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Bird-watching day-tours from Brisbane

                                                          Ecotours 2020                  birdwatching in wetland

eastern yellow robin

RATES: please click here for prices of our tours (in Australian dollars)
Tour departs from: Brisbane Transit Centre (Roma Street), or your city or south-side accommodation
(other by arrangement with plenty of advance notice: may be extra cost)
Whoever is first to book for a particular day gets to choose the starting time

    (anywhere between 5.00am and 9.00am) and destination


                        spoonbil  egret
                        on nest  magpie
                        geese  chestnut teal at Redlands  pelican
wonga pigeon   logrunner   Lewins
                        honeyeater   satin bowerbird at bower

regent bowerbird in Lamington National
                            Parkcrimson rosellaSouth-east Queensland is one of the richest regions of Australia in terms of bird species. Every raptor of Australia and around half of all Australian bird species has at some time been seen here. Many southern species reach their northern limits here and many northern species reach their southern limits here or just below the border, and there are a few species that are found only in the border regions. Summer and winter migrants and nomadic species add to the diversity.

Rainforests with easily accessible  walking trails are just a 90 minute drive from Brisbane and harbour many species, including regent and satin bowerbirds, green catbird, paradise riflebird, Albert's  lyrebird, noisy pitta, eastern whipbird, Lewin's honeyeater, monarch flycatchers, scrubwens, crimson rosella, wompoo and rose-crowned fruit pigeons, brush turkey and many, many more.  Also nearby are wetlands (which can include great and intermediate egrets, glossy ibis, white-necked heron, royal and yellow-billed spoonbills, black-winged stilts, whistling ducks, black swans, Australasian grebes, cormorants, darters, pelicans, purple swamp hen, comb-crested jacana,  magpie geese, black-necked stork, many others) and eucalypt forests (several honeyeaters, fairy-wrens, Australian magpie, butcherbirds, olive-backed oriole, magpie lark, laughing kookaburra and other kingfishers, eastern and pale-headed rosellas, rainbow and scaly-breasted lorikeets, fan-tailed cuckoo and many more). Not all species will be seen on any particular day, and some will only be seen in certain seasons (e.g. channel-billed cuckoo, common koel and dollar bird are summer visitors only).

Your main guide will be Dr Ronda Green, who has conducted extensive research over the years in bird behaviour and ecology in Australian forests, especially those of south-east Queensland.

You may like to assist our research on dispersers of rainforest seeds by helping us find out what the fruit-eating birds are feeding on and where they spend their time when not feeding. We also contribute other sightings, especially of less common species, to databases, and send information to researchers studying particular species.

black swans at Eagleby WetlandsWe take a variety of guests on this tour, from complete novices to experienced birders. So that we can plan the best experience for you (and since our group size is small enough to do this) let us know at your time of booking whether your primary interests are:
  • learning about Australian or south-east Queensland birds and their ecology and behaviour
  • photographing birds
  • seeing as many bird species as possible (NOTE: we don't specialise in this as much as some operators do, our emphasis being more on ecology and behaviour of birds)
  • seeing particular species (no guarantees that we can find them all but we can try where possible - warning: a few are almost impossible with a one-day tour)
  • learning about birdwatching
  • interacting with birds (we don't normally feed birds on ecotours but there is one long-standing and well-regulated experience you can participate in),
  • simply spending time in beautiful forests, with birds as just part of a memorable experience.
  • seeing some other wildlife in addition to birds
  • spending a day birding and then being left at either Binna Burra or O'Reilly's to spend a night or more next to the rainforests and extensive walking trails of  Lamington National Park (both have wonderful guest lodges and camp grounds)
  • (also tell us if you would prefer no children on the tour on the day you are booking for, or whether you have children who would like to join in
birdwatching in Redlands wedge-tailed eagle filming waterbirds at Redlands
                                Indigiscapes forest at Daisy Hill birdwatching in forest

treetop walk at
                                  Green MountainsOur most frequent destination is Lamington National Park, usually with a brief visit to wetlands on the way but we can also concentrate on wetlands, mangroves, eucalypt forests or other habitats of your choosing. Some guests opt to come along for two or more birding day-tours with us, visiting different  sites each day, or to join our 30day Australian wildlife overview tour, which includes many opportunities for birding in a variety of habitats.

If you would like a controlled interaction with some colourful birds, we can make O'Reilly's (at the edge of Lamington National Park) our destination for the day. Feeding birds used to be a free-for-all affair, but this could have negative effects on the health and behaviour of the birds being fed and on the surrounding ecosystems, so now it is done only in the presence of a ranger and following guidelines developed by Michelle Plant while conducting her  thesis research on this subject. The walks from here (including the famous treetop walk, best experienced early in the morning before the crowds arrive) and the gardens around the lodge are also superb places to see a variety of rainforest birds and some from open habitats (e.g. fairy-wrens, eastern spinebill).
 wild bird feeding
                                      area crimson rosellas at
                                      Green Mountains regent bowerbird
                                      andcrimson rosella at O'Reilly's walking at
                                      Green Mountains

Binna Burra is a quieter lodge at the edge of the rainforests of Lamington National Park. Because birds are not fed, they tend not to come as close, but there is still a great variety to be seen (and heard) along the rainforest walks, the rainforest edge, and the neighbouring eucalypt forests. There is no canopy walk here, but  there are also no strings of tourist buses arriving throughout the day.
                                        Lamington National Park safari tent goanna on caves
                                        walk Bassian thrush at
                                        Binna Burra
We visit and enjoy both destinations frequently, so just let us know your preference. If you wish to spend a night or two, both Binna Burra and O'Reilly's have wonderfully comfortable and scenic  lodge accommodation and also a campsite (permanent safari tents available at Binna Burra, or BYO tent to either place).

We  can instead (or in addition if you book two or more days of birding) spend the day exploring   eucalyptus forests and/or wetlands and/or coastal habitats
kookabuura rainbow
                                            lorikeet eastern

We also see plenty of birds on: other day-tours, longer tours, educational camps, excursions and presentations, conference tours, customised tours

                    Mitchell cockatoobrolga at BollonIf you'd really like to maximise your Australian birding experiences, try combining an 6 or 8 day outback tour with a side-trip to Girraween, a CoochieMudloe Island day tour, and two birding days n the rainforest with an overnight stay at Binna Burra or O'Reillys. We would suggest March or October as the best compromise between the outback not being too hot, summer migrants being present, many birds actively breeding and vocal, and either many flowers or many fruits attracting many birds. We need a few months advance notice to arrange these back-to-back tours, so let us know if you'd like to make plans for next spring or autumn.

Also see our pages on: wildlife of the Scenic Rim, Australian birds, and species seen on our tours

tour vehicle and young
We generally don't take young children on birding tours that include other birding guests, in case the youngsters disturb birds others are trying to watch (some children - and of course some adults - find it very difficult to stand still for long and don't realise how loud their own voices are). However, we do enjoy including children in our tours generally, and if your child has a special interest, or if you would like a small group tour for a family (or a couple of families) or other group including children for a birding tour we are very happy to do this. We can also split the group with two guides when we enter the forest or wetlands.

                                                          parrotWith small group sizes (usual maximum is ten), this is not a hurried herding of tourists on and off buses, into souvenir shops, etc. You will have ample opportunity to tell us your interests, and let us know any time you want to stop for photos or anything else of interest. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like - if we don't know the answers we will suggest ways of finding out.

We uphold the ideals of ecotourism and all our tours have achieved achieved advanced eco-accreditation