Urban birdwatching guide to Perth

By Ellen Rykers 11 October 2017
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From the ephemeral lakes to the woodlands and eastern hills, Perth abounds with birds – some 190 species in total.

We spoke to expert birders Ken Glasson, Keith Wilcox, John Baas and Mike Bamford from Birdlife WA for some insider tips for finding Perth’s feathered residents. “Most of these birds can be viewed within the metro area,” our experts explained, “But some species do warrant short trips outside the city.”

Bird watchers are likely to spot a few birds that are unique to WA, such as the iconic but endangered Carnaby’s black-cockatoo. But it’s in the tiny feather-sphere category that Perth really excels: “Perth has a remarkable collection of fairy-wrens,” Ken says. “There are five species present, including the widespread splendid blue wren and the southwest endemic red-winged fairy-wren in the hills. Perth is the only major urban area where you can see the white-winged fairy-wren.”

The lakes and Swan River estuary system are perfect for meeting waterbirds and migratory waders – but plan ahead, according to our insiders. “Many lakes are ephemeral and dry but late summer, so make enquiries before planning a trip. Also, many species are migratory and have limited seasons in the WA sun,” they explain. Our experts recommend Herdsman Lake, a wetland just 7km from the CBD where over 100 species have been recorded.

For bush birds, check out Ellis Brook Valley, where a whopping 110 bird species have been spotted. “There are many good walks here, but the ones from the last car park before the falls are probably the best,” our birders advise.

For the best chance of sighting the 20 beauties in this gallery, Ken suggests checking out Wandoo Woodlands (accessed off Collins Road), Star Swamp and Rottnest Island, in addition to Herdsman Lake and Ellis Brook mentioned above.

Grab your binoculars and get ready for an urban birding adventure – west coast style.

Related: Our urban birdwatching guides to every Australian capital city