Here in Kakadu, we’re home to more than 280 different types of birds – around a third of all bird species in Australia.
Some birds range over a number of habitats, but many are found in only one environment.
In the tropical summer, streams and rivers rise and floodplains are inundated. The rising waters signal the beginning of the breeding season for water birds as they spread throughout the vast expanses of shallow water.
As the water recedes through the dry season, these birds congregate on shrinking billabongs, and deep waterholes. Late in the dry season, large flocks of magpie geese, plumed whistling-ducks and other water birds crowd the remaining billabongs like Mamukala and Yellow Water.
Stately brolgas, jabirus and egrets patrol the shallows while comb-crested jacanas walk across the lily leaves and many different birds of prey cruise the skies. The largest of these, the white-bellied sea eagle, glides over the billabongs plucking fish from the water with large talons.
In the woodlands, blue-winged kookaburras perch in the trees, lorikeets and honeyeaters feast on the nectar of eucalypt flowers and black kites fly overhead.
Peaceful doves and partridge pigeons feed along road verges and flocks of red-tailed black cockatoos eat seeds on recently burnt ground. Crimson finches build their nests at the base of the spiky leaves of the pandanus.
Chestnut-quilled rock-pigeons are found on rock ledges of the escarpment and outliers such as Ubirr and Nourlangie (Burrungkuy). Monsoon rainforests, home to the orange-footed scrubfowl and rainbow pitta, are visited by many animals, including the Torres Strait Imperial pigeon.
At night, owls, frogmouths and curlews are active and noisy, and may be visible from roads.