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The Best Bird Watching Near Palm Cove

North Queensland is home to almost half of all of the bird species that are found in Australia. As you can imagine, this means that there are some pretty unique bird watching opportunities to be had.

The vast and varied landscapes of North Queensland provide ideal natural environments for many different species including exotic and rare species of birds that you will not find anywhere else.

While you might be imaging some deep jungle exploration to spot these birds, you actually don’t have to venture too far from Palm Cove to get your sightings of some spectacular species.

Bird watching is a favourite past time of many, but even if you’ve never done it before, when you’re in Tropical North Queensland, you have some excellent birding opportunities at your fingertips.

So, if you’re planning a visit to Palm Cove in Tropical North Queensland and you’re keen to do some bird spotting, keep reading to learn where you can spot something special.

About Tropical North Queensland

Queensland is known for a lot of things. Crisp white beaches, turquoise seas lining the coast, the Great Barrier Reef and beautiful sunny weather are probably some of the things that come to mind first.

And while these are certainly sensational drawcards, Queensland, particularly Tropical North Queensland, is an absolute treasure trove of natural beauty that is waiting to be explored.

One of these natural attractions is the Wet Tropics rainforest, which is just under 9000 square kilometres in size and stretches from the Townsville in the South all the way to Cooktown in the North.

The Wet Tropics rainforest is actually home to the world’s oldest living rainforest – the Daintree Rainforest and is also a place where you can discover waterfalls, natural swimming holes, flora that cannot be found anywhere, and endemic birds and wildlife.

With year-round beautiful weather, sensational sights to see and of course some of the best holiday destinations, including Palm Cove, it’s no wonder people love to visit the area.

Bird Watching in Tropical North Queensland

Whether you’re an avid bird watcher or just keen to see some feather friends for the first time, you will not be disappointed in TNQ.

Not only is there a variety of different locations where you can enjoy a spot of bird watching from, but there are also some pretty amazing species that can be found in this part of Australia. Here are some of the most prized bird sightings that you could have in Tropical North Queensland.

Golden Bowerbirds

The Golden Bowerbird is endemic to Northern Queensland and mainly feed only fruit. The males are golden yellow with a brown face, while the females are olive brown and grey. It is the smallest of the Bowerbird species and known for the intricate construction of bowers which they use to display their courtship.

Southern Cassowary

The Southern Cassowary is shy and elusive by nature; however, their stature and speed make them appear anything but shy. Able to reach running speeds of up to 31 miles per hour and standing at 1.8m tall, many people are taken aback when seeing a cassowary in person. They can be found in the tropical rainforests of Northeast Queensland.

Atherton Scrub wren

The small Atherton Scrub wren has a long-pointed bill, brown and yellowish grey feathers and can only be found in a very small area of the Atherton Tablelands region of Northern Queensland. This species prefers the rainforest and wet eucalypt woodlands.

Fern wren

Similar to the scrub wren, the Fern wren is found in the wet rainforests of the Atherton Tablelands region in Queensland, though it tends to prefer high elevations than the scrub wren. It is brown with a white throat and black bib.

Palm Cockatoo

The Palm Cockatoo is a very distinctive species, with its black feathers and bright red cheeks. When displaying territorial tendencies, it will use sticks to drum on the tress of its area. It’s usually seen in the rainforests north of Port Douglas in Queensland.

Golden-shouldered Parrot

The golden-shouldered parrot is a beautiful, coloured parrot where the male is a turquoise colour with a low belly that is red. It burrows tunnels into termite mounds to breed.  To spot this one, you do need to venture to the tropical savannah woodland region in north Queensland.

Yellow Honey Eater

The Yellow Honey Eater is a gorgeously golden yellow colour – which makes it easy to see how it got its name. It is a medium sized honey eater that can be found all over far north Queensland.

Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher

The Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher can be found right along the coastal rainforest regions in Far North Queensland. This colourful kingfisher is blue, with a yellow to rusty red underside, bright red bills, and a white stripe down it’s back. It’s bright and distinct colouring makes it easy to see amongst the foliage of the rainforest.

Black Bittern

The Black Bittern is a medium-sized heron that prefers wetlands, ponds, and lakes. It can be found all over Northern Queensland and tends to have darker feathers above and then yellowy-orange striping along the neck.

Little Kingfisher

The Little Kingfisher is little by name and by nature. Usually found beside rivers, lagoons and mangroves in tropical Queensland, the Little Kingfisher is blue and white and makes a very high-pitched whistling sound.

Where you can go bird watching

Luckily, if you’ve ever wanted to go bird watching, you have a variety of places at your fingertips in Tropical North Queensland. Here’s some of our recommendations that are close to Palm Cove.

Cairns Esplanade

You might find it hard to believe, but the Cairns Esplanade in Cairns – which is about 25 minutes south of Palm Cove – is a popular destination for bird watchers.

The precinct is a great place to spot Asiatic shorebirds and is considered an important habitat for shorebirds.

You could spot a variety of different bird species including the Australian pelican, the Curlew Sandpiper, and the Pacific Golden Plover, to name a few.

A couple of hours before high tide or just after high tide are some of the best times for bird spotting in this area.

The Daintree Rainforest

Nestled within the Wet Tropics Rainforest, the Daintree Rainforest is easily one of the most well-known forests in the world. Recognised as the world’s oldest rainforest, there are more than 430 different bird species in the Daintree.

Birds fly through the trees and play on the ground, giving many opportunities to be spotted. You could spot the Cassowary in the forest, as well as the Australian Brush Turkey, the Bush Hen, and the Red Necked Crake, amongst many others.

The Daintree Rainforest is located above Port Douglas and takes a bit over an hour and half to drive up from Palm Cove. You can see the Daintree in a variety of ways, including through self-exploration and tour groups.

Kuranda Birdworld

If you want to take leg work out of bird watching, you could also visit Birdworld in Kuranda. Kuranda is an amazing rainforest village and Birdworld is home to almost more than 350 different kinds of birds including 60 different species of rare birds from the rainforests of the area.

Birdworld actually replicates the natural habitats of the birds in the park, and they roam freely throughout. You can join them in this rainforest environment, and even be able to handfeed the birds too.

Definitely a worthwhile experience, as the journey to Kuranda can be quite incredible too. You can take the Kuranda Scenic Railway, which is a vintage train ride up the mountain, or you can take the Kuranda Skyrail and float above the foliage of the rainforest below.

Where to stay

If you’re planning a trip to Tropical North Queensland, whether it’s for bird watching, relaxation, or anything else, come stay with us here at the Reef House. Our beach front colonial style hotel is an adults only paradise escape. Featuring luxurious facilities and wide variety of signature inclusions, nowhere quite compares to the Reef House in Palm Cove.

Palm Cove is located between Cairns and Port Douglas, making it easily accessible and a great place to explore the region from.

Visit the Reef House today.