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Birdwatching

Victoria

  • Birdlife, Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia

You're spoilt for ornithological choice in the varied landscapes and habitats of Victoria, with rare birds, colourful birds, and migrating birds all awaiting avid twitchers and casual birdwatchers alike.

Bushland birds and wetland wonders

The bushlands of the Grampians are home to over 200 species of birds, including a wide variety of parrots like gang-gang cockatoos and long-billed corellas. Laughing kookaburras act as the local alarm clocks.

Up in the Murray region you're sure to spot the mallee fowl, and the local ibises will be on show at the Kerang Wetlands near Echuca. 

Coastal twitching

Head to the coast along the Great Ocean Road to see shorebirds and seabirds, including albatrosses and petrels. The endangered orange-bellied parrots can be glimpsed on the Bellarine Peninsula as they migrate from breeding grounds in south-western Tasmania for the winter.

Phillip Island is a birdwatching haven, with the mangroves and mudflats of Rhyll Inlet a significant site for the wading birds that fly thousands of kilometres to feed during the summer months. Walk on the elevated boardwalks to witness spoonbills, oyster catchers, herons, egrets and cormorants. Pelicans gather around the San Remo shoreline, the rare hooded plover can be seen on the beaches, while Woolamai is host to around a million short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds) that return to their colony en masse at sunset between late September and April. Last but not least is the island's nightly parade of little penguins.

Birds of paradise

Superb lyrebirds, with their mocking calls, can be seen and heard in the Dandenong Ranges. Over at Healesville Sanctuary, Australia's majestic birds of prey and magnificent parrots dazzle visitors in spectacular daily performances.

Closer to Melbourne

Victoria's bird emblem is the endangered helmeted honeyeater (the only bird endemic to Victoria). It is now restricted to a small area in Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve near Yellingbo, about 50 kilometres east of central Melbourne.The helmeted honeyeater is also bred in captivity at Healesville Sanctuary.

Owls can sometimes be seen in the city in places such as the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Waterbirds make a beeline for Werribee, near the city, where vagrant migratory waders from the Northern Hemisphere can occasionally be spotted.

Finally, the Melbourne Zoo's Great Flight Aviary offers visitors the chance to get up close to Australia's best-loved birds.