Kakadu bird expert and tour guide Mike Jarvis, left, (experiencethewild.com.au) on a guided bird-watching tour around Darwin’s East Point, to kick off Kakadu Bird Week with a taste of the region’s birdlife reach of the airport, before heading into the World Heritage-listed National Park.

    Pictured right is Peter Lloyd, who travelled from Sydney, NSW with his family for Kakadu Bird Week.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Mike Jarvis points out the mound of an orange-footed scrubfowl, where the megapodes heaps organic matter to incubate its eggs using heat produced by the compost process. Orange-footed scrubfowls (Megapodius reinwardt) are commonly found in gardens and pockets of monsoon forest close to Darwin city.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Mike Jarvis (left) and AG writer Gemma Chilton (right) spying distant waterbirds over East Point, Darwin, looking out towards the Timor Sea.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Dramatic clouds lit up by the setting Sun compete for a group of bird watchers’ attention at a free guided bird watching walk around Lake Jabiru in Kakadu National Park, led by acclaimed Top End naturalist, Ian Morris. 

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Gouldian finches (red faced) are endemic to northern Australia and listed as endangered. This rare, colourful bird is a sight to behold in its natural habitat if you’re lucky enough to spot one. Unfortunately, the species’ spectacular colouring makes it a target for the illegal bird trade.

    Photo Credit: Luke Paterson / NT Bird Specialists

    Monsoon rainforest habitat at Darwin’s East Point.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Eight-year-old Sorell Diddams ticks off her bird species list with a group of bird watchers, including expert guide Ian Morris in the middle-ground to her left. 

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Ian Morris is a biologist, educator, conservationist and author of the Natural History Guide to Kakadu National Park. He has worked with the traditional owners of Arnhem Land for decades, and was involved in the formation of Kakadu as a national park and World Heritage Area in the 1970 and ’80s. 

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    The rainbow pitta (Pitta iris) is endemic to northern Australia. Look out for them in Kakadu’s pockets of monsoonal vine forest.

    Photo Credit: Luke Paterson / NT Bird Specialists

    Sunrise bird watching cruise on Yellow Water Billabong in Kakadu NP with expert and guide Luke Paterson, pictured second from left (ntbirdspecialists.com.au).

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    An egret takes flight among lotus flowers and water lillies on Yellow Water Billabong, which is a tributary of Jim Jim Creek.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Cruises for visitors run daily on stunning Yellow Water Billabong, however during Kakadu Bird Week a dedicated bird-watching cruise at sunrise with Luke Paterson was offered as part of the specialised program catered to the twitchers that flocked to the National Park for the annual event.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Azure kingfisher (Ceyx azureus) is another beauty to look out for in Kakadu. Your best chance spotting these little blue birds is near water.

    Photo Credit: Luke Paterson / NT Bird Specialists

    Magpie geese flock across the colour-washed skies above Yellow Water Billabond at sunrise.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Dedicated long-time bird-watcher Margaret Flint, left, travelled to Kakadu with her husband (right) from Fremantle, WA, for Kakadu Bird Week. 

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Luke Paterson, originally from Bendigo, Victoria (pictured here with Margaret) has built a reputation as a Top End bird expert over the past decade. He runs NT Bird Specialists with his partner and NT Parks Ranger, Sarah Burgess (not pictured).

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Guided bird-watching walk through Gungarre, an example of one of Kakadu’s pockets of monsoonal vine forest – one of six distinct habitats in the World Heritage-listed National Park.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    ‘Safari’ vehicle on Bamurru Plains, a luxury bush resort on a cattle station just west of Kakadu. ‘Bamurru’ is the local indigenous word for magpie geese, and there are ample bird-watching opportunities on this 300 sq.km property.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Bird-watching boat ride on Sampan Creek, where the Mary River flows into Van Diemen Gulf, with Bamurru Plains manager John Cooper and guide and zoologist Georgie Brown. 

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

    Kakadu bird watchers should look out for the pretty pink-capped rose crowned fruit dove (Ptilinopus regina), often difficult to spot as they feed high in the canopy.

    Photo Credit: Luke Paterson / NT Bird Specialists

    White-bellied sea eagles at the mouth of Sampan Creek, west of Kakadu National Park.

    Photo Credit: Don Fuchs / Australian Geographic

In pictures: Kakadu Bird Week 2016

By AG STAFF | December 5, 2016

In October 2016, Australian Geographic travelled to the Top End for Kakadu Bird Week, when twitchers from around Australia flock to this bird-watching paradise – home to a third of the country’s bird species – for a specialised program of bird-watching tours and activities. Read more about Kakadu Bird Week 2016 in AG#136, out now.