The Mount Alexander region offers a wide choice of birding opportunities. With varying habitats, more than 230 species have been recorded in the region. Bushland species can be found in woodlands ranging from the Newstead area to Muckleford Forest and the higher elevations of Mount Alexander. If you are interested in waterbirds then Tullaroop, Cairn Curran, Barkers Creek and Expedition Pass Reservoirs give a lot of scope. In wet years, the swamps on the Moolort Plains offer even more possibilities. For a comprehensive guide to local birds, good birding sites in the region and tips on birdwatching, check out “Castlemaine Bird Walks” by Damian Kelly – available from local bookshops and the Information Centre in Castlemaine.

The Birdlist below was compiled by Damian Kelly and details the native and introduced (**) species recorded in and around the Mount Alexander Shire, along with their likely locations. The local status is based on records for the area and the knowledge of experienced local birders. The abbreviations are: LE – Locally extinct; LC – Locally Common (only some areas); C – Common and widespread; UC – Uncommon; R – Rare; OV – Occasional Visitor. The names and order of the birds are as in Birdata (Birdlife Australia).

A checklist for the Birds of the Mount Alexander Region can be downloaded here.

Photos by Noel Young

COMMON NAMESCIENTIFIC NAMELOCAL STATUSHABITATNOTES
CASSOWARIES AND EMU
EmuDromaius novaehollandiaeLE
DUCKS, GEESE AND SWANS
Plumed Whistling-DuckDendrocygna eytoniRWetlands
Blue-billed DuckOxyura australisRLakes/ReservoirsDeep water
Pink-eared DuckMalacorhynchus membranaceusLCWetlandsBreeds locally in wet years at Bells Swamp
Cape Barren GooseCereopsis novaehollandiaeOVFarmland
Black SwanCygnus atratusCLakes/Reservoirs
Australian ShelduckTadorna tadornoidesCWetlands, dams, farmland
HardheadAythya australisUCWetlands, Lakes/ReservoirsCastlemaine Botanic Gardens
Australasian ShovelerSpatula rhynchotisUCWetlands
Pacific Black DuckAnas superciliosaCWetlands, dams, farmlandEverywhere
Northern MallardAnas platyrhynchosLCLakes/ReservoirsCastlemaine Botanic Gardens
Grey TealAnas gracilisCWetlands
Chestnut TealAnas castaneaUCWetlands
Freckled DuckStictonetta naevosaRWetlands
Musk DuckBiziura lobataUCLakes/ReservoirsDeep water – Barkers Creek Reservoir, Expedition Pass, Tullaroop
Australian Wood DuckChenonetta jubataCWetlands, dams, farmlandEverywhere
** Muscovy DuckCairina moschataUCUrban, farmlandCastlemaine Botanic Gardens
** Black Duck-Mallard hybridAnas sp.UCUrban, farmlandCastlemaine Botanic Gardens
QUAIL
Stubble QuailCoturnix pectoralisUCFarmland
Brown QuailSynoicus ypsilophoraUCFarmlandFavours dense patches
GREBES
Australasian GrebeTachybaptus novaehollandiaeCWetlands, dams
Hoary-headed GrebePoliocephalus poliocephalusCLakes/Reservoirs
Great Crested GrebePodiceps cristatusLCLakes/ReservoirsTullaroop, Barkers Creek Reservoir
PIGEONS AND DOVES
Rock DoveColumba liviaCUrban, farms
** Spotted DoveStreptopelia chinensisUCUrban, farms
Common BronzewingPhaps chalcopteraCWoodland, urban
Brush BronzewingPhaps elegansRWoodlandForest Creek
Crested PigeonOcyphaps lophotesCUrban, farmlandWidespread
Peaceful DoveGeopelia placidaCWoodland
CUCKOOS
Eastern KoelEudynamys orientalisOVUrban, WoodlandSpring/Summer, calls definitive
Horsfield’s Bronze-CuckooChalcites basalisCWoodlandMainly Spring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
Black-eared CuckooChalcites osculansUCWoodlandSpring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
Shining Bronze-CuckooChalcites lucidusCWoodlandSpring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
Fan-tailed CuckooCacomantis flabelliformisCWoodlandSpring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
Pallid CuckooHeteroscenes pallidusCWoodlandSpring/Summer. Widespread – calls definitive
FROGMOUTHS
Tawny FrogmouthPodargus strigoidesCUrban, Woodland
NIGHTJARS
Spotted NightjarEurostopodus argusRWoodlandSpring/summer, Favours rocky ridges
White-throated NightjarEurostopodus mystacalisUCWoodlandSpring/summer, Favours rocky ridges
OWLET-NIGHTJAR
Australian Owlet-nightjarAegotheles cristatusCWoodlandHollows – natural and nest boxes
SWIFTS
White-throated NeedletailHirundapus caudacutusUCAerial ahead of storm frontsSummer/Autumn
Fork-tailed SwiftApus pacificusUCAerial ahead of storm frontsSummer/Autumn
RAILS, GALLINULES AND ALLIES
Buff-banded RailHypotaenidia philippensisUCWetlands
Australian Spotted CrakePorzana flumineaUCWetlandsDense reeds
Spotless CrakeZapornia tabuensisUCWetlandsDense reeds
Purple SwamphenPorphyrio porphyrioCWetlands
Dusky MoorhenGallinula tenebrosaCWetlands
Black-tailed Native-henTribonyx ventralisLCWetlandsIrrupts unpredictably
Eurasian CootFulica atraCWetlandsEverywhere with water
SHOREBIRDS
Banded StiltCladorhynchus leucocephalusRMudflats
Black-winged StiltHimantopus leucocephalusUCMudflatsCairn Curran, Moolort Swamps
Red-knecked AvocetRecurvirostra novaehollandiaeUCMudflatsCairn Curran, Moolort Swamps
Double-banded PloverCharadrius bicinctusRMudflats, farmlandCairn Curran, Moolort Swamps
Red-capped PloverCharadrius ruficapillusRMudflatsCairn Curran
Black-fronted DotterelElseyornis melanopsCWetlands, Lakes/ReservoirsMudflats
Banded LapwingVanellus tricolorRFarmland
Masked LapwingVanellus milesCUrban, farmsEverywhere
Red-kneed DotterelErythrogonys cinctusUCWetlands, Lakes/ReservoirsMudflats
Sharp-tailed SandpiperCalidris acuminataRMudflatsCairn Curran
Red-necked StintCalidris ruficollisRMudflatsCairn Curran
Latham’s SnipeGallinago hardwickiiRMudflatsCairn Curran
Wood SandpiperTringa glareolaRMudflatsCairn Curran
BUTTON-QUAIL
Painted Button-quailTurnix variusUCWoodland
GULLS, TERNS AND SKIMMERS
Silver GullChroicocephalus novaehollandiaeLCLakes/Reservoirs
Caspian TernHydroprogne caspiaRLakes/Reservoirs
Whiskered TernChlidonias hybridaRLakes/Reservoirs, Wetlands
PELICANS
Australian PelicanPelecanus conspicillatusLCLakes/Reservoirs
HERONS, IBIS AND ALLIES
Nankeen Night-HeronNycticorax caledonicusCWetlands
Cattle EgretBubulcus ibisRFarmland
White-necked HeronArdea pacificaUCWetlands
Great EgretArdea albaUCWetlands
Intermediate EgretArdea intermediaRWetlands
White-faced HeronEgretta novaehollandiaeCWetlands
Little EgretEgretta garzettaRWetlands
Australian White IbisThreskiornis moluccusCWetlands, farmland
Straw-necked IbisThreskiornis spinicollisCWetlands, farmland
Yellow-billed SpoonbillPlatalea flavipesUCWetlands
Royal SpoonbillPlatalea regiaRWetlands
CORMORANTS
Little Pied CormorantMicrocarbo melanoleucosCLakes/ReservoirsBreeds at Castlemaine Botanic Gardens
Great CormorantPhalacrocorax carboCLakes/Reservoirs
Little Black CormorantPhalacrocorax sulcirostrisCLakes/Reservoirs
Pied CormorantPhalacrocorax variusUCLakes/Reservoirs
ANHINGAS
Australasian DarterAnhinga novaehollandiaeLCLakes/Reservoirs
HAWKS AND ALLIES
Black-shouldered KiteElanus axillarisUCFarmland
Square-tailed KiteLophoictinia isuraUCWoodlandSpring/summer
Wedge-tailed EagleAquila audaxCWoodland, farmland, aerial
Little EagleHieraaetus morphnoidesCFarmland, aerial
Swamp HarrierCircus approximansUCWetlands, farmland
Spotted HarrierCircus assimilisUCWetlands, farmlandMoolort plains
Grey GoshawkAccipiter novaehollandiaeRWoodland
Brown GoshawkAccipiter fasciatusCWoodland, urban
Collared SparrowhawkAccipiter cirrocephalusCWoodland, urban
White-bellied Sea-EagleHaliaeetus leucogasterUCLakes/ReservoirsCairn Curran, Tullaroop
Whistling KiteHaliastur sphenurusCFarmland, wetlands
Black KiteMilvus migransCFarmlandIncreasing in numbers
OWLS
Barn OwlTyto albaUCFarmlandAlso urban
Powerful OwlNinox strenuaUCWoodlandAlso urban
Barking OwlNinox connivensRWoodlandAlso urban
Southern BoobookNinox boobookUCWoodlandAlso urban
BEE-EATERS, ROLLERS AND ALLIES
Rainbow Bee-eaterMerops ornatusLCWoodland, farmlandSpring/summer. Nests in banks
DollarbirdEurystomus orientalisOVRiparian woodlandSpring/summer
Azure KingfisherCeyx azureusRWatercoursesSpring/summer
Sacred KingfisherTodiramphus sanctusCWoodland, watercoursesSpring/Summer
Laughing KookaburraDacelo novaeguineaeCWoodland
FALCONS
Nankeen KestrelFalco cenchroidesUCFarmland
Australian HobbyFalco longipennisUCFarmland
Brown FalconFalco berigoraCFarmland
Black FalconFalco subnigerRFarmland
Peregrine FalconFalco peregrinusRFarmlandOften near cliffs
COCKATOOS
CockatielNymphicus hollandicusRRiparian woodland, farmlandNomadic, moves south from dry inland
Yellow-tailed Black-CockatooZanda funereusUCWoodlandPineforests, increasing
Gang-gang CockatooCallocephalon fimbriatumOVWoodland
GalahEolophus roseicapillaCWoodland, farmland, urban
Long-billed CorellaCacatua tenuirostrisCFarmland, urban
Little CorellaCacatua sanguineaLCFarmlandHamiltons Crossing, Baringhup
Sulphur-crested CockatooCacatua galeritaCWoodland, farmland, urban
PARROTS
Australian King-ParrotAlisterus scapularisOVWoodland
Red-rumped ParrotPsephotus haematonotusCFarmland
Crimson RosellaPlatycercus elegansCWoodland, urban
Eastern RosellaPlatycercus eximiusCWoodland, farmland, urban
Swift ParrotLathamus discolorRWoodlandAutumn/Winter
Blue-winged ParrotNeophema chrysostomaRWoodland
Musk LorikeetGlossopsitta concinnaCWoodland, urbanFlowering trees
Little LorikeetGlossopsitta pusillaUCWoodland, urbanFlowering trees
Purple-crowned LorikeetGlossopsitta porphyrocephalaUCWoodland, urbanFlowering trees
Rainbow LorikeetTrichoglossus moluccanusUCWoodland, urbanBecoming more common
BudgerigarMelopsittacus undulatusOVWoodlandNomadic, moves south from dry inland
TREECREEPERS
White-throated TreecreeperCormobates leucophaeaCWoodland
Brown TreecreeperClimacteris picumnusCWoodland
FAIRYWRENS
Superb Fairy-wrenMalurus cyaneusCWoodland, urban
HONEYEATERS
Black HoneyeaterSugomel nigerOVWoodland, urbanNomadic, moves south from dry inland
Scarlet HoneyeaterMyzomela sanguinolentaRWoodland, urbanErratic following blossoms
Painted HoneyeaterGrantiella pictaRWoodlandSpring/summer, Erratic following blossoms
Noisy FriarbirdPhilemon corniculatusRWoodlandErratic following blossoms
Little FriarbirdPhilemon citreogularisRWoodlandErratic following blossoms
Crescent HoneyeaterPhylidonyris pyrrhopterusRWoodland
New Holland HoneyeaterPhylidonyris novaehollandiaeCUrban, farmland
White-eared HoneyeaterNesoptilotis leucotisCWoodland
Blue-faced HoneyeaterEntomyzon cyanotisUCWoodland, urbanErratic following blossoms
Black-chinned HoneyeaterMelithreptus gularisCWoodlandErratic following blossoms
Brown-headed HoneyeaterMelithreptus brevirostrisCWoodland
White-naped HoneyeaterMelithreptus lunatusCWoodland
Tawny-crowned HoneyeaterGlyciphila melanopsRWoodland
Eastern SpinebillAcanthorhynchus tenuirostrisCWoodland, urban
White-fronted ChatEpthianura albifronsUCFarmland
Spiny-cheeked HoneyeaterAcanthagenys rufogularisRWoodland
Little WattlebirdAnthochaera chrysopteraRWoodland
Regent HoneyeaterAnthochaera phrygiaRWoodlandLocally extinct?
Red WattlebirdAnthochaera carunculataCWoodland, urbanUbiquitous
Singing HoneyeaterGavicalis virescensRWoodland
Yellow-plumed HoneyeaterPtilotula ornataRWoodland
Fuscous HoneyeaterPtilotula fuscaCWoodland
White-plumed HoneyeaterPtilotula penicillataCWoodland, water-courses
White-fronted HoneyeaterPurnella albifronsOVWoodlandNomadic, moves south from dry inland
Yellow-faced HoneyeaterCaligavis chrysopsCWoodland, urban
Yellow-tufted HoneyeaterLichenostomus melanopsCWoodland
Bell MinerManorina melanophrysRWoodlandLocally extinct?
Noisy MinerManorina melanocephalaCWoodlandPatchy distribution
PARDALOTES
Spotted PardalotePardalotus punctatusCWoodland, urban
Striated PardalotePardalotus striatusCWoodland, urban
THORNBILLS AND ALLIES
White-throated GerygoneGerygone olivaceaOVWoodland
Western GerygoneGerygone fuscaRWoodland
WeebillSmicrornis brevirostrisCWoodland
Speckled WarblerPyrrholaemus sagittatusRWoodland
Chestnut-rumped HeathwrenCalamanthus pyrrhopygiusRWoodland
White-browed ScrubwrenSericornis frontalisCWoodland
Southern WhitefaceAphelocephala leucopsisUCWoodland
Yellow-rumped ThornbillAcanthiza chrysorrhoaCWoodland, farmland, urban
Yellow ThornbillAcanthiza nanaCWoodland
Striated ThornbillAcanthiza lineataCWoodland
Brown ThornbillAcanthiza pusillaCWoodland, urban
Chestnut-rumped ThornbillAcanthiza uropygialisRWoodland
Buff-rumped ThornbillAcanthiza reguloidesCWoodland
PSEUDO-BABBLERS
Grey-crowned BabblerPomatostomus temporalisLEWoodlandNo recent records
White-browed BabblerPomatostomus superciliosusCWoodland
SITELLAS
Varied SittellaDaphoenositta chrysopteraCWoodland
CUCKOOSHRIKES
Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikeCoracina novaehollandiaeCWoodland
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikeCoracina papuensisUCWoodland
White-winged TrillerLalage tricolorUCWoodlandSpring/summer, nomadic
QUAIL-THRUSHES
Spotted Quail-thrushCinclosoma punctatumUCWoodland
WHISTLERS, SHRIKE-THRUSHES, BELLBIRD
Olive WhistlerPachycephala olivaceaOVWoodland
Gilbert’s WhistlerPachycephala inornataOVWoodlandDrier woodland
Rufous WhistlerPachycephala rufiventrisCWoodland, urbanSpring/summer
Golden WhistlerPachycephala pectoralisCWoodland
Grey Shrike-thrushColluricincla harmonicaCWoodland, urban
Crested Shrike-titFalcunculus frontatusCWoodland
Crested BellbirdOreoica gutturalisUCWoodlandDrier woodland
ORIOLES
Olive-backed OrioleOriolus sagittatusCWoodlandSpring/Summer, some over-winter
BELLMAGPIES AND ALLIES
Pied CurrawongStrepera graculinaCWoodland, urbanMore common in Autumn/Winter
Grey CurrawongStrepera versicolorCWoodland, urban
Australian MagpieGymnorhina tibicenCWoodland, farmland, urban
Pied ButcherbirdCracticus nigrogularisOVWoodland
Grey ButcherbirdCracticus torquatusRWoodland, urban
WOODSWALLOWS
Masked WoodswallowArtamus personatusUCWoodlandSpring/summer, Often in mixed flocks with White-browed Woodswallows
White-browed WoodswallowArtamus superciliosusCWoodlandSpring/summer
Dusky WoodswallowArtamus cyanopterusCWoodland
Black-faced WoodswallowArtamus cinereusOVWoodland
White-breasted WoodswallowArtamus leucorynchusOVWoodland
FANTAILS
Willie WagtailRhipidura leucophrysCWoodland, urban, farmland
Rufous FantailRhipidura rufifronsRWoodlandSpring/summer, Wetter forests
Grey FantailRhipidura fuliginosaCWoodland, urban
CROWS AND RAVENS
Little RavenCorvus melloriCWoodland, urban, farmlandMore common than Australian Raven, flocks in winter
Australian RavenCorvus coronoidesCWoodland, urban, farmland
MONARCH FLYCATCHERS
Leaden FlycatcherMyiagra rubeculaUCWoodlandSpring/summer
Satin FlycatcherMyiagra cyanoleucaUCWoodlandSpring/summer
Restless FlycatcherMyiagra inquietaCWoodlandSpring/summer
Magpie-larkGrallina cyanoleucaCWoodland, urban, farmland
CHOUGH AND APOSTLEBIRD
White-winged ChoughCorcorax melanorhamphosCWoodland
ROBINS
Rose RobinPetroica roseaRWoodlandAutumn/Winter
Pink RobinPetroica rodinogasterRWoodlandAutumn/Winter
Flame RobinPetroica phoeniceaCWoodland, farmlandAutumn/Winter
Scarlet RobinPetroica multicolorCWoodland
Red-capped RobinPetroica goodenoviiUCWoodland
Jacky WinterMicroeca fascinansCWoodland, farmland
Eastern Yellow RobinEopsaltria australisCWoodland
Hooded RobinMelanodryas cucullataUCWoodland
FLOWERPECKERS
MistletoebirdDicaeum hirundinaceumCWoodland
ESTRILIDS
Diamond FiretailStagonopleura guttataUCWoodland
Red-browed FinchNeochmia temporalisCWoodland, farmland, urban
Zebra FinchTaeniopygia guttataUCWoodland
SPARROWS
** House SparrowPasser domesticusCUrban, farmland
** Eurasian Tree SparrowPasser montanusRUrbanNo recent records
PIPIT
Australasian PipitAnthus novaeseelandiaeCFarmland
FINCHES AND ALLIES
** Common GreenfinchChloris chlorisUCFarmland, urban
** European GoldfinchCarduelis carduelisCUrban, farmland
LARKS
Horsfield’s BushlarkMirafra javanicaUCFarmland
** Eurasian SkylarkAlauda arvensisUCFarmland
CISTICOLAS
Golden-headed CisticolaCisticola exilisRWetlandsReed beds
GRASSBIRDS AND ALLIES
Brown SonglarkCincloramphus cruralisUCFarmlandOpen, tree-less paddocks
Rufous SonglarkCincloramphus mathewsiCFarmlandLightly treed areas
Little GrassbirdPoodytes gramineusUCWetlandsReed beds
Australian Reed-WarblerAcrocephalus australisCWetlandsSpring/summer, Reed beds
MARTINS AND SWALLOWS
White-backed SwallowCheramoeca leucosternaRAerial
Fairy MartinPetrochelidon arielCAerial
Tree MartinPetrochelidon nigricansCAerial
Welcome SwallowHirundo neoxenaCAerial, wetlands, farmland
WHITEYES
SilvereyeZosterops lateralisCWoodland, urban
STARLINGS AND MYNAS
** Common StarlingSturnus vulgarisCUrban, farmland
** Common MynaAcridotheres tristisCUrban, farmland
THRUSHES
Bassian ThrushZoothera lunulataOVWoodland
** Common BlackbirdTurdus merulaCUrban, farmland

Tricky to identify – the five common Thornbills of the district

Photos by Noel Young