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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.