Australia is a vast continent harbouring many fabulous, endemic birds and bizarre wildlife found nowhere else on our planet. During this exciting trip, we will cover an incredible range of habitats ranging from lush expanses of dense tropical rainforest, tall and stunted (mallee) Eucalypt woodland and sclerophyll forest to coastal heath, mudflats, rocky shorelines, grassland, spinifex, Mulga woodland and saltmarsh near the edge of the desolate outback. We can therefore expect a fantastic collection of endemic birds and incredible mammals.
Our East Coast begins in northern Queensland where 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 among a suite of Atherton Tableland and wet tropic endemics. We then continue to the world-famous Lamington NP in search of rainforest specialties such as Albert’s Lyrebird, Australian King Parrot, the brilliant Regent and Satin Bowerbirds, Australian Logrunner, Paradise Riflebird and Noisy Pitta amongst numerous other potential highlights. Flying south, we then stop in at Sydney, birding into the interior through New South Wales and Victoria all the way to Melbourne. During this final week of the Eastern tour, we hope to find several wet and dry-country specialties like the spectacular Superb Lyrebird, unique Pilotbird and Rockwarbler, the strange Plains-wanderer, a plethora of colourful parrots and cockatoos, Chestnut Quail-thrush, Striated Grasswren, Mallee Emu-wren, Rufous and Eastern Bristlebirds and the endangered Hooded Plover among many other mouth-watering species. We’ll also no doubt encounter many of Australia’s bizarre and iconic mammals such as Koala, Wombat, Echidna, Platypus and a large selection of possums, gliders, kangaroos and wallabies.
The Southwest Extension takes us to the south-west corner of Western Australia is an ecological hotspot, hosting a remarkably high diversity of endemic plant, animal and bird species. Our short extension concentrates on the region’s endemic species and commences in the state’s capital of Perth, situated alongside the Swan River. We will explore a range of habitats, 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. In six days, we hope to encounter 16 of the 17 currently recognised south-western Australian endemic bird species, the unattainable sixteenth species being the recently split, critically endangered and impossible-to-see Western Ground Parrot. Among these 16 ultra-localised species, 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.
The Tasmania Extension will see us searching for all of Tasmania’s endemic (12 species) and near-endemic species. Our chances of seeing every single Tasmanian endemic and near-endemic is excellent and highlights should include 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.
The South Australian Outback is a varied, prolific and the most accessible part of the 'Outback'. Beginning and ending in Adelaide, we’ll traverse the region’s superb network of national parks and reserves before venturing along the remote, endemic-rich and legendary Strzelecki and Birdsville Tracks in search of a wealth of Australia’s most spectacular, specialised and enigmatic endemics such as Grey and Black Falcons, Letter-winged Kite, Black-breasted Buzzard, Chestnut-breasted and Banded Whiteface, Gibberbird, Yellow, Crimson and Orange Chats, Inland Dotterel, Flock Bronzewing, spectacular Scarlet-chested and Regent Parrots, Copperback and Cinnamon Quail-thrushes, Banded Stilt, White-browed Treecreeper, Red-lored and Gilbert’s Whistlers, an incredible array of range-restricted Grasswrens, the rare and nomadic Black and Pied Honeyeaters, Black-eared Cuckoo and the incredible Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo.
Our Queensland Outback birding adventure explores the remote and scenic corners of Western Queensland and the Gulf Country where many of Australia’s most desirable and seldom-seen endemics await us.
This comprehensive tour targets all the region’s specialties in the unique and fascinating spinifex-dominated, stunted-Eucalyptus woodland, arid plains and savannah that covers much of this part of the continent. The birding is truly fantastic and we’ll be searching for a number of rare and little-known gems like Carpentarian and Kalkadoon Grasswrens, Masked, Long-tailed, Painted, Gouldian and Star Finches, Spinifex Pigeon, Spinifexbird, Grey and Black Falcons, Black-chested Buzzard, Red-backed Kingfisher, Ground Cuckooshrike, Purple-crowned Fairywren, Pictorella Mannikin, Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, Hall’s Babbler and Chestnut-breasted Quail-thrush to mention just a few of the possible highlights we hope to encounter on this specialist Australian birding tour.
Our extension to the Cape York Peninsula focuses on the vast lowland rainforests of Iron Range National Park and surrounds, while also targeting the Atherton Tableland endemics and the arid woodlands of Lakefield National Park.
Cape York harbours a suite of more typical New Guinea species such as the impressive Palm Cockatoo, Red-cheeked and Eclectus Parrots, White-faced Robin, Yellow-billed Kingfisher and Magnificent Riflebird, as well as several species unique to the Peninsula like White-streaked Honeyeater, Northern Scrub Robin and Frill-necked Monarch. We also target the incredibly beautiful and localised Golden-shouldered Parrot, Golden and Tooth-billed Bowerbirds, the bizarre Chowchilla, the unique Fernwren, Spotted Catbird, Noisy Pitta, Bower’s Shrikethrush and Grey-headed Robin amongst others.
In another first of its kind, Rockjumper offers the Endemic Families of Australasia, a tour like no other – an opportunity to see a representative of every family to be found in Australasia! Over the course of nearly three weeks, we will visit New Caledonia, Australia and New Zealand on our quest to find a representative of each family to be found over this diverse region.
We begin our tour with a pre-tour extension to New Caledonia, a rather large and ancient chip off the once enormous Gondwanaland block. Host to the highly sought after, and only surviving member of its family – the Kagu. In addition to Kagu, we will also seek out specialities such as Goliath Imperial Pigeon (the world’s largest arboreal pigeon), the lovely Cloven-feathered Dove, the rare Horned Parakeet and New Caledonian Cuckooshrike amongst many others.
We next head to the vast continent of Australia, which harbours 6 endemic families, as well as numerous endemic and bizarre wildlife found nowhere else on our planet. Traversing the eastern part of the country, we will cover an incredible variety of habitats ranging from lush expanses of dense tropical rainforest to the dry endless stretches of the desolate outback. Major targets we hope to find include Plains-wanderer, Southern Cassowary, Albert’s Lyrebird, Regent Bowerbird, Striated Pardalote, Australian Logrunner, Varied Sitella, Chowchilla, Atherton Scrubwren, Apostlebird, Spotted Quail-thrush and Rufous Bristlebird but the extended list of mouth-watering endemics is truly phenomenal!
We finish the main tour in New Zealand, which despite its small size is host to an incredible 6 endemic families! Beginning in Auckland, we search for North Island Brown Kiwi before spending a day on Tiritiri Matangi Island to find the prehistoric South Island Takahe, North Island Saddleback, the strange North Island Kokako and unique Stitchbird. Our final destination of the tour will be Stewart Island, home to Southern Brown Kiwi, Yellowhead, New Zealand Kaka and Rifleman.