Northern Territory’s birdlife

Birds of the Top End

One thing I discovered about Northern Territory’s birdlife is that you are pretty safe enjoying it. Kangaroos crossing the roads at night can be hazardous to your health; croc warnings by almost every body of water in the Top End, including the sea, indicate that swimming is dangerous there. No one swims in the sea around the Top End because of the box jellyfish whose sting is painful in the extreme and can result in death. As one Darwinian said about swimming

if the crocs don’t get you the jellyfish will…

Perhaps by way of compensation Northern Territory’s birdlife in the top end is very diverse. There is a huge diversity of environments from the mangrove swamps on the coast to the numerous wetlands and billabongs; from riverine forest to bare scrubland; and rainforest to sandstone escarpments. Main of these areas are protected to preserve the habitats necessary for the huge variety of birds. On a recent visit to the Darwin and the Top End I had the opportunity to visit a number of these habitats, not with a view to birdwatching, but for other activities. However, the birds are so abundant that often they just presented themselves to be photographed like this blue-winged kookaburra at Katherine Gorge who, if I didn’t know better, was posing for the camera like a pro model. So here are a few photographs to give you a feel for Northern Territory’s birdlife and maybe pack your binoculars or telephoto lens if you plan on visiting.

Northern Territories birdlife 001
Blue-winged kookaburra – Dacelo leachi

Also, while canoeing at Katherine Gorge, I was able to drift close to this stalking white-faced heron and an Australian pied cormorant.

White-faced heron - Egretta novaehollandiae
White-faced heron – Egretta novaehollandiae
Australian pied cormorant – phalacroccorax varius

After a day of canoeing and hiking at Katherine I stopped for an iced coffee and cake at the cafe in the visitor centre when this cheeky blue-faced honeyeater stopped by. He wasn’t interested in honey just my spiced-apple muffin which was more appealing.

Blue-faced honeyeater - Entomyzon cyanotis
Blue-faced honeyeater – Entomyzon cyanotis

Wetland areas abound in the Northern Territory’s Top End. Corroboree Billabong, a string of lakes on the flood plain of the Mary River system is one such area. Fishermen share this with pleasure boaters, some fearsome looking crocodiles and a huge variety of birds. Birdlife here ranges from the insect eating rainbow bee-eater to the white-bellied sea eagle.

Rainbow bee-eater - Merops ornatus
Rainbow bee-eater – Merops ornatus
White-bellied sea eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster
White-bellied sea eagle – Haliaeetus leucogaster
White-bellied sea eagle - Haliaeetus leucogaster
White-bellied sea eagle – Haliaeetus leucogaster

Among the other birds I managed to capture at Corroboree Billabong was a black-necked stork also commonly known as jabiru

Black-necked stork or Jabiru - Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Black-necked stork or Jabiru – Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Black-necked stork or Jabiru - Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus
Black-necked stork or Jabiru – Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus

Close by is the Adelaide River where I took time off from croc spotting to snap this pair of little corella or blue-eyed cockatoos

Little corella (aka Blue-eyed cockatoo) - Cacatua sanguinea
Little corella (aka Blue-eyed cockatoo) – Cacatua sanguinea

You don’t have to travel far to see some of the Northern Territory’s birdlife. Darwin has plenty of public parks and green spaces that several species have made their home. This masked lapwing is common on the beaches and in the parks of Darwin and elsewhere. The other bird commonly seen around the parks and open spaces is the Australian white ibis

Masked lapwing - Vanellus miles
Masked lapwing – Vanellus miles
Australian white ibis - Threskiornis molucca
Australian white ibis – Threskiornis molucca

These are not the only photographs I managed to take. A visit to the Territory Wildlife Park and the Wetlands Region resulted in more photographs of Northern Territory’s birdlife. These will be the subject of a future post. If you do not want to miss the post sign up in the sidebar to be informed when a new post goes online. For more information on birdwatching in the Northern Territory visit where you can also download a couple of booklets on Northern Territory’s birdlife If you are interested in birds of Australia or Photographing birds then check out the Travel Unpacked shop

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Travel Unpacked is all about travel; from luxury to adventure travel and all related topics. There are reviews of accommodation, eateries, airlines,  ferries, books and much more. You will find stories, lists, hints and tips as well as experiences you might want replicate on your travels. It’s about travel as you want it

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