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Tropical Wetlands birding expedition with Matt Cornish

The smallest of the 10 species of Bowerbirds in Australia – the Golden Bowerbird – builds the largest structures of all the Bowerbirds to attract their female counterparts. “We call the structures bowers,” FNQ Nature Tours guide Matt Cornish explains. “The Golden Bowerbird formations are intricate assortments of sticks and plants and can rise over 1.6 metres in height.”

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Golden Bowerbird. Image: FNQ Nature Tours

Golden Bowerbirds are endemic to the Wet Tropics, so guests keen to see the bright yellow-gold treasures may be in luck. “We know where they reside, so we can take guests into the most suitable habitat in search for them,” Matt explains. “But sightings depend on a number of factors, including the weather, season and whether or not it’s breeding time.”

A huge array of birds can be found in the Tropical Wetlands throughout the whole year, with over 250 species recorded throughout. “We often see three species of Bowerbirds – the Tooth-billed Bowerbird, Great Bowerbird and Golden Bowerbird; up to seven of the 10 Kingfisher species that exist in Australia; and all sorts of other birds including Red-kneed Dotterels, White-browed Crakes, Black Bitterns, Black-necked Storks, Brolgas, Sarus Cranes, and even great birds of prey, such as White-bellied Sea Eagles,” Matt explains. “It’s incredible.”

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The Buff-breasted Paradise Kingfisher - one of seven kingfishers found in the Tropical Wetlands. Image: FNQ Nature Tours

The full-day tour spans two key locations, with the first half of the day spent exploring the Forever Wild Shared Earth Reserve and the second half of the day focused on the high-altitude rainforest (that can be either the Atherton Tablelands or the Julatten area). “The Shared Earth Reserve is a highlight on tour as the location is exclusive to FNQ Nature Tours guests, and also because of the huge diversity of microhabitats there,” Matt says. “We visit dry savanna, wetlands, swamps, creeks, grass beds – and all these different habitats have their own bird species to appreciate and admire.”

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Tropical Wetlands Birdwatching

FNQ Nature Tours has exclusive access to the Shared Earth Reserve, encompassing 5000 acres of lagoons, trails, bird hides and dirt roads containing an abundance of bird watching opportunities.

With more than 450 Avian Species recorded across this area and surrounds (more than half of Australia's total bird count), including 12 Endemics, it’s Australia’s twitching mecca!

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