Information on Birding in Tropical North Queensland
Venturing within a 200 kilometers radius of Cairns in Tropical Far North Queensland will take you through the most diverse
range of habits that Australia has to offer. The area is the richest in flora and fauna on the entire continent.
from Mission Beach in the South to Daintree in the north, extending out into the Tablelands to the West and you have the possibility
of spotting many of the over 440 bird species that have been recorded in the region. Of these recorded bird species, 13
are endemic to Queensland's "Wet Tropics". The region also boasts 9 out Australia's 10 kingfisher species, all 24 of Australia's
diurnal raptor species and 7 of the 9 owl species in the country. A whopping 38 species of honeyeater have also been recorded.
In addition to these birds, there are many other birds that are distinct sub-species to the region, these include the Pale-yellow
Robin, the Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Lovely Fairy-Wren, Southern Boobook, and Bassian Thrush.
The various areas within the Tropical North Queensland region have their own special birding attractions.
Upon arriving in Cairns, the visiting birder has a selection of prime birding locations within the vicinity of the city. These
include Catana Wetlands and Centenary Lakes.
Cairns Esplanade is world renown for migratory waders. Michaelmas Cay on The
Great Barrier Reef, accessable from Cairns, provides opportunities to view seabirds such as various terns, noddies, frigate birds
and boobies up close.
The Coastal Lowland Rainforest areas from Mission Beach to Cooktown, including the Daintree National
Park host a number key species for the avid birdwatcher. These include the Southern Cassowary, Victoria's Riflebird, Beach Stone-Curlew.
Taking an early morning cruise on the Daintree River, the visiting birdwatcher should be able to spot Great-billed
Heron, Little Kingfisher, Papuan Frogmouth, Shining Flycatcher and the Black Bittern. The Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher is
a highlight throughout the region from late October through to early April.
The Tablelands Region from the upland rainforest around
Atherton and Yungaburra through to Mareeba's dry savanah and Julatten's mid level and gallery forest habitats host species
such as the Blue-faced Parrot Finch, three varieties of Fruit Dove, Red-necked Crake, Sarus Crane, Australian Bustard and Black-necked
Stork. No birdwatching visit to Far North Queensland would be complete without a day at Mount Lewis near Julatten where on
a good day, 12 out the 13 Wet Tropics endemics can be spotted.
When to visit
Although good birding can generally be expected year round, many species are migratory and only occur in the region
for part of the year. Metallic Starling, Eastern Koel, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Channel-billed Cuckoo, Satin Flycatcher, Dollarbird
and Cicadabird, along with the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher are all annual visitors. The best time to experience
the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher and many others of our visitors is from mid October through to April. January through to
April will test the keen birder, as the region will be in the grip of the annual "WET" The lowland rainforest experiences very
high humidity and often up to 2 metres of rainfall during this time. The upside of birding at this time, is that many species are
breeding and will be more conspicuous as they feed their young
This site is going through the process of a re-vamp.
Little Kingfisher - J.J. Harrison
Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher - Fred Forssell
Lesser Sooty Owl
Cairns International Airport is an excellent entry point for the region, with direct flights from all major Australian
capital cities and international flight arrivals from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Papua New Guinea and Singapore. The Airport is
located just north of the city.
Tropical North Queensland is serviced by an excellent road system and for the most part, a normal two
wheel drive vehicle will get you to all the birding sites in the region you may wish to visit. It is always wise to check on road
conditions if choosing to venture a little further afield.
A 4X4 will be required if intending to drive to Iron Range National Park
and the "Tip" (Cape York)