Australasian Nankeen Kestral Australasian Nankeen Kestral © Matthew Round

Wildlife stories

Our top 10 favourite Aussie birds

Australia is a bird lovers’ paradise. Twitchers (birdwatchers) fly south from all over the world to tick off items on their birdy bucket lists. We’re particularly famous for one noisy and gaudy group: early Dutch explorers once referred to the southern land as Terra Psittacorum – Land of the Parrots! And with around 850 species of birds in Australia – 45% of them found nowhere else – what better place to get your avian kicks?

So if you think Eckies are specky, finches take your fancy, or Rock Parrots rock your world, allow us to share with you our top 10 favourite Aussie birds!

10. Tawny Frogmouth

Absolute masters of disguise, Tawny Frogmouths take camouflage to the extreme with a tuft of spiky feathers above their beak to breakup their profile. They live throughout Australia including in urban areas and the Great Western Woodlands.

native to Australia
Tawny Frogmouth native to Australia © Belinda Cottee

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9. Barking Owl

Known for their loud, explosive voices, when early settlers heard them screeching at night, some thought they were hearing women screaming. They do look more than a little startled don’t you think?  Barking Owls benefit a lot from our work in northern Australia including at Fish River Station.

These birds benefit from our work in northern Australia including at Fish River Station.
Barking Owl These birds benefit from our work in northern Australia including at Fish River Station. © Adam Plucinski

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8. Little Penguin

Decked out in their formal attire, who can look past a penguin? Along with a host of other marine creatures, they’ll benefit in the long-term from our work protecting southern Australia’s bays and estuaries.  Find out more about our oyster reef restoration project.

also known as the Fair Penguin
Little Penguin also known as the Fair Penguin © Derek Geer, Flickr

7. Australian Southern Cassowary

Not to be messed with, these cassowaries live in the tropics of Far North Queensland. Fathers make excellent single dads, incubating the eggs and raising the chicks alone.

on the beach in Queensland
Southern Cassowary on the beach in Queensland © Jay Packer, Flickr

6. Rock Parrot

The beaches of our southern coastline are so idyllic that these dainty little parrots took up residence there amongst the dunes – probably the only truly coastal parrot in the world!  Look out for them at Parakeet Bay on Rottnest Island or in Bremer Bay, WA.

is endemic to Australia
Rock Parrot is endemic to Australia © Ian Redmond

5. Great Crested Grebe

Australia is home to three species of grebes which thrive in wetlands like those of the Murray-Darling Basin.  Find out how we’re working to restore these wetlands for a range of wildlife.

family at feeding time
Great Crested Grebe family at feeding time © Noel Simpson

4. Nankeen Kestrel

Brilliant aerialists, these small raptors can often be seen hovering high above long grass ready to dive on unsuspecting prey like lizards and mice.

on the hunt at Rottnest Island
Nankeen Kestral on the hunt at Rottnest Island © Kyle Behrend

3. Splendid Fairy-wren

Ok, now this one’s just showing off! The breeding plumage of the tiny but startling male Splendid Fairy-wren is a wonder to behold. 

male in breeding plumage
Splendid Fairy-wren male in breeding plumage © Nathan Dobbie

2. Eclectus Parrot

Two for the price of one! There’s a lot to love about Eckies. Their plumage looks more like soft fur than feathers, females rule the roost and they possess one of the bird world’s most extreme examples of sexual dimorphism – females are scarlet and blue while males are bright green!

Electus Parrot Female © Shutterstock
also know as Eckies.
Eclectus Parrot also know as Eckies. © Steve Clancy

1. Gouldian Finch

And the winner is…the Gouldian Finch – surely the world’s most strikingly coloured small bird. We’re helping land managers across northern Australia, like at Fish River Station, to improve their fire practices to protect habitat for threatened species like this stunning beauty.

is native to Australia.
The Gouldian Finch is native to Australia. © Sompreaw

Help protect wildlife habitat

You can help us conserve our precious lands and waters.

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Help protect Australia’s threatened species

Our planet is currently experiencing the worst wave of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. And here in Australia, 86 of our native flora and fauna species now critically endangered. We're run a real risk of losing some of our most iconic species forever.

Habitat destruction, introduced species and urban expansion threaten the survival of our native species. With the decline of Australia’s native wildlife, our ecosystem hangs in the balance. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.

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