Australia: Extreme Endemicity Down Under

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Australia: Extreme Endemicity Down Under

Megadiverse Australia has one of the highest rates of endemicity of any country, 87 percent of mammal species, 93 percent of reptiles, 94 percent of frogs and 45 percent of bird species are found nowhere else on earth! This is more endemic bird species than anywhere else. Added to this is the huge diversity of unique habitats in which to bird, making for a lifetime’s worth of adventure to be had across the great red continent.

Beginning in the Northern Territory, we’ll be on the lookout for some of Australia’s most range-restricted and seldom-seen species! From seemingly endless plains, and rugged, rocky mountains to the tall woodlands and extensive, seasonal marshlands of Kakadu, highlights such as Chestnut Rail, Rainbow Pitta, Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon, Banded Fruit Dove, Black-tailed Treecreeper, Purple-crowned Fairywren, Brolga, Sandstone Shrike-Thrush and the rare and outrageously colourful Gouldian Finch, as well as many more will be on our target list.

Heading east into an excellent variety of habitats that include, dense tropical rainforest, Eucalypt woodland, coastal heath, mudflats, rocky shorelines, grassland, spinifex, Mulga woodland and saltmarsh near the edge of the desolate outback, we can expect a barrage of avian and wildlife excitement!

We begin in northern Queensland and end up in Melbourne where during the course of our adventure, highlights include Victoria’s Riflebird from the bird-of-paradise family, Golden and Tooth-billed Bowerbirds, Spotted Catbird, Chowchilla, Beach Stone-curlew and the outrageous Southern Cassowary, Albert’s Lyrebird, Australian King Parrot, the brilliant Regent and Satin Bowerbirds, unique Pilotbird and Rockwarbler, the strange Plains-wanderer, a plethora of colourful parrots and cockatoos, among a suite of other fascinating endemics.

We will certainly be treated to a stunning variety of scenic habitats during this portion of our adventure and the estuaries and ocean are a welcome splash of ultramarine blue to contrast the desolate outback while we search for seabirds!

We will also, no doubt, be treated to a range of exciting mammals that should include an amazing selection of unique and varied kangaroos, wallabies and wallaroos while taking in our awe-inspiring and near-pristine surrounds.

The South-western corner of Australia holds a remarkably high diversity of endemics, plants, animals and birds included! From the eucalypt forests of the Darling Ranges to the extensive woodlands of Dryandra, the Stirling Ranges, semi-arid mallee woodlands and the rugged windswept heathlands of the south coast, we will spend 6 days searching for all 16 currently recognised south-western Australian endemic bird species. Among these ultra-localised endemics, top of the wish list will be the area’s 3 “megas”: Noisy Scrubbird, Western Bristlebird and Black-throated Whipbird. We also hope to encounter several fabulous mammals such as Echidna, the beautiful but critically endangered Numbat (Banded Anteater), Western Grey Kangaroo, Black-gloved Brush Wallaby, Northern Brown Bandicoot and Southern Right Whale.

Australia claims over 8000 islands, some tiny and some massive, home to their very own endemic species! Like Tasmania, which has 12 endemic bird species throughout a wonderful variety of habitats.

We aim to see every single one of Tasmania’s endemic and near endemic species, including the critically endangered Forty-spotted Pardalote, the rare Scrubtit, Tasmanian Nativehen, Yellow Wattlebird, Green Rosella, Pink and Dusky Robins, Black Currawong, Tasmanian Thornbill, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Yellow-throated, Black-headed and Strong-billed Honeyeaters, Tasmanian Boobook, the beautiful Swift Parrot (currently one of the most endangered species on Earth!), Little Penguin, Sooty Oystercatcher, Black-faced Cormorant and the pure white colour morph of Grey Goshawk. Mammal-wise, we’ll be on the lookout for Tasmanian Devils, Eastern and Spot-tailed Quolls and the endearing Wombat among others.

New Caledonia and New Zealand also offer a staggering array of exceptional bird families. The prehistoric likes of Kagu, charismatic Kiwis, the giant Goliath Imperial Pigeon, South Island Takahe, North Island Saddleback, the strange North Island Kokako, unique Stitchbird and many more. In fact, the tour below offers the unique opportunity to see a representative of every family to be found in Australasia!

Check out our recent trip report from Glen Valentines tour in November/December last year.

An exceptional tour, getting all the endemic bird families and so much more!