Victoria is possibly Australia’s best-kept birding secret. This smallest mainland state boasts some terrific birds and a wide variety of habitats. From the eastern temperate rainforests to the mallee of the north-west over 490 bird species have been recorded in this state, which is about the size of the United Kingdom. This compares pretty well with Western Australia, for example, which is many times the size of Victoria yet has a list of just over 500 species. Victoria is a small state by Australian standards but the distances are still vast and it would be difficult to cover all the best birding sites in one visit. Here is a brief overview of the best spots.
Chiltern National Park ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
If you’re visiting Victoria you’re most likely to enter via Melbourne, Australia’s second largest city. Those with limited time would be advised to visit Ferntree Gully National Park or Toolangi State Forest for Superb Lyrebird, Pink Robin, Pilotbird and other wet forest specialists. A visit to Werribee Treatment Plant is a must for any birder travelling to Victoria. This extensive area is one of Australia’s premier birding destinations – numerous lagoons and mudflats play host to many species of wader, wildfowl and water birds.
Red-capped Plover Charadrius ruficapillus ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
Travelling east from Melbourne to East Gippsland some of the best birding can be found around Mallacoota. The forests and heath lands here differ markedly to those in other parts of the state as they enjoy a slightly milder climate. Some of the birds to search for here include Glossy Black Cockatoo, Ground Parrot and Eastern Bristlebird. Further north, one crosses the Great Dividing Range in order to bird one of Australia’s most endangered habitats, the box-ironbark forests. Some of the better areas for birding include Rushworth State Forest, Whipstick and Kamarooka State Forests near Bendigo and the legendary Chiltern National Park. A suite of woodland birds specialises in these dry forests. Some of the more sought after species here are Turquoise Parrot, Spotted Quail-Thrush, Regent Honeyeater and Speckled Warbler amongst others.
White–winged Chough Corcorax melanorhamphos ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
South west of Melbourne, a trip along the Great Ocean Road to the Otway Ranges will be rewarded with spectacular scenery and some great birding. This area is probably the best place in Australia for the enigmatic Rufous Bristlebird. If you go all the way to Port Fairy you may be able to join a pelagic trip on which many species of albatross, petrels, prions and other seabirds can be observed – arguably the best pelagic trip in the world. Up in the north west of the state the mallee is the biggest draw with a number of spectacular or hard-to-find species restricted to this habitat. These include Malleefowl, Regent Parrot, Red-lored Whistler, Mallee Emu-Wren and Striated Grasswren.
Regent Parrot Polytelis anthopeplus ©Vaughan Ashby Birdfinders
The best parks to visit are Little Desert, Wyperfeld, Hattah-Kulkyne and Murray-Sunset national Parks.
Major Source: Fatbirder
Photo Source: Birdfinders
Map Source: Wiki Commons