Unique animals of northern Australia

The world’s largest tropical savanna abounds with wonderful wildlife.

Northern Australia is a very special place. Stretching from the breathtakingly beautiful Kimberley in the west to Cape York in the east, across Australian icons like Arnhem Land and Kakadu, it’s one of the last remaining large-scale natural areas left on Earth.

The region is home to an astonishing 460 species of birds, 110 mammals, 40% of Australia’s reptiles, and a surprising 225 species of freshwater fish – many of them endemic (unique to the area). While spectacular and raucous birds like cockatoos are hard to miss during the day, most mammals are nocturnal. About a third are bats and a fifth are native rodents but there are also many marsupials, including kangaroos and wallabies, bandicoots, possums, dunnarts and quolls.

Even though the region is teeming with wildlife, many species are threatened and some are in danger of extinction. Poor land and fire management, grazing and introduced species have all had a negative impact.

We’re working with partners across the north in places like Fish River Station to better manage the natural environment.

Meet some of our northern neighbours and help us to continue our work to secure their futures.

Gouldian Finch

Perhaps the most beautiful small bird in the world, the incredibly marked Gouldian Finch has suffered from changes to fire regimes in the Kimberley and Northern Territory. Improved burning practices are helping them make a comeback.

Northern Quoll

These spotted marsupial predators of the north are threatened by the continued spread of the introduced and toxic Cane Toad. Highly adaptable, they are finding refuge on some offshore, toad-free islands and thriving on Fish River Station.

Black-footed Tree Rat

This large native rodent is also doing very well at Fish River Station even though it has declined elsewhere. It can weigh almost a kilogram and stands up to 31 centimetres tall.  It is known to Aboriginal people as the Djintamoonga or Manbul.

Freshwater Crocodile

The smaller of Australia’s two crocodile species, this reptile of the north’s billabongs and creeks rarely attacks humans.  It hunts fish, water birds, snakes, frogs and even prey as large as wallabies.

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