Local Bird Trails
To help you find your way around, we have developed some Bird Trails linking key birdwatching sites, which offer the best chance to observe the iconic birds of the region. Bird Trail routes and sites can be seen on the map below. View/download our Bird Trails brochure for more information about specific sites.
Stone Curlew Trail
Cairns coast between Cairns & Mossman (direct distance: 77 kms)
Both species of Stone-curlew are regularly seen along this trail. Beach Stone-curlew can be found sometimes on the Cairns Esplanade and other seaside sites. Bush Stone-curlew are more common and are often seen in suburban areas. A key site along this trail is the Cairns Esplanade, fabulous for viewing migratory waders, particularly between September and April. Michealmas Cay, accessible by boat, is a key site for pelagic species including Terns, Noddies, Frigatebirds & Boobies. Other key sites include Centenary Lakes and Cattana Wetlands.
Lowlands between Mossman & Daintree (direct distance: 35 kms)
Seven of Australia’s ten species of kingfisher are regularly found in this area including the Buff-breasted Paradise-kingfisher. This species can be found in northern Australia during the summer months (November to April) where they nest in terrestrial termite mounds before returning to New Guinea for the winter. A key site along this trail is Daintree Village. Birdwatching cruises depart at dawn from the public boat ramp. Significant birds include Azure Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher, Great-billed Heron, Black Bittern and Papuan Frogmouth. Other key sites include Mossman Gorge and Stewart Creek Road.
Mid-altitude forest between Mossman & Mt Molloy (direct distance: 35 kms)
20 species of honeyeater have been recorded in this area including the three Wet Tropic endemic honeyeaters (Bridled, Cryptic and Macleay’s). A key site along this trail is Mt. Lewis where all 15 endemic species are regularly observed. Other key sites include Abattoir Swamp and Mowbray National Park where it is possible to find an isolated population of Chestnut-breasted Cuckoo.
Dry inland between Mareeba & Mt Carbine (direct distance: 65 kms)
The Australian Bustard can be found along this dry country trail. In Spring, individual male Bustards engage in courtship displays: inflating a long pendulous throat sac and emitting a load airy roar. A very good site for Bustard is Maryfarms. The varied habitat of woodland and several wetlands along this trail ensures an excellent variety of birds. Significant dry country birds include Pale-headed Rosella, Red-winged Parrot and Great Bowerbird. Significant wetland birds include Brolga, Pygmy-geese and Black-necked Stork. Key sites include the township of Mt Molloy and Mareeba Wetlands.
Mid-altitude forest between Kuranda & Mareeba (direct distance: 35 kms)
Spotted Catbird are regularly seen at many of the wetter sites along this trail. Spotted Catbird has recently been identified as a Wet Tropic endemic species. A huge variety of species can be found through the mid-altitude rainforest and drier woodland sites of this trail. A key site is Black Mountain Rd where Spotted Catbird, Cassowary, Riflebird and Fruit-doves may be found. Other key sites include Tinaroo Creek Rd and Emerald Creek.
High altitude forest & agricultural land on the Atherton Tablelands (direct distance: unlimited)
Victoria’s Riflebird may be found in any of the many rainforest sites along this trail. From about July, male birds perform a courtship display to try to woo female birds. A number of days can be spent exploring the wide variety of sites on this trail. Key sites include Mt Hypipamee, Hastie Swamp, Bromfield Swamp, Curtain Fig, Lake Eacham and Lake Barrine. All 15 endemic species are regularly observed in this area. Other significant birds include Cassowary, Brolga and Sarus. Drier country birds such as Painted Button-quail and Crested Shrike-tit can be seen in the Kaban area.
Coastal lowlands between Cairns & Mission Beach (direct distance: 140 kms)
Southern Cassowary is possibly the most sought-after bird of the Wet Tropics. Along with Daintree and Kuranda, the coastal area south of Cairns is a stronghold for them. Key sites include Mission Beach and Etty Bay. Southern Cassowary may be encountered on any of the walking tracks in the rainforest along with other lowland species including Fruit-doves and Red-necked Crakes.