Upland Rainforest Tour
Principal Habitat in a Nutshell: Closed canopy humid forest laden with epiphytes and extensive understory, occurring above 600m elevation. This tour combines a trip into Upland Rainforest with Tropical Wetlands.
Key Species: Chowchilla, Pied Monarch, Bower’s Shrike-Thrush, Fernwren, Atherton Scrubwren, Bridled and Macleay’s Honeyeaters, Tooth-billed and Golden Bowerbirds, Victoria’s Riflebird, Grey-headed Robin, Mountain Thornbill. Also White-cheeked Honeyeater, Sarus Crane. Platypus and Lumholtz’s Tree-Kangaroo.
Tour Information: Lowland and Upland rainforests are broadly differentiated by elevation, Upland Rainforests mostly occurring above 600m. While lowland forests may be richer in birdlife, a discrete set of birds restricted to the cooler Upland Rainforests of northeast Queensland make them a must visit area for those seeking the specialties of the region. These forests are best found in the famed Atherton Tablelands, southwest of Cairns, home to key species like Chowchilla, Pied Monarch, Bower’s Shrike-Thrush, Fernwren, Atherton Scrubwren, Bridled and Macleay’s Honeyeaters, Tooth-billed and Golden Bowerbirds, Victoria’s Riflebird, Grey-headed Robin, and Mountain Thornbill. Aside from these obvious specialties, you can also find other standout birds (some shared with lowland forests), like Wompoo and Topknot Pigeons, Superb Fruit-Dove, Spotted Catbird, White-throated Treecreeper, Eastern Spinebill, Yellow-spotted and Graceful honeyeaters, Golden Whistler, and Rufous Fantail. During the summer, the fringes of some upland rainforests hold one of the rarest birds in the region, the elusive Blue-faced Parrotfinch. There are also some highly desirable mammals in this area, like the Platypus and Lumholtz’s Tree-Kangaroo; both are largely nocturnal, although our day trip will visit sites where they are sometimes seen in broad daylight. These Upland Rainforests are easily combined with a visit to some local Tropical Wetlands, which are usually loaded with birds, and where a contrastingly different list of birds awaits, including ducks, cormorants, darters, pelicans, and multiple species of heron. Regular species include Plumed Whistling-Duck, Pink-eared Duck, Hardhead, Green Pygmy-Goose, Great Crested Grebe, Australasian Swamphen, Rufous Night-Heron, Royal Spoonbill, and Buff-banded Rail. Along the muddy fringes waders may include Latham’s Snipe, Red-fronted and Red-kneed dotterels (in season). Wetlands like these often attract raptors, and White-tailed Sea-Eagle and Whistling Kites are often found there, while surrounding farmlands often hold grazing Sarus Cranes. The trees and scrub bordering the wetlands can also be good for songbirds, like White-cheeked and Yellow-faced honeyeaters, Scaly-breasted Lorikeet, Red-backed Fairywren, and sometimes Crested Shrike-Tit.