Dance of the Riflebird

All photos taken on our property

Birds and Birding

Being situated in the ecotone between tropical rainforest and open woodlands, we get the best of both worlds.

The tall sclerophyll forest has a more open canopy, with an understorey of small trees and flowering shrubs. Birdwatching here is  easier than in  rainforest.

The Atherton Tablelands/ Wet Tropics are home to more than 320 species of birds, including 16 endemic species.

Of these endemics we have at least 13 on our property (see our bird list below).

Victoria’s Riflebirds can be seen all year round, and between August and December males take turns to display/dance on a tree trunk near the cabin. Often they even start displaying as early as April.

Macleay’s and Bridled Honeyeaters, Mountain Thornbills and Bower’s Shrike-thrushes are also regular visitors. 

Grey-headed Robins and Atherton Scrubwrens are regularly encountered along our creek.

Cassowaries often wander through the forest and along the creeks and sometimes right past the cabin. 

Victoria’s Riflebirds  and Crested Shrike-tits can be seen foraging for insects amongst loose tree bark.

Pied Monarch Flycatchers spiral around tree trunks like tree-creepers, Grey Fantails are never far away as they opportunistically feed on insects disturbed by the other birds.

Apart from the regular visits by King Parrots, several species of lorikeets are making their presence known with their noisy chatter when trees are flowering.

During those periods, the numbers of resident honeyeaters (about 9 species) increase substantially by an influx of seasonal visitors.

Our forest seasonally produces bumper crops of berries and other juicy fruits, which attract flocks of Superb Fruit-doves, Topknot Pigeons, Satin Bowerbirds and other frugivores. In winter the odd Tooth-billed and Golden Bowerbirds join the foraging.

Nearby birding hot spots are
– Mt Hypipamee (“The Crater”) National Park for upland rainforest species,
Hasties Swamp, with its 2-storey bird hide, for waterbirds, raptors and open forest species,                                                        – Bromfield Swamp, where Brolgas and Sarus Cranes fly in to roost in the late afternoon in the winter months (June to   November) and                                                                                                                                                                                         -Kaban/Springvale Roads in dry, open forest for Pale-headed Rosella, Little Lorikeet, Fuscuos (or is this the “Herberton Honeyeater”?) and Banded Honeyeaters, Common Bronzewing Pigeon, Varied Sitella, Crested Shrike-tit, quails and other dry country species. 

We can provide you with additional information on birding and wildlife areas in the Atherton Tablelands and along the coast, and also help with guided tours.

 For all the best birding sites, guides and places to stay, go to this  website:

We can recommend the following websites for useful information on birds and birding:

Lloyd Nielsen –

An excellent guide for the Atherton Tablelands is Patrick De Geest.

We also recommend David Mead, who also leads tours further north, especially around Cooktown and Cape York and to western Qld.

and Yu Ota, an experienced bird and wildlife guide


The following list is not complete, but will give you an idea of what you may see around the Atherton Tablelands Birdwatchers’ Cabin:

BIRD SPECIES (observed on our property)

  • C :  common 
  •  r : resident   
  •  O : occasional 
  •   ( ) : seen nearby 
  • R : rare 
Southern Cassowary
Casuarius casuarius
C, r
Orange-footed Scrubfowl
Megapodius reinwardtii
C, r
Brush Turkey
Alectura lathami
C, r
King Quail
Excalfactorius chinensis
R, bumped into house one night
Plumed Whistling- Duck
Dendrocygna eytoni
R, visited our creek at night
Little Pied Cormorant
Phalacrocorax sulcirostris
(in Wondecla creek 31/12/2015)
Little Egret
Ardea garzetta
Nankeen Night Heron
Nycticorax caledonicus
O, r
White-faced Heron
Ardea novaehollandiae
Black Bittern
Ixobrychus flavicollis
Black Kite
Milvus migrans
Square-tailed Kite
Lophoictinia isura
Whistling Kite
Milvus (Haliastur) phenurus
O, r
Black-breasted Buzzard
Hamirostra melanosternon
juvenile, June 2022
Little Eagle
Hieraaetus morphnoides
Wedge-tailed Eagle
Aquila audax
O, r
Pacific Baza
Aviceda subcristata
C, r
Collared Sparrowhawk
Accipiter cirrhocephalus
C, r
Brown Goshawk
Accipiter fasciatus
Grey Goshawk
Accipiter novaehollandiae
C, r
Peregrine Falcon
Falco peregrines
R, nesting in Mt Hypipamee NP
Dusky Moorhen
Gallinula tenebrosa
R, knocked on our door at midnight!
Painted Button-quail
Turnix varius
R, observed in January 2020
Red-chested Button-quail
Turnix pyrrhothorax O)
Bush Stone-curlew
Burhinus grallarius
C, r
Topknot Pigeon
Lopholaimus antarcticus
O, r, seasonal flocks
Wompoo Fruit-dove
Ptilinopus magnificus
O, r
Superb Fruit-dove
Ptilinopus superbus
O, r, seasonal flocks
Rose-crowned Fruit-dove
Ptilinopus regina
O, r
Emerald Dove
Chalcophaps indica
C, r
Brown Cuckoo-dove
Macropygia amboinensis
C, r
Peaceful Dove
Geopelia striatus(placida)
C, r
Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
Calyptorhynchus banksii
O, r
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
Cacatua galerita
C, r
Rainbow Lorikeet
Trichoglossus haematodus
C, r, seasonal large flocks
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet
Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus
C, r, seasonal large flocks
Little Lorikeet
Glossopsitta pusilla
C, seasonal
Australian King Parrot
Alisterus scapularis
C, r
Crimson Rosella
Platycercus elegans
C, r
Pale-headed Rosella
Platycercus adscitus
O, r
Oriental Cuckoo
Cuculus saturates
Pallid Cuckoo
Cuculus pallidus
Brush Cuckoo
Cacomantis variolosus
Fan-tailed Cuckoo
Cacomantis flabelliformis
C, r
Horsfield’s Bronze Cuckoo
Chrysococcyx basalis
Shining Bronze Cuckoo
Chrysococcyx lucidus
C, r
Common Koel
Eudynamys scolopacea
Channel-billed Cuckoo
Scythrops novaehollandiae
O, seasonal
Pheasant Coucal
Centropus phasianius
(O, r)
Rufous Owl
Ninox rufa
C, r
Little Red Boobook
Ninox lurida
C,r, endemic
Masked Owl
Tyto novaehollandiae
Lesser Sooty Owl
Tyto multipunctata
O, r, endemic
Tawny Frogmouth
Podargus strigoides
O, r
Large-tailed Nightjar
Caprimulgus macrurus
C, r
Owlet Nightjar
Aegotheles cristatus
C, r
White-rumped Swiftlet
Aerodromus spodiopygius
Azure Kingfisher
Alcedo (now: Ceyx) azurea
C, r
Little Kingfisher
Alcedo(now: Ceyx) pusilla
C, r
Forest Kingfisher
Todiramphus macleayii
C, r
Sacred Kingfisher
Todiramphus sanctus
C, r
Laughing Kookaburra
Dacelo novaeguinea
C, r
White-throated Needletail
Hirundapus caudacutus
C, seasonal
Rainbow Bee-eater
Merops ornatus
C, r , seasonal
Eurystomus orientalis
O, seasonal
Noisy Pitta
Pitta versicolor
O, summer visitor
White-throated Treecreeper
Cormobates leucophaeus
C, r
Brown Treecreeper
Climacteris picumnus
O, r
Variegated Fairy-wren
Malurus lamberti
C, r
Red-backed Fairy-wren
Malurus melanocephalus
C, r
Spotted Pardalote
Pardalotus punctatus
C, r
Striated Pardalote
Pardalotus striatus
C, r
Atherton Scrubwren
Sericornis keri
C, r endemic
Yellow-throated Scrubwren
Sericornis citreogularis
C, r
White-browed Scrubwren
Sericornis frontalis
C, r
Brown Gerygone
Gerygone mouki
C, r
Fairy Gerygone
Gerygone palpebrosa
Yellow Thornbill
Acanthiza nana
Buff-rumped Thornbill
Acanthiza reguloides
O, r
Mountain Thornbill
Acanthiza katherina
C, r endemic
Little Friarbird
Philemon citreogularis
O, seasonal
Helmeted Friarbird
Philemon buceroides
Macleay's Honeyeater
Xanthotis macleayana
C, r endemic
Fuscous (Herberton) HE
Ptilotula fusca
Brown Honeyeater
Lichmera indistincta
Lewin's Honeyeater
Meliphaga lewinii
C, r
Bridled Honeyeater
Lichenostomus frenatus
C, r endemic
Yellow-faced Honeyeater
Lichenostomus chrysops
C, r
White-cheeked Honeyeater
Phylidonyris nigra
C, seasonal
White-naped Honeyeater
Melithreptus lunatus
C, r
Eastern Spinebill
Acanthorhynchus tenuirostrus
C, r
Scarlet Honeyeater
Myzomela sanguinolenta
C, r
Dicaeum hirundinaceum
O, r
Grey-headed Robin
Heteromyias albispecularis
C, r endemic
Eastern Yellow Robin
Eopsaltria australis
C, r
Pale-yellow Robin
Tregellasia capito
C, r
Eastern Whipbird
Psophodes olivaceus
C, r
Varied Sitella
Daphoenositta chrysoptera
O, r
Crested Shrike-tit
Falcunculus frontatus
C, r
Golden Whistler
Pachycephala pectoralis
C, r
Rufous Whistler
Pachycephala rufiventris
O, r
Little Shrike-thrush
Colluricincla megarhyncha
C, r
Bower's Shrike-thrush
Colluricincla boweri
C, r endemic
Grey Shrike-thrush
Colluricincla harmonica
C, r
Black-faced Monarch
Monarcha melanopsis
C, r
Spectacled Monarch
Monarcha trivirgatus
C, r
Pied Monarch
Arses caupi
C, r endemic
Yellow-breasted Boatbill
Machaerirhynchus flaviventer
C, r
Leaden Flycatcher
Myiagra rubecula
O, r
Rufous Fantail R
Rhipidura rufifrons
C, r
Grey Fantail
Rhipidura fuliginosa
C, r
Spangled Drongo
Dicrurus bracteatus
C, r, seasonal
Varied Triller
Lalage leucomela
C, r
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
Coracina novaehollandiae
C, r
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike
Coracina papuensis
O, r
Barred Cuckoo-shrike
Coracina lineata
O, r
Coracina tenuirostris
C, r
Olive-backed Oriole
Oriolus sagittatus
Sphecotheres viridis
Pied Currawong
Strepera graculina
O, r
Victoria's Riflebird
Ptiloris victoriae
C, r endemic
Spotted Catbird
Ailuroedus maculosus
O, r, endemic
Golden Bowerbird
Prionodura newtoniana
O, r endemic
Satin Bowerbird
Ptilonorhynchus violaceus
C, r, seasonal flocks
Tooth-billed Bowerbird
Scenopoeetes dentirostris
O, r endemic
Red-browed Finch
Neochmia temporalis
C, r
Zosterops lateralis
C, r
Bassian Thrush
Zoothera lunulata ssp.cuneata
O, r
Some of the birds with subspecies restricted to the Wet Tropics, which can be easily seen on our property:
Australian King Parrot
Alisterus scapularis minor
Brown Gerygone
Gerygone mouki mouki
Eastern Whipbird
Psophodes olivaceus lateralis
Grey Fantail
Rhipidura fuliginosa frerei
Pale-yellow Robin
Tregellasia capito nana
Satin Bowerbird
Ptilonorhynchus violaceus minor
Yellow-breasted Boatbill
Machaerirhynchus flaviventer secundus

For full and comprehensive  list visit our desktop site or click below for pdf list.

White-naped Honeyeater
White-naped Honeyeater