Australian Birdwatching

We are host to large number of bird and butterfly species right here on site at Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Many of these you will see eye to eye during meals at Osprey’s Restaurant which looks into the treetops and out over the Coral Sea.

Please help us by adding your sightings to this list. At reception we have a book on birds if you need help in identifying a species. If you are interested in some birdwatching a little further afield just ask our naturalist staff who will be only to pleased to arrange a tour to suit your needs.

22 - Escorted birdwatching for guests at Thala Beach Nature Reserve

Aside from its reputation for bird sightings Thala Beach Nature Reserve has gained a certain notoriety for hosting butterflies.

butterfly upside down

A butterfly book has been established and records sightings of the many butterflies to be seen at Thala. Identification does take a certain amount of dedication as they dip and swoop, fluttering irrationally amongst the vegetation, ranging from the size of a sun bird to a thumb nail. In a world where they become increasingly less plentiful, it is a wondrous sight.

For the novice enthusiast it may be more rewarding to relax on one of the timber benches to be found on the pathways that wind through the gardens at Thala and watch the kaleidoscope of colours flit past. For the more dedicated however these are some of the sightings you may be looking for; Blue Argus, Red Lacewing, Apollo Jewel, White Nymph, Union Jack, Orange Aeroplane and of course the Big Greasy.

Amongst the most spectacular to be sighted measuring 140mm is the Cairns Birdwing, striking with it’s emerald green and black wings. If you happen to see a glint of iridescent blue dancing through the forest you are almost certainly being mesmerised by the Ulysses butterfly who will measure some 120 mm. These are just some of the small wonders that are a must at Thala Beach Nature Reserve.

Thala’s Australia Bird Sightings List

This is a new list of birds sighted within our grounds and along the beachfronts. It has been compiled by both staff and guests. The order of species follows the official Australian list (Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union) adopted by all Australian bird-watching societies. Some species such as Swifts and Terns may be seasonal and others are rare, one off visitors.

Please help us by adding your sightings to this list. We have a book on birds at Reception if you need help in identifying a species. Due to the wide range of habitats here at Thala, there will almost certainly be a large number of birds to add to this list.

Birds are listed by their common name and corresponding Simpson and Day Page Number.

Download the latest Thala Bird Species list

Bush stone curlew
Bush stone curlew

Orange-footed Scrub Fowl 20
Australian Brush-turkey 20
Brown Quail 20
Red Backed Button-quail 24
Australian Pelican 48
Brown Booby 50
Great Frigatebird 52
Lesser Frigatebird 52
Darter 54
Pied Cormorant 54
Great Cormorant 54
Magpie Goose 58
Wandering Whistling-Duck 60
Pacific Black Duck 62
Hard Head 64
Buff-banded Rail 68
Red-necked Crake 70
White-browed Crake 70
Bush Hen 72
Purple Swamphen 72
Pied Heron 74
White-faced Heron 74
Cattle Egret 76
Great Egret 76
Eastern Reef Egret 76
Striated (Mangrove) Heron 78
Nankeen (Rufous Night) Heron 78 Fairy wren
Black Bittern 78
Australian White Ibis 80
Straw-necked Ibis 80
Royal Spoonbill 80
Black-necked Stork 80
Australian Bustard 82
Eastern Curlew 84
Whimbrel 84
Wandering Tattler 86
Grey-tailed Tattler 86
Common Sandpiper 86
Common Greenshank 86
Latham’s (Japanese) Snipe 88
Bush Stone curlew 96
Beach Stone curlew 96
Comb-crested Jacana 96
Pied Oystercatcher 96
Sooty Oystercatcher 96
Masked Lapwing 98
Pacific Golden Plover 98
Silver Gull 106
Caspian Tern 108
Gull-billed Tern 108
Common Tern 110
Sooty Tern 112
Little Tern 112
Crested Tern 114
Lesser Crested Tern 114
Common Noddy 114
Pacific Baza 116
Black-shouldered Kite 116
Osprey 116
Square-tailed Kite 118
Black Kite 118
Whistling Kite 118
Brahminy Kite 118
White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Our Mascot) 120
Wedge-tailed Eagle 120
Brown Goshawk 122
Collared Sparrowhawk 122
Grey Goshawk 122
Peregrine Falcon 124
Australian Hobby 126
Nankeen (Australian) Kestrel 126
Superb Fruit Dove 128
Rose-crowned Fruit Dove 128
Wompoo Fruit Dove 128
Pied (Torresian) Imperial-Pigeon 128
Topknot Pigeon 128
White Headed Pigeon 130
Spotted Turtle Dove 130
Brown Cuckoo-Dove 130
Peaceful Dove 132
Diamond Dove 132
Bar-shouldered Dove 132
Emerald Dove 132
Red-tailed Black-Cockatoo 136
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo 138
Rainbow Lorikeet 140
Scaly-breasted Lorikeet 140
Little Lorikeet 140
Double-eyed Fig Parrot 140
Oriental Cuckoo 152
Brush Cuckoo 152
Fan tailed Cuckoo 152
Little Bronze Cuckoo 154
Common Koel 154
Channel billed Cuckoo 154
Pheasant Coucal 154
Southern Boobook 156
Barn Owl 158
Papuan Frogmouth 160
Large-tailed Nightjar 160
White-rumped Swiftlet 162
White-throated Needletail 162
Fork-tailed Swift 162
Azure Kingfisher 164
Little Kingfisher 164
Laughing Kookaburra 164
Blue-winged Kookaburra 164
Forest Kingfisher 166
Sacred Kingfisher 166
Buff breasted Paradise-Kingfisher 166
Rainbow Bee-eater 164
Dollarbird 164
Noisy Pitta 168
Varied Sitella 170
Lovely Fairy-wren 174
Red Backed Fairy-wren 176
Fairy Gerygone 188
Large-billed Gerygone 188
Helmeted Friarbird 196
Noisy Friarbird 196
Little Friarbird 196
Blue-faced Honeyeater 198
Macleay’s Honeyeater 198
Lewin’s Honeyeater 200
Yellow-spotted Honeyeater 200
Graceful Honeyeater 200
Bridled Honeyeater 200
Varied Honeyeater 202
Yellow Honeyeater 202
White-throated Honeyeater 206
Brown Honeyeater 208
Brown-backed Honeyeater 210
Dusky Honeyeater 212
Scarlet Honeyeater 212
Banded Honeyeater 212
Little Shrike-thrush 230
Golden Whistler 232
Grey Whistler 234
Rufous Whistler 234
Northern Fantail 236
Grey Fantail 236
Rufous Fantail 236
Willie Wagtail 236
Leaden Flycatcher 238
Satin Flycatcher 238
Shining Flycatcher 238
Yellow-breasted Boatbill 240
Black faced-Monarch 240
Spectacled Monarch 240
Pied Monarch 242
White-eared Monarch 242
Magpie Lark 242
Spangled Drongo 242
Yellow Oriole 244
Olive backed Oriole 244
Australasian Figbird 244
Victoria’s Riflebird 246
Green Catbird 246
Black Faced Cuckoo-shrike 250
Barred Cuckoo-shrike 250
White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike 250
Cicadarbird 250
Varied Triller 250
White-breasted Woodswallow 252
Black Butcherbird 254
Pied Currawong 256
Torresian Crow 258
Welcome Swallow 262
Tree Martin 262
Fairy Martin 262
Australian (Richard’s) Pipit 264
Australian (Clamorous) Reed-Warbler 268
Golden headed Cisticola 268
Tawny Grassbird 268
House Sparrow 270
Red-browed Finch (Firetail) 274
Nutmeg Mannikin 276
Chestnut breasted Mannikin 276
Olive backed Sunbird 278
Misletoebird 278
Silvereye (Grey-backed Silvereye) 278
Bassian (Ground) Thrush 280
Metallic Starling 280
Common Myna 280

Total: 190

(Total Species in Australia approximately 850)

Thala’s Australian Butterfly Sightings List

We’ve sighted close to 200 butterflies in the forest of Thala Beach Nature Reserve. Some of them are listed below, or download the latest Butterfly Species listRed lace wing butterfly

Australian Birdwing
Australian Rustic
Big Greasy
Black & White Flat
Blue Argus
Blue Tiger
Blue Triangle
Brown Soldier
Cedar Bush Brown
Common Aeroplane
Common Albatross
Common Eggfly
Common Grass Yellow
Common Jezabel
Common Oakblue
Dingy Bush Brown
Evening Brown
Green Triangle
Green Spotted Triangle
Lemon Migrant
Northern Jezabel
Orange Aeroplane
Orange Bush Brown
Orange Ringlet
Orchard Butterfly
Small Green-banded Blue
Tailed Emperor
Union Jack
Ulysses Butterfly
White Nymph