Best Birdwatching Sites in Australia for Fledgling Bird Nerds
Australians love birds. In fact, more than 100,000 people took part in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count in 2021, counting the birds they saw in their backyards and local area. Yes, we are a nation of birdwatching enthusiasts!
But every birdwatcher starts somewhere, and if you’re just taking the first steps in your journey to bird nerd-dom, then The Compact Australian Bird Guide is the perfect ‘starter kit’.
The Compact Australian Bird Guide is based on the award-winning The Australian Bird Guide, and both books are written and illustrated by the same expert team. Small but mighty, The Compact Australian Bird Guide is just the right fit for a backpack or coat pocket, making it that much easier to get out into nature and get to know our feathered neighbours a little better.
To help you on your way, we asked Rohan Clarke, one of the authors of the guide, for his suggestions for beginner birding hotspots across Australia – so grab your binoculars and get out there!
Australian Capital Territory
Where to go: Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve, Canberra.
Species to look for: A variety of ducks, Black-fronted Dotterel, Red-Kneed Dotterel, Baillon’s Crake, Spotless Crake, Australian Spotted Crake and Latham’s Snipe.
New South Wales
Where to go: Centennial Park, Sydney.
Species to look for: Tawny Frogmouth, Golden-headed Cisticola, Little Grassbird, Hardhead, Pacific Black Duck, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Rainbow Lorikeet, Pied Currawong, New Holland Honeyeater and Superb Fairy-wren.
Where to go: East Point Reserve, Darwin.
Species to look for: Rainbow Pitta, Green-backed Gerygone, Beach Stone-curlew and Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove.
Where to go: Cairns Esplanade, Cairns.
Species to look for: Beach Stone-curlew, a wide range of shorebirds, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Varied Honeyeater and Mangrove Robin.
Where to go: Adelaide Hills.
Species to look for: Adelaide Rosella, Varied Sittella, Bassian Thrush, Crescent Honeyeater and White-throated Treecreeper.
Where to go: Waterworks Reserve, Hobart.
Species to look for: Tasmanian Morepork, Black-headed Honeyeater, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Eastern Spinebill, Yellow Wattlebird, Hoary-headed Grebe and Tasmanian Native-hen.
Where to go: Sherbrooke Forest, Greater Melbourne.
Species to look for: Superb Lyrebird, Greater Sooty Owl, Rose Robin, Pink Robin, Olive Whistler, Pilotbird, Red-browed Treecreeper and White-eared Honeyeater.
Where to go: Kings Park, Perth.
Species to look for: White-cheeked Honeyeater, Singing Honeyeater, Western Spinebill, Western Wattlebird, Red Wattlebird, Carnaby’s Black-Cockatoo, Little Corella, Yellow-rumped Thornbill, Inland Thornbill, Weebill and Western Gerygone.
Ready to spread your wings? Here are some more great sites for keen birdwatchers:
- ACT: Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve
- NSW: Barren Grounds
- NT: Kakadu National Park
- Qld: Iron Range, Cape York
- SA: Gluepot Reserve
- Tas: Bruny Island
- Vic: Western Treatment Plant
- WA: Broome Bird Observatory
We hope we’ve inspired and energised you to get outside and start getting to know Australia’s amazing birds!
Start your birdwatching adventure with The Compact Australian Bird Guide, which packs in all the essentials details in a compact format to help you identify more than 700 bird species likely to be encountered in Australia and nearby waters.
Or take your birding game to the next level with The Australian Bird Guide, Revised Edition, which covers more than 900 species including the less commonly seen visitors, vagrants and the birds of Australia’s external territories, and will help experienced birders to determine subspecies, age and sex.
The Compact Australian Bird Guide and The Australian Bird Guide are both available online or from all good bookshops.