Tasmania, the smallest state of Australia, is a heart-shaped island about 180 miles long by 190 miles wide. Many who find their way to it are so captivated by its beauty, variety and abundances of history and nature they return again and again. It is easily accessible by daily vehicular ferries from Melbourne, and several direct flights daily from both Sydney and Melbourne into Hobart, Launceston and the North West. Tourism is a major industry, with high standards in many styles of accommodation, historic sites, wildlife parks, many and varied attractions and nature-based tours.There are birds to greet you when you step from the aircraft - parrots flash among flowering eucalypts in the airport precincts, and ten minutes after leaving Hobart Airport you could have seen about half of the endemic birds.
Twelve endemic bird species, fourteen if you include the migratory parrots which breed only in Tasmania, and several subspecies are among over 230 species which have been recorded in the state. If you stay overnight in country accommodation you will be woken by bird song, and birds may be the first thing you see when you look through your window - honeyeaters in the garden shrubs, Grey Fantails and Scarlet Robins watching for insects at the forest edge, a family of Superb Fairy-wrens hopping across the lawn. Tasmania is a small island but because of its hilly terrain and indented coastline, it has a range of habitats not found in many larger regions. Some of the best birding spots are set out below.
Click 'Get Birds Seen' to see a map with map pins on locations of the latest recorded sightings of rare or unusual birds.
*See places other birders go Birding...
Bridport/Waterhouse is on the Northeast coast. The mild climate here encourages over-wintering by some of the migratory species, so even in winter you might see Welcome Swallows, Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes and on the beaches and sandspit, Red-necked Stints along with the resident shorebirds. Between Bridport and Waterhouse Point the improved pastures provide for many species such as Egrets, Australasian Shelduck, Masked and Banded Lapwings, Pipits and raptors. The dune-locked lakes hold Black Swans, Grebes, most species of duck, Black-fronted Dotterels, Tasmanian Native Hens etc. and a good chance of spotting an Australasian Bittern. The coastal heathland of Waterhouse Protected Area is a stronghold of the Tawny-crowned Honeyeater and many other species.
Bruny Island is off the South East coast and accessible by vehicular ferry several times a day; it has all 12 endemic species, plus a penguin viewing area. There is plenty of variety in accommodation, and you'll probably want more than a day to spend on this lovely island, which has the biggest population of our rarest endemic, Forty- spotted Pardalote, in the drier Northern half.
Melaleuca/Port Davey is difficult to get to but worth every dollar and day waiting for the right weather for the flight in by light aircraft. The heart of the true wilderness of Tasmania's South West and home to the tin-mining King family for many years (read King of the Wilderness by Christobel Mattingley for the fascinating story); it is now a vital part of the Orange-bellied Parrot Recovery Plan. The only place you are likely to see these beautiful little parrots (but only in summer and early autumn) is at the feeding station and observation area set up at Melaleuca. The Beautiful Firetail, our only native finch, will probably show up for a snack too. Even if you don't see the parrots, the flight over the mountains or along the coastline is magnificent.
Narawntapu National Park
Narawntapu National Park is a coastal park between Launceston and Devonport in the North. Much of it was previously farmed and it now has the most extensive bird checklist of any Tasmanian National Park. There is a good bird hide on the lagoon - I used it three times in one morning and saw several new birds on each visit. Narawntapu also has a huge population of marsupials including Tasmanian Devils.
Tasman Peninsula is part of the Southeast best known for the Port Arthur Historic Site. Lots of accommodation, and things to see and do. All 12 endemics are recorded here, and it is a favourite place for pelagic bird trips, being near to the continental shelf. The eastern half, most of which is in the Tasman National Park, has wet forest with rainforest gullies (Pink Robins, and Tasmanian Scrubwrens) and spectacular sea cliffs (Wedge-tailed and White-bellied Sea Eagles, Peregrine Falcon, etc.). In the Northwest of the Peninsula a special place is the Coal Mines/Lime Bay State Reserve. Birds abound among little-known convict era ruins, and nearby an ephemeral lagoon can provide thrills for birders. The Peninsula is the best area in the state for year-round hiking, and has superb, often deserted beaches on all coasts.
Inala Nature Tours
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 316
Unofficial State Bird: Yellow Wattlebird Anthochaera paradox
Number of endemics: 12
Green Rosella Platycercus caledonicus Tasmanian Native-hen Gallinula mortierii Yellow-throated Honeyeater Lichenostomus flavicollis Black-headed Honeyeater Melithreptus affinis Strong-billed Honeyeater Melithreptus validirostris Yellow Wattlebird Anthochaera paradoxa Forty-spotted Pardalote Pardalotus quadragintus Brown Scrubwren Sericornis humilis Scrubtit Acanthornis magnus Tasmanian Thornbill Acanthiza ewingii Dusky Robin Melanodryas vittata Black Currawong Strepera fuliginosa
There are also four endemic sub-species:
Orange-bellied Parrot Neophema chrysogaster Swift Parrot Lathamus discolor and Wedge-Tailed Eagle Aquila audax Tasmanian Masked-Owl Tyto castanops
Field Guide to Tasmanian Birds
Dave Watts, David Baker-Gabb Paperback - 200 pages (New edition 2002) New Holland Publishers (AUS)
ISBN: 1876334606Buy this book from NHBS.com
Fieldguides, CDs etc.
For general guides to Australia as a whole please see the Fatbirder Australia page
This information is of potential value to Tasmanian tourism operators in tailoring their activities and services towards satisfying visitors' requirements for participating in nature-based tourism and in more effectively marketing this type of travel product…
Guides & Tour Operators
Australian Ornithological Services
Philip Maher was born in Deniliquin, in south-western New South Wales in 1954. His interest in natural history was fostered by his parents from a young age. While Philip is an authority on Australian birds generally, his name is synonymous with the Plains-wanderer, a bird of the open plains in inland Australia. In 1980 Philip was with a party of local birders when they came across the Plains-wanderer. He went on to study the species extensively, banding about 600 birds and has shown the species to great numbers of Australian, American and European birders…
A number of birding outings listed such as Penguins at Bicheno…
Inala Nature Tours
…a family owned and operated company that specializes in designing and organizing personalized wildlife tours for groups such as birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2009 [12 December] - Oscar Campbell
This trip report outlines a 9-day trip to Tasmania over Christmas 2009. As the only birder amongst five civilians, it was not organised specifically for birding and some of the key sites in the Hobart area were not visited. Even so, the trip was very successful with 93 species recorded in total, including 11 of the state’s 14 breeding endemics…
2012 [02 February] - Els Wakefield - Eaglehawk Neck Pelagic
2012 [02 February] - Philip Maher
2012 [12 December] - Peter Waanders - SA, Victoria and Tasmania
…Birds were abundant throughout and the total tally was just short of 300 species. Highlights included Painted Snipe, Inland Dotterel, Plains-wanderer, Scarlet-chested Parrot, Swift Parrot, Gibberbird, Mallee Emu-wren and all 12 Tasmanian endemics…
2013 [02 February] - Philip Maher & Patricia Maher
2014 [11 November] - John Coons
During our three weeks in Australia we found loads of birds in the Top End, forests of northern Queensland, Atherton Tableland, inland deserts, mountain rainforests, and Tasmania. Birds and mammals performed well, and we saw many of the legendary creatures for which Australia is well known....
2015 [10 October] - Dr Andrew Hingston
We were collected from Launceston airport at 14:20, and transported to our accommodation at Mountain Valley Wilderness Lodge. This included a stop to watch a Shortbeaked Echidna digging for food. After arriving at Mountain Valley Wilderness Lodge, we saw our first Common Wombats and Tasmanian Pademelons. After dark, we enjoyed seeing Tasmanian Devils, Spotted-tail Quolls and Common Brushtail Possums outside our rooms.
2015 [12 December] - Mark Hanger
...As we climbed out of the bus the noise of Black-headed Honeyeaters feeding in the eucalypts was immediately apparent. Typically they spend much of their time hanging upside down searching for invertebrates. We were then diverted by a Striated Pardalote flying into and out of a hole on a nearby rock wall. This nesting pair continued to go in and out throughout our stay at the reserve...
2016 [02 February] - Philip Maher
As it turned out, we had a fantastic trip and saw most of the birds and mammals with some memorable highlights. This year we saw our first Tasmanian devil in three years, hopefully a positive sign. We also saw our first swift parrots in three years.
2017 [02 February] - Philip Maher - Tasmanian bird and mammal tour
...After breakfast at the Old Wool Store in Hobart, we headed for Mount Wellington but en route pulled up in an area of bush that adjoins some houses in the outer suburbs. This spot often has a nice lot of birds and that again proved to be the case. Some species here included our first yellow wattlebirds, black-headed and yellow-throated honeyeaters, eastern spinebill, dusky robin, spotted and striated pardalotes, brown thornbill, green rosella and a pair of satin flycatchers on a nest. The dusky robins surprised me as I had not seen them here before. We were off to a great start!...
Places to Stay
Currawong Lakes Retreat
For the passionate and motivated Birding enthusiast, Currawong Lakes contains a rich and diverse number of biotic environments both aquatic and arboreal and boasts being home to over 90 species of birds…
Inala - Bruny Accommodation
Nestled in tall eucalypt forest on our 500 acre private reserve at the foot of the South Bruny Ranges on Bruny Island our guests have a choice of a three bedroom cottage (Inala cottage) or a one bedroom spa unit (Nairana cottage).…
Tasmania Mountain Valley Wilderness
Hidden in the lost valley of Loongana amongst the mountains of North West Tasmania. Mountain Valley an eco retreat on a 'Private Nature Reserve', with six cosy log cabins nestled under the majestic presence of Black Bluff Mt ideal for those interested in hiking, flora and unique wildlife experiences. Guided platypus, glow worm grotto, cave or forest habitat tours. There are deep river gorges, cool fern glades, ancient rainforests, glacial lakes, mountain peaks and cascading waterfalls - all easy to explore. We suggest you take a few days to explore this lost valley…
Tasmania Wilderness Lodges
From Tasmania’s wilderness lodges, you can experience ancient ecosystems, cruise to a seal colony, follow your footprints back along the tideline of an ocean beach, climb a mountain peak, visit a vineyard or a salmon farm – and still be home for candlelit dinner at eight…
Tasmania and its numerous offshore islands cover an area of about 6,723,000 hectares. Because of the island’s topography, vegetation communities (including buttongrass moorlands, wet and dry eucalypt forests, myrtle beech rainforests and coastal heathlands) can change over small distances. Forests still cover approximately 47% of the island; 25% is included in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area and there are approximately 3000 kilometres of coastline.
Burnie Field Naturalists
P. O. Box 455, Burnie, Tasmania - @BurnieFieldNats - Call 64421253
North West Bird Club
The North West Bird Club was established in 1972 in our home Town of Wynyard in Tasmania Australia. Club meetings are held on the second Friday during the month of September through to May and we do not meet during the months of June, July and August each year…
Tasmanian Conservation Trust
The Tasmanian Conservation Trust is a voluntary organisation working on conservation issues, especially those that directly affect Tasmania. The TCT was formed in 1968 and aims to foster and assist in the conservation of flora, fauna and important natural, archaeological and cultural features…
Inverawe Native Gardens & Nature Trails
If bird watching is your brief, Inverawe is the place to be. Grab the binoculars, slip the field guide into your pocket and hurry on down for some real bird watching. 84 species of birds have been spotted at Inverawe…
Notley Gorge State Reserve
The pristine forest of the reserve is similar to that which faced the early settlers of the West Tamar. About a century ago the Notley forest provided timber for boatbuilding at Rosevears (on the Tamar River) and hiding places for bushrangers…
South Bruny National Park
South Bruny National Park lies at the southern tip of Bruny Island off the southeast coast of Tasmania. The park encompasses all of the coastline and some of the hinterland between Fluted Cape and the southern part of Great Taylors Bay.
Tamar River Conservation Area
The Tamar River Conservation Area stretches through the upper part of the Tamar Estuary from St Leonards to the Batman Bridge. The Interpretation Centre and the boardwalk leading to Tamar Island are just a ten minute drive north from the centre of Launceston on the West Tamar Highway, just north of Riverside…
Tasmania National Parks
Tasmania's outstanding national park system offers visitors a wide choice of opportunities to discover spectacular landscapes, from highlands carved by glaciers to quiet, solitary beaches; from cool, silent rainforests to colourful, alpine wilderness wildflowers. Tasmania's 19 national parks encompass a diversity of unspoiled habitats and ecosystems which offer refuge to unique, and often ancient, plants and animals found nowhere else on Earth.
Endemic birds of Tasmania
Article by Mr D. G. Thomas, President, Bird Observers Association of Tasmania.
Nature Sound - David Stewart
Australian Bird Calls - Tasmania has 12 endemic bird species and a feature of the CD is the presentation of a range of calls for this unique group. The endemic species are the Tasmanian Native-hen, Green Rosella, Forty-spotted Pardalote, Tasmanian Scrubwren, Scrubtit, Tasmanian Thornbill, Yellow Wattlebird, Yellow-throated Honeyeater, Strong-billed Honeyeater, Black-headed Honeyeater, Dusky Robin and Black Currawong. A further 68 species are included and many of these have calls which are different to their mainland cousins and particular attention has been paid to this aspect. The CD contains calls of 80 species…
A list with photos and info about the endemics of the Island…
Tasmania has a rich bird fauna, including several species which are confined to the State (i.e endemic). See our pages on our endemic birds for further details. Tasmania is also home to a number of threatened bird species. To discover more about some of our bird fauna, choose a species from the following complete Tasmanian bird list.
Tasmanian Native Hen
A large, heavy bodied, flightless bird found only in Tasmania. It is similar in shape to the Black-tailed Native-hen Tribonyx ventralia but is larger. The Tasmanian Native-hen has a large yellow bill, a red eye, brown head, back and wings and is slate grey on its underparts….
Little Penguins, also known as Fairy or Blue Penguins, are a feature of Australia’s southern coastline and marine parks. At about 35 cm tall and weighing less than a kilo and a half, these Little Penguins are the smallest penguin species in the world. These little guys are also the only penguin species to breed in Australia.