Birdlife on the Great Barrier Reef

Sea birds that are often found on the Great Barrier Reef and spotted by our guests include:

  • Frigates
  • Boobies
  • Terns
  • Ruddy Turnstones

Lizard Island

More than 40 species of land and sea birds inhabit Lizard Island National Park.  Commonly-seen seabirds include the magnificent white-bellied sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster), osprey (Pandion cristatus) and many species of terns. Land birds include the bar-shouldered dove (Geopelia humeralis) pheasant coucal (Centropus phasianinus) and yellow-bellied sunbird (Nectarinia jugularis). Seasonal visitors include the pied imperial-pigeon (Ducula bicolor), white-tailed tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus), dollarbird (Eurystomus orientalis) and rainbow bee-eater (Merops ornatus). Approximately 20 species nests on the island group—Seabird Islets and Osprey, South and Palfrey islands are important seabird nesting sites, particularly for terns.

The Daintree

The Daintree area provides a variety of habitats: rainforest, wetlands, mangroves, open fields, and the Daintree River. As well as the regular residents (at least 30 species daily in the Village), the birds vary according to the seasons:

  • Spring –  Pied Imperial Pigeons and Metallic Starlings returning from winter in New Guinea while the Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfishers arrive for their breeding season. Common Koels and Channel-billed Cuckoos also return at this time.
  • Summer is the Wet Season and, despite the sometimes-difficult conditions, can be excellent for birding. The spring arrivals are joined by the Black Bittern which can be often seen on the river or beside the numerous creeks and waterways. Kingfishers abound.


> View our Outerknown Adventures of Great Barrier Reef and Cape York Torres Strait Island itineraries