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Mount Molloy - BirdForum Opus

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Australia, Queensland


Mount Molloy is a small township located about 55 kms north of Cairns on the northern Atherton Tablelands. The town itself and the immediately surrounding area have some important attractions for visiting birders. The town is surrounded by dry woodland habitats, but lies very close to the transition zone into the rainforest immediately to the east and north east.


Notable Species

Mount Molloy is famous for its Great Bowerbird population. These birds can usually be seen in gardens and other open spaces within the township itself. Use binoculars here with discretion! Other species that can be found here include Painted Buttonquail, Bush Stone Curlew, Squatter Pigeon and a good selection of other dry country birds.

There are old records here of Buff-breasted Buttonquail and any sightings should be reported. The species prefers open, dry, rocky hillsides with sparse stands of grass. White-browed Robin occurs along some of the well-vegetated creeks in the area.

Another species that the area has been noted for in recent years is Square-tailed Kite. This uncommon species has nested on several occasions in the vicinity of the town. Check at Kingfisher Park if staying there, for any recent sightings.


To do


Birds you can see here include:

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Other Wildlife

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Site Information

History and Use

Mount Molloy is an old mining and timber town founded in the late 19th century. Well past its heyday, the town is now primarily known for cattle grazing.

Areas of Interest

Check out open areas in town for Squatter Pigeon. The school grounds are known to hold an active Great Bowerbird bower. Ask permission in advance before viewing or check with someone in authority on the day. A walk around the town cemetery may also prove productive. In recent years, Square-tailed Kite has nested near the playing fields.

Abattoir Swamp: located a few kms to the north of Mount Molloy, on the way to Julatten, is this small reserve. It is known as one of the most reliable places in north Queensland for Northern Fantail which can be readily seen in the car park. When the trees here are in flower, large numbers of Honeyeaters of several different species can be found here. These can sometimes include Black-chinned Honeyeater which can be difficult to find elsewhere in this region.

The swamp itself can hold White-browed Crake when water levels are right and regularly holds Australian Painted Snipe in the summer. A whole range of other wetland species can and do turn up.

Access and Facilities

Mount Molloy is located on the Mulligan Highway about 55 kilometres north of Cairns, being several kms south of Julatten. The main highway is sealed all the way from Cairns, Port Douglas and Mareeba.

The township itself is tiny, but has a few shops, an old hotel, a petrol station and a small cafe.

Abbatoir Swamp is located a few kms to the north of Mount Molloy on the Mossman-Mt Molloy Road, which branches off the Mulligan Highway about a kilometre north of town. It is signposted from the main highway. The reserve itself has a car park and a boardwalk to a hide overlooking the swamp itself.

Contact Details

Although the site can easily be reached from Cairns in a day as part of a Northern Tablelands tour, many birders opt to stay at the nearby Kingfisher Park; for which see that entry for contact details.

External Links