Daintree in Tropical North Queensland, Australia

Published by Trish and Andrew Forsyth (info AT redmillhouse.com.au)


Daintree in Tropical North Queensland is internationally recognised as one of Australia's premier birdwatching locations.

It has been documented that over 430 species of birds have been recorded in the area encompassing the Wet Tropics and the Great Barrier Reef region of Australia. This is more than half the bird species for the entire continent. By combining visits to Daintree on the coastal lowlands, the upland rainforest of the Atherton Tablelands and the drier country of Mareeba and beyond, plus the off-shore islands, birders can appreciate the great diversity and number of the region’s birds within only 1 ½ hours drive from Cairns.

Daintree River, copyright Gerry Armstrong
Daintree River, copyright Gerry Armstrong.

The Wet Tropics has 12 endemic species and of these Macleay's Honeyeater, Pied Monarch, and Victoria's Riflebird can be seen in and around Daintree. Also of enormous interest to birdwatchers are the Great-billed Heron, Black Bittern, Mangrove Robin, Lovely Fairy-wren, Double-eyed Fig Parrot, Red-necked Crake and of course, the Southern Cassowary which may be seen on the northern side of the Daintree river.

Eight out of ten of Australia’s Kingfisher species, including the Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, and the Little Kingfisher can also be seen in Daintree. The Daintree area has a variety of habitats with coastal lowland rainforest, riverine, wetlands, mangroves, open farmland and the Daintree River. The Daintree River is well known for early morning birdwatching and there are several specialist cruises available.

Southern Cassowary, copyright Robert South
Southern Cassowary, copyright Robert South.

Target species for the Daintree area include:

Great-billed Heron
Little Kingfisher
Azure Kingfisher
Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher
Southern Cassowary
Red-necked Crake
Pale-vented Bush Hen
Spotted Catbird
Wompoo Fruit-Dove
Black Bittern
Papuan Frogmouth
Double-eyed Fig-Parrot
Lovely Fairy-Wren
Mangrove Robin
Pied Monarch (endemic)
Victoria’s Riflebird (endemic)
Macleay’s Honeyeater (endemic)

Summer migrants including Black Bittern, Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Pied Imperial Pigeon and Metallic Starling are seen from October/November until March/April, making it the best time of year, despite the chance of rain.

Daintree is an ideal location as a base for a birding holiday in Far North Queensland or can be an important addition to a birding itinerary which may include Cairns, Julatten, Mareeba and the Atherton Tablelands.

Azure Kingfisher, copyright Jun Matsui
Azure Kingfisher, copyright Jun Matsui.

For further information about birdwatching in Daintree.

Weekly sightings, birdwatching locations and a regular updated bulletin board, plus detailed information about various bird species.


Accommodation for birdwatchers of all levels. Local up-to-date birding information, ‘mud maps’, wildlife library, binoculars and field guides for loan. Guiding available.

www.redmillhouse.com.au - 07 4098 6233