Australia’s tropical Savannahs are home to 55 of Australia’s 90 seed eating birds (including parrots, quails, pigeons and finches), including 13 endemics. 14 of Australia’s 18 finch species live here.
Great bird sightings are available all through the year, with all wildlife concentrated around waterholes (and therefore easier to find) in the later months of the year (Oct-Dec). Early morning or late afternoon is generally the best time of day.

The Savannah Way has some good tips for local birdwatching.

  • Burketown – waders, migrants and resident woodland and grassland birds including galahs, cockoos, frogmouths, kookaburras and kingfishers among many others. Try the Bore Drain in town, the wetlands on the road to the wharf.
  • The Wetlands of the region provide important ecosystems sustaining a variety of bird populations, including migrating species travelling between Australia, Asia and Alaska.
  • Lawn Hill Gorge is Purple Crowned Fairy Wren country, while Sandstone Shrike-thrush, Buff-sided Robin, Northern Rosella can all be sighted, and the Channel-billed Cuckoo stays year-round. The Spinifex and riparian habitats are home to Spinifex Pigeons, Red winged Parrots, White browed Robins, Crimson Finches, White gaped and Banded Honeyeaters, Great Bowerbirds, and Long-tailed Finches. Cairns unlimited! provides seasonal information.
  • Adels Grove usually has some keen birders on staff, and 140 birds on its list.
  • Sweers Island is a birdwatcher's paradise containing about 50 different species, including the Rose-crowned fruit dove, Bustards, Ducks and Curlews.
  • Gregory Downs features the Purple Crowned Fairy Wren and Crimson Finch along the river.

Each year September through to April, Burketown plays host to hundreds of thousands of migratory birds travelling the East Asian - Australasian Flyway. Tiny birds such as Red Necked Stilt weighing no more than 25gm through to larger birds like the iconic Eastern Curlew travel over 20,000 km to reach nesting sites in Siberia and Alaska from their feeding grounds in Southern Australia and New Zealand. The wetlands of the Gulf are critical to their survival by providing a major refuelling station.