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birding in Victoria

The compact state of Victoria has a diverse range of habitats supporting a large number of species. Some specialties of Victoria include Superb Lyrebird, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Turquoise Parrot, Ground Parrot, Swift Parrot, Hooded Plover, Red-capped Plover, Cape Barren Goose, Powerful Owl, Rufous Bristlebird, Pink Robin, Southern Emu-wren, Mallee Emu-wren, Plainswanderer and Little Penguin.

Full Day “Big Day” Melbourne Bird Tour – from Melbourne

Melbourne has a wide variety of habitats within close proximity to the CBD and with that comes a wide variety of bird species on offer year round. This full day tour is an action-packed sprint to see how many birds we can see from dawn to dusk within a 100kn radius of Melbourne. For the more adventurous, we can also start pre-dawn or continue after dark to try for some night-birds as well.

On this tour we consistently achieve a total of around 130-140 species for the calendar day.

We start off deep in some wet sclerophyll forest and heathy woodland, hoping for habitat specific species such as Superb Lyrebird, Pilotbird, Pink Robin, Satin Flycatcher (spring-summer), Large-billed Scrubwren, Olive Whistler, Red-browed Treecreeper, King Parrot, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Brush Cuckoo(spring-summer), Beautiful Firetail, Rufous Fantail (spring-summer), Shining Bronze-cuckoo, Eastern Whipbird and Gang-Gang Cockatoo.

We then head to the famous Western Treatment Plant in Werribee for a smorgasbord of waterbirds, shorebirds and grassland birds, and will most likely see Pink-eared Duck, Cape Barren Goose, Brolga, Musk Duck, Red-necked Avocet, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (spring-summer), Red-kneed Dotterel, Black-tailed Native-hen (spring-summer), Hoary-headed Grebe, Red-necked Stint, Banded Lapwing, Pacific Golden Plover, Striated Fieldwren, Eastern Great Egret, Fairy Tern, Lewin’s Rail, Spotless Crake, White-winged Black Tern, Black Falcon, Pectoral Sandpiper and Zebra Finch among many others.

This is a premier birding site that consistently turns up rarities and is not to be missed.

Depending on the season we will head to some drier forest areas to look for birds such as Diamond Firetail, Brown Treecreeper, Painted Button-quail, Restless Flycatcher, Speckled Warbler, Red-browed Finch, Collared Sparrowhawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Purple-crowned Lorikeet, Pallid Cuckoo (spring-summer), Scarlet Robin, Red-rumped Parrot, White-winged Triller (spring-summer) and Long-billed Corella.

Alternatively, through the cooler months we may head to coastal areas and nearby heathlands to try and find Rufous Bristlebird, Southern Emu-wren, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Blue-winged Parrot, Forest Raven, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Hooded Plover, Double-banded Plover, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Shy Albatross, Australasian Gannet, Pacific Gull, Black-browed Albatross, Fairy Prion, Fluttering Shearwater, Brown Skua and White-fronted Tern.

Spotlighting activity before dawn or after dusk can turn up Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, Southern Boobook, White-throated Nightjar (spring-summer) and Australian Owlet-nightjar.

This tour is a fun-packed thrill ride that is not for the light-hearted, but definitely for big-listers and the bird-maniac in all of us just waiting to be unleashed!!

Private tour – departs any day, subject to availability of birding guide.

Tour Code: BM1BD

To add this tour to your itinerary enquiry, please include the tour code.

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

Gang Gang Cockatoo
Pink-eared Duck

Important Information

Inclusions: Pick-up & drop-off at Melbourne hotels, use of binoculars and spotting scope (and spare binoculars if required), Australian bird field guides, coffee, tea & light refreshments

Australian King Parrot

Full Day Wet Forest Birding Tour – from Melbourne

An early start for a full day tour to discover the birds of the wet forests. The mountainous forests east and north-east of Melbourne are spectacular and contain pure stands of the world's largest flowering plant, the Mountain Ash, Eucalyptus regnans, as well as small patches of rainforest in some locations. Special birds of these areas include Superb Lyrebird, Red-browed Treecreeper, Pink Robin, Sooty Owl, Pilotbird, Large-billed Scrub-wren, Olive Whistler, Satin Flycatcher (summer), Gang-gang Cockatoo, Rufous Fantail (summer) and King Parrot.

We travel out to spots such as the Dandenong Ranges, Toolangi State Forest and a little further out, the Marysville area. Most of the action in these areas occurs in spring and summer, when birds are actively breeding and vocally advertising territories and migratory species such as Satin Flycatcher, Rufous Fantail and various cuckoo species are present. Return to Melbourne and your hotel later in the afternoon.

Private tour – departs any day, subject to availability of birding guide.

Tour Code: BM1WF

To add this tour to your itinerary enquiry, please include the tour code.

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

Important Information

Inclusions: Pick-up & drop-off at Melbourne hotels, use of binoculars and spotting scope (and spare binoculars if required), Australian bird field guides, coffee, tea & light refreshments

Full Day Dry Forest Birding Tour – from Melbourne

An early start to discover the birds of the Dry Forest. This habitat type mainly consists of bushland areas north or west of Melbourne such as Long Forest Nature Conservation Reserve, Brisbane Ranges National Park, the You Yangs Forest Park and sites around the Heathcote area.

Typical vegetation in these habitats comprises drier eucalypt communities with dense under-storey such as wattles, shrubs and grasses.

Bird species that can be found in these habitats include dry-forest specialties such as Spotted Quail-thrush, Speckled Warbler, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Diamond Firetail, Scarlet Robin, Crested Shrike-tit, Little Eagle, Brown Treecreeper, Southern Boobook, Purple-crowned Lorikeet and Long-billed Corella. Of course, different species can be found depending on the time of year. Return to Melbourne and your hotels later in the afternoon.

Private tour – departs any day, subject to availability of birding guide.

Tour Code: BM1DF

To add this tour to your itinerary enquiry, please include the tour code.

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

Black-chinned Honeyeater

Important Information

Inclusions: Pick-up & drop-off at Melbourne hotels, use of binoculars and spotting scope (and spare binoculars if required), Australian bird field guides, coffee, tea & light refreshments

Australian Pied Oystercatcher
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Full Day Wetland & Coastal Birding Tour – from Melbourne

An early start to discover the birds of wetland and coastal regions near Melbourne. Depending on the local and seasonal conditions or what particular bird species are required we can travel either south-east or south-west of Melbourne to visit a wide array of wetlands, swamps, tidal mudflats and coastal headlands that are utilised by many different waterbirds, shorebirds and seabirds.

Wetlands and swamps fringing Port Philip Bay and Western Port Bay offer a myriad of sites where wildfowl, pelicans, herons & egrets, spoonbills & ibis, crakes & rails and cormorants & darters can be found.

Tidal influence in many coastal environments creates mudflats and shorelines that in the austral summer attract thousands of wader migrating from breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere.

These areas also provide habitat for a large suite of resident & migratory terns, gulls & jaegers and the many resident wading birds that can be found in Southern Victoria. Examples of these include Eastern Curlew (summer), Sharp-tailed Sandpiper (summer), Latham's Snipe (summer), Double-banded Plover (winter), Red-necked Avocet & Banded Stilt (nomadic), Red-kneed Dotterel (nomadic), Pied Oystercatcher, Fairy Tern, Whiskered Tern (summer) and White-fronted Tern (winter).

Coastal headlands and ocean beaches offer the chance of observing different species again, with birds like Hooded Plover, Rufous Bristlebird, Australasian Gannet, Black-faced Cormorant and Kelp Gull. Depending on conditions, pelagic seabirds such as albatross, shearwaters, petrels and terns can sometimes be seen close inshore, and there are many prominent headlands from which to watch for these. Little Penguins are commonly found in southern waters.

Private tour – departs any day, subject to availability of birding guide.

Tour Code: BM1WC

To add this tour to your itinerary enquiry, please include the tour code.

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

Important Information

Inclusions: Pick-up & drop-off at Melbourne hotels, use of binoculars and spotting scope (and spare binoculars if required), Australian bird field guides, coffee, tea & light refreshments

3 Day Central Victorian Woodlands Private Birding Tour – from Melbourne

This 3 day, 2 night tour takes in the box-ironbark woodlands and mallee habitats of central Victoria. These regions have their own special birds, as well as a mix of birds from the wetter forests in the south and the drier woodland and mallee of the north-west.

We will visit and explore areas such as the Greater Bendigo National Park, Terrick-Terrick National Park, Kooyora State Park and the many reserves in the Heathcote area. Birds we will be looking out for include Painted Honeyeater, Chestnut-rumped Heathwren, Spotted Quail-Thrush, Swift Parrot, Gilbert’s Whistler, Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Inland Thornbill, Southern Scrub-robin, Noisy Friarbird, Speckled Warbler, Western Gerygone and perhaps hardest of all,the critically endangered Regent Honeyeater.

Day 1. Leaving Melbourne we travel toward Heathcote, birding en route. We should see birds like Long-billed Corella, Crested Pigeon, Crimson Rosella and Whistling Kite along the way, whilst in the Heathcote area we hope to connect with Black-chinned Honeyeater, Speckled Warbler, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Spotted Quail-thrush, Leaden Flycatcher, Scarlet Robin, Eastern Spinebill, Brown Treecreeper, Varied Sitella and hopefully the exceedingly shy Chestnut-rumped Heathwren.

Moving north we visit several reserves along the way and with some good fortune may see Olive-backed Oriole, Painted Honeyeater, White-winged Triller, Brown Songlark, Little Lorikeet, Dollarbird, Sacred Kingfisher and Diamond Firetail.

Day 2. We will set out across the Northern Plains of Victoria with their remnant native grasslands and the wooded granite outcrops of Terrick Terrick National Park and Kooyora State Park. Through the grasslands we hope to see Australasian Pipit, Brown Songlark, Zebra Finch, Banded Lapwing and Spotted Harrier.

At Terrick Terrick NP there should be a good mix of drier woodland species such as Southern Whiteface, Hooded Robin, Red-capped Robin, Mallee Ringneck, White-browed Babbler, White-browed Woodswallow, Gilbert’s Whistler, Painted Button-Quail and Chestnut-rumped Thornbill. There may be a possibility of sighting a Grey Falcon.

From there we continue west to the Wychitella district to look for Southern Scrub-robin, Crested Bellbird and perhaps White-fronted Honeyeater.

Overnight in Bendigo.

Day 3. We will bird the Greater Bendigo National Park, a huge area of box-ironbark woodland and mallee heaths that contains some special birds not found closer to Melbourne.

We’ll be looking for Shy Hylacola, Black-eared Cuckoo, Variegated Fairy-wren, Black Honeyeater, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Inland Thornbill, Rainbow Bee-eater, Yellow-tufted Honeyeater, Grey Currawong, Western Gerygone, Purple-gaped Honeyeater and Spotted Nightjar.

Return to Melbourne in early evening.

Private tour – departs any day, subject to availability of birding guide.

Tour Code: BM3CV

To add this tour to your itinerary enquiry, please include the tour code.

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

Important Information

Inclusions: Private guiding in comfortable 4WD vehicle, accommodation with private facilities. 2 Breakfasts & 2 Dinners.

Minimum 2 people, however please enquire if travelling alone.

 

Regent Honeyeater (Critically Endangered)
Red-capped Robin
Diamond Firetail
White-bellied Sea-Eagle
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo

Important Information

Inclusions: Private guiding in comfortable 4WD vehicle, the Ultimate Tour at the Penguin Parade, accommodation with private facilities. 2 Breakfasts & 2 Dinners.

Minimum 2 people, however please enquire if travelling alone.

3 Day South Gippsland Private Birding Tour – from Melbourne

A three day, two night tour of South Gippsland visiting the forests, headlands and windswept ocean beaches of the region plus the premier birding sites held within.

Day 1 We will travel to the World-famous Penguin Parade at Phillip Island for the Ultimate Adventure Tour experience (maximum 10 in your ranger-guided group – over 16 yrs old only) to view Little Penguin at a secluded beach, away from the crowds.

Prior to the Penguin Parade, visit significant wader roosts whilst on the island where we should see Whimbrel, Eastern Curlew, Bar-tailed Godwit, and Hooded Plover.

Kelp Gull, Cape Barren Goose and Black-faced Cormorant are also specialties relatively easily found on the island. If the seas are rough and the wind is blowing onshore we will have a good chance of seeing seabirds from some of the rocky headlands along the south coast of the island.

Day 2 From Phillip Island we will head south-east along the coast, stopping at various locations including Cape Liptrap Coastal Park and Shallow Inlet Marine Park.

Along this route we visit estuaries, wetlands and heathlands, and hope to connect with species such as Pacific Golden Plover, Sooty Oystercatcher, Brush Bronzewing, Blue-winged Parrot, Olive Whistler, Southern Emu-Wren, Beautiful Firetail, Bassian Thrush and White-bellied Sea-Eagle.

Again there is always the opportunity for seawatching from the headlands where we may see Shy Albatross, Fairy Prion, Fluttering & Hutton’s Shearwaters and White-fronted Tern.

We will then drive inland and up into the forests of the Great Dividing Range to our overnight accommodation.

Day 3. After a leisurely breakfast we will head toward Morwell National Park, an area of tall Mountain Ash forest interspersed with small rainforest patches.

Here we should connect with some of the birds typical of this habitat, such as Brown Gerygone, Black-faced Monarch, Red-browed Treecreeper, Golden Whistler, Gang-gang Cockatoo, Satin Flycatcher, Rose & Pink Robin, Large-billed Scrubwren, Wonga Pigeon and King Parrot.

Just before lunchtime we’ll head toward Bunyip State Park, and travel through the heathy woodlands and tall forests of this vast area. Here we’ll be looking for Superb Lyrebird, Pilotbird, Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo, Scarlet Robin, Eastern Whipbird, Lewin’s Honeyeater, Crescent Honeyeater and Dusky Woodswallow.

At the end of the day we’ll head back to Melbourne where the tour concludes.

Optional Extra for Day 3 - Spotlighting:

Whilst here we will take the opportunity to stay after dark for a while to spotlight for some of the park’s famous nightbirds. With a bit of luck we’ll see White-throated Nightjar, Powerful Owl, Southern Boobook, Tawny Frogmouth and perhaps even the elusive Sooty Owl. Return to Melbourne late in the evening.

Private tour – departs any day, subject to availability of birding guide.

Tour Code: BM3SG

To add this tour to your itinerary enquiry, please include the tour code.

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

4 Day Far South-West Victoria Private Birding Tour – from Melbourne

A four day, three night excursion to the forests, heaths and coastline of the far south-western reaches of Victoria to try and find one of Victoria’s most magnificent birds, race graptogyne of the Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo. This is a species commonly found throughout the northern part of the continent, but in south-eastern Australia is restricted to a small and threatened population straddling the Victorian-South Australian border. We will endeavour to find this beautiful species as it sails over the forest uttering its brassy and evocative wail, as well as some other hard-to-find species such as Bush Stone-Curlew, Masked Owl, Barking Owl, Powerful Owl, Rufous Bristlebird, Beautiful Firetail, Shy Hylacola, Brown Skua, Southern Emu-Wren, Forest Raven, Sanderling, Hooded Plover, Satin Bowerbird, Grey Goshawk and Azure Kingfisher.

Possible rarities that occur from time to time in the area include Elegant Parrot, Orange-bellied Parrot, Cape Gannet, Grey-headed Albatross, Southern Fulmar and Hutton’s Shearwater.

Day 1 Leaving Melbourne, we will travel west of the Grampians, birding en route. A spotlighting excursion in the evening will see us attempt to locate Bush Stone-Curlew, Barking Owl and any other nocturnal birds that may be about.

Day 2 This morning we will traverse a vast area of Brown Stringybark forest interspersed with expanses of floristically diverse heathland in an attempt to locate Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo. Other birds here include Shy Hylacola, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Square-tailed Kite (spring-summer), Black-chinned Honeyeater, Diamond Firetail and Southern Whiteface.

In the afternoon we will head south to Dergholm State Forest, and then on to Casterton if we still haven’t found the Red-tails.

Day 3 We will explore the beautiful Glenelg National Park in the morning and look for Azure Kingfisher, Masked Owl, Powerful Owl, Forest Raven, Olive Whistler and Long-billed Corella.

In the afternoon we’ll reach the coast and hope to see Brown Skua, Black-faced Cormorant, Kelp Gull, Rufous Bristlebird and Beautiful Firetail around the Portland area. If conditions are favourable and there is a stiff onshore wind we will try for a bit of seabird-watching off Cape Nelson to pick up albatrosses, shearwaters and petrels.

Day 4 We will commence our journey back to Melbourne, travelling along the magnificent Great Ocean Road and stopping en route for Sanderling, Hooded Plover, Southern Emu-wren, Striated Fieldwren, Crescent Honeyeater, Blue-winged Parrot, Grey Goshawk and Satin Bowerbird.

Tour concludes in Melbourne.

Private tour – departs any day, subject to availability of birding guide.

Tour Code: BM4SW

To add this tour to your itinerary enquiry, please include the tour code.

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo
Azure Kingfisher

Important Information

Inclusions: Private guiding in comfortable 4WD vehicle, accommodation with private facilities. 3 Breakfasts & 3 Dinners.

Minimum 2 people, however please enquire if travelling alone.

 

Regent Parrot
Malleefowl
Hattah-Kulkyne National Park
Pink-eared Duck

Important Information

Inclusions: Private guiding in comfortable 4WD vehicle, accommodation with private facilities. 4 breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch & 4 dinners.

Minimum 2 people, however please enquire if travelling alone.

 

5 Day Victorian Mallee Private Birding Tour – from Melbourne

A five day, four night excursion through the wilderness areas in the far north-west of the state to experience the beauty and serenity of Victoria’s mallee, as well as track down some of the special birds of this region.

We will visit the Little Desert National Park, Wyperfeld National Park, Murray-Sunset National Park and of course the world-famous Hattah-Kulkyne National Park.

Birds we can expect to see include Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, Mulga Parrot, Blue Bonnet, Regent Parrot, Splendid Fairy-Wren, Chestnut Quail-Thrush, Gilbert’s Whistler, Redthroat, Yellow-plumed and Purple-gaped Honeyeater, Shy Heathwren, Hooded Robin and Slender-billed Thornbill amongst others. However the star attractions of this area are undoubtedly the skulkers of the mallee, and we will be doubling our efforts to locate Mallee Emu-wren, Striated Grasswren, Malleefowl and Black-eared Miner.

Day 1 We travel west from Melbourne, birding en route before arriving at the Little Desert Nature Lodge which is just south of Nhill for two nights.

In the late afternoon we will have time for a bit of a look around, hopefully picking up some of the local species such as Southern Scrub-Robin or Mallee Ringneck.

Day 2 We will have a full day to look around the Little Desert National Park, a huge reserve consisting of mallee, banksia heath and stringybark woodlands.

Here we hope to connect with the main avian attraction of the park, the shy and elusive Malleefowl. With a bit of good fortune there may be pair actively working one of their huge nest mounds which we can observe from a distance.

Other birds we’re likely to come across include Variegated Fairy-Wren, Gilbert’s Whistler, Tawny-crowned Honeyeater, Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater, Little Corella, Crested Bellbird, White-browed Babbler, Inland Thornbill and Slender-billed Thornbill. There is also a slight chance of Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo in the areas dominated by Brown Stringybark trees.

Day 3 We will leave first thing in the morning and head to Wyperfeld National Park where a search along the Discovery Walk will hopefully deliver Regent Parrot, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, White-fronted Honeyeater, Chestnut Quail-Thrush, Southern Scrub-Robin and Redthroat.

In the afternoon we will drive a little further north to the Pink Lakes section of the Murray-Sunset National Park and have a look for two special birds – the Mallee Emu-Wren and Striated Grasswren. These two skulking wrens inhabit the dense clumps of Triodia spinifex grass found around the vicinity of Pink Lakes and provide quite a challenge.

 

Day 4 Today we will arrive early at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park and start birding immediately along the Old Calder Hwy and Nowingi Track. If we missed the emu-wren and grasswren at Pink Lakes we have another chance here.

 

Also here we should pick up Striped Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Splendid Fairy-Wren, Chestnut Quail-thrush, Yellow-plumed Honeyeater, Mulga Parrot and there is also another opportunity for Malleefowl. If there have been good rains in the months prior to our visit we have a good chance of seeing nomads such as Crimson Chat, Budgerigar, Cockatiel, Black Honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater or even Scarlet-chested Parrot.

 

Furthermore, if Lake Hattah has water in it we may see Freckled Duck, Red-necked Avocet, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Black-tailed Native-Hen, Grey Teal, Black-winged Stilt, Red-kneed Dotterel, Pink-eared Duck and Glossy Ibis, to name a few.

 

Day 5 Today we will head back to Melbourne, stopping at a few places on the way. At Bronzewing we will look in at the mallee reserve there to see if we can locate any of the Black-eared Miners that were re-located here from South Australia a few years ago.

From there we’ll go across to Lake Tyrrell which is a dry salt lake with samphire and saltbush margins and a known haunt for Rufous Fieldwren White-winged Fairy-Wren, Black-faced Woodswallow and the gorgeous Orange Chat.

Return to Melbourne where tour concludes.

Private tour – departs any day, subject to availability of birding guide.

Tour Code: BM5VM

To add this tour to your itinerary enquiry, please include the tour code.

To Book or Enquire: Email (Please include Tour Code)

Birding in other States & Territories of Australia

Comb Crested Jacana

Top End

Birding

Comb Crested Jacana

Buff-Banded Rail

Victoria

Birding

Buff-Banded Rail

Spinifex Pigeon

Central Australia

Birding

Spinifex Pigeon

Red-capped Parrot

Western Australia

Birding

Red-capped Parrot

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

South Australia

Birding

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

Scarlet Honeyeater

Queensland

Birding

Scarlet Honeyeater

Hooded Plover

Tasmania

Birding

Hooded Plover

Graeme King - Founder Australia Naturally

Graeme King - Owner

Australia Naturally Travel

Australia-Naturally Travel brings over 20 years of experience to bear on designing special-interest tours.

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