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Fauna of Central Australia

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Birds (Aves) - Bird Watching in Central Australia

Bird watching, ornithology, ornithologist, twitcher...

The arid centre is a region with a varied number of habitats, from the sandy desert areas, salt lakes, claypans, gorges, chasms, gaps, and dry riverbeds that weave across the landscape linking up permanent water holes, that are often the life blood for a number of wildlife.

This varied landscape is home to a huge array of bird species, as well as the migratory birds passing through, taking advantage of the permanent waterholes, unpredictable rainfall,  as well the water that flows down along formerly dry riverbeds from local rainfall and that draining from the north-easterly states.

For the avid bird watcher, Central Australia is a great place to see some of our feathered friends... from the larger birds of prey that can often be seen floating on the wind above you; the great array of parrots that include the galahs and black cockatoos; a variety of pigeons including the spinifex pigeon and the crested pigeon; the emerald green of the wild budgerigars; the luminousness colour of the Rainbow Bee-eater; the array of finches, wrens and tiny chats.

Bird Watching Locations in Central Australia

Central Australia is a bird watching paradise following rainfall periods that turn the normally dry arid season into a lush green habitat. Yet even during the dry times, there are plenty of bird species to be seen. For those visitors with little time, there are some great places to see the local bird life in Alice Springs, such as the Alice Springs Desert Park, Olive Pink Botanic Garden and the Alice Springs Treatment Plant (Alice Springs Sewerage Ponds).
Alice Springs Desert Park

• Larapinta Drive, ALICE SPRINGS NT 0870 • Web:
This wonderful park introduces visitors to the incredible but subtle richness of Australia’s arid zone. The park has been designed to take a holistic “habitat-based and story driven” approach, where you can explore the desert in its entirety, the landscapes, animals and plants, and their traditional use and management by Aboriginal people. As well as the interactive interpretive exhibits, theatre, nocturnal house, it provides a great place to see some of the local bird species in the enclosed aviaries, including some walk through aviaries, as well as the the free-flying birds that live in the area.

Check out some of our bird images from Alice Springs Desert Park.

Alice Springs Treatment Plant / Alice Springs Sewerage Ponds
Known affectionately as the ‘poo ponds’ the Alice Springs sewerage ponds have provided a great spot for bird watchers, having become an important stopping point for migratory birds on the way from the Arctic Circle to Australia's wetlands, as well as a habitat for some of our desert birds. Located just south of The Gap, the Ilparpa Swamp and adjacent sewerage ponds provides a permanent refuge, covering about 130 hectares, the ponds is part of a protected area. Early morning is a popular time for bird watchers. There are bird screen, interpretive signs and purpose built bird nesting islands have also been constructed at this site.
Olive Pink Botanic Garden

• Cnr Barrett Drv and Tuncks Rd, ALICE SPRINGS NT 0870 • Web:
An Arid Zone Botanic Garden in the Northern Territory, located close to the centre of Alice Springs, this botanic garden is home to a number of bird species. More than 80 native bird species have been recorded at the botanic garden.

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Bird Images from Central Australia
Following are some images of the many bird species that can be found in Central Australia.
Pied Butcherbird at Todd Mall Markets - Alice Springs
Pied Butcherbird
Spinifex Pigeon (Geophaps plumifera)
Spinifex Pigeon
Birds in Central Australia

For those living in some of the communities in Central Australia including Alice Springs, some of the birds that can be seen living in and around your backyard are quiet likely to be:

  • Australian Magpie
  • Australian Ringneck
  • Budgerigar
  • Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
  • Black-faced Woodswallow
  • Channel-billed Cuckoo
  • Diamond Dove
  • Galah
  • Grey-crowned Babbler
  • Grey Shrike-thrush
  • Magpie-lark
  • Mistletoe Bird
  • Pied Butcherbird
  • Rainbow Bee-eater
  • Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
  • Rufous Whistler
  • Singing Honeyeater
  • Splendid Fairy-wren
  • Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater
  • Western Bowerbird
  • White-plumed Honeyeater
  • Willie Wagtail
  • Yellow-throated Miner
  • Zebra Finch

Of course there are a number of birds of prey, seen outlined against the blue sky or perched atop the highest tree around:

A couple of great places to see catch a glimpse of some of our native bird life are the Olive Pink Botanic Garden or for up close views, the Alice Springs Desert Park. Bird life can also be seen around some of the permanent waterholes located along the ranges and throughout the region.

Western Bowerbird (Chlamydera guttata) © Dorothy Latimer, August 2007
Western Bowerbird
Australian Ringneck (Barnardius zonarius) © Dorothy Latimer, August 2007
Australian Ringneck
Red-capped Robin © Colin Leel, June 2008
Red-capped Robin
Grey-crowned Babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis) © Dorothy Latimer, August 2007
Grey-crowned Babbler
© Dorothy Latimer, 2007
Australian Hobby
Whistling Kite (Haliastur sphenurus) © Dorothy Latimer, February 2008
Whistling Kite
Rainbow Bee-eater (Merops ornatus)
Rainbow Bee-eater
Brown Falcon
Brown Falcon
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