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  • Photograph of Plains-wanderer

    The unique Plains-wanderer can be seen only at night, when this female was photographed with an 'instamatic' camera by Nigel Wheatley near Deniliquin in 1993.

  • Where to watch birds and wildlife in

    Photograph of Pink Robin

    A superb image of a Pink Robin in Mount Field National Park, Tasmania, by Francesco Veronesi.

    Best Birds and other wildlife in Southeast Australia


    Southeast Australia Endemics (including Tasmania) 20
    Cape Barren Goose, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Long-billed Corella, Blue-winged Parrot, Superb Parrot, Striated Grasswren, Rufous Bristlebird, Crescent Honeyeater, Regent Honeyeater, Pilotbird, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Striated Fieldwren, Rockwarbler, Olive Whistler, Red-lored Whistler, Little Raven, Forest Raven, Pink Robin, Flame Robin and Beautiful Firetail.

    Tasmania Endemics 14
    Tasmanian Native-hen, Tasmanian Masked-owl, Tasmanian Boobook, Green Rosella, Black-headed Honeyeater, Strong-billed Honeyeater, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Yellow Wattlebird, Forty-spotted Pardalote, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Scrubtit, Tasmanian Thornbill, Black Currawong and Dusky Robin.

    Other specialities
    Little Penguin, Black-faced Cormorant, Plains-wanderer, Banded Lapwing, Hooded Plover, Inland Dotterel, Fairy Tern, Eastern Ground Parrot, Superb Lyrebird and Satin Bowerbird. Also a chance of Brolga Crane, Crimson and Orange Chats, Black, Painted, Pied and Regent Honeyeaters, Black-eared Miner and Eastern Shrike-tit.

    Two migratory parrots are most likely to be seen on Tasmania. Swift Parrot is present from September to February (it winters north to Queensland), and Orange-bellied Parrot, which winters north to the southeast mainland, is present from December to February, at the species' last breeding site at Melaleuca which is accessible only by very expensive flights that are cancelled frequently due to bad weather. Thanks to a captive breeding programme and the release of captive-bred birds to bolster the tiny wild population 51 adult parrots returned to Melaleuca in the 2020-2021 season, a significant increase on the 23 that appeared during 2019-20 and 18 in 2018-19. The number of breeding pairs also leapt from 23 to 30, with 2021's total of 88 fledged youngsters representing a 140% increase on the 2019-20 season's tally of 37.

    Emu, Stubble Quail, Black Swan, Australian Shelduck, ducks, Hoary-headed Grebe, Shy Albatross, Short-tailed Shearwater, Australasian Gannet, Australian Pelican, White-faced and White-necked (Pacific) Herons, Brown and Grey Goshawks (including white morph), Little and Wedge-tailed Eagles, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Spotted and Swamp Harriers, Black and Brown Falcons, Australian Hobby, Australasian (Purple) Swamphen, Red-capped Plover, Black-fronted and Red-kneed Dotterels, Sooty Oystercatcher, Latham’s Snipe (mostly Sep-Mar), Little Buttonquail, Pacific Gull, Brush and Common Bronzewings, parrots such as Superb and Turquoise, Australian King-parrot, Musk and Rainbow Lorikeets, Cockatiel, Crimson Rosella, Galah, Little Corella, Yellow-tailed Black-cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Fan-tailed and Pallid Cuckoos, Horsfield’s and Shining Bronze-cuckoos, Tawny Frogmouth, White-throated Nightjar (mostly Nov-Mar), Australian Owlet-nightjar, Laughing Kookaburra, Azure, Red-backed and Sacred Kingfishers, Rainbow Bee-eater, Red-browed and White-throated Treecreepers, Superb and White-winged Fairy-wrens, Southern Emu-wren, honeyeaters including Blue-faced, Eastern Spinebill, thornbills, White-browed Scrubwren, Southern Whiteface, Grey-crowned and White-browed Babblers, Eastern Whipbird, woodswallows including White-browed, Grey and Pied Butcherbirds, Grey and Pied Currawongs, White-winged Triller, Varied Sittella, Golden, Gilbert’s and Rufous Whistlers, Magpie-lark, White-winged Chough, Apostlebird, Red-capped, Rose and Scarlet Robins, White-backed Swallow, Brown and Rufous Songlarks, Bassian Thrush and Diamond Firetail.

    Also a chance of Freckled Duck, Australasian Bittern, Major Mitchell's (Pink) Cockatoo, Budgerigar, Powerful Owl and Ground Cuckooshrike.

    Koala, (Duck-billed) Platypus, Red, Eastern Grey and Western Grey Kangaroos, Black (Swamp) and Red-necked (Bennett’s) Wallabies, Common and Southern Hairy-nosed Wombats, Short-beaked Echidna, Tasmanian Devil, Eastern Quoll, Greater, Squirrel and Yellow-bellied Gliders, Common and Mountain Brushtail Possums, Common Ringtail Possum, Southern (Tasmanian) Bettong and Grey-headed Flying Fox. Also a chance of Tiger (Spotted-tailed) Quoll, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Rufous-bellied (Tasmanian) Pademelon, Long-nosed Poteroo, Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Southern Right Whale (mostly June to October, in Great Oyster Bay, Tasmania), Bottlenose Dolphin and Australian Fur Seal.

    Weedy Sea Dragons may be seen off Portsea Pier, at the end of the Mornington Peninsula south of Melbourne, and at the dive site known as Studio One, Deep Glen Bay, Tasmania.

    Other Natural Wonders of Southeast Australia

    Twelve Apostles Limestone sea stacks off the coast of Victoria, southwest of Melbourne, which rise to 65 m (213 ft).

    Best Sites for Birds and other wildlife in Southeast Australia

    Photograph of Koala

    Koala by Michael Halliday.

    Photograph of Hooded Plover

    Hooded Plover by Mark Harper.

    Best Times for Birds and other wildlife in Southeast Australia

    The peak time to be in Southeastern Australia is October-November, when the southern spring usually begins, although Superb Lyrebird is most likely to be heard singing and seen displaying in the southern autumn and winter.

    Recommended Bird Books etc. for Southeast Australia

    The Australian Bird Guide by P Menkhorst. PUP, 2017.

    The Slater Field Guide to Australian Birds by P, P and R Slater. Reed/New Holland, 2009 (Revised Edition).

    The Field Guide to the Birds of Australia by G Pizzey and F Knight. Harper Collins, 2012 (Ninth Edition).

    Birds of Australia by K Simpson and N Day. PUP, 2010 (Eighth Edition).

    Field Guide to Australian Birds by Michael Morcombe: complete compact edition. Steve Parish Publishing, 2016.

    Field Guide to Australian Birds by Michael Morcombe. Steve Parish Publishing, 2003.

    The Complete Guide to Australian Birds (Photographic) by George Adams. Viking Australia, 2019.

    Finding Australian Birds by T Dolby and R Clarke. CSIRO, 2014.

    The Complete Guide to Finding the Birds of Australia by R Thomas et al. CSIRO, 2011 (Second Edition).

    Field Companion to the Mammals of Australia by S Van Dyck et al. New Holland, 2012.

    A Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia by P Menkhorst and F Knight. OUP, 2010 (Third Edition).

    Field Guide to Australian Mammals by C Jones and S Parish. Steve Parish Publishing, 2006.

    The Complete Guide to Finding the Mammals of Australia by D Andrew. CSIRO, 2015.

    A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia by S Wilson and G Swan. New Holland, 2013 (Fourth Edition).

    The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia by M Braby. CSIRO, 2004.

    Wildlife of Australia: Princeton Pocket Guides by I Campbell and S Woods. PUP, 2013.

    Wildlife of Australia by L Egerton and J Lochman. Allen and Unwin, 2009.

    Bradt Travel Guides: Australian Wildlife by S Martin. Bradt, 2010.

    Apps etc.

    The Michael Morcombe and David Stewart eGuide to the Birds of Australia.

    Pizzey and Knight Birds of Australia.

    Where to watch birds in Australasia & Oceania by N Wheatley. Helm, 1998.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in Australasia? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Birding and Wildlife Trip Reports for Southeast Australia

    Many trip reports, some for Southeastern Australia, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Southeastern Australia. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Southeastern Australia' below.

    Local bird and wildlife guides in Australia

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation for birders in Southeast Australia

    Some Organized Tours for birds and other wildlife to Southeast Australia

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who are running organized tours to Southeastern Australia in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.