A bird enthusiast’s guide to Cunnamulla

Located 206km from Charleville and 750km from Brisbane, there’s a town by the name of Cunnamulla and it’s bursting with birdlife.

Home to 57 varieties and over 201 species of Australian native birds, Cunnamulla is the dictionary definition of a twitcher’s paradise.

Built on the banks of the Warrego River, the town is a natural sanctuary for both water and land birds.

What are you waiting for? Get your binoculars at the ready with this guide to all things feathered in Cunnamulla:

What birds to put on your check list

Get your bird book ready and tick off this list of rare and majestic birds in downtown Cunnamulla:

Grey Falcon

Make number one on your list the Grey Falcon because this boss of the sky breeds in the area. Classified as ‘vulnerable’, its silvery coat with black-tipped wings is met with bright yellow feet and eye-rings. Even though the Grey Falcon is often a solitary bird, you may spot it travelling in pairs or small groups.


Hall’s Babbler

Image via The Internet Bird Collection

Calling the south-western corner of Outback Queensland home, the Hall’s Babbler is a small brown bird with a white tail tip, underbelly, and head stripes. Travelling in a pack, you’ll find them hopping about on grassy plains and cosying up in shrubs. Keep your eyes low to spot em’.

Bourke’s Parrot

Image via Greg Hume.

Say hi to ‘Bourkie’, the parrot with a softer side. With a pink underbelly, the small grey parrot has splashes of light blue to complete its pastel appearance. Mostly found in pairs, these parrots call Cunnamulla’s mulga shrubs home.

Chestnut-Breasted Quail-Thrush

This little quail has a chestnut coloured belly with slightly greener shades on its head and wings, as well as white stripes from its eyes and patches of black with white spots. This secretive bird is found in shrubs that provide overhead protection from predators – so keep your eyes on the ground.

Black-Breasted Buzzard

This large, dark brown and black raptor can be seen soaring through the sky, identifiable by its white patches under each of its wings, which are easily spotted from below.

Square-Tail Kite

Related to the Black-Breasted Buzzard is the Square-Tail Kite, often found flying solo over the treetops. The large bird is recognised from its light brown and white coat, with dark brown stripes on the underside of its long wings and particularly square tail.

Painted Snipe

Image via Feathers and Photos

This small water bird is distinctive for its long bill and stalk-like legs. Its brown coat is separated by a white stripe between the head and wings, with another white stripe from its eyes – as though its wearing war paint.

Crested Bellbird

The Crested Bellbird is a tricky one to spot, as it likes to throw you off with its musical call that can be made to seem further away than it appears. Its brown and grey colours are met with a black breast and bright orange eyes – not to mention a fabulous fluffy crest that gives it extra height.

Spotted Night-Jar

Image via In The Wild

If the Spotted Night-Jar had another name it would be chameleon. This plump and fluffy bird is hard to find with its heavily spotted, striped and flecked patterns in grey and brown shades helping it to blend in with its dry surroundings of rocks, twigs, and branches.

When and where to spot them

#OutbackQueensland photo by @malgphoto

Sunrise and sunset provide optimal viewing times when the birds group together to visit watering holes, feed, and change locations.

One of the best spots to bird watch is Bowra Sanctuary, 16km outside Cunnamulla. The conservation park attracts bird enthusiasts from all over who come in search of Cunnamulla’s rare bird species.

Other hotspots for birdlife include the nearby dam of Allan Tannock Weir, Aldville Station and Charlotte Plains.

Who to see them with

Out the Back Australia runs bird watching tours that take you to public and private viewing areas to ensure you get the opportunity to witness these birds in their natural environment.

If you prefer to go it alone, drop by the Cunnamulla Visitor Centre for further information and advice on how to make the most of your bird-watching in town.

Can’t get enough of Cunnamulla and its feathery friends?

  • Check out what other fantastic birds flock to Outback Queensland
  • Discover other wildlife with this list of animals to spot in Outback Queensland
  • Turn your visit to Cunnamulla into a south-west adventure with this 48 hour guide to Charleville

7Have you been bird-watching in Cunnamulla? Tell us about your experience in the comments below