Lowland Rainforest Tour
Principal Habitat in a Nutshell: Tall, very humid forests found at low elevation (below 600m). This tour combines a trip into Lowland Rainforest with Mangroves and Tropical Wetlands.
Key Species: Red-necked Crake, Southern Cassowary, Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Noisy Pitta, Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, Lovely Fairywren, Black Butcherbird, Fairy Gerygone, Grey Whistler, Common Cicadabird, Pale-Yellow Robin, and Crimson Finch.
Tour Information: The richest rainforests in Australia are the lowland rainforests of northeast Queensland's Wet Tropics. Some of the best of these are within easy reach of Cairns. These humid forests are the main haunt of one of Australia’s largest birds, the prehistoric-looking Southern Cassowary. Some good forests south of Cairns provide great chances of finding this rare, local, and often elusive, species, which in Australia is only found in the Wet Tropics of northeast Queensland. While tropical forests are often considered tough places to bird, the lowland forests near Cairns offer some of the easiest birding within this habitat type anywhere on Earth. Some other standout birds in these forests include Buff-breasted Paradise-Kingfisher, which crosses the Torres Strait from New Guinea to breed within termite mounds during the Australian summer (November-March), the spectacular Noisy Pitta, diminutive Double-eyed Fig-Parrot, and local Lovely Fairywren, which specializes in forest edges. Other species on offer include the very shy Red-necked Crake, Fairy Gerygone, Common Cicadabird, Varied Triller, Grey Whistler, Black Butcherbird, Spectacled Monarch, and Pale-Yellow Robin. The forests are easily combined with coastal habitats like mangroves, where Torresian Kingfisher, Mangrove Robin, Little Bronze-Cuckoo, and Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove can be found. We will also check the local tidal flats for waders like Beach Thick-knee and a heady selection of sandpipers, plovers, and other waterbirds that use these vast mudflats on low tides. Nearby Tropical Wetlands offer up more superb tropical species like Radjah Shelduck, Green Pygmy-Goose, Magpie-Goose, and a broad selection of waterbirds, like ducks, pelicans, spoonbills, egrets and herons. Sometimes scarcer species like Little Kingfisher and White-browed Crake can be found alongside these wetlands too, while nearby a local population of Crimson Finches also occurs.