Bird Watching

With help from the Natural Resources SA Murray Darling Basin, here's a list of some of the most popular natives to spot on your next visit.

Mallee Emu-wren - Stipiturus mallee

Blink and you might miss this tiny inhabitant. One of Australia’s smallest birds (weighing only up to 6.5 grams), the Mallee Emu-wren can be a challenge to spot. With its filamentous feathers that resemble those of an emu (but on a much smaller scale), these little wrens can move quickly through dense shrubs. Look out for the male of the species, with his distinctive blue face and breast. The female’s plainer colours are harder to pick in their natural habitat. Mallee Emu-wrens have a home range from 0.5-3ha, and are usually insectivores but may also eat seeds. Their domed nests are made in spring – usually inside the protection of a dense clump of prickly spinifex.

Red-lored Whistler - Pachycephala rufogularis

As one of the mysteries of the Mallee, not much is known about the Red-lored Whistler. This medium-sized, brownish-grey bird boasts striking cinnamon colouration on its lores, throat and belly. The male and female look almost identical, though the male is slightly bigger and often more brightly coloured. The Red-lored Whistler is a challenge for avid bird-spotters, with its rapid flight making it hard to keep track of. Look for this species on the ground or in low shrubs, where it likes to forage for insects and berries.

Malleefowl - Leipoa ocella

The Malleefowl – known as the ‘Lowan’ among local Aboriginal people – is probably the best-known bird icon of the Mallee region. These ground-dwellers are right at home in the semi-arid scrublands, but their numbers are small and they’re excellent at camouflage. The males are a little larger than the females, but otherwise they appear very similar. Bigger than an average chicken, the Malleefowl are surprisingly elusive for their size and are also strong fliers if they sense danger. They produce impressive nesting mounds on the ground to incubate their eggs during breeding season.