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Southern Queensland Birds Trip, Australia - 1 Day

Southern Queensland Birds Trip, Australia

Forest & Wetland Birds Trip in Southeast Queensland

This is a one-day Southern Queensland Birds Trip to see and learn about birds of Australian wetlands, grasslands, open forests and rainforests. Southeast Queensland harbours about 50% of Australia's bird species, being an area of overlap between tropical and temperate climates and a diversity of habitats, with many species reaching their southern or northern limits here and a few confined to the Queensland-NSW border area, as well as migrating and nomadic species.

Novice birdwatchers as well as bird experts are welcome. Families are welcome, except on days when the first guest to book has requested no children

Pickup time and itinerary may be changed for a particularly according to the wishes of the first to book for that day.

The area harbours eight species of cockatoo, the world's only bird of paradise outside of the tropics, Australia's two largest eagles and its smallest raptor as well as just about everything in between, kookaburras, lyrebirds, bowerbirds, Australia's only stork, many honeyeaters, fairy wrens and so much more.  Although we see a good variety of species on our tour, the emphasis is less on life-listing and more on watching the birds and learning about their behaviour, ecology and evolutionary relationships, and with plenty of opportunities for photography.

In the rainforests we usually see bowerbirds (seasonally), scrub wrens, log runners, brush turkeys, whip bird, yellow "robins", Lewin's honeyeaters and various others, and if we're lucky also Albert's lyrebird, rose robin, catbird (often heard in spring/summer), wompoo fruit-doves, paradise rifle birds and others that make occasional appearances. Birds we often see in the open forest include raptors, kookaburra, other kingfishers, pigeons, various honeyeaters, fairy-wrens, pardalotes, butcherbirds, finches, cuckoo shrikes and others, and sometimes.  Wetland birds often seen include black swans, various ducks, pelicans, cormorants, darter, spoonbills, herons, egrets, stilts and gallinules. In open grassy areas, we also see grass birds, cisticolas, finches, lapwings, pipits, raptors and others.

You can also assist in research on animal/plant mutualism by taking and sharing photos of birds at fruits and flowers and helping your guide find where fruit-eating birds are (and thus likely to drop seeds) when not eating fruits.

Alternative Trip Name: Forest & Wetland Birding Trip
Day 1
Full Day Trip - Birdwatching in wetlands and forests

Leave Brisbane at a time nominated by whoever is first to book for that particular day (anywhere between 5.00am and 9.00am). The first stop is usually Eagleby Wetlands (unless there is a flight or cruise to get back to in the afternoon, in which case the order of locations is reversed to avoid the possibility of being stranded by traffic jams, roadworks etc.). An hour or two is spent seeking birds of lagoons, grasslands and open forest. After morning tea the tour continues to Lamington National Park (usually via O'Reilly's Rainforest Retreat, sometimes Binna Burra) for a short rainforest walk and lunch followed by further walks in the rainforest seeking birds before heading back to Brisbane with a couple of brief stops along the way, including a fruit bat colony.

Wildlife species expected to see:

Our main focus here is birds of rainforests, eucalyptus forests, grasslands and wetlands and yes we do tick checklists but also spend a bit of time watching their behaviour (bowerbirds decorating their bowers, log-runners with their odd sideways kicking, pelicans fishing as a group, fantails following whistlers etc.)

We also often see wallabies (4 species) and sometimes grey kangaroos, and often stop to view a colony of big and noisy fruit bats

Some of the wetland birds we see include:

  • Black-necked stork (fairly often) – Australia’s only stork, and towering over the other waterbirds
  • Australasian grebe (almost always)
  • Australasian swamp hen (almost always), 2 other gallinules
  • Magpie goose (fairly often) – not actually a goose, and sufficiently different from the related duck/goose/swan family it has a family to itself (but with other members in the fossil record). It is found only in Australia and New Guinea
  • Black swan (almost always) –  early explorers were startled to find not all swans are white
  • Pacific black duck (always)
  • Hardhead duck (almost always)
  • Wood (maned) duck (almost always)
  • Pink-eared duck (sometimes) – striking pattern, will arrive, stay a few weeks and move on
  • Whistling ducks, 2 species (occasionally)
  • Australian pelican (almost always)
  • Cormorants (almost always, 2 species common)
  • Red-necked avocet (sometimes) – will arrive, stay a few weeks and move on
  • Spoonbills, 2 species (often)
  • Eastern great egret (almost always), also cattle egret and intermediate egret
  • Heron, 2 species (almost always)
  • Comb-crested jacana (sometimes)
  • Pied (white-headed) stilt (almost always)
  • Marsh sandpiper (sometimes)
  • Painted snipe (occasionally)
  • Dotterell, 2 species (sometimes)
  • others

Raptors often appear at the wetlands including:

  • Wedge-tailed eagle – Australia’s largest eagle
  • White-bellied sea-eagle- Australia’s second largest eagle
  • Osprey
  • Whistling kite
  • Brahminy kite
  • Black-shoulered kite
  • Swamp harrier
  • others

In grassy areas nearby we often see:

  • Golden headed cisticola
  • Tawny grassbird
  • Double-bar finches
  • Others

And in the surrounding woodlands (eucalyptus, tea-tree and sheoak):

  • honeyeaters – several species
  • silvereye
  • fairy-wrens – 3 species
  • mistletoebird
  • shrike-thrushes – 2 species
  • whistlers – 2 species
  • fantails – 2 species
  • kingfishers – 4 species, including kookaburra
  • others

Rainforest species we see include:

  • brush turkey – not actually a turkey but a megapode  hatching ts eggs with the heat of decomposing leaf litter
  • crimson rosella
  • king parrot
  • fruit pigeons – several species
  • Albert’s lyrebird – one of the world’s only 2 lyrebirds, and both are confined to Australia
  • Log-runner – one of the world’s only 3 family members, 2 confined to Australia and one to New Guinea
  • “Robins” (not really robins) – 3 species
  • Scrubwrens -(not really wrens) – 3 species
  • Paradise riflebird  –  the only Bird of Paradise outside the tropics
  • others
Wildlife Reviews
5 stars
- based on 1  reviews
  1. Great tour
    Julius Simonelli09 Nov 2018







    We had a great tour with Ronda and her son. They were very knowledgeable and we saw all of the key species I wanted to see.

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Why book with Araucaria Ecotours?

The birdwatching day-trip has been designed and usually led by a zoologist (Ronda) with several decades experience of research on bird ecology and behaviour in southeast Queensland and elsewhere in Australia. Our other main guide is Ronda’s son Darren, a keen amateur naturalist who has been exploring our forests for a lifetime and very knowledgable. While designed to maximise the number of species seen in a variety of habitats (from wetlands to rainforest) the focus is on birds as part of the ecosystem and how their behaviour reflects this, not on dashing from one bird to the next or finding obscure species for life-lists. Many of our guests do add substantially to their lifelists as well: it’s just not our major focus. We happily cater for novice birdwatchers, bird photographers and for general nature enthusiasts for whom birds are just part of the delight and fascination with wild areas. Although some of our guests request tours with no children (which we respect), we do encourage families on other days, and also lead child-focussed tours with various games included to help children (and their parents!) learn about our birds). We understand that not all bird-lovers are physically fit, and can easily adjust our tours to include as little walking as possible while still seeing many birds. We abide by environmental standards, which includes not only waste reduction, fuel efficiency etc. but also minimising our impact on the birds and other wildlife we find. Since our own research is on-going and we also add information to other databases, guests are very welcome to engage in a bit of citizen science along the way. Special interests can be catered for with advance notice. We have attended food safety courses and are even more strict than usual in hygiene since Covid-19, adopting social distancing, applying disinfectants to bus seats and handles between tours and always travel with hand sanitiser.

What should I wear?

Shoes that are non -slip (you don't need hiking boots - sneakers or even sandals are fine, as long as not likely to slip on wet ground) Raincoat (weather can be unpredictable) Sunhat (ditto) Warm jacket in winter (the higher elevation of Lamington NP makes it several degrees cooler than Brisbane) Green, brown or dull clothes are less likely to startle birds than bright colours

What should I bring?

Bring your own binoculars if at all possible. There are small ones available if you don't have any, but the tour no longer provides high-quality ones as there has been so much damage to these, even by experienced birders Camera - a simple camera is fine for many of the birds in Lamington NP, as they often approach quite closely, but you will need telephoto or something with zoom for most of the waterbirds

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

1 Day

Price & Availability

AUD220 / per person
This tour is operated by: Araucaria Ecotours
4.96 based on 4 reviews

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Operator Review Summary

4.96 Based on 4 reviews

Tour Facts

  • Eagleby Wetlands and Lamington National Park (usually pick up from and return to Brisbane)
  • Available Daily
  • Full Day Trip
  • Birds
  • 1 ($50 single supplement) to 10
  • 8 - 10 hours
  • February to April, September to November
  • None, but first to book for the day can request a "no-children" tour
  • Leisurely
  • Yes
  • English (and some limited Spanish, French, Mandarin)
  • Brisbane Airport
  • Brisbane Airport