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Why Bird Australia ?

Australia is one of the most exciting birding destinations on Earth. Many species (e.g. emu, cassowary and the lyrebirds) are descendants of ancient Gondwanan stock. Others evolved in isolation over a period of about 30 million years while the continent drifted northward after breaking away from the remnants of Gondwana

When sea levels fell, some (e.g. Birds of Paradise and bowerbirds) invaded from New Guinea and islands to the north as the continent drifted towards the Asiatic tectonic plate.

Australian Logrunner, Fernwren and others evolved as endemics in the eastern rainforests.

Many species (e.g. Gibberbird and Inland Dotterel) have adapted to the arid inland deserts, becoming specialists and nomads taking advantage of rare, bountiful seasons wherever they occur.

Australia offers the birder ~

  • about 750 species, of which almost half are endemic ~ several families are endemic
  • 55 species of cockatoos and parrots ~ Australia is known as The Land of Parrots
  • many spectacular species, including a number of passerines
  • eight bowerbirds (Tooth-billed, Golden, Regent, Satin, Spotted, Western, Great and Fawn-breasted), and four Birds of Paradise (Trumpet Manucode, and the riflebirds ~ Paradise, Victoria's and Magnificent)
  • the ratites ~ Emu and Southern Cassowary which stand two metres tall ~ among the largest birds on Earth
  • the megapodes ~ Australian Brush-turkey, Malleefowl and Orange-footed Scrubfowl which hatch their eggs in mounds of sand or earth and decaying vegetation
  • relicts from ancient Gondwana ~ Albert's Lyrebird, Superb Lyrebird, Noisy Scrub-bird, Rufous Scrub-bird
  • a wealth of seabirds ~ in winter, species which breed in the Subantarctic and Antarctic move north into Australian waters
  • important "wintering" grounds for about 30 species of Asiatic shorebirds (waders) which breed in, or close to, the Arctic region and migrate thousands of kilometres southward to escape the harsh northern winter
  • migrants from New Guinea ~ many (e.g. Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher) "winter" in New Guinea and islands to the north of Australia and return to the Australian mainland to breed
  • specialist rainforest species ~ some (e.g. Magnificent Riflebird and Grey-headed Robin) are shared with New Guinea

Australia is a prime destination for birders ~

  • a politically stable, multicultural, modern western nation
  • superb facilities throughout much of the country, with an efficient network of roads, rail and air transport
  • bird in safety without fear of attack from large wild animals

Good birding!

AUSTRALIAN CHECKLIST

AUSTRALIA - A SPECIAL PLACE WITH VERY SPECIAL BIRDS!


Watching waders Wallagoot Lake (southern NSW) © Phil Straw


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