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The Northern Territory is home to the highest number of waterbirds in Australia as well as some our most beautiful and rare bird species. If you are an interested onlooker or an avid bird watcher you will see large and diverse populations of birds according to the season or environment.
There are many ways to see the rich resident birdlife of the Northern Territory. Look out for the tell-tale shadow of a soaring bird of prey during a hike, join a cruise through wetlands, wander through a wildlife park, volunteer to help on a bird counting survey, or join a guided birdwatching tour.
Home of rare bird species
Several bird species are native and unique to the NT, including the White-throated Grasswren, White-lined Honeyeater, Hooded Parrot, Chestnut-Quilled Rock Pigeon, Banded Fruit-Dove, Partridge Pigeon (Red-faced) and Helmeted Friarbird. A further 14 rare species, including the Gouldian Finch, can also be spotted throughout the territory.
Birds of the tropical Top End
Woodlands, monsoon forests and sandstone country, floodplains, wetlands and billabongs – these are the habitats of birds around Darwin, Kakadu, Katherine and Arnhem Land. See birds in their native environment at Bamurru Plains or join a guided tour into Arnhem Land and look out for dancing brolgas. Yellow Waters, a billabong in Kakadu National Park, floods each wet season and attracts millions of birds, including jabiru, sea eagles, and magpie geese. Walk through savannah woodland habitat to the bird hide on the water’s edge at the aptly named Bird Billabong in the Mary River National Park. See the Comb-Crested Jacana walk on water among legions of other waterbirds at the Fogg Dam Conservation Reserve.
Birds of Central Australia
The region stretching from Tennant Creek to Alice Springs and Uluru in the south is home to a diverse range of bird species. Explore the woodlands, riverine, range and gorge habitats or wander the spinifex and sand dunes spying both common and more elusive birds. Home to diverse birdlife, Newhaven Sanctuary is a Birds Australia reserve near Alice Springs that protects endangered and threatened species.
Birds on show
If you are keen to find out more about local species, head to a wildlife park. Many recreate birds’ natural habitats so you can observe them in their native environment. At Territory Wildlife Park, 45 minutes from Darwin, see the birds of prey display and watch the pelicans fly in at feed time. Alice Springs Desert Park runs dawn bird watching tours led by an expert bird guide.