Located near the western edge of the Wet Tropics, Yungaburra gives birdwatchers access to over 370 bird species within two hours drive. Whether you are a bird watcher or just amazed by their variety, you’ll see many species as you travel the Tablelands.
The Cassowary is Australia’s largest bird and while not aggressive can be dangerous if provoked. The diet consists primarily of fallen rainforest fruits swallowed whole. Many of the seeds that are excreted are still viable, helping in seed dispersal. Do not attempt to feed this species. If confronted by a Cassowary while on foot, do not turn and run. Back off slowly watching the bird as you go. If the Cassowary acts aggressively, try to place a solid object such as a tree between yourself and the bird and wait until it leaves. When driving through areas where Cassowaries might live, reduce vehicle speed.
Many colourful parrots are to be found around Yungaburra. The two largest are the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo and the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo. These birds are often to be seen on agricultural lands feeding on spilt maize and peanuts. At the other end of the spectrum is the tiny Double-eyed Fig-Parrot which blends into the leaves of the figs as it feeds on the seeds.
Lorikeets are to be found in the village feeding on flowering trees and the fruits of Umbrella Trees. During early winter large flocks of Australian King Parrots visit the town. The young birds stay for months and for the rest of the year one or two can usually be found along Peterson Creek and the eastern side of Lake Eacham. Pale-headed Rosellas and spectacular Red-winged Parrots are to be found in the drier country near Ravenshoe and Mareeba.
The comical Brush Turkey is to be found in most rainforest areas. During the breeding season the male’s yellow wattle expands under his throat. Habituated birds at picnic areas can become aggressive so please refrain from feeding them. These birds lay large eggs incubated in a mound of rotting vegetation.
In the village of Yungaburra itself look for flowering and fruiting trees. The walk along Peterson Creek goes through both rainforest and eucalypts and overlooks pasture and a wetland.
Lakes Barrine and Eacham provide excellent birding opportunities. The picnic areas allow a view into the trees and there are walks.
The Curtain Fig National Park is worth visiting for the fig as well as the birds. Apart from those mentioned elsewhere this is a good place for most of the local Monarch species, White-throated Tree-creeper and Wompoo Fruit Dove.
Hasties Swamp has an excellent hide from which to view water and wading birds depending on the season. Cranes roost here from June to November and at Bromfield Swamp. Early morning and sunset viewing is recommended.
From Tinaburra you can look across the water to many birds roosting on the shore.
Wet Tropics Endemics
Golden Bowerbirds are best seen at their bowers at high altitude rainforests during the display season from July to January. Fruiting trees at Mt Hypipamee give the best chance of incidental sightings.
Tooth-billed Bowerbirds can be easily tracked down by their noisy vocalisations at Lakes Barrine and Eacham. The bird is cryptic and usually lower than the sound indicates.
Mountain Thornbills should be looked for at Mt Hypipamee and nearby forests in mid-storey.
Bridled Honeyeaters frequent flowering shrubs in the village and the picnic ground at Mt Hypipamee.
Macleay’s Honeyeater is common in the village and the two crater lakes.
Chowchilla are best found in the early morning at Lake Barrine and the Cathedral Fig.
Bower’s Shrike-thrush is found along the rainforest sections of Peterson Creek and at the Curtain Fig.
Pied Monarch as for previous species, acts like a tree-creeper.
Victoria’s Riflebirds feed on various small rainforest fruits including palms and Bleeding Hearts but males do not venture from the forest cover after early morning.
Grey-headed Robins are easily found on the ground at Mt Hypipamee and the Crater Lakes.
Wet Tropics Specialities
Blue-faced Parrot-Finch – Lammond’s Hill to beginning of Bartle-Frere walking track in summer.
Double-eyed Fig-Parrots and Barred Cuckoo-shrikes are often found together in fruiting figs in Yungaburra village and at Lake Eacham.
White-headed Pigeons feed on the Camphor Laurels along the main road through town.
Many thanks to Alan’s Wildlife Tours for the bird information. Expand your birding opportunities by taking a guided tour or cruise on one of the lakes. View Atherton Tablelands Tours page for details.
See you in Yungaburra!