A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Australia Part 2 2022

October 18-November 7, 2022 with John Coons & Jun Matsui (northern Queenland) guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Perhaps the trip highlight was the family of Southern Cassowaries that surprisingly walked out of the forest just after our lunch at Mt. Hypipamee NP, strolled around a bit, then vanished into the trees again. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

Many years ago one of our tour participants commented that it seemed all of Australia was a national park. That certainly seems true since great birds and other wildlife can be found as soon as you get out of just about any city in Australia. And, in our case even within some cities such as Darwin and Cairns. Our trip covered a lot of territory, starting in the Top End where we birded the mangroves, coastline, botanic gardens, paperbark woodland, marshes and waterholes. A common thread between these habitats were a steady array of birds and the hot weather. We then flew to Cairns in northern Queensland to bird the Cairns foreshore, Centenary Lakes, and the rainforest and drier forests of the Atherton Tableland, as well as venturing further west to the edge of the outback around the small town of Georgetown. In southeastern Queensland, we headed straight to the well-known O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, where we enjoyed great birds in a wonderful setting as we explored more rainforest and open eucalypt forest. From Brisbane, a few of our group headed home while six of us continued to the island state of Tasmania for some much appreciated cooler weather and a slew of birds endemic to the island. Unfortunately, the heavy rains of the preceding month washed out a substantial bridge a week before we arrived and we could not get to our lodge in the northwest part of the island. We switched to a comfortable place to stay in the town of Sheffield but we were unable to access one of the last remaining sites where Tasmanian Devils can be counted on. Fortunately, we were able to catch up on the birds we wanted to see.

With all the varied habitats we had many memorable encounters. Some of the highlights included the family of four Southern Cassowaries that strolled through the clearing, a slew of colorful rainforest pigeons, a Marbled Frogmouth perched just overhead and three nests of Tawny Frogmouths, a pair of usually very difficult to see Chestnut Rails in the mangroves at Darwin as one of our first birds of the trip, the Lewin's Rail walking across the track, our Beach Thick-knee suddenly appearing on the sandbar, a pair of sharply marked Hooded Plovers on a beach in Tasmania, the white morph Gray Goshawk also in Tasmania, an afternoon with a pair of Rufous Owls and four Barking Owls in Darwin, hearing and seeing the iconic Laughing Kookaburra, our late afternoon spent with the Glossy Black-Cockatoos in the forest below O'Reilly's, very close encounters with King Parrots and Crimson Rosellas, great views of both Noisy and Rainbow pittas, two sightings of Albert's Lyrebird, an exquisite male Golden Bowerbird near its bower, Regent, Satin, Tooth-billed and Great bowerbirds as well, Black-tailed Treecreepers, four species of colorful fairywrens, a huge number of honeyeaters in all shapes and sizes, close views of the very local Scrubtit in Tasmania, a perched up White-eared Monarch, squabbling Apostlebirds, both Rose and Pink robins, and the finch flocks at the waterholes at Georgetown, among others. As everyone knows, Australia has some really cool mammals and we enjoyed views of the bizarre Platypus, several lovable looking Common Wombats on Tasmania, very close views of the quite cute Krefft's (Sugar) Glider and the uncommonly seen black and white Striped Possum, nine species of small to large kangaroos, as well as flying foxes and a couple of dingos.

Thanks should be given to our drivers and local guides who helped us throughout the trip, Anna in Darwin, Jun in the Cairns and Tableland area, Matt at O'Reilly's, and Grant on Tasmania.

It was great fun to be birding with all of you in Australia, and I look froward to seeing you all again in another corner of the world.


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)

SOUTHERN CASSOWARY (Casuarius casuarius)

We had a tremendous experience with this incredible bird at Mt. Hypipamee on the Atherton Tableland. After seeing a bunch of great birds in the morning and having lunch, we were hoping and hoping and soon a pair of Cassowaries with two large chicks in tow walked out of the forest and right through the clearing in plain view. Jun and I were down the trail a bit contemplating our next move before we walked back and learned of the excitement for all. I was able to walk just behind the restroom and saw three of the birds in the forest before they disappeared. Wow!

Anseranatidae (Magpie Goose)

MAGPIE GOOSE (Anseranas semipalmata)

We saw several around Darwin and more on the Tableland.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

WANDERING WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna arcuata)

We saw this species a few times in the Darwin area and again west of Cairns.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We enjoyed great views of a handful of very uncommon Glossy Black-Cockatoos tending to a young one at a nest cavity in the eucalypt forest below O’Reilly’s. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

CAPE BARREN GOOSE (Cereopsis novaehollandiae)

We saw a few adults with chicks at the small lake outside of Launceston on our first morning in Tasmania.

BLACK SWAN (Cygnus atratus)

We enjoyed nice views of this handsome bird at Innot Hot Springs on the way to Georgetown, then we saw heaps of them in Tasmania.

RADJAH SHELDUCK (Radjah radjah)

Our only sighting was at the pond at Yorkey's Knob the day we arrived in Cairns.

AUSTRALIAN SHELDUCK (Tadorna tadornoides)

We saw this species a few times in Tasmania.

GREEN PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus pulchellus)

We saw good numbers of this small duck in the Darwin area and again at a few places in the Cairns area and again at Georgetown.

COTTON PYGMY-GOOSE (Nettapus coromandelianus)

A quite uncommon and local species; we found about 12 on the pond at Innot Hot Springs on our way to Georgetown.

MANED DUCK (Chenonetta jubata)

We saw a few here and there around the Cairns and Tableland area, then more in Tasmania where there were chicks with the adults.

PACIFIC BLACK DUCK (Anas superciliosa)

Once we left Darwin this was the most widespread duck we encountered.

MALLARD (Anas platyrhynchos) [I]

We saw a couple at the park in Deloraine in Tasmania, where they would be rather "friendly" individuals.

GRAY TEAL (Anas gracilis)

Our first ones were seen at Hasties Swamp on the Atherton Tableland.

CHESTNUT TEAL (Anas castanea)

There were about six individuals on the roadside pond that we birded in northern Tasmania.

HARDHEAD (Aythya australis)

Also known as White-eyed Duck; we saw a few in Darwin then more around the Tableland.

MUSK DUCK (Biziura lobata)

Two males were displaying to each other at the pond outside of Launceston on our first morning in Tasmania. This is a quite unusual duck with a flap of skin hanging from its throat.

Megapodiidae (Megapodes)


These were quite common in the moister areas of the Cairns/Atherton Tableland area and again at O'Reilly's. We saw one actively working its mound at O'Reilly's.

ORANGE-FOOTED SCRUBFOWL (Megapodius reinwardt)

This odd looking species was commonly seen in Darwin and again around Cairns.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

AUSTRALASIAN GREBE (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae)

We saw a few here and there at ponds west of Cairns.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE (Podiceps cristatus)

There were at least 70 individuals on Lake Barrine, the crater lake near Yungaburra.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) [I]

WHITE-HEADED PIGEON (Columba leucomela)

Our only sighting was an individual on a power line on the Atherton Tableland.

SPOTTED DOVE (Streptopelia chinensis) [I]

BROWN CUCKOO-DOVE (Macropygia phasianella)

We saw a few around Chambers Wildlife Lodge.

PACIFIC EMERALD DOVE (Chalcophaps longirostris)

After a fly-by or two we saw one walking around the steps of one of the cabins at Chambers.

COMMON BRONZEWING (Phaps chalcoptera)

We saw several at the waterhole at Georgetown.

BRUSH BRONZEWING (Phaps elegans)

We saw a couple in Tasmania.

CRESTED PIGEON (Ocyphaps lophotes)

These were pretty commonly seen in the dry country, especially around Georgetown.

SQUATTER PIGEON (Geophaps scripta)

This local species was seen numerous times around Georgetown.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the birds most identified with Australia is the Laughing Kookaburra. We enjoyed a few great looks at it in SE Queensland and again in Tasmania after seeing its close relative, the Blue-winged Kookaburra, earlier in the trip. Photo by participant Craig Caldwell.

WONGA PIGEON (Leucosarcia melanoleuca)

O'Reilly's has to be the best place to see this usually shy pigeon as they walk around in the open here.

DIAMOND DOVE (Geopelia cuneata)

We only saw a couple that came to drink at Durham Dam at Georgetown.

PEACEFUL DOVE (Geopelia placida)

BAR-SHOULDERED DOVE (Geopelia humeralis)

Quite commonly seen.

WOMPOO FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus magnificus)

This large colorful pigeon was scoped a couple of times above Carins on the Tableland.

SUPERB FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus superbus)

A few of these were seen on the Atherton Tableland, another stunner.

ROSE-CROWNED FRUIT-DOVE (Ptilinopus regina)

We ended up seeing several at East Point on our first morning in the field at Darwin.


These were quite common in the low coastal areas of Darwin and Cairns.

TOPKNOT PIGEON (Lopholaimus antarcticus)

We only saw these flying at O'Reilly's, where we had a flock of 13 pass over on one occasion.

Otididae (Bustards)

AUSTRALIAN BUSTARD (Ardeotis australis)

Our first were seen in the large pasture near Fogg Dam, then we saw at least six individuals near Durham Dam at Georgetown.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

PHEASANT COUCAL (Centropus phasianinus)

We were quite fortunate to see this large cuckoo several times. Most of the sightings were right next to roads before the birds ducked into thick vegetation.

PACIFIC KOEL (AUSTRALIAN) (Eudynamys orientalis cyanocephalus)

We heard several and had some nice looks at a few in the Georgetown area.

CHANNEL-BILLED CUCKOO (Scythrops novaehollandiae)

This large, loud, and raucous cuckoo showed well on a few occasions around Georgetown.

SHINING BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx lucidus)

We heard a couple around Darwin but saw one very well near O'Reilly's, then had a few more calling in Tasmania.

LITTLE BRONZE-CUCKOO (Chrysococcyx minutillus) [*]

LITTLE BRONZE-CUCKOO (GOULD'S) (Chrysococcyx minutillus russatus)

One showed pretty well on our first morning near Cairns.

PALLID CUCKOO (Cacomantis pallidus)

A migrant that winters north of Australia; we finally caught up with this bird on Bruny Island in Tasmania.

FAN-TAILED CUCKOO (Cacomantis flabelliformis)

We had a few giving their distinctive trill call, with our first one showing well at the Forty Mile Scrub National Park.

BRUSH CUCKOO (Cacomantis variolosus)

These were calling a lot in the Darwin area where we saw them a time or two, then again in the Cairns area.

Podargidae (Frogmouths)

TAWNY FROGMOUTH (Podargus strigoides)

This unusual bird showed well. At Georgetown we saw one on a nest with two chicks with another adult nearby. Then we ended up seeing two more nests at O'Reilly's.

MARBLED FROGMOUTH (PLUMED) (Podargus ocellatus plumiferus)

Matt took us to a spot near O'Reilly's where, after hearing it call in the distance for awhile, we ended up getting great looks at this very local species right overhead.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LARGE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus macrurus)

A calling bird showed very well for us at Fogg Dam in the early morning.

Apodidae (Swifts)

AUSTRALIAN SWIFTLET (Aerodramus terraereginae)

We saw several of these in the Cairns area on our first morning with many of them showing well at Centenary Lakes.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

LEWIN'S RAIL (Lewinia pectoralis)

Matt really came through after telling us of his recent sighting of this rarely seen species near O'Reilly's. We heard it calling and it quickly walked across the open track for the best view I have ever had of it.

CHESTNUT RAIL (Gallirallus castaneoventris)

This is a quite difficult to see species that inhabits mangroves around northern Australia. It was one of the first birds we saw after going out from the Darwin airport. We saw two of these walking amongst the mangrove roots while we looked down on them. It was a great way to start the trip.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of a plethora of honeyeaters we encountered during our travels, Yellow-faced Honeyeater has a loud voice in the open eucalyptus forest of eastern and southeastern Australia. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

BUFF-BANDED RAIL (Gallirallus philippensis)

We only had one run across the road in front of the bus.

TASMANIAN NATIVEHEN (Tribonyx mortierii)

One of the endemic birds of Australia; we saw them many times around the edges of ponds and in pastures.

DUSKY MOORHEN (Gallinula tenebrosa)

Our only ones were seen at Innot Hot Springs on the way to Georgetown.

EURASIAN COOT (Fulica atra)

Seen here and there.

AUSTRALASIAN SWAMPHEN (Porphyrio melanotus melanotus)

We saw a handful around Hasties Swamp and then more in Tasmania.

WHITE-BROWED CRAKE (Poliolimnas cinereus)

Surprisingly, these were quite conspicuous in the marsh at Fogg Dam, where they strutted about in the open and even stood atop one of the large lotus leaves for quite awhile.

Gruidae (Cranes)

SARUS CRANE (Antigone antigone)

We had nice looks at this species on the day we climbed up on the Atherton Tableland. This species is much more limited in range than the following.

BROLGA (Antigone rubicunda)

We saw our first at Fogg Dam outside of Darwin then had a few more on the Atherton Tableland that offered a nearby comparison to the Sarus Cranes. We also saw a couple near Georgetown.

Burhinidae (Thick-knees)

BUSH THICK-KNEE (Burhinus grallarius)

We saw about ten individuals at East Point near Darwin then a handful here and there in the Cairns area later. We could hear them each evening and night from our motel as they vocalized on the Cairns Esplanade. Most unusual was seeing one on the lawn at O'Reilly's with no one knowing how it ended up there.

BEACH THICK-KNEE (Esacus magnirostris)

This quite unusual looking thick-knee was first looked for in the Darwin area without luck. We then went with Jun to Machans Beach near Cairns and waited a bit for the tide to shift and one suddenly appeared on a sandbar just off shore. It ended up showing very well for us.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

PIED STILT (Himantopus leucocephalus)

We saw a couple at waterholes at Hasties Swamp and at Georgetown.

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

PIED OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus longirostris)

We saw a couple of these in Darwin and at Cairns before seeing several more on Tasmania.

SOOTY OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus fuliginosus)

We saw several on the north coast of Tasmania and again on Bruny Island on our last day of birding.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)


A few were seen near Darwin but the best views were on the sandbar at Machans Beach near Cairns where we counted 14 individuals.

BANDED LAPWING (Vanellus tricolor)

A quite local species throughout its range; we happened on one, then another, then more for a total of about 18, including chicks, as we crossed the central highlands of Tasmania.

MASKED LAPWING (Vanellus miles)

We saw these everyday of the trip except one.

LESSER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius mongolus)

A couple were on the sandy beach at Darwin.

GREATER SAND-PLOVER (Charadrius leschenaultii)

We saw more of these at Darwin then again on the Esplanade at Cairns.

RED-CAPPED PLOVER (Charadrius ruficapillus)

This rather distinctive looking plover was seen well on the tidal flat at Cairns.

HOODED PLOVER (Thinornis cucullatus)

A brilliantly marked shorebird; we had nice looks at a pair on the beach on Bruny Island on our final day.

BLACK-FRONTED DOTTEREL (Elseyornis melanops)

Another great looking shorebird; we saw a few here and there before seeing up to 22 individuals around the edge of Durham Dam near Georgetown.

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

COMB-CRESTED JACANA (Irediparra gallinacea)

We saw a few in the Darwin area on freshwater ponds then again at Hasties Swamp on the Atherton Tableland.

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

We had several nice views of these on the beaches and tidal flats at Darwin and Cairns.

FAR EASTERN CURLEW (Numenius madagascariensis)

This very large shorebird afforded good views, again at Darwin and Cairns.

BAR-TAILED GODWIT (Limosa lapponica)

After our first at Lee Point in Darwin, we saw several, and much closer, at the tidal flats at Cairns.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The signature bird of O”Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat, Regent Bowerbirds certainly light up the forest with their golden crowns and wings. This is certainly the best place to see this beauty. Photo by guide John Coons.


These were fewer in numbers than Bar-tails but we had nice views of a few at the Cairns foreshore.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

We only saw one individual, walking about the rocks at Darwin.

GREAT KNOT (Calidris tenuirostris)

There were good numbers of these at Cairns after our first one at Darwin. Some still showed a bit of the black breast markings left over from breeding plumage.

SHARP-TAILED SANDPIPER (Calidris acuminata)

Only a few were at the tidal flats at Cairns, but we enjoyed nice looks at a couple of fresh plumaged juveniles at Durham Dam in Georgetown. I learned from Jun that the juvs usually migrant to southern Australia inland instead of along the coast like the adults.

RED-NECKED STINT (Calidris ruficollis)

We had very few of these which was surprising, with those on the beach at Darwin.

TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus)

This nice looking long upturned-billed shorebird was seen well at Cairns, where they were quite active, darting about on the tidal flats.

COMMON SANDPIPER (Actitis hypoleucos)

A few were on the rocky beach at Darwin. This is the Old World version of our Spotted Sandpiper.

GRAY-TAILED TATTLER (Tringa brevipes)

We saw a handful on the rocky coast at Darwin then a single at Cairns.

MARSH SANDPIPER (Tringa stagnatilis)

One was working the edge of the water at Durham Dam at Georgetown where it had to maneuver around the Black-fronted Dotterels.

WOOD SANDPIPER (Tringa glareola)

Jun spotted this migrant at Durham Dam as it was hanging out near the Marsh Sandpiper.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

SILVER GULL (Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae)

This was the widespread and most conspicuous gull we encountered.

PACIFIC GULL (Larus pacificus)

This very large gull with the oversized bill showed well on a couple of places on Bruny Island in Tasmania.

KELP GULL (Larus dominicanus)

A fair number of these were seen in the coastal areas of southern Tasmania.

LITTLE TERN (Sternula albifrons)

We saw a few flying off the coast at Darwin and another at Machans Beach.

GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica)

A few were seen on the beach at East Point then again at the Cairns foreshore.

CASPIAN TERN (Hydroprogne caspia)

One was with the other terns at Machans Beach.

WHISKERED TERN (Chlidonias hybrida)

Our only one was flying about at Fogg Dam over the marsh.

GREAT CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bergii)

There were good numbers of this species in the Darwin area and a few more near Cairns.

LESSER CRESTED TERN (Thalasseus bengalensis)

Rather uncommon, there were three mixed in with the Great Crested Terns at Darwin and another on the sandbar at Machans Beach.

Spheniscidae (Penguins)

LITTLE PENGUIN (Eudyptula minor)

The smallest penguin; through the scope we could just make out part of an adult body and a blinking eye in a dark nesting burrow on the north coast of Tasmania.

Ciconiidae (Storks)

BLACK-NECKED STORK (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus)

We actually saw these on several days of the trip in both the Darwin area and again around Georgetown.

Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)


This not so common species here flew right over us when we were on the beach at Lee Point at Darwin.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

LITTLE PIED CORMORANT (Microcarbo melanoleucos)

We saw a handful around Darwin and a few more in the Cairns area.

GREAT CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax carbo)

One was perched on a log at Lake Barrine.

LITTLE BLACK CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris)

Field Guides Birding Tours
We had nice views of this Antilopine Wallaroo at one of the waterholes we visited in the dry country around Georgetown in Queensland. Photo by participant Craig Caldwell.

BLACK-FACED CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax fuscescens)

This southern Australian specialty gave us views flying off the north coast of Australia and again near the ferry landing to Bruny Island.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

AUSTRALIAN PELICAN (Pelecanus conspicillatus)

The world's largest pelican; we saw them on several occasions.

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

INTERMEDIATE EGRET (Ardea intermedia)

Fair numbers were seen in both the marshes near Darwin and again in the Cairns area.

WHITE-FACED HERON (Egretta novaehollandiae)

Surprisingly, we did not see this species until we got to Tasmania.

LITTLE EGRET (Egretta garzetta)

PACIFIC REEF-HERON (Egretta sacra)

Most of the individuals we saw around Darwin were dark morphs but we did have one white one along the rocky shore.

PIED HERON (Egretta picata)

There were several in the Fogg Dam region.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

NANKEEN NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax caledonicus)

We saw an immature with an adult at Fogg Dam then another at a waterhole near Georgetown.

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GLOSSY IBIS (Plegadis falcinellus)

Only a couple were seen.

AUSTRALIAN IBIS (Threskiornis molucca)

These were fairly widespread during the trip.

STRAW-NECKED IBIS (Threskiornis spinicollis)

There were fewer of these than the above but we still had several nice views.

ROYAL SPOONBILL (Platalea regia)

Our first was in the Darwin area, then we had more at Cairns and in the Georgetown area.

Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

A few were encountered including one on a nest.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK-SHOULDERED KITE (Elanus axillaris)

Just after we mentioned this species, Jun spotted one perched on a powerline on the Atherton Tableland.

BLACK-BREASTED KITE (Hamirostra melanosternon)

Anna spotted this quite uncommon species, showing the large white circles on the wing tips, as we were driving back to Darwin. We saw it from the bus but it was headed away and we couldn't relocate it after we bailed out.


Our first was at Hasties Swamp, we had another at an overlook near O'Reilly's, then we had them daily on Tasmania where those are an endemic subspecies (A. audax fleayi).

SWAMP HARRIER (Circus approximans)

We only saw these on Tasmania where we encountered at least one each day.

GRAY GOSHAWK (Accipiter novaehollandiae)

Our first was a nice fly-by at the Kamara overlook where we had lunch below O'Reilly's, then we scoped a brilliant white morph individual at Adventure Bay on Bruny Island just off mainland Tasmania. It was a very handsome looking bird.

BROWN GOSHAWK (Accipiter fasciatus)

We saw a couple during the trip.

BLACK KITE (Milvus migrans)

This species fills the roll of our Black Vulture in Australia. They were quite common but often outnumbered by the following species in the areas we visited.

WHISTLING KITE (Haliastur sphenurus)

We saw these just about everyday until we got to Tasmania.

BRAHMINY KITE (Haliastur indus)

This pretty raptor gave us some nice looks in the Darwin area.

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Double-eyed Fig-Parrot flew in right above us during our first afternoon in the Cairns area. The blue cheek shows this to be a female, the male with a red cheek was nearby investigating a cavity. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

WHITE-BELLIED SEA-EAGLE (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

Surprisingly, our only sighting was at Hasties Swamp on the Tableland.

Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)

SOOTY OWL (GREATER) (Tyto tenebricosa tenebricosa) [*]

A calling bird near O'Reilly's would not budge from its distant roost.

SOOTY OWL (LESSER) (Tyto tenebricosa multipunctata) [*]

This species was heard calling a couple of times during the middle of the night at Chambers Wildlife Lodge.

Strigidae (Owls)

RUFOUS OWL (Ninox rufa)

On our first afternoon after arriving in Darwin we found a pair of these handsome and rather uncommon owls on a roost at the Botanic Garden.

BARKING OWL (Ninox connivens)

There was a family group of four that were all calling during the day at the Darwin Botanic Garden and they gave us a great look.

SOUTHERN BOOBOOK (Ninox boobook)

We heard several birds scolding in the bush at Forty Mile Scrub National Park and we flushed this owl as we approached.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

LAUGHING KOOKABURRA (Dacelo novaeguineae)

We had a few brief views in the Cairns area then nice scope looks near O'Reilly's, then we saw them daily in Tasmania where they have been introduced.


This is the kookaburra that is found in the melaleuca forest of Australia. We saw them around Darwin and again in the drier forest near Georgetown.

RED-BACKED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus pyrrhopygius)

This dry country specialist gave us a couple of nice views in the Georgetown area.

FOREST KINGFISHER (Todiramphus macleayii)

We saw several near the beginning of the trip and heard a few more.

TORRESIAN KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sordidus)

After hearing a couple that wouldn't budge in the mangroves near Darwin, we saw them near Cairns where they were actually perched on the sand of the tidal flats. This species was called Collared Kingfisher until a recent split.

SACRED KINGFISHER (Todiramphus sanctus)

A rather widespread kingfisher in Australia; we saw several during our travels.

Meropidae (Bee-eaters)

RAINBOW BEE-EATER (Merops ornatus)

We saw this snazzy looking bird just about everyday until we got to the Brisbane area.

Coraciidae (Rollers)

DOLLARBIRD (Eurystomus orientalis)

A migrant that had returned from New Guinea; we saw a handful, mostly perched on powerlines, in the Darwin and northern Queensland areas.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

NANKEEN KESTREL (Falco cenchroides)

We only saw a few of these typically widespread small falcons.

Cacatuidae (Cockatoos)

RED-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus banksii)

This large cockatoo was encountered a handful of times, mostly in the drier forested areas we visited.

GLOSSY BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus lathami)

We had a great experience with this rather rare species in the forest below O'Reilly's. Matt took us to a site he had found where we saw at least six adults fly in to an area where there was a nest cavity in a very large tree with a single young bird in the hole. We watched one of the parents regurgitate food and feed the well-grown young bird.

YELLOW-TAILED BLACK-COCKATOO (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

We saw these large parrots a couple of times in Tasmania.

GALAH (Eolophus roseicapilla)

Fair numbers were seen with most of those in the Georgetown area.

LITTLE CORELLA (Cacatua sanguinea)

We saw a few around Darwin and more in Tasmania.


This large and familiar parrot was seen most days of the trip.

Psittaculidae (Old World Parrots)

AUSTRALIAN KING-PARROT (Alisterus scapularis)

We saw these, rather close up, at O'Reilly's where some followed us around.

RED-WINGED PARROT (Aprosmictus erythropterus)

Great views of this parrot were seen in the Georgetown area.

BLUE-WINGED PARROT (Neophema chrysostoma)

We were quite fortunate to get good views of this uncommon species when we were in Tasmania. Our first flew in and landed in a snag near Cradle Mountain, then we saw a pair in the central highlands and again on Bruny Island.

GREEN ROSELLA (Platycercus caledonicus)

A Tasmanian endemic; we saw these a handful of times on the island.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Red-backed Fairywren is a tiny yet dynamite looking bird of the woodlands, usually with a grassy understory. We saw a family group near Georgetown. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

CRIMSON ROSELLA (Platycercus elegans)

Big numbers were at O'Reilly's.

PALE-HEADED ROSELLA (Platycercus adscitus)

The dry country of Georgetown was the hotbed of our views of this species.

DOUBLE-EYED FIG-PARROT (Cyclopsitta diophthalma)

Our first were seen at our first birding site after arriving in Cairns. A pair landed right above us at the golf course pond and afforded great views of this small parrot. We had several fly-overs after that.

SCALY-BREASTED LORIKEET (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus)

We never really connected with a great look but had a few flocks flying out of trees.

RAINBOW LORIKEET (Trichoglossus moluccanus moluccanus)

This colorful species was quite common in the Cairns area.

RED-COLLARED LORIKEET (Trichoglossus rubritorquis)

A rather recent split from the above species, these were quite common around Darwin.

Pittidae (Pittas)

NOISY PITTA (Pitta versicolor)

Usually a bird that requires a lot of work to see, but we were treated to one singing right overhead along the boardwalk at O'Reilly's only an hour or two after we arrived.

RAINBOW PITTA (Pitta iris)

We had great looks at a calling bird at East Point on our first morning of birding near Darwin.

Menuridae (Lyrebirds)

ALBERT'S LYREBIRD (Menura alberti)

Just after arriving at O'Reilly's we got some good recent info and walked in on one of the trails where we found a male Albert's Lyrebird scratching about on the slope. The following morning we spotted another individual in display with his tail fanned out, strutting about, while giving a plethora of calls. This is almost certainly the most sought-after bird in the area. Yip! Yip! Yip!

Ptilonorhynchidae (Bowerbirds)

SPOTTED CATBIRD (Ailuroedus maculosus)

This specialty of the Atherton Tableland showed well for us a few times but especialy at Chambers Wildlife Lodge.

GREEN CATBIRD (Ailuroedus crassirostris)

Quite similar to the above species, this is the one that inhabits the forest in much of the temperate east coast of Australia.

TOOTH-BILLED BOWERBIRD (Scenopoeetes dentirostris)

We had nice scope views of a bird singing right above his bower at Lake Barrine. Known locally as the "Stage Maker" for creating its display area by clearing a patch of ground in the forest then decorating it with large leaves that it turns upside down to show the silvery side.

GOLDEN BOWERBIRD (Amblyornis newtoniana)

One of the brilliant looking bowerbirds of Australia. We saw a nice male near its bower in the forest on the Atherton Tableland. This species creates a double maypole bower which it uses to attract a female.

REGENT BOWERBIRD (Sericulus chrysocephalus)

The signature bird of O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, we saw many on the grounds of the lodge. This gold and black bird elicits a Wow!! even from non-birders who see this species.

SATIN BOWERBIRD (Ptilonorhynchus violaceus)

We saw a handful of males and females, showing the purple eye, in the Lamington National Park area. There were a few avenue-style bowers we saw that were decorated at each end with blue items.

GREAT BOWERBIRD (Chlamydera nuchalis)

This species was seen several times in the dry country around Georgetown. We saw a few bowers with one at the town park at Mt. Surprise actively being worked by the male.

Climacteridae (Australasian Treecreepers)

WHITE-THROATED TREECREEPER (LITTLE) (Cormobates leucophaea minor)

We saw a few on the Atherton Tableland.

RED-BROWED TREECREEPER (Climacteris erythrops)

A quite local species; we saw two in the eucalypt forest below O'Reilly's that we watched moving between trees before one went into a probable nest cavity.

BROWN TREECREEPER (Climacteris picumnus)

We saw a pair in the dry forest near Georgetown where this form is quite dark compared to those further south.

BLACK-TAILED TREECREEPER (Climacteris melanurus)

A bird of the dry forest in remote areas of the interior; we had nice looks at a pair in the melaleuca forest south of Darwin.

Maluridae (Fairywrens)


After not finding these birds earlier in the trip, we saw a pair including a nicely colored male in the eucalypt forest near O'Reilly's.

LOVELY FAIRYWREN (Malurus amabilis)

Usually a real skulker that is difficult to get a look at, we had nice views of a male and female along the trail at the north end of the Tableland.

SUPERB FAIRYWREN (Malurus cyaneus)

These were seen several times near O'Reilly's and then even more were seen in Tasmania.

RED-BACKED FAIRYWREN (Malurus melanocephalus)

A fancy looking fairywren; we saw a group in the Georgetown area where they were working around in the shrubs.

Meliphagidae (Honeyeaters)

EASTERN SPINEBILL (Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris)

A quite nice looking small honeyeater; we saw a few in and around O'Reilly's and then a few more on Tasmania.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The Pied Butcherbird has one of the most under-appreciated bird songs of Australia. The beautiful vocalizations usually commence at dawn and continue as the sun rises over the Australia bush. Photo by participant Craig Caldwell.


One of the three similar looking honeyeaters we saw on the Atherton Tableland,;we had nice looks along Black Mountain Road where we heard them singing.

LEWIN'S HONEYEATER (Meliphaga lewinii)

A rather common voice of the eastern forests where we saw several.

CRYPTIC HONEYEATER (Microptilotis imitatrix)

Formerly known as Graceful Honeyeater, we saw our first at the Forty Mile Scrub National Park then again along Black Mountain Road.

YELLOW HONEYEATER (Stomiopera flava)

We saw a fair number in the Georgetown area.

WHITE-GAPED HONEYEATER (Stomiopera unicolor)

These were rather numerous in the Darwin area where they immediately responded to squeaking and were heard in all areas we birded there.

YELLOW-FACED HONEYEATER (Caligavis chrysops)

Our first were seen at Hasties Swamp then a few more in the O'Reilly's area.

NOISY MINER (Manorina melanocephala)

We saw our first at Ravenshoe and again in the eucalyptus forest near O'Reilly's.

YELLOW-THROATED MINER (Manorina flavigula)

These were the miners we encountered in the dry Georgetown area.

BRIDLED HONEYEATER (Bolemoreus frenatus)

Another specialty of the Atherton Tableland; we saw a couple around the Crater National Park.

LITTLE WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera chrysoptera)

A subtlety marked bird; we saw about three at the roadside park in northern Tasmania.

YELLOW WATTLEBIRD (Anthochaera paradoxa)

One of the largest honeyeaters; we had a few good views of this Tasmanian endemic in the tall forests of the north and again on Tasmania.

VARIED HONEYEATER (Gavicalis versicolor)

We had a few nice looks along the Esplanade in Cairns where this bird is loud and usually easily seen.

MANGROVE HONEYEATER (Gavicalis fasciogularis)

One of our last new birds in the Brisbane area; we had a scope view of one sitting up and calling in the mangroves in a southern suburb.

YELLOW-TINTED HONEYEATER (Ptilotula flavescens)

It was unusual to find three of these along the coast near Darwin then we saw more in the more typical area near Georgetown.


It took some looking but we eventually found three individuals in the dry forest near Georgetown where this is a quite local species.

BROWN-BACKED HONEYEATER (Ramsayornis modestus)

Our first were seen at the golf course pond near Yorkey's Knob.

RUFOUS-BANDED HONEYEATER (Conopophila albogularis)

A quite common species in the Darwin area, we saw them in a variety of habitats.

RUFOUS-THROATED HONEYEATER (Conopophila rufogularis)

Closely related to the above species, we saw several in the Georgetown area.

DUSKY MYZOMELA (Myzomela obscura)

RED-HEADED MYZOMELA (Myzomela erythrocephala)

An endemic bird of the mangroves of northern Australia; we saw nicely plumaged males and females on our first afternoon of birding.

SCARLET MYZOMELA (Myzomela sanguinolenta)

This was a good year for this bird on the Tableland where we ended up seeing several of these colorful honeyeaters.

BANDED HONEYEATER (Cissomela pectoralis)

A quite irruptive species; some of us that walked down the hill saw a group of three in the trees near the dry waterhole east of Georgetown.

BROWN HONEYEATER (Lichmera indistincta)

These were very common until we got to southern Queensland.

CRESCENT HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus)

We encountered several in the area around Cradle Mountain in northern Tasmania. It took us awhile to get a good view of them.

NEW HOLLAND HONEYEATER (Phylidonyris novaehollandiae)

A very common honeyeater of southern Australia, and we found a handful in Tasmania.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We were treated to closeup looks at Rufous Owl on our first afternoon of birding in the Darwin area. A pair in the botanic garden were quite cooperative. Photo by participant Gary Bowman.

YELLOW-THROATED HONEYEATER (Nesoptilotis flavicollis)

Another of the Tasmanian endemic birds; we had good views in a few places but our first pair showed exceedingly well at our roadside stop on our first morning there.

BLUE-FACED HONEYEATER (Entomyzon cyanotis)

A snazzy looking honeyeater; most of our sightings were around Georgetown where they frequented the trees on the grounds of the motel.

WHITE-THROATED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus albogularis)

Several were around the Darwin area.

WHITE-NAPED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus lunatus)

Similar to the above species; we had nice looks on the Tableland with our first at Hasties Swamp.

BLACK-HEADED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus affinis)

These Tasmanian endemics showed several times in the forests there where they were usually in groups of three or four.

STRONG-BILLED HONEYEATER (Melithreptus validirostris)

This Tasmanian endemic seems to have declined in numbers in recent years. After mightily looking for them in several places, we found a group of four near Gowrie Park in NW Tasmania.

MACLEAY'S HONEYEATER (Xanthotis macleayanus)

After a few brief views we finally got good views along Black Mountain Road in the foothills above Cairns.

LITTLE FRIARBIRD (Philemon citreogularis)

This was a quite common bird in the Darwin area.

HELMETED FRIARBIRD (HORNBILL) (Philemon buceroides yorki)

Good numbers were seen on a few days around Cairns.

SILVER-CROWNED FRIARBIRD (Philemon argenticeps)

We found one of these locally uncommon birds in the melaleuca forest south of Darwin.

NOISY FRIARBIRD (Philemon corniculatus)

Our first were near the sports field at Herberton then we saw a few more here and there.

Pardalotidae (Pardalotes)

SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus punctatus)

We had nice views of this tiny and quite colorful species in the eucalypt forest below O'Reilly's.

FORTY-SPOTTED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus quadragintus)

This species, our last Tasmanian endemic, proved much harder to find than usual. Finally, we found a group of four, presumably a pair feeding two young where we had started looking in the morning. A bit later we got a scope view of another where at least half of the spots were visible.

RED-BROWED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus rubricatus)

A distant bird that was heard way off could not be coaxed in.

STRIATED PARDALOTE (Pardalotus striatus)

We had nice looks at East Point in Darwin on our first morning then we saw them most days in Tasmania.

Acanthizidae (Thornbills and Allies)

YELLOW-THROATED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis citreogularis)

These were quite common and confiding along the trails at O'Reilly's.

WHITE-BROWED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis frontalis)

This species was equally common in the O'Reilly's area.

TASMANIAN SCRUBWREN (Sericornis humilis)

We saw a few in scattered locations in our first few days in Tasmania.

ATHERTON SCRUBWREN (Sericornis keri)

Walking back from the Golden Bowerbird bower, we had good views of this Atherton Tableland endemic.

LARGE-BILLED SCRUBWREN (Sericornis magnirostra)

A close relative of the above, this species tends to be at lower elevations and is often seen feeding a bit higher in the trees.

SCRUBTIT (Acanthornis magna)

This is one of the more habitat specific endemics of Tasmania. With our lodge inaccessible due to the washout of the bridge, we had to find a new spot and we struck gold on our first try with one showing very well in the highlands of NW Tasmania.

STRIATED FIELDWREN (Calamanthus fuliginosus)

We had nice views of a couple that were sitting up and singing from stumps near Cradle Mountain. This is a nice looking bird with its fine streaking on the breast and underparts.

MOUNTAIN THORNBILL (Acanthiza katherina)

This higher elevation species showed well for us near Mt. Hypipamee NP on the Tableland.

BROWN THORNBILL (Acanthiza pusilla)

This species was pretty common in the forrest at O'Reilly's and again in the drier forest in Tasmania.

TASMANIAN THORNBILL (Acanthiza ewingii)

We saw a couple of these Tasmanian endemics in the wetter forests of the island.

Field Guides Birding Tours
While having a look at the bower of the exquisite Golden Bowerbird, the male bird came in for a look. Photo by guide John Coons.

STRIATED THORNBILL (Acanthiza lineata)

A few were seen in family(?) groups near O'Reilly's.

WEEBILL (Smicrornis brevirostris)

One of the smallest Australian birds; we heard a few around Darwin before we saw them quite well in the dry forest around Georgetown.

GREEN-BACKED GERYGONE (Gerygone chloronota)

A singing bird at Manton Dam south of Darwin, ended up showing well.

FAIRY GERYGONE (Gerygone palpebrosa)

A nice song comes out of this little guy, and we had good views at Fort Mile Scrub NP.


A couple showed well in the dry forest south of Georgetown. This is another fine singer.

LARGE-BILLED GERYGONE (Gerygone magnirostris)

A singing individual at Centenary Lakes in Cairns showed pretty well along the channel by the bridge.

BROWN GERYGONE (Gerygone mouki)

We saw several near Cairns and again in the forest near O'Reilly's.

MANGROVE GERYGONE (Gerygone levigaster)

One showed pretty well, and was singing, at Buffalo Creek on our first afternoon near Darwin.

Pomatostomidae (Pseudo-Babblers)

GRAY-CROWNED BABBLER (Pomatostomus temporalis)

A couple of pairs gave us good views around Georgetown.

Orthonychidae (Logrunners)

AUSTRALIAN LOGRUNNER (Orthonyx temminckii)

This unusual bird showed well a few times along the trails at O'Reilly's. They were always in pairs and we saw their odd method of feeding where they lean back on their stiff tail and kick leaf litter out sideways to uncover food items.

CHOWCHILLA (Orthonyx spaldingii)

While we were being very quiet watching the first Tooth-billed Bowerbird bower in hopes of the male returning, Amy saw this difficult species off to the side scratching in the leaf litter.

Campephagidae (Cuckooshrikes)

BARRED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina lineata)

Our only sighting was a fly-over at Chamber's Wildlife Lodge.

BLACK-FACED CUCKOOSHRIKE (Coracina novaehollandiae)

After we left Darwin we got into fair numbers of this widespread species. We found two active nests of them as well.


VARIED TRILLER (Lalage leucomela)

Fair numbers were seen around Darwin.

COMMON CICADABIRD (Edolisoma tenuirostre)

We had a scope view of a singing individual at the Centenary Lakes park in Cairns.

Psophodidae (Whipbirds and Wedgebills)

EASTERN WHIPBIRD (Psophodes olivaceus)

We heard the distinctive song of this odd species several times in the Cairns area, but we got our first, with great views, at O'Reilly's where they are surprisingly conspicuous.

Pachycephalidae (Whistlers and Allies)

BOWER'S SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla boweri)

A couple of these Tableland endemics showed well at Mt. Hypipamee and at Chamber's Wildlife Lodge.

GRAY SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla harmonica)

One of the more widespread birds of southern Australia, we saw these at O'Reilly's and again in Tasmania where their voice was a common sound of the forest.

RUFOUS SHRIKETHRUSH (Colluricincla rufogaster)

Also know as Little Shrikethrush; we saw a few on the Atherton Tableland.

OLIVE WHISTLER (Pachycephala olivacea)

Another rather uncommon species of extreme southern Australia; we had a pair that were singing in the first native habitat we birded on our first morning in Tasmania.

GOLDEN WHISTLER (Pachycephala pectoralis)

A colorful and common voice of the forests of the east, where we saw several. This bird has the distinction of having more subspecies than any other bird.

BLACK-TAILED WHISTLER (Pachycephala melanura)

Previously known as Mangrove Golden Whistler, this bird took some work to find along the Adelaide River. We ended up having two pretty good views.

GRAY WHISTLER (BROWN) (Pachycephala simplex simplex)

This species is usually called Brown Whistler in Australia. We saw it quite well at the edge of the mangroves not long after gathering for our first afternoon of birding in Darwin.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of the most colorful birds of Australia, the aptly named Rainbow Lorikeet appeared many times for us. Photo by participant Craig Caldwell.

GRAY WHISTLER (GRAY-HEADED) (Pachycephala simplex peninsulae)

This subspecies is often split from the above. We had a nice look at a couple along Black Mountain Road on our final day in the Cairns area.

RUFOUS WHISTLER (Pachycephala rufiventris)

We saw a few males and females in varied habitats throughout our journey, but did not have it in Tasmania.

Oriolidae (Old World Orioles)

OLIVE-BACKED ORIOLE (Oriolus sagittatus)

This more habitat specific species was only seen in the Georgetown area.

GREEN ORIOLE (Oriolus flavocinctus)

We heard and saw several of these in Darwin and again in the Cairns area.

AUSTRALASIAN FIGBIRD (Sphecotheres vieilloti)

We saw both subspecies of this interesting bird in Darwin, then in the Cairns area.

Machaerirhynchidae (Boatbills)

YELLOW-BREASTED BOATBILL (Machaerirhynchus flaviventer)

A lovely little flycatcher; we had good looks at Chamber's Wildlife Lodge

Artamidae (Woodswallows, Bellmagpies, and Allies)


A widespread species in Australia; we saw several around Darwin then more around Cairns.


This drier country species was scoped in the Georgetown area where we saw them perched atop termite mounds.

DUSKY WOODSWALLOW (Artamus cyanopterus)

Dea spotted a couple of these on Bruny Island in Tasmania that we scoped for a spell.

GRAY BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus torquatus)

After not seeing this bird at O'Reilly's we saw several in Tasmania.

PIED BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus nigrogularis)

A bird with a surprisingly beautiful song, they serenaded us in the mornings at Georgetown and we saw it again at O'Reilly's.

BLACK BUTCHERBIRD (Cracticus quoyi)

A couple of individuals showed well for us at Centenary Lakes in Cairns.

AUSTRALIAN MAGPIE (Gymnorhina tibicen)

Once we got out of the Top End, Darwin, we saw these virtually every other day.

PIED CURRAWONG (Strepera graculina)

Our first ones were near the Nerada Tea plantation, but we saw many more.

BLACK CURRAWONG (Strepera fuliginosa)

Another endemic bird to Tasmania; we saw several in the north and south part of the island.

GRAY CURRAWONG (CLINKING) (Strepera versicolor arguta)

Our only sighting was on Bruny Island just off of Tasmania.

Rhipiduridae (Fantails)

NORTHERN FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufiventris)

A few were seen in the Darwin area at East Point.

WILLIE-WAGTAIL (Rhipidura leucophrys)

A widespread and familiar species in Australia except for the Darwin and Tasmania areas.

RUFOUS FANTAIL (Rhipidura rufifrons)

GRAY FANTAIL (Rhipidura albiscapa)

We saw our first near Chamber's then they were quite common in Tasmania.

Dicruridae (Drongos)

SPANGLED DRONGO (Dicrurus bracteatus)

This unusual bird was seen well in the Darwin area then in several habitats in the Cairns area.

Paradisaeidae (Birds-of-Paradise)

PARADISE RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris paradiseus) [*]

The weather was against us for our search for this species as it was raining more than a drizzle on our final morning at O'Reilly's.

VICTORIA'S RIFLEBIRD (Ptiloris victoriae)

We had good views of both males and females at Chamber's Wildlife Lodge and again at Mt Hypipamee NP. We saw a male calling from a display perch at Chamber's.

Monarchidae (Monarch Flycatchers)

WHITE-EARED MONARCH (Carterornis leucotis)

This quite uncommon species gave us exceptional views at the Kamara Overlook. After we heard it singing down slope, we ended up seeing it perched in top of a tree for a minute or more, rare for this species.

BLACK-FACED MONARCH (Monarcha melanopsis)

We had nice looks at the Curtain Fig Tree.

SPECTACLED MONARCH (Symposiachrus trivirgatus)

A few were seen around Chamber's Wildlife Lodge.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our group was engrossed watching the very bizarre Platypus swimming about on a small pond on the Atherton Tableland. Photo by guide John Coons.

PIED MONARCH (Arses kaupi)

This black and white bird was also seen at Chamber's.

MAGPIE-LARK (Grallina cyanoleuca)

We saw these daily until we got to Tasmania where, strangely, they do not occur.

BROAD-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Myiagra ruficollis)

Good views of this species were had at Fogg Dam and again at Adelaide River.

SATIN FLYCATCHER (Myiagra cyanoleuca)

We had looked mightily for this bird in northern Tasmania but we ended up with scope views on Bruny Island on our last day.


A few were seen around Fogg Dam and again in the Georgetown area.


A very sharp looking bird, especially the females; we had nice looks on our first morning in Darwin.

Corcoracidae (White-winged Chough and Apostlebird)

APOSTLEBIRD (Struthidea cinerea)

Another odd bird from the Australian continent, this mud-nest builder was fairly common in the dry country around Georgetown.

Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

TORRESIAN CROW (Corvus orru)

Widespread and common until we got to Tasmania where they are replaced by....

FOREST RAVEN (Corvus tasmanicus)

....the only corvid on Tasmania; this species is pretty common.

Petroicidae (Australasian Robins)

LEMON-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Microeca flavigaster)

A handful were seen and heard in the Top End area of Darwin.

FLAME ROBIN (Petroica phoenicea)

A nice male showed well for us on Bruny Island off Tasmania.

ROSE ROBIN (Petroica rosea)

A male showing its nice rosy pink breast was singing along the road just below O'Reilly's and it gave us nice looks.

PINK ROBIN (Petroica rodinogaster)

Although not a Tasmanian endemic they are more likely to be seen on the island state. Most migrate to mainland Australia for the winter. We had nice views of a bird we heard singing along the stream in northern Tasmania.

DUSKY ROBIN (Melanodryas vittata)

Charity spotted our first in the heath-like habitat near Cradle Mountain and we ended up seeing about five individuals that were probably a pair and fairly old young. This is another of the Tasmanian endemics.

PALE-YELLOW ROBIN (Tregellasia capito)

We finally had a look at this species on our final morning at Chamber's.

EASTERN YELLOW ROBIN (Eopsaltria australis)

A few, but not many, were seen around the lodge at O'Reilly's where one was quite tame.

MANGROVE ROBIN (Eopsaltria pulverulenta)

We had good views in the mangroves at Cairns of this local specialty. At least four were vocalizing at one point.

WHITE-BROWED ROBIN (Poecilodryas superciliosa)

A quite uncommon and local species, we had great looks at a new locale for me that Jun took us to near Mareeba on the Atherton Tableland.

GRAY-HEADED ROBIN (Heteromyias cinereifrons)

This species was conspicuous around the clearing at Mt Hypipamee then at Chamber's the following morning.

Alaudidae (Larks)


We heard one singing in the large pasture near Fogg Dam and scoped it perched atop a fence post.

EURASIAN SKYLARK (Alauda arvensis) [I]

We only had these in Tasmania.

Cisticolidae (Cisticolas and Allies)


A few showed well perching up in the reedy vegetation at Fogg Dam.

Field Guides Birding Tours
White-eared Monarch is an uncommon bird of the eastern Australian rainforest. We were treated to a wonderful view of this sharply-marked bird at the edge of a clearing near O’Reilly’s. Photo by guide John Coons.
Locustellidae (Grassbirds and Allies)

TAWNY GRASSBIRD (Cincloramphus timoriensis)

Our first was at Fogg Dam then we scoped one from a distance at our platypus viewing spot on the Atherton Tableland.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

WELCOME SWALLOW (Hirundo neoxena)

This species is not found in the Darwin area but we had them in all habitats after that.

FAIRY MARTIN (Petrochelidon ariel)

We saw a few around Darwin and again in Georgetown.

TREE MARTIN (Petrochelidon nigricans)

A good number, about 40, were seen on Bruny island on our final day.

Zosteropidae (White-eyes, Yuhinas, and Allies)


This specialty of the mangroves of northern Australia gave us nice views on our first afternoon of birding in Darwin.

SILVEREYE (Zosterops lateralis)

Our first was at Chamber's Wildlife Lodge then we had the odd one here and there before finding them more plentiful in Tasmania.

Sturnidae (Starlings)

METALLIC STARLING (Aplonis metallica)

After arriving in Cairns we visited a nesting colony in a large leguminous tree that had dozens of large nests and scores of birds coming and going. It is a quite fancy looking species.

EUROPEAN STARLING (Sturnus vulgaris) [I]

COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis) [I]

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

BASSIAN THRUSH (Zoothera lunulata)

These were surely the two thrushes we saw along the trails in the forest at O'Reilly's.

RUSSET-TAILED THRUSH (Zoothera heinei) [*]

We heard one calling in the forest below O'Reilly's but could not get a view.

EURASIAN BLACKBIRD (Turdus merula) [I]

This introduced bird was common in cities and farmland in Tasmania.

Dicaeidae (Flowerpeckers)

MISTLETOEBIRD (Dicaeum hirundinaceum)

The sole member of its family in Australia; we saw this colorful little guy first near Darwin then again on the Atherton Tableland.

Nectariniidae (Sunbirds and Spiderhunters)

OLIVE-BACKED SUNBIRD (Cinnyris jugularis)

This bird seems to fill a niche like that of hummingbirds in the New World. We saw a handful near Cairns with some males showing the iridescent blue throat.

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

CRIMSON FINCH (Neochmia phaeton)

We saw these well a few times in the Darwin area, especially at Fogg Dam.

RED-BROWED FIRETAIL (Neochmia temporalis)

We had very cooperative views of this colorful finch at Chamber's and again at O'Reilly's where they were feeding on the lawn.

DOUBLE-BARRED FINCH (Stizoptera bichenovii)

A sharply marked species that showed well near Darwin and again around Georgetown.

ZEBRA FINCH (Taeniopygia guttata)

This familiar species from pet shops is great to see in the wild. We saw them a couple of times near the "toxic" pond near Georgetown.

MASKED FINCH (Poephila personata)

These were hanging out with the Black-throated Finches near Cumberland Dam.

BLACK-THROATED FINCH (Poephila cincta)

We ended up seeing groups of 10+ individuals a couple of times near Georgetown. This is a quite local species.

SCALY-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura punctulata) [I]

A group of about a dozen were on the grassy lawn of the Esplanade in Cairns.

CHESTNUT-BREASTED MUNIA (Lonchura castaneothorax)

A flock flew up off the roadside as we were driving past and could not stop and we didn't end up seeing them again.

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus) [I]

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

AUSTRALASIAN PIPIT (AUSTRALIAN) (Anthus novaeseelandiae australis)

We scoped a couple that were on stumps or fence posts in the heath-like habitat near Cradle Mountain NP.

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

EUROPEAN GOLDFINCH (Carduelis carduelis) [I]

A handful were seen along roadsides in Tasmania where it is usually associated with farmland.


PLATYPUS (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

We had a nice experience with this bizarre species at a roadside pond on the Atherton Tableland. It was feeding about during the afternoon and regularly surfaced every couple of minutes for about ten seconds before going under to feed again. This is a species we have all heard about most of our lives but who ever thought they would see one in the wild.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We were fortunate to come across a few Common Wombats in northern Tasmania. Australia seems to rule the market in cuddly-looking mammals. Photo by participant Craig Caldwell.

LONG-NOSED BANDICOOT (Peramelas nasuta)

One was seen by some of us at the feeding station at Chamber's in the evening after dinner as it probed around in holes in the ground.

COMMON WOMBAT (Vombatus ursinus)

Another strange but lovable looking Australian mammal. We saw our first along the roadside then ended up seeing about three more in the area around Cradle Mountain National Park.

KREFFT'S GLIDER (Petaurus notatus)

A recent split from Sugar Glider, this species occupies the inland forests of most of eastern Australia. One was coming in to lap at the honey at the evening feeding station at Chamber's Wildlife Lodge giving us great looks. A really cute little guy.

STRIPED POSSUM (Dactylopsila trivirgata)

A fabulous looking smallish marsupial with a long tail; we had wonderful looks at one at the feeding station at Chamber's Wildlife Lodge.

MUSKY RAT-KANGAROO (Hypsiprymnodon moschatus)

One was seen along the trail at Lake Barrine as it scratched about in the leaf litter.

RED-LEGGED PADEMELON (Thylogale stigmatica)

Phil and Rowan Gregory, who stopped in to see us at Chamber's Wildlife Lodge, got a light on one on the lawn in front of the dining room just after dinner.

AGILE WALLABY (Macropus agilis)

We saw good numbers of these in a couple of areas near Darwin then again in the drier country near Georgetown.

RED-NECKED WALLABY (Macropus rufogriseus)

We saw many that, unfortunately, had met up with cars in Tasmania before we saw a couple hopping about.

WHIPTAIL WALLABY (Macropus parryi)

A group of four was along the road below O'Reilly's as we drove back up to the lodge. A couple of them came down the steep slope and hopped across the road in front of us. Also known as Pretty-faced Wallaby, they are named for the cute white strip on their cheek.

EASTERN GRAY KANGAROO (Macropus giganteus)

We saw about 20 of these lounging on the edge of the golf course in Mareeba on the Tableland.

COMMON WALLAROO (Macropus robustus)

Also known as the Euro, there were a couple that showed well in the dry country near Georgetown.

ANTILOPINE WALLAROO (Macropus antilopinus)

Jun determined the large macropod that came to drink at the waterhole with the windmill was this species based on its coat color and length of hair.

RED KANGAROO (Macropus rufus)

We had nice looks of one next to the road at Georgetown before it hopped off.

BLACK FLYING-FOX (Pteropus alecto)

A fair number were flying over at dawn at Fogg Dam, then we saw many hanging in trees at Manton Dam.

SPECTACLED FLYING-FOX (Pteropus conspicillatus)

I believe some folks saw them flying over the Esplanade in Cairns from the front of our hotel.

OLD WORLD RABBIT (Oryctolagus cuniculus) [I]

EUROPEAN BROWN HARE (Lepus europaeus) [I]

A few were seen during our first mornig in Tasmania.

BUSH RAT (Rattus fuscipes)

This native rodent was seen probing about on the ground at the feeding station at Chamber's Wildlife Lodge on our second evening there.

DINGO (Canis familiaris dingo)

We saw a couple of individuals running across the bare ground near Georgetown, then spotted one that was first bathing then lying in a depression at one of the waterholes that seemed quite sick.

Totals for the tour: 326 bird taxa and 20 mammal taxa