Budgie-nado Bucket List

This would be any birder’s dream – to see 1000’s of Budgerigars swarming everywhere!

Unfortunately the author/photographer didn’t specify where he saw them other than “Australian Outback” but I find it very interesting that he used Google Earth to locate the waterholes.  You can still use your miles to get to Australia and if you have American AAdvantage then book before 22 March devaluation.

I tried on eBird to find recent reports of huge flocks but there are just too many pins to look at them all.  This is one of my Australian Birding Bucket Lists!

Story & photos are copyrighted so please click here to see them.

I didn’t get the numbers but at least I saw them at Bowra Station!

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How To See 25 Australian Parrot Species In Whirlwind 8 Days From Brisbane

If you have been following this blog for the last couple months you’ve seen how I saw all kinds of parrot species in South-East Queensland. So now let’s string it together and tally up the possible parrots.  Remember, this itinerary only gets you into the habitat where the birds are commonly seen.  There is never a guarantee with wild birds but if you plan well and do your homework on eBird’s Species Maps, you have a very good chance to get them all!

This is sort of the Amazing Race of Birding and designed for people with limited time.  If you can, add one day to each location and a final day in Brisbane before your flight out.  It’s easy to get to Australia with airline miles, then just rent a car and take off!  This trip must be done while Bowra Station is open between the months of March to September.

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SEQ Birding

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LAKE COOLMUNDA/DURIKAI – 2 DAYS

Start in Brisbane.  Pick up your rental car at the airport and drive to Lake Coolmunda.  Stop at the Durikai Watering Hole on the way.  Possible Parrots:

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BOWRA STATION – 3 DAYS

This will be about 7 hours drive so start as early as possible.  Here you can find Sulphur Crested Cockatoos, Red-winged Parrots, Blue Bonnet Parrots, Red-rumps, Cockatiels & Little Corellas (already mentioned).  Then add new species:

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STANTHORPE/GIRRAWEEN – 2 DAYS

Make an early start for about 7 hours drive to Stanthorpe.  Here you have a 2nd chance at Turquoise Parrots, Eastern Rosellas, Galahs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Rainbow Lorikeets, Scaly-breasted Lorikeets.  There are several good reserves in this area so I would check eBird first to see where the birds have been seen most recently.

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BRISBANE & RAINBOW BEACH – 1 DAY

If you haven’t seen King Parrots yet, have lunch at the small cafe near Jolly’s Lookout as King Parrots, Rainbow Lorkeets & Sulphur-crested Cockatoos hang out there.  Then make the 3 hour drive north to Rainbow Beach or Tin Can Bay.  Up here you have another chance at Yellow-tail Black Cockatoos, Rainbow Lorikeets, Galahs & Sulphur-crested Cockatooos.  But the main reason to come here is:

So there you have it – 25 parrot species all in South-east Queensland.  We do occasionally get Swift Parrots up this far as well but that’s a longshot.  They made it to Brisbane in 2014 but not this year.  I do recommend doing 3 days in Coolmunda, 4 in Bowra, 3 in Girraween, 1 or 2 in Tin Can Bay/Rainbow Beach and one final day in Brisbane so try to allow 2 weeks if you can for a more leisurely birding experience!

Beautiful Documentary About Australian Parrots

If you’ve read my reports about Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland  and wished you could see all these magnificent parrots in person, this will put you over the edge!  I really want to go up north to see those Golden-shouldered Parrots!

You’ll see Eclectus Parrots worthy of a soap opera, cheeky Cockatoos, parrots from all over Australia – forests, the dry Outback, rainforests and those who frequent farms – much to the farmer’s consternation.

Enjoy the video!

Pale-headed Rosella (Platycercus adscitus)

The Pale-headed Rosella (Platycercus adscitus), is a broad-tailed parrot of the genus Platycercus native to northeastern Australia.  This beautiful parrot is special for me as they sometimes come into our property.  Their visits are sporadic so I always feel honoured when they come around.

IMG_1232a IMG_1229a Pale-headed Rosellas have a large range extending from the far north of Queensland into New South Wales.  They are readily seen both in bushland and in suburbs of Brisbane (lucky me!) and prefer open forests.  They were very easy to see at Lake Coolmunda  and Mosquito Creek Road.

phr rangeLEARN MORE ABOUT PALE-HEADED ROSELLAS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birdlife Australia

Birds in Backyards

VIDEOS

Beautiful close up to appreciate the colours on this bird.

They not only sound sweet, they are great communicators!  Check out how this one chats to a Butcherbird!

 

Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis)

The Australian King Parrot (Alisterus scapularis) is endemic to eastern Australia found in humid and heavily forested upland regions of the eastern portion of the continent, including eucalyptus wooded areas in and directly adjacent to subtropical and temperate rainforest. They feed on fruits and seeds gathered from trees or on the ground.

The male has a bright red head and breast wheras the female is mostly green.  Although this female has a leg band, she is actually one of the wild parrots that hang around O’Reilly’s for a free meal.

IMG_3675 IMG_3829 IMG_3729King Parrots are easily found within their range as the males are very bright and conspicuous and the females stay close to their mates.  You are pretty much guaranteed to see them at O’Reilly’s and the small cafe near Jolly’s Lookout near Brisbane.

AKP rangeLEARN MORE ABOUT AUSTRALIAN KING PARROTS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birdlife Australia

Birds in Backyards

VIDEOS

There’s no shortage of King Parrot videos online.  This one is good for the close ups of the birds foraging and you can clearly see the difference between the male and female.

This little guy from the Blue Mountains in NSW has no trouble with accepting hand outs (literally)!

And here is a whole flock (mostly juveniles) that visit someone’s back yard.  Notice the pleasant sound they make!

 

Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella)

The Turquoise Parrot (Neophema pulchella) is a species of parrot in the genus Neophema native to Eastern Australia, from southeastern Queensland, through New South Wales and into north-eastern Victoria.

I had to use a Wikipedia shot since the only one I could get was too far away.

turqSitting on a wire near Amiens, Stanthorpe area.

IMG_9187a IMG_9184bThey have a large range in eastern Australia mostly in NSW & Victoria with a smaller range in South-east QLD.  I have seen them near Amiens in the Stanthorpe area and a brief glimpse of a pair in Durikai National Forest.

turq rangeLEARN MORE ABOUT TURQUOISE PARROTS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birdlife Australia

Birds in Backyards

VIDEO

Lovely close-ups of a lovely bird!  That bright turquoise face is spectacular!

Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus)

The Scaly-breasted Lorikeet (Trichoglossus chlorolepidotus) is an Australian lorikeet found in woodland in eastern Australia. The common name aptly describes this bird, which has yellow breast feathers broadly edged with green that look like scales.  Look for them on nectar-bearing plants such as bottlebrush and grevellia.

IMG_0208Next to the gaudy Rainbow Lorikeet, these more delicately hued birds are the easiest Lorikeet to see in Eastern Australia.  I’ve seen them in my neighborhood, in most local Brisbane reserves and parks and as far west as Coolmunda Dam where I took the above photo.

sb lkt rangeLEARN MORE ABOUT SCALY BREASTED LORIKEETS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

Xeno-canto

VIDEOS

Nice close up at a feeder

Chattering flock

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri)

The Major Mitchell’s cockatoo (Lophochroa leadbeateri) also known as Leadbeater’s cockatoo or pink cockatoo, is a medium-sized cockatoo restricted to arid and semi-arid inland areas of Australia.  Regardless of what common name you use, it’s arguably the most beautiful of all the cockatoos and a real joy to see in the wild, especially in flight with the sun backlighting their pink wings.  These photos I took at Bowra Station don’t do it justice!  I noticed they always had a sentinel or two while most of the flock foraged on the ground.

IMG_8755a IMG_8854a IMG_8874a IMG_8965a IMG_8936aDon’t be fooled by all the green on the map, this highly nomadic bird may have a large range but it is really difficult to find them outside of the major birding hotspots such as Bowra Station (blue dot) in Queensland and Eyre Sanctuary in Western Australia.

MM2rangeLEARN MORE ABOUT MAJOR MITCHELL COCKATOOS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birdlife Australia

Birds in Backyards

NSW Environment & Heritage

 

VIDEO

One bird foraging in a tree.

Enjoying a paddy melon.

 

Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus)

The Budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus) also known as common pet parakeet or shell parakeet and informally nicknamed the budgie, is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot. Budgerigars are the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus, and are found wild throughout the drier parts of Australia where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years.

I’ve been dreaming of seeing one of those huge flocks with 10,000 birds in it (Budgie-nado anyone?) but at least I got to see them up close at their nesting site at Bowra Station.

IMG_8785a IMG_8530a IMG_8482a IMG_8489aAlthough they have a huge range throughout inland Australia you need to be very lucky to stumble across them in the vast Outback along the main roads.  Some people have been that lucky as you can see in the video below.  In Queensland, Bowra Station is very reliable for budgies, also check eBird for recent sightings as these parrots are very nomadic.

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LEARN MORE ABOUT BUDGERIGARS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

Alice Springs Desert Park

VIDEOS

There’s no shortage of Budgie videos online but here’s a couple really good ones.  This one is a whole documentary about the species.

Budgie swarm.

In this video it seems the young wild Budgies have mistaken a windscreen for water and are confused.  I wish that workman had a clue and offered them some water, they look really thirsty.

 

Red-winged Parrot (Aprosmictus erythropterus)

The Red-Winged parrot (Aprosmictus erythropterus), is a parrot native to Australia and Papua New Guinea. It is found in grasslands, savannah, farmland, and woodland.

IMG_8396a IMG_0359 IMG_0366They have quite a large range throughout Queensland, Australia and even a small bit of Papua New Guinea.  I found it quite easy to see them at Lake Coolmunda, especially near the caravan park and near the shearer’s quarters at Bowra Station (blue dots).

RWPrangeLEARN MORE ABOUT RED-WINGED PARROTS

Wikipedia

World Parrot Trust

Birdlife

Birds in Backyards

 

VIDEO

Wonderful close up of this bird, seems to be a juvenile going by the feathering.