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Now a popular tourist destination, the 13,000km2 Kakadu is one of the best birding areas in northern Australia with about 275 species recorded, many of them endemic to Australia.
Habitats include rivers, flooded forest and grasslands, mangove swamps, eucalyptus woodlands and the park is situated on the edge of the high sandstone plateau known as Arnhem Land.
A wide range of waterbirds can be found here including herons such as Great-billed Heron, Pacific Heron, Pied Heron and Nankeen Night Heron, Royal Spoonbill and Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Australasian Darter and Little Black Cormorant and Little Pied Cormorant. Waterfowl include Magpie Goose, Plumed Whistling Duck and Wandering Whistling-Duck, Radjah Shelduck, Green Pygmy-goose and Pacific Black Duck.
Raptors are commonly seen and include White-bellied Sea Eagle, Wedge-tailed Eagle and Little Eagle, Red Goshawk and Grey Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Black-breasted Kite and Brown Falcon and Black Falcon.
Speciality birds difficult to see elsewhere in the country include Chestnut-backed Buttonquail, White-lined Honeyeater and Yellow Chat, Arnhem Land endemics such as Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon, Black-banded Fruit-Dove and White-throated Grasswren.
Birds you can see here include:
Emu, Australasian Little Grebe, Hoary-headed Grebe, Australian Pelican, Australasian Darter, Little Black Cormorant, Little Pied Cormorant, Great-billed Heron, Pacific Heron, Pied Heron, White-faced Heron, Little Egret, Intermediate Egret, Cattle Egret, Nankeen Night Heron, Black Bittern, Black-necked Stork, Glossy Ibis, Straw-necked Ibis, Australian White Ibis, Royal Spoonbill, Yellow-billed Spoonbill, Plumed Whistling-Duck, Wandering Whistling-Duck, Magpie Goose, Radjah Shelduck, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal, Australian White-eyed Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Green Pygmy-goose, Osprey, Crested Baza, Brahminy Kite, Black Kite, Square-tailed Kite, Black-breasted Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Spotted Harrier, Grey Goshawk, Collared Sparrowhawk, Red Goshawk, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Little Eagle, Brown Falcon, Black Falcon, Orange-footed Scrubfowl, Brown Quail, Brolga, Comb-crested Jacana, Buff-banded Rail, Chestnut Rail, White-browed Crake, Baillon's Crake, Chestnut-backed Buttonquail, Black-winged Stilt, Bush Thick-knee, Australian Pratincole, Oriental Plover, Black-fronted Dotterel, Red-kneed Dotterel, Masked Lapwing, Little Curlew, Gull-billed Tern, Caspian Tern, White-winged Tern, Partridge Pigeon, Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon, Peaceful Dove, Bar-shouldered Dove, Pacific Emerald Dove, Black-banded Fruit-Dove, Torresian Imperial Pigeon, Varied Lorikeet, Red-collared Lorikeet, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Little Corella, Galah Cockatoo, Red-winged Parrot, Northern Rosella, Oriental Cuckoo, Pallid Cuckoo, Black-eared Cuckoo, Little Bronze-Cuckoo, Pheasant Coucal, Barn Owl, Eastern Grass Owl, Rufous Owl, Southern Boobook, Barking Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, Australian Owlet-Nightjar, Spotted Eared Nightjar, Azure Kingfisher, Little Kingfisher, Blue-winged Kookaburra, Forest Kingfisher, Red-backed Kingfisher, Rainbow Bee-eater, Eastern Broad-billed Roller, Rainbow Pitta, Tree Martin, Black-faced Cuckoo-Shrike, White-bellied Cuckooshrike, White-winged Triller, Varied Triller, Grey-crowned Babbler, Golden-headed Cisticola, Tawny Grassbird, Red-backed Fairywren, Variegated Fairywren, White-throated Grasswren, Weebill, Green-backed Gerygone Warbler, Yellow Chat, (Nov-Mar), Leaden Flycatcher, Broad-billed Flycatcher, Shining Flycatcher, Restless Flycatcher, Willie-Wagtail, Northern Fantail, Rufous Whistler, Arafura Shrikethrush, Sandstone Shrike-Thrush, Grey Shrike-Thrush, Black-tailed Treecreeper, Varied Sittella, Mistletoebird, Striated Pardalote, Lemon-breasted Flycatcher, White-browed Robin, Brown Honeyeater, Dusky Honeyeater, White-lined Honeyeater, White-gaped Honeyeater, White-throated Honeyeater, Blue-faced Honeyeater, Little Friarbird, Helmeted Friarbird, Silver-crowned Friarbird, Bar-breasted Honeyeater, Rufous-banded Honeyeater, Rufous-throated Honeyeater, Banded Honeyeater, Double-barred Finch, Masked Finch, Long-tailed Finch, Crimson Finch, Olive-backed Oriole, Yellow Oriole, Australasian Figbird, Black-faced Woodswallow, Masked Woodswallow, Little Woodswallow, Pied Butcherbird, Great Bowerbird, Torresian Crow
Mammals are also numerous and varied at Kakadu and include Agile Wallaby and Antilopine Wallaroo, Black Wallaroo and Dingo and reptiles include Saltwater Crocodile and Freshwater Crocodile, Water Python, Frilled Lizard and Pig-nosed Turtle.
History and Use
Areas of Interest
Nourlangie Rock, about 35km south-east of the park HQ, is the best site for the Arnhem specialities.
Access and Facilities
Kakadu National Park is also of huge anthropological significance with some of the best Aboriginal art sites in Australia. The park HQ is situated about 250km east of Darwin just south of the Arnhem Highway about 5km from Jabiru. There are campsites within the park and motel accommodation in the area. For those without their own transport organised trips are available in Darwin both to Kakadu and the Arnhem Land escarpment.
Kakadu National Park
PO Box 71
Northern Territory 0886
Tel: +61 (0)8 8938 1100
Content and images originally posted by Steve