Australia’s tropical Savannahs are home to 55 of Australia’s 90 seed eating birds (including parrots, quails, pigeons and finches), including 13 endemics. 14 of Australia’s 18 finch species are here.
Great bird sightings are available all through the year, with all wildlife concentrated around waterholes (and therefore easier to find) in the later months of the year (Oct-Dec). Early morning or late afternoon is generally the best time of day.
Several locations keep local bird lists in handouts or even small publications – ask as you travel along the route.
Birdwatching hot spots:
- Katherine – Sewerage Treatment Works (yep!) for wading birds and the road in to Edith Falls for Hooded Parrots, Black-tailed Treecreeper, Varied Lorikeet and Rufous-throated Honeyeater. Allegedly Gouldian Finch in the Salmon Gums north of the town.
- Mataranka has a family of Red Goshawks – ask at Mataranka Cabins.
- Borroloola’s floodplains and southern sandstone attract diversity including the Australian Bustard, Carpentarian Grasswren, Emu, Gouldian Finch, Masked Owl, Northern (crested) Shrike-tit, Partridge Pigeon and Red Goshawk.
- Lawn Hill Gorge is Purple Crowned Fairy Wren country, and has Spinifex and riparian habitats.
- Adels Grove usually has some keen birders on staff, and 140 birds on its list.
- Gregory Downs features the Purple Crowned Fairy Wren and Blood Finch along the river.
- Burketown – waders, migrants and resident woodland and grassland birds. Try the Bore Drain in town, the Corduroys across the road from the wharf.
- Karumba’s mudflats and mangroves are alive with birds – consider a cruise to maximise your opportunity.
- Normanton, along with Karumba, has sightings of the Great Billed Heron, White Bellied Mangrove Whistler and Sarus Crane.
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