Major Mitchell's Cockatoo - Australian Native Bird
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo – Australian Native Bird

Australia has over 800 species of birds and my goal is to photograph as many as I can. I have photographed 342 different Australian Bird Species over the last 6 years taking thousands of beautiful bird images. Birds photographed include many of Australia’s popular bird species such as Australian Parrots, Birds of Prey, Fairy-wrens, Kookaburras and more. You can view my entire gallery of bird photos here. If you are interested in how I photograph birds be sure to visit my Techniques & Education page.

This post will showcase 20 Iconic Australian native birds with high quality photographs. I have a passion for birds and photography and hope you enjoy the photos.

1. Laughing Kookaburra – Australian Kingfisher

The Kookaburra is known for its incredible laughing call and is one of Australia’s most famous birds. It can often be heard calling in the morning and if there are a few birds it becomes quite the racket. Once you hear them it’s easy to see how they got their name 🙂

Laughing Kookaburra - Australian Native Bird Photo
Laughing Kookaburra – Australian Native Bird Photo – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

2. Galah – Australian Parrot

The Galah or Pink & Grey Cockatoo is one of the most popular Australian parrots and is a familiar sight all around Australia. This beautiful Cockatoo is often in large flocks and can be seen feeding on the ground. Their colour really is striking and they make for good photo subjects.

Galah - Australian Native Bird Photo
Galah – Australian Native Bird Photo – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

3. Rainbow Lorikeet – Australian Parrot

One of Australia’s most common birds is the extra colourful Rainbow Lorikeet. They feed in very large flocks and make a lot of noise when feeding on flowering trees and shrubs. Their range of colour is something else and a real joy to photograph.

Rainbow Lorikeet - Canon 5DMk4 & Canon 400 5.6L
Rainbow Lorikeet – Canon 5D MK IV & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

4. Regent Bowerbird – Australian Bowerbird

Regent Bowerbird - Australian Native Bird
Regent Bowerbird – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

Bowerbirds are the most incredible birds with the males going to extraordinary lengths to impress the females. The males build elaborate bowers where they often display certain coloured objects for the females to inspect. The Regent Bowerbird is a sight to behold and a bird that I had wanted to photograph as soon as I started photographing Birds. I was very fortunate to photograph them a few years back and will remember the experience forever.

5. Red-capped Robin – Australian Robin

The Australian Robins are among my favourite birds to photograph, they can often be seen perching on a branch or rock waiting for movement before dropping down to catch their snack. Surprisingly there are 21 different species in the Australian Robin family and I still have 12 of them to photograph!!!!. Some of the Robins have the most incredible colours and have to be seen to be believed. One of the smaller Robins is the Red-capped Robin below. They are more of an inland species in the East and you would need to travel to see them.

Red-capped Robin - Australian Native Bird
Red-capped Robin – Australian Native Bird – Canon 7D & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

6. Splendid Fairy-wren – Australian Fairy-wren

Surely the most admired and cute Australian birds are the Fairy-wrens, even the name is cute. These little birds are an absolute joy to watch as they hop around in their family group singing to each other. The males breeding plumage is usually stunning and it is not unusual to see him with 5 to 6 females. There are 9 different Fairy-wrens around Australia and they are usually fairly common in the right habitat.

Splendid Fairy-wren - Australian Native Bird
Splendid Fairy-wren – Australian Native Bird – Canon 7D & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

7. Australian Magpie

The Magpie probably wins the Australian birds song competition with it’s beautiful melodies. The Magpies song can be heard right around Australia and it was the first bird I photographed so I have a soft spot for them.

Australian Magpie - Australian Native Bird
Australian Magpie – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

8. Chestnut Teal – Australian Duck

Australia has several duck species and many of them are just beautiful. The Chestnut Teal is common in the eastern cities and can be seen at most duck ponds. The male has the striking green iridescent head that shines in the right light.

Chestnut Teal - Australian Native Bird
Chestnut Teal – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK IV & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

9. Wedge-tailed Eagle – Australian Bird of Prey

Australia has 24 Birds of Prey including Falcons, Kites, Eagles, Harriers, Hawks, Baza and Buzzard. The Wedge-tailed Eagle is the largest raptor in Australia and is an impressive sight to see. They are often seen feeding on roadkill of Emus and Kangaroos and if you are lucky you can grab a photo before they fly off.

Wedge-tailed Eagle - Australian Bird of Prey
Wedge-tailed Eagle – Australian Bird of Prey – Canon 5D MK IV & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

10. Australian Pelican

When I grew up in New Zealand the bird that I most wanted to see was the Pelican. There was something so interesting about it with its massive bill and ability to swallow fish whole. They are a common site around the country and are sometimes given the nickname of a long-nosed Albatross as they float around in the sky.

Australian Pelican - Australian Native Bird
Australian Pelican – Australian Native Bird – Canon 7D & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

11. Red-necked Avocet – Australian Shorebird

Surely one of the most elegant and beautiful birds in Australia is the Red-necked Avocet. I have been in awe of this species since my first encounter many years ago. They make excellent photography subjects and I have spent many hours laying in the water watching them.

Red-necked Avocet - Australian Native Bird
Red-necked Avocet – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

12. Sulphur Crested Cockatoo – Australian Parrot

Surely Australia’s most iconic species is the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, they are just so amazing with their large famous crest. I couldn’t believe just how big this species is and just how much noise they make. For how common they are I am still to get photographs I am happy with.

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo - Australian Native Bird
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo – Australian Native Bird – Canon 7D & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

13. Willie Wagtail

Little Willie, possibly one of the most regular sights in Australia is Willie wagging his tail from left to right. They do literally wag their tail from side to side. They hardly sit still making them a fun bird to photograph and watch.

Willie Wagtail - Australian Native Bird
Willie Wagtail – Australian Native Bird – Canon 7D & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

14. Australian White Ibis or Bin Turkey

The infamous White Ibis or Bin Turkey as it is commonly referred to. This native waterbird has adapted so well to human urbanisation it replaces seagulls for scavenger rights in many of Australia’s cities and garbage tips. They can often be seen climbing into bins hence the nickname. They are arguably one of the ugliest birds in Australia. But due to this I still like them and always take an opportunity to photograph them in their natural habitat.

Australian White Ibis / Bin Turkey - Australian Native Bird
Australian White Ibis / Bin Turkey – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

15. Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo – Australian Parrot

The Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo was a bird I desperately wanted to photograph. So much so it was one of the main reasons I drove 10 hours west of Brisbane with a few mates to Bowra Wildlife Sanctuary. I was so happy when I finally got some shots of the bird showing its famous crest. Australia really has some of the most amazing birds.

Major Mitchell's Cockatoo - Australian Native Bird
Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK IV & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

16. Emu

Who doesnt love an Emu, it is on Australia’s coat of arms after all, unfortunately this doesnt stop it being farmed and placed into hot pies 🙁 They are common out west and I always enjoy seeing them running in a paddock. They really are large birds and I really look forward to photographing them more in the future.

Emu - Australian Native Bird
Emu – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

17. Superb Fairy-wren – Australian Fairy-wren

Whilst not as colourful as the Splendid the Superb stands out on his own and is just as cute. The Superb is common along the east coast of Australia and often referred to as the Blue Wren. If you were to visit parks or gardens in Sydney, Melbourne or Brisbane it is likely you will see this bird.

Superb Fairy-wren - Australian Native Bird
Superb Fairy-wren – Australian Native Bird – Canon 7D & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

18. Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny Frogmouths are so cool and they can be hard to see as they blend in with tree branches and often sit very still. They are actually a nocturnal species feeding at night. They are often called owls which is incorrect. They are a different species and should be called Frogmouths.

Tawny Frogmouth - Australian Native Bird
Tawny Frogmouth – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

19. Australian King Parrot – Australian Parrot

One of Austrlia’s friendliest parrot is the Australian King Parrot. These birds are very trusting of humans and are often seen taking sunflower seeds from the hands of humans. The males are the bright red whilst the females are green.

Australian King Parrot - Australian Native Bird
Australian King Parrot – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II + Canon EF 1.4X III Extender

20. Masked Lapwing – Australian Shorebird

Possibly Australia’s most hated bird is the Masked Lapwing. These birds have the habit of laying their eggs in suburban yards and they defend the nest with vigour. Unfortunately this often means the birds attack children and adults and they have a bad reputation. The photo below is of the Northern Subspecies which have much larger wattles.

Masked Lapwing - Australian Native Bird
Masked Lapwing – Australian Native Bird – Canon 5D MK III & Canon EF 400mm f/5.6L

Do you have a favourite Australian Bird? what have I missed? Please feel free to comment below.

Bird Photography Techniques Used To Capture Beautiful Bird Images

I always try and photograph birds when the light is good. Feel free to read my article on the importance of light in creating beautiful bird images. I am also always looking to create engaging bird images by capturing good eye contact. Be sure to read my article containing tips on head angle and eye contact for great bird images. I also always photograph birds in RAW, read my article to see why.

Ever wonder how I get nice clean, smooth backgrounds in my photos? I explain 4 steps to a smooth background here.

Photographic Gear Used to Capture Stunning Bird Photos

All links below are affiliate links to Amazon, if you use these links to purchase items on Amazon it goes towards supporting me and this site. Thank you.

Amazon Australia affiliate links

Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark IV
Extender: Canon EF 1.4X III Telephoto Extender
Camera Bag:Think Tank Photo Airport Commuter Backpack

Amazon USA affiliate links

 

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