Birds of Mount Alexander Region

Birds of the Mount Alexander Region

The Mount Alexander region offers a wide choice of birding opportunities.  With varying habitats, more than 230 species have been recorded in the region.  Bushland species can be found in woodlands ranging from the Newstead area to Muckleford Forest and the higher elevations of Mount Alexander.  If you are interested in waterbirds then Tullaroop, Cairn Curran, Barkers Creek and Expedition Pass Reservoirs give a lot of scope.  In wet years, the swamps on the Moolort Plains offer even more possibilities.  For a comprehensive guide to local birds, good birding sites in the region and tips on birdwatching, check out “Castlemaine Bird Walks” by Damian Kelly – available from local bookshops and the Information Centre in Castlemaine.

The Birdlist below was compiled by Damian Kelly and details the native and introduced (**) species recorded in and around the Mt Alexander Shire, along with their likely locations.  The names and order of the birds are as in Birdata (Birdlife Australia).

A checklist for the Birds of the Mount Alexander Region can be downloaded here.

Photos by Damian Kelly

Key to abbreviations

LE     Locally extinct

LC    Locally Common (only some areas)

C      Common and widespread

UC   Uncommon

R      Rare

OV   Occasional Visitor

COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME LOCAL STATUS HABITAT NOTES
Cassowaries and Emu
Emu Dromaius novaehollandiae LE
Ducks, Geese and Swans
Plumed Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna eytoni R Wetlands
Blue-billed Duck Oxyura australis R Lakes/Reservoirs Deep water
Pink-eared Duck Malacorhynchus membranaceus LC Wetlands Breeds locally in wet years at Bells Swamp
Cape Barren Goose Cereopsis novaehollandiae OV Farmland
Black Swan Cygnus atratus C Lakes/Reservoirs
Australian Shelduck Tadorna tadornoides C Wetlands, dams, farmland
Hardhead Aythya australis UC Wetlands, Lakes/Reservoirs Castlemaine Botanic Gardens
Australasian Shoveler Spatula rhynchotis UC Wetlands
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa C Wetlands, dams, farmland Everywhere
Northern Mallard Anas platyrhynchos LC Lakes/Reservoirs Castlemaine Botanic Gardens
Grey Teal Anas gracilis C Wetlands
Chestnut Teal Anas castanea UC Wetlands
Freckled Duck Stictonetta naevosa R Wetlands
Musk Duck Biziura lobata UC Lakes/Reservoirs Deep water – Barkers Creek Reservoir, Expedition Pass, Tullaroop
Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata C Wetlands, dams, farmland Everywhere
** Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata UC Urban, farmland Castlemaine Botanic Gardens
** Black Duck-Mallard hybrid Anas sp. UC Urban, farmland Castlemaine Botanic Gardens
Quail
Stubble Quail Coturnix pectoralis UC Farmland
Brown Quail Synoicus ypsilophora UC Farmland Favours dense patches
Grebes
Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae C Wetlands, dams
Hoary-headed Grebe Poliocephalus poliocephalus C Lakes/Reservoirs
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus LC Lakes/Reservoirs Tullaroop, Barkers Creek Reservoir
Pigeons and Doves
Rock Dove Columba livia C Urban, farms
** Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis UC Urban, farms
Common Bronzewing Phaps chalcoptera C Woodland, urban
Brush Bronzewing Phaps elegans R Woodland Forest Creek
Crested Pigeon Ocyphaps lophotes C Urban, farmland Widespread
Peaceful Dove Geopelia placida C Woodland
Cuckoos
Eastern Koel Eudynamys orientalis OV Urban, Woodland Spring/Summer, calls definitive
Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo Chalcites basalis C Woodland Mainly Spring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
Black-eared Cuckoo Chalcites osculans UC Woodland Spring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chalcites lucidus C Woodland Spring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
Fan-tailed Cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis C Woodland Spring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
Pallid Cuckoo Heteroscenes pallidus C Woodland Spring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
Frogmouths
Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides C Urban, Woodland
Nightjars
Spotted Nightjar Eurostopodus argus R Woodland Spring/summer, Favours rocky ridges
White-throated Nightjar Eurostopodus mystacalis UC Woodland Spring/summer, Favours rocky ridges
Owlet-Nightjar
Australian Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles cristatus C Woodland Hollows – natural and nest boxes
Swifts
White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus UC Aerial ahead of storm fronts Summer/Autumn
Fork-tailed Swift Apus pacificus UC Aerial ahead of storm fronts Summer/Autumn
Rails, Gallinules and allies
Buff-banded Rail Hypotaenidia philippensis UC Wetlands
Australian Spotted Crake Porzana fluminea UC Wetlands Dense reeds
Spotless Crake Zapornia tabuensis UC Wetlands Dense reeds
Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio C Wetlands
Dusky Moorhen Gallinula tenebrosa C Wetlands
Black-tailed Native-hen Tribonyx ventralis LC Wetlands Irrupts unpredictably
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra C Wetlands Everywhere with water
Shorebirds
Banded Stilt Cladorhynchus leucocephalus R Mudflats
Black-winged Stilt Himantopus leucocephalus UC Mudflats Cairn Curran, Moolort Swamps
Red-knecked Avocet Recurvirostra novaehollandiae UC Mudflats Cairn Curran, Moolort Swamps
Double-banded Plover Charadrius bicinctus R Mudflats, farmland Cairn Curran, Moolort Swamps
Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus R Mudflats Cairn Curran
Black-fronted Dotterel Elseyornis melanops C Wetlands, Lakes/Reservoirs Mudflats
Banded Lapwing Vanellus tricolor R Farmland
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles C Urban, farms Everywhere
Red-kneed Dotterel Erythrogonys cinctus UC Wetlands, Lakes/Reservoirs Mudflats
Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata R Mudflats Cairn Curran
Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis R Mudflats Cairn Curran
Latham’s Snipe Gallinago hardwickii R Mudflats Cairn Curran
Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola R Mudflats Cairn Curran
Button-Quail
Painted Button-quail Turnix varius UC Woodland
Gulls, Terns and Skimmers
Silver Gull Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae LC Lakes/Reservoirs
Caspian Tern Hydroprogne caspia R Lakes/Reservoirs
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida R Lakes/Reservoirs, Wetlands
Pelicans
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus LC Lakes/Reservoirs
Herons, Ibis and Allies
Nankeen Night-Heron Nycticorax caledonicus C Wetlands
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis R Farmland
White-necked Heron Ardea pacifica UC Wetlands
Great Egret Ardea alba UC Wetlands
Intermediate Egret Ardea intermedia R Wetlands
White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae C Wetlands
Little Egret Egretta garzetta R Wetlands
Australian White Ibis Threskiornis moluccus C Wetlands, farmland
Straw-necked Ibis Threskiornis spinicollis C Wetlands, farmland
Yellow-billed Spoonbill Platalea flavipes UC Wetlands
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia R Wetlands
Cormorants
Little Pied Cormorant Microcarbo melanoleucos C Lakes/Reservoirs Breeds at Castlemaine Botanic Gardens
Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo C Lakes/Reservoirs
Little Black Cormorant Phalacrocorax sulcirostris C Lakes/Reservoirs
Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax varius UC Lakes/Reservoirs
Anhingas
Australasian Darter Anhinga novaehollandiae LC Lakes/Reservoirs
Hawks and allies
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus axillaris UC Farmland
Square-tailed Kite Lophoictinia isura UC Woodland Spring/summer
Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax C Woodland, farmland, aerial
Little Eagle Hieraaetus morphnoides C Farmland, aerial
Swamp Harrier Circus approximans UC Wetlands, farmland
Spotted Harrier Circus assimilis UC Wetlands, farmland Moolort plains
Grey Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandiae R Woodland
Brown Goshawk Accipiter fasciatus C Woodland, urban
Collared Sparrowhawk Accipiter cirrocephalus C Woodland, urban
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster UC Lakes/Reservoirs Cairn Curran, Tullaroop
Whistling Kite Haliastur sphenurus C Farmland, wetlands
Black Kite Milvus migrans C Farmland Increasing in numbers
Owls
Barn Owl Tyto alba UC Farmland Also urban
Powerful Owl Ninox strenua UC Woodland Also urban
Barking Owl Ninox connivens R Woodland Also urban
Southern Boobook Ninox boobook UC Woodland Also urban
Bee-eaters, Rollers and Allies
Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus LC Woodland, farmland Spring/summer. Nests in banks
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis OV Riparian woodland Spring/summer
Azure Kingfisher Ceyx azureus R Watercourses Spring/summer
Sacred Kingfisher Todiramphus sanctus C Woodland, watercourses Spring/Summer
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae C Woodland
Falcons
Nankeen Kestrel Falco cenchroides UC Farmland
Australian Hobby Falco longipennis UC Farmland
Brown Falcon Falco berigora C Farmland
Black Falcon Falco subniger R Farmland
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus R Farmland Often near cliffs
Cockatoos
Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus R Riparian woodland, farmland Nomadic, moves south from dry inland
Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo Zanda funereus UC Woodland Pineforests, increasing
Gang-gang Cockatoo Callocephalon fimbriatum OV Woodland
Galah Eolophus roseicapilla C Woodland, farmland, urban
Long-billed Corella Cacatua tenuirostris C Farmland, urban
Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea LC Farmland Hamiltons Crossing, Baringhup
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita C Woodland, farmland, urban
Parrots
Australian King-Parrot Alisterus scapularis OV Woodland
Red-rumped Parrot Psephotus haematonotus C Farmland
Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans C Woodland, urban
Eastern Rosella Platycercus eximius C Woodland, farmland, urban
Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor R Woodland Autumn/Winter
Blue-winged Parrot Neophema chrysostoma R Woodland
Musk Lorikeet Glossopsitta concinna C Woodland, urban Flowering trees
Little Lorikeet Glossopsitta pusilla UC Woodland, urban Flowering trees
Purple-crowned Lorikeet Glossopsitta porphyrocephala UC Woodland, urban Flowering trees
Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus moluccanus UC Woodland, urban Becoming more common
Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus OV Woodland Nomadic, moves south from dry inland
Treecreepers
White-throated Treecreeper Cormobates leucophaea C Woodland
Brown Treecreeper Climacteris picumnus C Woodland
Fairywrens
Superb Fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus C Woodland, urban
Honeyeaters
Black Honeyeater Sugomel niger OV Woodland, urban Nomadic, moves south from dry inland
Scarlet Honeyeater Myzomela sanguinolenta R Woodland, urban Erratic following blossoms
Painted Honeyeater Grantiella picta R Woodland Spring/summer, Erratic following blossoms
Noisy Friarbird Philemon corniculatus R Woodland Erratic following blossoms
Little Friarbird Philemon citreogularis R Woodland Erratic following blossoms
Crescent Honeyeater Phylidonyris pyrrhopterus R Woodland
New Holland Honeyeater Phylidonyris novaehollandiae C Urban, farmland
White-eared Honeyeater Nesoptilotis leucotis C Woodland
Blue-faced Honeyeater Entomyzon cyanotis UC Woodland, urban Erratic following blossoms
Black-chinned Honeyeater Melithreptus gularis C Woodland Erratic following blossoms
Brown-headed Honeyeater Melithreptus brevirostris C Woodland
White-naped Honeyeater Melithreptus lunatus C Woodland
Tawny-crowned Honeyeater Glyciphila melanops R Woodland
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus tenuirostris C Woodland, urban
White-fronted Chat Epthianura albifrons UC Farmland
Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater Acanthagenys rufogularis R Woodland
Little Wattlebird Anthochaera chrysoptera R Woodland
Regent Honeyeater Anthochaera phrygia R Woodland Locally extinct?
Red Wattlebird Anthochaera carunculata C Woodland, urban Ubiquitous
Singing Honeyeater Gavicalis virescens R Woodland
Yellow-plumed Honeyeater Ptilotula ornata R Woodland
Fuscous Honeyeater Ptilotula fusca C Woodland
White-plumed Honeyeater Ptilotula penicillata C Woodland, water-courses
White-fronted Honeyeater Purnella albifrons OV Woodland Nomadic, moves south from dry inland
Yellow-faced Honeyeater Caligavis chrysops C Woodland, urban
Yellow-tufted Honeyeater Lichenostomus melanops C Woodland
Bell Miner Manorina melanophrys R Woodland Locally extinct?
Noisy Miner Manorina melanocephala C Woodland Patchy distribution
Pardalotes
Spotted Pardalote Pardalotus punctatus C Woodland, urban
Striated Pardalote Pardalotus striatus C Woodland, urban
Thornbills and Allies
White-throated Gerygone Gerygone olivacea OV Woodland
Western Gerygone Gerygone fusca R Woodland
Weebill Smicrornis brevirostris C Woodland
Speckled Warbler Pyrrholaemus sagittatus R Woodland
Chestnut-rumped Heathwren Calamanthus pyrrhopygius R Woodland
White-browed Scrubwren Sericornis frontalis C Woodland
Southern Whiteface Aphelocephala leucopsis UC Woodland
Yellow-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza chrysorrhoa C Woodland, farmland, urban
Yellow Thornbill Acanthiza nana C Woodland
Striated Thornbill Acanthiza lineata C Woodland
Brown Thornbill Acanthiza pusilla C Woodland, urban
Chestnut-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza uropygialis R Woodland
Buff-rumped Thornbill Acanthiza reguloides C Woodland
Pseudo-Babblers
Grey-crowned Babbler Pomatostomus temporalis LE Woodland No recent records
White-browed Babbler Pomatostomus superciliosus C Woodland
Sitellas
Varied Sittella Daphoenositta chrysoptera C Woodland
Cuckooshrikes
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike Coracina novaehollandiae C Woodland
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina papuensis UC Woodland
White-winged Triller Lalage tricolor UC Woodland Spring/summer, nomadic
Quail-Thrushes
Spotted Quail-thrush Cinclosoma punctatum UC Woodland
Whistlers, Shrike-thrushes, Bellbird
Olive Whistler Pachycephala olivacea OV Woodland
Gilbert’s Whistler Pachycephala inornata OV Woodland Drier woodland
Rufous Whistler Pachycephala rufiventris C Woodland, urban Spring/summer
Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis C Woodland
Grey Shrike-thrush Colluricincla harmonica C Woodland, urban
Crested Shrike-tit Falcunculus frontatus C Woodland
Crested Bellbird Oreoica gutturalis UC Woodland Drier woodland
Orioles
Olive-backed Oriole Oriolus sagittatus C Woodland Spring/Summer, some over-winter
Bellmagpies and Allies
Pied Currawong Strepera graculina C Woodland, urban More common in Autumn/Winter
Grey Currawong Strepera versicolor C Woodland, urban
Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen C Woodland, farmland, urban
Pied Butcherbird Cracticus nigrogularis OV Woodland
Grey Butcherbird Cracticus torquatus R Woodland, urban
Woodswallows
Masked Woodswallow Artamus personatus UC Woodland Spring/summer, Often in mixed flocks with White-browed Woodswallows
White-browed Woodswallow Artamus superciliosus C Woodland Spring/summer
Dusky Woodswallow Artamus cyanopterus C Woodland
Black-faced Woodswallow Artamus cinereus OV Woodland
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus OV Woodland
Fantails
Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys C Woodland, urban, farmland
Rufous Fantail Rhipidura rufifrons R Woodland Spring/summer, Wetter forests
Grey Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa C Woodland, urban
Crows and Ravens
Little Raven Corvus mellori C Woodland, urban, farmland More common than Australian Raven, flocks in winter
Australian Raven Corvus coronoides C Woodland, urban, farmland
Monarch Flycatchers
Leaden Flycatcher Myiagra rubecula UC Woodland Spring/summer
Satin Flycatcher Myiagra cyanoleuca UC Woodland Spring/summer
Restless Flycatcher Myiagra inquieta C Woodland Spring/summer
Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca C Woodland, urban, farmland
Chough and Apostlebird
White-winged Chough Corcorax melanorhamphos C Woodland
Robins
Rose Robin Petroica rosea R Woodland Autumn/Winter
Pink Robin Petroica rodinogaster R Woodland Autumn/Winter
Flame Robin Petroica phoenicea C Woodland, farmland Autumn/Winter
Scarlet Robin Petroica multicolor C Woodland
Red-capped Robin Petroica goodenovii UC Woodland
Jacky Winter Microeca fascinans C Woodland, farmland
Eastern Yellow Robin Eopsaltria australis C Woodland
Hooded Robin Melanodryas cucullata UC Woodland
Flowerpeckers
Mistletoebird Dicaeum hirundinaceum C Woodland
Estrilids
Diamond Firetail Stagonopleura guttata UC Woodland
Red-browed Finch Neochmia temporalis C Woodland, farmland, urban
Zebra Finch Taeniopygia guttata UC Woodland
Sparrows
** House Sparrow Passer domesticus C Urban, farmland
** Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus R Urban No recent records
Pipit
Australasian Pipit Anthus novaeseelandiae C Farmland
Finches and Allies
** Common Greenfinch Chloris chloris UC Farmland, urban
** European Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis C Urban, farmland
Larks
Horsfield’s Bushlark Mirafra javanica UC Farmland
** Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis UC Farmland
Cisticolas
Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis R Wetlands Reed beds
Grassbirds and Allies
Brown Songlark Cincloramphus cruralis UC Farmland Open, tree-less paddocks
Rufous Songlark Cincloramphus mathewsi C Farmland Lightly treed areas
Little Grassbird Poodytes gramineus UC Wetlands Reed beds
Australian Reed-Warbler Acrocephalus australis C Wetlands Spring/summer, Reed beds
Martins and Swallows
White-backed Swallow Cheramoeca leucosterna R Aerial
Fairy Martin Petrochelidon ariel C Aerial
Tree Martin Petrochelidon nigricans C Aerial
Welcome Swallow Hirundo neoxena C Aerial, wetlands, farmland
Whiteyes
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis C Woodland, urban
Starlings and Mynas
** Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris C Urban, farmland
** Common Myna Acridotheres tristis C Urban, farmland
Thrushes
Bassian Thrush Zoothera lunulata OV Woodland
** Common Blackbird Turdus merula C Urban, farmland