunately, at the Western Treatment Plant.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

Some great looks and comparisons of these with the similar Hoary-headed Grebe.

HOARY-HEADED GREBE (Poliocephalus poliocephalus) [E]

Present in large numbers at both water treatment facilities we visited.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus)

Voted New Zealand's bird of the year! We had incredible looks at these at Lake Purrumbete.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

Familiar, but not as common as they are in the states.

SPOTTED DOVE (Spilopelia chinensis) [I]

A handful of these around cities.

LAUGHING DOVE (Spilopelia senegalensis) [I]

Brief views only of these introduced doves.

COMMON BRONZEWING (Phaps chalcoptera) [E]

Very grouse-like, these large and pretty Columbids were often seen being flushed off the road. Although we did get a great look of their bronze wings at Cheyne's Beach!

BRUSH BRONZEWING (Phaps elegans) [E]

A beautiful dove; our only views came from Cheyne's Beach.

CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes)

The common city pigeon, these were very reminiscent of quail! Despite their crazy crests they were pretty unassuming, until the sun hit their wings and showed off their incredible iridescence!

SPINIFEX PIGEON (Geophaps plumifera) [E]

One of our targets in the desert, we had a brief look at one "in the wild" at a watering hole, making us feel like we earned it. Then when we stopped for lunch we had a group begging for crumbs at our feet making the experience even more incredible!

WONGA PIGEON (Leucosarcia melanoleuca) [E*]

Heard only at Royal National Park.

DIAMOND DOVE (Geopelia cuneata) [E]

We had some incredible looks at these tiny doves at Serpentine Gorge.

PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida)

Mostly heard, but we did see them at the Little Desert Lodge.

TOPKNOT PIGEON (Lopholaimus antarcticus) [E]

We had some wonderful perched views of these pigeons with their fancy hairdos!

Field Guides Birding Tours
A very well named species, this Beautiful Firetail kicked off our successful quest to sweep the possible Firetail species on this trip. They are so incredibly intricate! Photo by Whitney Mortimer.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae)

Some distant views of birds flying over the hillside at Royal National Park.

HORSFIELD'S BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx basalis) [E]

Our best view of this species was at the Little Desert Lodge.

SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus)

These gleaming cuckoos were heard more often than seen, but we did have some looks at Silverband Falls in the Grampians.

PALLID CUCKOO (Cacomantis pallidus) [E]

After chasing one down that Chris spotted on the side of the road, we had great views of a couple at Wyperfeld National Park.

FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis)

Often heard, rarely seen, although we did get some decent views at Royal National Park.

Podargidae (Frogmouths)

TAWNY FROGMOUTH (Podargus strigoides)

We had wonderful views of one sitting on a nest at Centennial Park!

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

BUFF-BANDED RAIL (Gallirallus philippensis)

Brief but wonderful views of one crossing the road at the Western Treatment Plant.

BLACK-TAILED NATIVEHEN (Tribonyx ventralis) [E]

After getting excited about seeing one at the Western Treatment Plant, we saw a group of 300 at the Natimuk Lake Caravan Park.

AUSTRALIAN CRAKE (Porzana fluminea) [E]

We got incredible looks at these typically secretive birds at the Western Treatment Plant!

DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa)

Common around marshes.

EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)

Just like our Coots back home, these were a common marsh bird.

AUSTRALASIAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio melanotus)

We had our first of these large marshbirds on the lawn at Centennial Park.

BAILLON'S CRAKE (Zapornia pusilla)

This was an incredible year for this irruptive species! We got incredible looks at this secretive, tiny rail at the Western Treatment Plant.

SPOTLESS CRAKE (Zapornia tabuensis)

Fleeting views only, unfortunately. Our best looks were of a bird darting between the reeds at the West Beach Stormwater Basin.

Field Guides Birding Tours
No one really knows why these are called Gang-gang Cockatoos, although Mark informed us that Gang-gang was slang in Thailand for "very good." Regardless, this male was quite a show-off! Photo by Nancy Hoffman.
Gruidae (Cranes)

BROLGA (Antigone rubicunda)

We had superb views of a couple right on the side of the road at the Western Treatment Plant.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

PIED STILT (Himantopus leucocephalus)

The most common stilt; we had some great looks at the Western Treatment Plant.

BANDED STILT (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus) [E]

We had to search a bit for them, and they didn't stick around for too long, but we did see a nice flock at the Western Treatment Plant.

RED-NECKED AVOCET (Recurvirostra novaehollandiae) [E]

We had some nice views of these beautiful large shorebirds at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

PIED OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus longirostris) [E]

We had a few of these at the Woolooware Bay Viewing platform.

SOOTY OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus fuliginosus) [E]

The common coastal Oystercatcher.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

HOODED PLOVER (Charadrius cucullatus) [E]

Despite a well-intentioned lady telling us to turn around, one flew right up to us and provided great looks!

BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL (Charadrius melanops)

Our highest number of these came from the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

BANDED LAPWING (Vanellus tricolor) [E]

We spent a lot of time looking for these, eventually finding three in a field of Kangaroos in Whiteman Park.

MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles)

Seen sporadically throughout the countryside and coasts. The birds we saw were the Black-shouldered form, compared to the nominate form in Northern Australia and New Guinea.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Mallee Emuwren is an incredibly secretive and hard to find bird, usually needing hours of searching to hear or maybe get a glimpse of. Our experience was quite the opposite and we lucked out with a cooperative bird not too far off the road! Photo by Whitney Mortimer.

RED-KNEED DOTTEREL (Erythrogonys cinctus)

Our only views were of a pair right beside the dock at the Natimuk Lake Caravan Park.

RED-CAPPED PLOVER (Anarhynchus ruficapillus) [E]

Our best views came from the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (SIBERIAN) (Numenius phaeopus variegatus)

We got to watch one eating crabs at Woolooware Bay! The birds in Australia were of the Siberian subspecies, which have a white back compared to our dark-backed birds in the US.

FAR EASTERN CURLEW (Numenius madagascariensis)

Only distant views of these incredible large and long-billed Curlews.

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)

We had a group of these at Woolooware Bay.


One bird present at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus)

Only one at our shorebird spot in The Chimneys.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)

The replacement for our Spotted Sandpipers back home; we had our best looks at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis)

One beautiful looking bird at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)

A small group at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

COMMON GREENSHANK (Tringa nebularia)

A few of these lanky shorebirds along the coast at the Chimneys.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

A single individual at Point Roadknight, our Hooded Plover spot.

SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER (Calidris acuminata)

A decent sized group of these rufous streaky shorebirds at the Western Treatment Plant.

CURLEW SANDPIPER (Calidris ferruginea)

A pretty large group of these long-billed, pale shorebirds at the Western Treatment Plant.

RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis)

A huge group at the Western Treatment Plant, the common shorebird.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The strange Australian Brushturkey, one of the more confiding species of Megapode. This one was roaming around the picnic area of the Cumberland State Forest on our first afternoon. Photo by Chris Williams.
Turnicidae (Buttonquail)


A very brief look at one scurrying on the ground in front of us along the Santa Teresa Rd.


Some actually decent looks for a Buttonquail at the Little Desert Lodge.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

SILVER GULL (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)

"Silver Gulls...Silver Gulls"

PACIFIC GULL (Larus pacificus) [E]

Only a handful of these big bruisers, often eating fish.


A small group of these tiny terns at the Chimneys.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

Never the most common tern, but they were around. Most numerous at the Chimneys. Their thick orange bills helped distinguish them from the more common Great Crested Terns.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)

Some incredible views of these at the Western Treatment Plant and Lake Colac.

WHITE-WINGED TERN (Chlidonias leucopterus)

One immature bird at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii)

The common large tern, seen in small numbers throughout the coast.

Spheniscidae (Penguins)

LITTLE PENGUIN (Eudyptula minor)

Despite being a little later in the evening than normal, our boat trip was a success! We saw about 100 Penguins on the rocks of the St. Kilda Pier.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Voted our favorite bird of the trip! This Pink Cockatoo was one of a pair of birds around a nest hole at the Ormiston Gorge. A truly memorable experience! Photo by Alex Sundvall.
Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)


Never amazing looks, but they were around some of our seawatches.

WHITE-CAPPED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche cauta)

Our most common Albatross, and one we got quite great looks at! The birds we saw were likely of the nominate Tasmanian group.

BLACK-BROWED ALBATROSS (Thalassarche melanophris)

One passed by our seawatch at Cave Point Lighthouse.

Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)

GREAT-WINGED PETREL (Pterodroma macroptera)

A brief but diagnostic look for some of us during our seawatch at Hamelin Bay Beach.


Most numerous during our seawatch at Cave Point Lighthouse.

SHORT-TAILED SHEARWATER (Ardenna tenuirostris)

Some pretty great numbers passing by Point Addis and Split Point. Reminiscent of the huge flocks of Sooty Shearwaters we are familiar with back home.

Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)


Typically seen at a great distance and often confused with Albatross upon initial detection.

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

AUSTRALASIAN DARTER (Anhinga novaehollandiae)

Our first were seen up high soaring at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Microcarbo melanoleucos)

Our most common Cormorant, seen pretty much everywhere there was water, including the small watering hole at the Little Desert Lodge!

GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Never present in large numbers and often just as flyovers, easily told by their significantly larger size and white gular borders.

LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)

Our most common all-dark Cormorant, small and plentiful.

PIED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax varius)

A fairly common medium-sized Cormorant, never in particularly large numbers except for the big roost at the Patawalonga Breakwater.

BLACK-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscescens) [E]

We searched high and low with no success, until we had an incredible experience with a huge roost at the Patawalonga Breakwater.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of a few Critically Endangered Baudin's Black-Cockatoos we saw around Torndirrup National Park. Photo by Nancy Hoffman.
Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

Our best views of these huge birds were at Lake Purrumbete when one nearly swam up to us. We got to watch it catch and down a fish!

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

AUSTRALASIAN BITTERN (Botaurus poiciloptilus)

An incredible view of one in the open right by the bus at the Western Treatment Plant!

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

A handful of these flew by the Chimneys.

WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae)

Our most common Heron, often seen in fields in transit.

EASTERN CATTLE EGRET (Bulbulcus coromandus)

Not particularly common, but it was nice to see the other side of this recent split.

PACIFIC HERON (Ardea pacifica)

Most often seen in transit.

GREAT EGRET (MODESTA) (Ardea alba modesta)

Only singles seen a handful of times, our first was at the Western Treatment Plant.

PLUMED EGRET (Ardea plumifera)

One quick flyby during our lunch stop at Lake Colac.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

A couple seen right by the bus at the Western Treatment Plant.

AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis molucca) [E]

Bin Chickens! These were common in cities and in the countryside.

STRAW-NECKED IBIS (Threskiornis spinicollis) [E]

Never particularly common, but we did have some nice sized flocks at the Western Treatment Plant and Lake Purrumbete.

ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia)

We had a small group of these at the Western Treatment Plant.

YELLOW-BILLED SPOONBILL (Platalea flavipes) [E]

Singles, often as flyovers; our first was at Lake Purrumbete.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

What used to be Eastern Osprey; we got to see one on a nest at Cheyne's Beach.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Australia is famous for its Kangaroos. We had this sweet flyer and joey around Hall's Gap in the Grampians. Photo by Whitney Mortimer.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus axillaris) [E]

The Australian counterpart to our White-tailed Kites; we had a ton flying around Macs Rd where we were looking for Chats.

BLACK-BREASTED KITE (Hamirostra melanosternon) [E]

A brief but low fly-over of one right over the bus while driving down the highway around Alice Springs.

SQUARE-TAILED KITE (Lophoictinia isura) [E]

Unfortunately we never got better than a super distant soaring bird at Wungong Dam.

LITTLE EAGLE (Hieraaetus morphnoides) [E]

Very reminiscent of a Red-tailed Hawk; we had one of these very tiny eagles fly over the road while at the Dryandra Woodlands.


Most were distant flyovers, but we did get a decently low flyby on the Santa Teresa Rd.

SWAMP HARRIER (Circus approximans)

Pretty much all distant; our first were at the Western Treatment Plant.

SPOTTED HARRIER (Circus assimilis) [E]

A gorgeous bird; we got incredible looks at a young bird perched right on the side of the road and a pair of adults circling low over the road.

GRAY GOSHAWK (Accipiter novaehollandiae)

These beautiful and uncommon raptors mimic Cockatoos! We had great views of three at Royal National Park.

BROWN GOSHAWK (Accipiter fasciatus)

The most common raptor, often challenging to tell from Collared Sparrowhawks, where we looked for a rounded tail tip and larger proportions.

COLLARED SPARROWHAWK (Accipiter cirrocephalus)

Slightly less common than Brown Goshawk, and at times difficult to separate. We looked for a smaller size and a squared tail tip.

BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)

Some beautiful looks at this wide ranging species along the Santa Teresa Rd. The birds we saw were of the subspecies affinis, also found in Indonesia and New Guinea. This form is called Fork-tailed Kite.

WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus)

Our best look at this beautiful kite came from the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds.

WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Icthyophaga leucogaster)

After a brief flyover at Royal National Park, we all finally caught up with one flying over the road at the Malbup Creek Bird Hide.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A fun photo of the group at Cheyne's Beach photographing the Western Bristlebird (seen in the sand at the bottom right of the photo.) Photo by Nancy Hoffman.
Strigidae (Owls)

POWERFUL OWL (Ninox strenua) [E]

We had an incredible view of one of these large owls with a possum in its talons at Royal National Park!

SOUTHERN BOOBOOK (Ninox boobook)

Calling behind our rooms in the Grampians, and after a little coaxing, it flew in and we got some nice views in the rain!

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae) [E]

One of the most charismatic birds of Australia; we had our first views on our first afternoon of birding at Centennial Park!

RED-BACKED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius) [E]

The common kingfisher around Alice Springs.

SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus)

We had our first at Royal National Park.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus)

Some beautiful looks at this colorful species at Serpentine Gorge.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

NANKEEN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides)

A common roadside falcon, much like our American Kestrels back home.

AUSTRALIAN HOBBY (Falco longipennis) [E]

While the Western Wattlebird evaded us, on one of our stops we found one of these raptors terrorizing the skies!

BROWN FALCON (Falco berigora)

We had epic views of a pair perched in Wyperfeld!

PEREGRINE FALCON (Falco peregrinus)

The Australian subspecies of this incredibly widespread falcon is fairly dark, similar to the Pacific Peale's subspecies.

Field Guides Birding Tours
After some fleeting glimpses of a couple pigeons high up on a rock, we were treated to incredible views of Spinifex Pigeons at Ormiston Gorge. Photo by Whitney Mortimer.
Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)


We got some great looks at some perched as well as some flyovers at Royal National Park.

CARNABY'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Zanda latirostris) [E]

Our best views of these large, endangered Cockatoos came from Dryandra Woodland where they competed with Sitellas for attention.

BAUDIN'S BLACK-COCKATOO (Zanda baudinii) [E]

These incredible Critically Endangered birds were difficult to separate from the very similar Carnaby's, but we got excellent looks at the larger, longer bills at Cave Point Lighthouse, and right outside our hotel in Margaret River.

RED-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus banksii) [E]

We came across a nice-sized group of these on the ground while birding the Santa Teresa Rd.

GANG-GANG COCKATOO (Callocephalon fimbriatum) [E]

We had stunning views of both a male and female at the Halls Gap Caravan Park.

GALAH (Eolophus roseicapilla) [E]

Quite literally everywhere, the only bird we saw every day. And what a wonderful bird to see everywhere and every day!

PINK COCKATOO (Cacatua leadbeateri) [E]

We had some absolutely stunning looks at these beautiful Cockatoos at the Ormiston Gorge.

WESTERN CORELLA (Cacatua pastinator) [E]

We made a special stop for these small Cockatoos in Rocky Gully.

LITTLE CORELLA (Cacatua sanguinea)

One of the more common small Cockatoos, we had our first looks at Royal National Park.

LONG-BILLED CORELLA (Cacatua tenuirostris) [E]

These were most common during our time in the Grampians, where we enjoyed seeing big flocks of them flying up and down the valley by our hotel.


Another one of Australia's most charismatic species; we had our first of many incredible looks at Royal National Park.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of our major mammal highlights was seeing Honey Possums at Cheyne's Beach feeding among the Scallop Hakea flowers. Photo by Nancy Hoffman.
Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

REGENT PARROT (Polytelis anthopeplus) [E]

As is typical with this species, we only saw them in flight.

AUSTRALIAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus scapularis) [E]

We had a really fun experience with these landing on our heads! Who knew they would have a taste for Pringles!

BLUE-WINGED PARROT (Neophema chrysostoma) [E]

After a brief look at the Western Treatment Plant, we got some great looks at a perched bird along Coalmine Rd.

ELEGANT PARROT (Neophema elegans) [E]

A couple in the Dryandra Woodlands.

ROCK PARROT (Neophema petrophila) [E]

We had a wonderful experience with these regionally restricted parrots on the lawn at Hamelin Bay Beach.

AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK (Barnardius zonarius) [E]

We had some great comparisons of the Twenty-eight and Port Lincoln subspecies with each other during our time around the SW Coast.

AUSTRALIAN RINGNECK (MALLEE) (Barnardius zonarius barnardi) [E]

Some beautiful looks at this distinct form around our lunch spot at Wyperfeld National Park.

CRIMSON ROSELLA (CRIMSON) (Platycercus elegans elegans) [E]

This was the beautiful red form of Crimson Rosella around Sydney and Victoria. And was another that had a taste for Pringles and landed on peoples heads!

CRIMSON ROSELLA (YELLOW) (Platycercus elegans flaveolus) [E]

This was the yellow form of Crimson Rosella that we saw in the Visitors Center Parking Lot of Hattah-Kulkyne.

CRIMSON ROSELLA (ADELAIDE) (Platycercus elegans adelaidae) [E]

Not the best views of this form, but we did get some brief looks during our brief morning birding in Adelaide.

EASTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus eximius) [E]

After some brief looks at the Cumberland State Forest, everyone caught up with this beautiful parrot at Natimuk Lake Caravan Park.

WESTERN ROSELLA (Platycercus icterotis) [E]

We had awesome looks at a pair perched up at the Lower King Bridge in Albany.

GREATER BLUEBONNET (YELLOW-VENTED) (Northiella haematogaster haematogaster)

Some sharp spotting by Chris got us some great looks at a pair perched right on the side of the road on the way to Wyperfeld National Park.

RED-RUMPED PARROT (Psephotus haematonotus) [E]

These beautiful parrots were common around the Little Desert Lodge.

MULGA PARROT (Psephotellus varius) [E]

One of the group's favorite birds of the trip! We got incredible looks at a pair along the Santa Teresa Rd.

RED-CAPPED PARROT (Purpureicephalus spurius) [E]

We got our first looks of this pretty parrot at the Wungong Dam.

BUDGERIGAR (Melopsittacus undulatus) [E]

One came down to a puddle left by a water truck along the Santa Teresa Rd.

PURPLE-CROWNED LORIKEET (Parvipsitta porphyrocephala) [E]

Often seen in flight zipping through the trees, we did get some great looks at perched birds at the Little Desert Lodge and the Dryandra Woodland.

MUSK LORIKEET (Glossopsitta concinna) [E]

These small Lorikeets were right across the road from our hotel in Adelaide!

RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus moluccanus) [E]

Loud, colorful, and plentiful around Sydney. Now that it's been split up, Rainbow Lorikeets are endemic to Australia!

Menuridae (Lyrebirds)

SUPERB LYREBIRD (Menura novaehollandiae) [E]

Somewhat of a frustrating experience with these unfortunately. We heard them exceptionally well giving a variety of calls and mimicry, but they were on the other side of the river from us, so viewing conditions were less than ideal. Everyone eventually got a look at one, but better views were desired.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The weird and wild Musk Duck. We got incredible views of a couple displaying males at Lake Purrumbete. Photo by Guide Alex Sundvall.
Atrichornithidae (Scrub-birds)

NOISY SCRUB-BIRD (Atrichornis clamosus) [E]

I'm not sure anyone really glimpsed this bird when it perched for a quarter of a second, but we heard a few of these incredibly secretive, range-restricted endangered species.

Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)

GREEN CATBIRD (Ailuroedus crassirostris) [E]

We heard and briefly saw a couple of these at Royal National Park. Taxonomically they are bowerbirds, but they don't make bowers!

SATIN BOWERBIRD (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus) [E]

A couple of these were near a probable bower at Royal National Park.

WESTERN BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera guttata) [E]

We had an incredible experience with one at Olive Pink Botanic Garden attending to its bower!

Climacteridae (Australasian Treecreepers)

WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (Cormobates leucophaea) [E]

This was our Treecreeper at Royal National Park and through Victoria.

BROWN TREECREEPER (Climacteris picumnus) [E]

After some searching we got some great views at Wyperfeld National Park.

RUFOUS TREECREEPER (Climacteris rufus) [E]

This was one of our targets at Dryandra and we got some stunning views of this Treecreeper!

Maluridae (Fairywrens)

STRIATED GRASSWREN (Amytornis striatus) [E]

Grasswrens are notoriously difficult, but we managed some really great views at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.

SOUTHERN EMUWREN (Stipiturus malachurus) [E]

These secretive birds were challenging to get a good view of, but we did eventually get some views of birds mostly in the open at Hamelin Bay Beach.

MALLEE EMUWREN (Stipiturus mallee) [E]

This is often an incredibly tough bird and one the trip misses more often than not. Usually this requires hours of walking around the spinifex with no luck. It took us maybe 30 minutes to get incredible views of one this year!

RED-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus elegans) [E]

Our first views were right at our feet at Wungong Dam!

BLUE-BREASTED FAIRYWREN (Malurus pulcherrimus) [E]

One of our big targets at Dryandra, and after some searching, we got great looks at both males and females flitting around the bushes.

PURPLE-BACKED FAIRYWREN (Malurus assimilis) [E]

Recently split from Variegated Fairywren, this was our Fairywren around Mount Arapiles.

VARIEGATED FAIRYWREN (Malurus lamberti) [E]

Now with the split of Variegated, the only place we saw this species was at Royal National Park.

SPLENDID FAIRYWREN (Malurus splendens) [E]

We got to see three subspecies of Splendid Fairywren, with the best views of the "Splendidest" Fairywren while in Western Australia!

SUPERB FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyaneus) [E]

Our most common and widespread species of Fairywren, and often very accommodating!

WHITE-WINGED FAIRYWREN (Malurus leucopterus) [E]

Our first and best views as a group came from Macs Rd, where we were looking for Chats. Some of the group got some lovely views at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds. Of all the Fairywrens, this is the hardest to get great looks at, especially of the males.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We got remarkable views of a Hooded Plover during one of our stops along the coast of Victoria. Photo by Sue Norris.
Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)

EASTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris) [E]

Some wonderful views of this dapper honeyeater at Royal National Park.

WESTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus superciliosus) [E]

We never got amazing views of this species, but one of our better looks happened along Salt River Rd.

LEWIN'S HONEYEATER (Meliphaga lewinii) [E]

This was our common honeyeater at Royal National Park, and it was very common!

YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER (Caligavis chrysops) [E]

This was the other honeyeater at Royal National Park. We did have these other places during the trip, but Royal was our best experience with them.

YELLOW-TUFTED HONEYEATER (Lichenostomus melanops) [E]

Some excellent looks at these striking honeyeaters while looking for Koalas in the Needles.

BELL MINER (Manorina melanophrys) [E]

These sounded a bit like tinkling bells or rope hitting a flagpole. We made a special trip to see these at the Cumberland State Forest.

NOISY MINER (Manorina melanocephala) [E]

Very common around Sydney, especially around Centennial Park.

YELLOW-THROATED MINER (Manorina flavigula) [E]

We had tons of these at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, and got great views of one grabbing a drink at their water feature!

SPINY-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Acanthagenys rufogularis) [E]

These were fairly common in low numbers all throughout the drier areas we visited. Our first looks were at Mount Arapiles.

LITTLE WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera chrysoptera) [E]

This was our common Wattlebird around Sydney. They were surprisingly common this year!

RED WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera carunculata) [E]

Despite our joke of seeing New Holland Honeyeaters everywhere, this was actually the Honeyeater we reported the most times!

SINGING HONEYEATER (Gavicalis virescens) [E]

We got incredible views of these right in the middle of the path catching ants at Split Point.


Our best views of these came from Dryandra Woodlands, where we really got to see the plumes!

WHITE-PLUMED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula penicillata) [E]

A wonderfully common and pretty Honeyeater, that were called a number of different names over the course of the trip. At least we could see the plumes on Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, I don't think we ever saw them on these...

GRAY-HEADED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula keartlandi) [E]

We had these one morning around Alice Springs right on the side of the road! Like a mini Singing Honeyeater.

CRIMSON CHAT (Epthianura tricolor) [E]

Some of us got on a surprise flyover of a group along the Santa Teresa Rd! Otherwise, I think the rest of the group saw the one along Macs Rd with the large flock of other Chats. Like Down Under's Vermilion Flycatchers!

ORANGE CHAT (Epthianura aurifrons) [E]

We had a small group of these attractive chats in a big mixed flock along Macs Rd.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of Australia's most colorful and charismatic birds, the Rainbow Lorikeet! Photo by Chris Williams.

WHITE-FRONTED CHAT (Epthianura albifrons) [E]

While we had a couple at the Western Treatment Plant, our best looks came from the big mixed flock along Macs Rd.

SCARLET MYZOMELA (Myzomela sanguinolenta)

We only had these at Royal National Park, and never great looks.

TAWNY-CROWNED HONEYEATER (Gliciphila melanops) [E]

This was the incredibly distant bird perched up while walking looking for Fieldwrens at Little Desert Lodge.

BROWN HONEYEATER (Lichmera indistincta) [E]

These relatively drab honeyeaters were common around Wungong Dam.

CRESCENT HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus) [E]

Our first looks at these came from the Kennett River area where the parrots were landing on our heads. They were way up in the trees and not particularly cooperative.

NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae) [E]

The most numerous honeyeater for the trip by a not close margin.

WHITE-CHEEKED HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris niger) [E]

Very similar to the New Holland Honeyeaters, our first looks came from the Giant Ram Park in Wagin.

WHITE-EARED HONEYEATER (Nesoptilotis leucotis) [E]

Not particularly common, but we did get some wonderful looks at the Little Desert Lodge!

BLUE-FACED HONEYEATER (Entomyzon cyanotis)

This honeyeater was right beside the bus as we were leaving Mildura one morning.

GILBERT'S HONEYEATER (Melithreptus chloropsis) [E]

This was our other honeyeater around Wungong Dam.

WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus lunatus) [E]

This was our only Honeyeater along the Turtons Track.

BROWN-HEADED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus brevirostris) [E]

We got great looks at this somewhat drab honeyeater along Elliott Rd in Apollo Bay.

BLACK-CHINNED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus gularis) [E]

We got excellent views of a small group of these at Little Desert Lodge.

STRIPED HONEYEATER (Plectorhyncha lanceolata) [E]

We only saw these at Wyperfeld National Park. Fun fact, over 10% of the species we saw for the entire trip were honeyeaters!

LITTLE FRIARBIRD (Philemon citreogularis)

Our only encounter with this bird was a brief sighting at the top of a tree in the parking lot of Hattah-Kulkyne.

NOISY FRIARBIRD (Philemon corniculatus)

We saw this strange honeyeater interacting with Wattlebirds in a flowering tree while searching for Koalas in The Needles.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The group got marvelous views of a roving flock of Varied Sittellas in the Dryandra Woodlands. These weird birds replace Nuthatches on the other side of the Wallace Line. They are very sexually dimorphic, a male here. Photo by Whitney Mortimer.
Dasyornithidae (Bristlebirds)

WESTERN BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis longirostris) [E]

These were mostly heard at Cheyne's Beach, but one decided to run up the two track right to our feet!

RUFOUS BRISTLEBIRD (Dasyornis broadbenti) [E]

This typically shy bird was incredible cooperative, catching bugs along a hedge and driveway along Split Point.

Pardalotidae (Pardalotes)

SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus punctatus) [E]

We got to watch a pair of these building a nest at Royal National Park!

SPOTTED PARDALOTE (YELLOW-RUMPED) (Pardalotus punctatus xanthopyge) [E]

This was the form of Spotted Pardalote around Little Desert Lodge.

RED-BROWED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus rubricatus) [E]

We had great scope looks at a small group of these along the Santa Teresa Rd.

STRIATED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus striatus) [E]

Our most numerous Pardalote by a wide margin. We got some of our best views along Asses Ears Rd and Wyperfeld National Park.

Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)

PILOTBIRD (Pycnoptilus floccosus) [E]

This was mostly heard only for us at Royal National Park; I'm not sure exactly how many people actually saw it across the river from us.

SHY HEATHWREN (Hylacola cauta) [E]

We got wonderful views of this well named secretive bird at the Little Desert Lodge.

CHESTNUT-RUMPED HEATHWREN (Hylacola pyrrhopygia) [E]

This was our main target our morning along Coalmine Rd. The Heathwrens are actually related to Thornbills and Gerygones despite their wildly different behavior and habits!

STRIATED FIELDWREN (Calamanthus fuliginosus) [E]

We only had these in one of the fields at the Western Treatment Plant.

RUFOUS FIELDWREN (Calamanthus campestris) [E]

This was our main target on our walk through the arid grassy scrubland around the Little Desert Lodge.

WESTERN FIELDWREN (Calamanthus montanellus) [E]

A lifer for Chris! This recent split of Rufous Fieldwren was a new bird for the trip, and a big target for us along the Salt River Rd. We were treated to crushing views of a singing bird right at our feet!

WEEBILL (Smicrornis brevirostris) [E]

This cutie graced us with its mnemonic song "I'm a WEEbill!"

YELLOW-THROATED SCRUBWREN (Neosericornis citreogularis) [E]

We watched a pair of these building a nest at Royal National Park around the picnic area. Reminiscent of a Common Yellowthroat.

ROCKWARBLER (Origma solitaria) [E]

The only New South Wales endemic! We got excellent views of them at Royal National Park.

WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis frontalis) [E]

Our first good looks at these were at Royal National Park.

SPOTTED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis maculatus maculatus) [E]

These were our Scrubwrens in the SW, with our best looks at Cheyne's Beach.

YELLOW-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza chrysorrhoa) [E]

Some of us got incredible looks at one of these on the lawn behind the Little Desert Lodge!

YELLOW THORNBILL (Acanthiza nana) [E]

Our first looks at these came from the Little Desert Lodge.

STRIATED THORNBILL (Acanthiza lineata) [E]

We got great looks at these in Royal National Park.

INLAND THORNBILL (Acanthiza apicalis) [E]

Thornbills are very difficult to tell apart; these replaced Brown Thornbills in the central and western part of the country.

BROWN THORNBILL (Acanthiza pusilla) [E]

These "little brown jobs" were common at Royal National Park.

SLATY-BACKED THORNBILL (Acanthiza robustirostris)

Surprise! After some photo review, the drab Thornbill we weren't confident on and called an Inland on one of our mornings around Alice Springs was actually this species! We were wondering at the time if it might be, but instead called it the more common species after some thought. But the photos showed the plainer breast and clean undertail coverts more indicative of this species and after sending it to some folks confirmed it to this species.

SLENDER-BILLED THORNBILL (Acanthiza iredalei) [E]

This was another big target on our walk through the arid grasslands around the Little Desert Lodge.

CHESTNUT-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza uropygialis) [E]

We got great views of these at Wyperfeld National Park.

WESTERN THORNBILL (Acanthiza inornata) [E]

We only had these in the Dryandra Woodlands.

BUFF-RUMPED THORNBILL (Acanthiza reguloides) [E]

These surprisingly distinctive Thornbills were all over Asses Ears Rd.

BROWN GERYGONE (Gerygone mouki) [E]

We only had these at Royal National Park.

WESTERN GERYGONE (Gerygone fusca) [E]

We had these tinkling singers throughout the SW with our first looks coming from Wungong Dam.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Voted one of our favorite birds of the trip, we saw this stunning Mulga Parrot along the Santa Teresa Road. Photo by Whitney Mortimer.
Pomatostomidae (Pseudo-Babblers)

WHITE-BROWED BABBLER (Pomatostomus superciliosus) [E]

We got some wonderful views of these at Mount Arapiles.

CHESTNUT-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus ruficeps) [E]

This was one of our targets at Hattah-Kulkyne, the only place we had them.

Cinclosomatidae (Quail-thrushes and Jewel-babblers)

CHESTNUT QUAIL-THRUSH (Cinclosoma castanotum) [E]

We had this bird right off the side of the road when we stopped to search for Emuwrens. An incredible spot and great views of this normally shy species.

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)

BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae)

These large and charismatic birds were pretty much everywhere for us with observations nearly every day.

WHITE-WINGED TRILLER (Lalage tricolor)

Smaller and more retiring than their Cuckooshrike cousins, we got excellent views of these migrants around the Little Desert Lodge.

Neosittidae (Sittellas)

VARIED SITTELLA (Daphoenositta chrysoptera) [E]

A big highlight while we were in Dryandra! These well named nuthatch-like birds were very accommodating, giving us great views of males and females.

Psophodidae (Whipbirds and Wedgebills)

EASTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes olivaceus) [E]

We mostly heard their unique song, eventually getting some views at Royal National Park.

WESTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes nigrogularis) [E]

This was a tough one really making us work to get views. Heard well, and everyone eventually got views of it at Cheyne's Beach.

CHIMING WEDGEBILL (Psophodes occidentalis) [E]

After hearing their song endlessly, we eventually tracked them down for some views at the end of the Santa Teresa Rd.

Oreoicidae (Australo-Papuan Bellbirds)

CRESTED BELLBIRD (Oreoica gutturalis) [E]

I think most of the group got on this bird at the end of the Santa Teresa Rd. Certainly well heard!

Falcunculidae (Shrike-tits)

EASTERN SHRIKE-TIT (Falcunculus frontatus) [E]

After only hearing this at Royal National Park, we tracked down a pair of them on Elliott Rd for some wonderful views!

WESTERN SHRIKE-TIT (Falcunculus leucogaster) [E]

All of the Shrike-tits used to be one species, Crested Shrike-tit. Now they've been split 3 ways based on where they are in Australia. We had these in the Dryandra Woodlands.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A mammal on just about everyone's bucket list: A Short-beaked Echidna! Thanks to some sharp spotting by Craig for pointing this out to us! Photo by Nancy Hoffman.
Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)

GRAY SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica)

These drab but beautiful singers were practically everywhere for us; their songs were a near daily backdrop.

OLIVE WHISTLER (Pachycephala olivacea) [E]

We tracked down a couple of these shy and drab singers along Elliott Rd.

GILBERT'S WHISTLER (Pachycephala inornata) [E]

An absolutely outstanding experience with this usually very shy singer completely out in the open at Mount Arapiles. Chris stressed that this was not a normal occurrence!

GOLDEN WHISTLER (Pachycephala pectoralis)

These beautiful birds were all around Royal National Park.

WESTERN WHISTLER (Pachycephala fuliginosa) [E]

We got our first views of this recent split from Golden Whistler around one of the Malleefowl nests.

RUFOUS WHISTLER (Pachycephala rufiventris)

These pretty singers were around Royal National Park, but we had them all throughout the trip with some incredible looks around Jessie Gap.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)

OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE (Oriolus sagittatus)

Unrelated to our new world orioles back home, we got a nice look at one at Centennial Park in Sydney.

AUSTRALASIAN FIGBIRD (Sphecotheres vieilloti)

We only had these strange orioles around Centennial Park.

Artamidae (Woodswallows, Bellmagpies, and Allies)


One of our less common Woodswallows; we made a point to stop and see these while taking a bathroom stop in the town of Rainbow.

MASKED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus personatus) [E]

One of the Woodswallows we had around Little Desert Lodge. This was the least common of the two in all of the large flocks around the grounds.

WHITE-BROWED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus superciliosus) [E]

Huge flocks of these gorgeous Woodswallows around the Little Desert Lodge and Hattah-Kulkyne National Park. Over three times more common than Masked Woodswallows on this trip; we saw thousands.

BLACK-FACED WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cinereus) [E]

We only had these handsome Woodswallows along the Santa Teresa Rd.

DUSKY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cyanopterus) [E]

One high flying bird around the Little Desert Lodge that I'm not sure everyone got on. We got better looks at a couple in the Dryandra Woodlands.

LITTLE WOODSWALLOW (Artamus minor) [E]

We got our best looks at some perched birds at Simpsons Gap.

GRAY BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus torquatus) [E]

We got great views of one on a nest our first afternoon of birding at Centennial Park.

PIED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus nigrogularis) [E]

We got to watch our first of these pretty singers hunting on the side of the road on our way to Wyperfeld National Park.

AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE (Gymnorhina tibicen)

Another bird nearly present everywhere we went (they get a little scarce around Alice Springs.) We got to see three of the five different subspecies groups: Black-backed around Sydney, northern Victoria, and Alice Springs; Western around Perth and the SW, and White-backed in the rest of Victoria.

PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina) [E]

We had our largest numbers of these wonderful birds our first day at Centennial Park.

GRAY CURRAWONG (Strepera versicolor) [E]

This is another bird with multiple distinct subspecies groups, of which we had two. Black-winged around the Little Desert Lodge and the Mallee of NW Victoria, and the nominate Gray in the SW around Dryandra.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Of all the wonderful Fairywrens we saw on our trip, Superb Fairywren is the one that won our hearts in the end. And it's easy to see why! Photo by Guide Alex Sundvall.
Rhipiduridae (Fantails)

WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys)

These silly birds were so charismatic and bubbly, making us smile everywhere we saw them. Keeping morale high, we saw them almost every day.

GRAY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albiscapa)

Willie's more reserved sibling, we enjoyed seeing them flit about the canopies in their unique way: fanning their tails and flicking their wings constantly.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)

BLACK-FACED MONARCH (Monarcha melanopsis) [E]

Thankfully these stunning migrants from Papua New Guinea were just returning to breed as we got to Royal National Park, giving us wonderful views.

MAGPIE-LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca)

Well named, these birds acted like Larks and looked like a Magpie. However in this case, just like with plants, the hyphen indicates a lie! Shockingly these birds are actually a member of the Monarch Flycatchers, just like the previous bird on the list.

LEADEN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra rubecula)

Another migrant from New Guinea only just returning as we birded Royal National Park.

RESTLESS FLYCATCHER (Myiagra inquieta) [E]

Like a giant Tree Swallow; we got great views of this glossy blue-black and white flycatcher at the Little Desert Lodge and Dryandra Woodlands.

Corcoracidae (White-winged Chough and Apostlebird)

WHITE-WINGED CHOUGH (Corcorax melanorhamphos) [E]

Not related at all to the Choughs in Europe; we had these funny looking birds around the Little Desert Lodge.

APOSTLEBIRD (Struthidea cinerea) [E]

Unfortunately due to difficulties with our lunch spot being closed, we did not have the most amazing experience with these strange birds. A few flyovers and heard around the parking lot of Hattah-Kulkyne.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

TORRESIAN CROW (Corvus orru)

Corvids in Australia are notoriously difficult to ID. This was our Corvid around Alice Springs that we saw singly or in very small groups.

LITTLE CROW (Corvus bennetti) [E]

This was our Corvid we had right at our hotel in Alice Springs and at the Alice Springs Sewage Ponds, often in larger groups.

AUSTRALIAN RAVEN (Corvus coronoides) [E]

The most common Corvid of our trip, almost everywhere we went. Adding to the difficulty that is Aussie Corvids, the subspecies we saw in SW Australia is likely actually a distinct species due to genetic and vocal data. Perhaps a future armchair tick?

LITTLE RAVEN (Corvus mellori) [E]

We had this Corvid primarily around Melbourne and Adelaide.

FOREST RAVEN (Corvus tasmanicus) [E]

Our only encounters with this Corvid came from our time in the forests above Apollo Bay around the Turtons Track.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We got to see a large flock of 50 Red-tailed Black-Cockatoos along the Santa Teresa Road. Photo by Chris Williams.
Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)

RED-CAPPED ROBIN (Petroica goodenovii) [E]

We got incredible views of a nice male at the Little Desert Lodge.

ROSE ROBIN (Petroica rosea) [E]

A gorgeous little bird, we got treated to a wonderfully cooperative bird along Skenes Creek.

SCARLET ROBIN (Petroica boodang) [E]

Some wonderful views of these beautiful little birds at the Little Desert Lodge. We also saw the geographically isolated Campbell's population at Dryandra.

JACKY-WINTER (Microeca fascinans)

We got our best looks of these silly named birds at Wyperfeld, doing their little shimmy with their wings and tails.

SOUTHERN SCRUB-ROBIN (Drymodes brunneopygia) [E]

Not a bird that is often or easily seen; we got incredible views of one our first morning at the Little Desert Lodge.

HOODED ROBIN (Melanodryas cucullata) [E]

We got our first views of these sharp black and white birds at the Little Desert Lodge.

EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria australis) [E]

These pretty little birds were all over Royal National Park.

WESTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria griseogularis) [E]

A nice pickup; our only encounter with this species was in the Dryandra Woodlands.

WHITE-BREASTED ROBIN (Eopsaltria georgiana) [E]

Not the most colorful of the robins, but they have their own subtle beauty! We got fabulous views of one at Wungong Dam.

Alaudidae (Larks)

EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis) [I]

Introduced in Australia, we had a handful of these talented singers at the Western Treatment Plant.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)


One of the more normal named Cisticolas, we got great views of one perched along the fence right along the road at the Western Treatment Plant.

Acrocephalidae (Reed Warblers and Allies)

AUSTRALIAN REED WARBLER (Acrocephalus australis)

Mostly heard, until a wonderfully cooperative bird around Lake Colac.

Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)

SPINIFEXBIRD (Poodytes carteri) [E]

A normally very difficult bird that requires a ton of searching, we got incredibly lucky getting it on our first try at our first spot right on the side of the road!

LITTLE GRASSBIRD (Poodytes gramineus)

These were mostly heard only, with some fleeting views of birds flitting around the reeds of the Western Treatment Plant and the marshes we visited around Adelaide.

BROWN SONGLARK (Cincloramphus cruralis) [E]

A pair of these incredible singers perched right next to the road for us at the Western Treatment Plant. This Songlark has the greatest sexual size difference of any Passerine.

RUFOUS SONGLARK (Cincloramphus mathewsi) [E]

After some less than ideal views earlier, we got wonderful views of these along the Santa Teresa Road.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

WHITE-BACKED SWALLOW (Cheramoeca leucosterna) [E]

We only had these striking and elusive Swallows around Alice Springs: Along the Santa Teresa Rd and the Sewage Ponds.

WELCOME SWALLOW (Hirundo neoxena)

We truly felt welcomed to Australia, with these being some of the first birds we saw our first afternoon birding together. They stuck with us most of the trip, only absent from Alice Springs.

FAIRY MARTIN (Petrochelidon ariel) [E]

Telling the two Martin species apart can be quite challenging. Thankfully we got some spectacular views of a small group mudding along a bank during our time in Adelaide!

TREE MARTIN (Petrochelidon nigricans)

Interspersed throughout the trip, often in flocks with Fairy Martins. Our first looks were around the Kennett River where the parrots landed on our heads. These were drabber and less pearly white than the Fairies.

Field Guides Birding Tours
A cute pair of Long-billed Corellas peaking out of their nest holes in the Grampians. Photo by Nancy Hoffman.
Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)

SILVEREYE (Zosterops lateralis)

These bouncy birds were often in big flocks roving around the greenery. Some particularly nice flocks and views at Royal National Park, Cave Point Lighthouse, and Cheyne's Beach.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

Introduced in Australia, though not as prevalent as they are in the States. Our first big flock came at the Western Treatment Plant.

COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) [I]

Introduced in Australia; these were around Sydney and the Western Treatment Plant.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

BASSIAN THRUSH (Zoothera lunulata)

An incredible bird spotted right on the side of the road while we were walking in the Grampians, such great camouflage! It seemed to slink back into the brush as suddenly as it appeared.

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) [I]

While I never heard one singing in the dead of night, we did have these marvelous singers throughout their introduced range throughout the southern coast of Victoria and Southern Australia.

Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)

MISTLETOEBIRD (Dicaeum hirundinaceum)

We got great looks at these vibrant Flowerpeckers at Simpsons Gap, where we finally got on a male! Like the Vermilion Flycatchers of Australia.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

DIAMOND FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura guttata) [E]

These cute little finches were all around the grounds of the Little Desert Lodge.

RED-EARED FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura oculata) [E]

We only had this difficult finch at Cheyne's Beach, and only some of us were at the proper angle for unobstructed views during its brief time in the open.

BEAUTIFUL FIRETAIL (Stagonopleura bella) [E]

One of the hardest of the Firetails, and set us off on our quest to see all the possible Firetails on the trip. We got great views of this intricate and well named finch at Royal National Park.

RED-BROWED FIRETAIL (Neochmia temporalis) [E]

We only had this finch on our walk looking for Koalas at The Needles.

PAINTED FIRETAIL (Emblema pictum) [E]

The Firetail that completed our quest to see them all, even if it's not really considered a true Firetail. We got great views of a few of these striking finches coming in to the water at Serpentine Gorge.

ZEBRA FINCH (AUSTRALIAN) (Taeniopygia guttata castanotis)

So strange to see these popular pet birds in the wild! We saw multiple big groups roving around the deserts in Alice Springs, almost reminiscent of Redpolls.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Familiar and introduced in Australia. Just like with Starlings however, not nearly as prevalent as in the States. We only had them around cities in Victoria and Southern Australia.

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

AUSTRALIAN PIPIT (Anthus australis australis)

Our first experience with these was on the sides of the road on the way to Wyperfeld National Park.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) [I]

Introduced in Australia, we had small groups at the Western Treatment Plant and Mount Arapiles.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We lucked out with incredible views of Spinifexbird right on the side of the road near the Ormiston Gorge! This is one that often requires hours of searching. Photo by Sue Norris.


SHORT-BEAKED ECHIDNA (Tachyglossus aculeatus) [E]

What a spot by Craig! An incredible experience with this very strange mammal at the Little Desert Lodge. A bucket list sighting for many of us!

KOALA (Phascolarctos cinereus) [E]

One of Australia's best known animals; we had challenging views of one at The Needles, and then absolutely wonderful views of a couple at the Kennett River.

COMMON BRUSHTAIL POSSUM (Trichosurus vulpecula) [E]

This was the Possum in the talons of the Powerful Owl at Royal National Park.

BRUSH-TAILED BETTONG (WOYLIE) (Bettongia penicillatus) [E]

A few of us got on this strange Wallaby-like animal on the side of the road in the Dryandra Woodlands.

BLACK-FOOTED ROCK-WALLABY (Petrogale lateralis) [E]

Thanks to some sharp spotting at Emily's Gap, we still have yet to miss this species on a trip! This species is listed as Endangered in Australia.

EASTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus giganteus) [E]

Our first Kangaroos of the trip! These were all around our hotel in the Grampians.

WESTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus fuliginosus) [E]

We had fantastic looks at these in the Dryandra Woodlands and Cheyne's Beach.

COMMON WALLAROO (Macropus robustus) [E]

This in between Kangaroo/Wallaby was seen at the Olive Pink Botanic Garden in Alice Springs.

RED KANGAROO (Macropus rufus) [E]

A brief sighting by some folks near the front of the bus around Alice Springs. A big kangaroo in the middle of and then crossing the road far in front of the bus.

SWAMP WALLABY (Wallabia bicolor) [E]

One old grizzled Swamp Wallaby with all the climbers in the parking lot of Mount Arapiles.

HONEY POSSUM (Tarsipes spenserae)

Happy Birthday to Chris! We saw a small group of these feeding on Scallop Hakea flowers at Cheyne's Beach. This was only the second time Chris had seen them in all his years coming to Australia, and we got an incredible show!

GRAY-HEADED FLYING-FOX (Pteropus poliocephalus) [E]

A huge roost of these large bats hangs out at Centennial Park in Sydney. While there are a couple other bat species present in the roost, we could only confidently identify these.

OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) [I]

Introduced to Australia; we had them often running from the bus on the sides of the road.

WATER-RAT (Hydromys chrysogaster) [E]

Swimming along the St. Kilda Pier before we went on our Penguin Cruise.

HUMPBACK WHALE (Megaptera novaeangliae)

Seen far offshore a couple of times when seawatching in the SW.

RED FOX (Vulpes vulpes) [I]

Introduced in Australia to eat the introduced Rabbits; we first saw one at the Western Treatment Plant.

CAPE (AUSTRALIAN) FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus pusillus)

We saw these far offshore on some rocks in Apollo Bay.

WILD HORSE (Equus caballus) [I]

Seen while driving around the desert near Alice Springs.

RED DEER (Cervus elaphus) [I]

Some of us saw some while driving around the Grampians.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Scream! Everywhere we went there were Fairywrens greeting us. This Purple-backed Fairywren was singing away at Mount Arapiles. Photo by Whitney Mortimer.

Totals for the tour: 322 bird taxa and 19 mammal taxa