Australia’s unique fauna and flora largely evolved in isolation from the rest of the world and on a continent riven by climatic and ecological barriers. Fully 80% of Australia’s plants and animal species are endemic, including 350 of the continent’s 950 bird species and five endemic families—the Casuariidae (emu), Pedionomidae (Plains Wanderer); Menuridae (Lyrebirds); Atriachornithidae (Scrub-birds); and Dasyornithidae (Bristlebirds). Visit Australia’s “Top End” to look for granivores like Red-faced Partridge Pigeon, and check the flowering trees for Varied Lorikeet and Red-winged Parrot. The semi-arid southeast supports about 190 unique species, including Malleefowl, Major Mitchell Cockatoo, and Striated Grasswren. Off you go to Queensland, which supports nearly half of Australia’s bird species, including key rainforest birds such as Cassowary, Barred Cuckoo-shrike, Golden Bowerbird, and Macleay’s Honeyeater, with Black-throated Finch and Buff-breasted Button-quail in the wetlands. Along with this continental nation’s birds is an extraordinary array of mammals, from the egg-laying monotremes (echidna and platypus) to the marsupials, like the kangaroos, koalas, bandicoots, and the carnivorous marsupial mice. The Australia birding experience obviously varies depending on when and where one goes. Head off the beaten track by all means but with care. Learn about conditions; talk to the locals. They may not always get you the birds you want, but it will help you know the country. And you’ll have someone to call on if ever you need assistance! Birding is not just about blindly pursuing that next new tick, but becoming a combination of explorer and patient observer, of nature, of birds, and of people. Contributor: Denise Lawungkurr Goodfellow.
Along with this continental nation’s birds is an extraordinary array of mammals, from the egg-laying monotremes (echidna and platypus) to the marsupials, like kangaroo, koala, bandicoot, and the carnivorous marsupial mice. Tasmanian Tiger, Anteater, Short-beaked echidna, Spotted quoll, Sugar glider