Top End

Australia’s Top End includes the Northern Territory’s capital city of Darwin, as well as the huge Kakadu National Park, Arnhem Land, and many coastal islands. The environment is marked by a dry season (May to October) and a wet season (November to April) featuring afternoon thunderstorms and monsoonal rains. This seasonal dichotomy, aside from being fascinating in itself, will strongly affect your experience when birding in this region.

The Top End has six endemic species (Banded Fruit Dove, Chestnut-quilled Rock Pigeon, Hooded Parrot, White-throated Grasswren, White-lined Honeyeater, Helmeted Friarbird), expanding to a wider list if one includes the Kimberley region – most notably, Rainbow Pitta, Northern Rosella, Green-Backed Gerygone and Silver-Backed Butcherbird.

With hundreds of bird species viewable just within Darwin and its immediate surrounds, as well as the many National Parks and reserves within a few hours drive, and the possibility of various vagrant species from the north, there’s plenty to love about the birding in this region.

Top Hotspots:

Handy maps

Click for larger version, and see the individual posts for each hotspot for more contextual information.

Burrungkuy (Nourlangie)

Great views from rocky lookouts and possibility of endemic birds, with a billabong bonus

East Point

Huge area with many diverse habitats and birds on the edge of Darwin

Fogg Dam

Superb wetlands site with extraordinary numbers and varieties of birds

George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens

Lush environs with great birds in an inner city setting

Holmes Jungle

Several habitats with decent range of birds, on the east edge of Darwin

Maguk trail

Creekside walk down a forested gorge to a lagoon and waterfall, with reasonable birds to be found including Top End endemics

Mamukala Wetlands

Awesome bird hide looking out onto a huge wetland system, with a decent 3km loop trail for bush birds too

Pine Creek

Typical small outback town great for finding the range-restricted Hooded Parrot

Ubirr Area

Superb rock art and scenery on three different walks, with good birds including Rainbow Pitta and Chestnut-Quilled Rock-Pigeon

Yellow Water and Cooinda

Amazing amount of wetlands bird life showcased from a photography-friendly boat cruise

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