Discover Ballina - Ballina for Birdwatchers
Plan your Ballina Coast and Hinterland escapeā€¦

Rainbow Bee Eaters and Banksia

Located on the beautiful Far North Coast of New South Wales, Ballina is a haven for bird watchers. With its coastal setting, estuaries, wetlands and sub - tropical rainforests, the region attracts a diverse range of bird species.

Ballina is blessed with a rich ecosystem and various different habitats from wetlands, lakes and rivers to lush sub-tropical rainforests that attract both resident and migratory bird species. Grab your binoculars and cameras and get out there and explore 

Rainbow Bee Eaters and Banksia

Sea Birds

The coastline, featuring stunning beaches and rocky headlands offers fantastic opportunities to observe seabirds. Birds like the beautiful Ospreys, Brahminy Kites and the iconic White-Bellied Sea Eagle can often be spotted soaring above the ocean, carrying fish or perching on rocky outcrops. The Sooty and Pied Oystercatcher, Whimbrel, Ruddy Turnstone and Crested Tern among many others also frequent the area and can be seen around the rocky coastal areas such as Flat Rock and Shelly Beach.


Image: White Bellied Sea Eagle by Eben Mccrimmon

osprey and fish eben mccrimmon

Image: Osprey by Eben Mccrimmon

An Autumn visitor to our shores is the Australasian Gannet. The feeding display of these very large migratory birds is a spectacle to watch as they dive bomb from heights of 15 + metres! The Gannets migrate North from New Zealand every year and usually arrive roughly one month before the first Humpback Whales of the season are spotted.

Flat rock, Ballina, New South Wales, Australia.Large seabird that plunge dives mainly for squid and fish which school near the surface.Family: Sulidae

Image: Australasian Gannet by Peter Scholer


 Rainforest Birds

One of the key bird-watching destinations in the Ballina region is Victoria Park Nature Reserve. Located just a short distance from Alstonville, Victoria Park is a remnant patch of sub - tropical 'Big Scrub' rainforest and is home to rainforest bird species such as Satin and Regent Bowerbirds, Eastern and Pale Yellow Robins, Brown Cuckoo Doves, the gorgeous Wompoo Fruit Dove and if you're lucky you may hear the eery wailing call of the Green Catbird. Noisy Pittas visit this site in the Winter and you can often spot them hopping about on the forest floor or find empty snail shells from their previous meals.  The whistling call of the Whipbird is a common sound in Victoria Park and other surrounding rainforest patches as well as in the more rainforesty sections of beach such as Broken Head.

Far North Coast, NSW.Family: Pittidae 

Image: Noisy Pitta by Peter Scholer

Birds of the Wetlands and Estuaries

The wetlands and mangroved areas around Ballina's Richmond River, creeks and estuaries create homes for the beautiful Spoonbills, Azure Kingfishers, Eastern Curlews and the beautiful White Faced Heron, among many others.

You can often spot Cormorants nesting in the Melaleuca trees surrounding Lake Ainsworth in Lennox Head as well as friendly Pacific Black Ducks who often nibble on the reeds growing along the shallow edges.

There's also our beautiful local Pelicans who can be seen strutting along the ocean and river beaches especially near the Boat Channel in Lennox Head.

pelican emma

Image: Pelican by Emma Williams

Birds of the Coastal Heath, Dunes and Scrub

Often alongside the loud chatter of the Wattle Bird, if you listen carefully near the dunes in the Summer you will hear the high pitched 'Prrrr prrr prrr" of the Rainbow Bee Eater. These little beauties build their burrows in the sand dunes and if you sit quietly and patiently, you can spot them flying in and out of these nests as well as performing burrow maintainance as observed in the photo below.

rainbow bee eater burron maintainance

Image: Rainbow Bee Eater by Emma Williams

Don't forget about the very busy Bush Turkey who can often be spotted along Ballina's coastal cycleway especially near Flat Rock tent park, the Superb, Variagated and Red Backed Fairy Wrens who you can catch flitting about in the vegetation behind the dunes and especially in the Banksia Coastal Reserve in Lennox Head as well as the nectar lovers such as the Blue-faced Honeyeaters, Rainbow Lorrikeets, Noisy Miners and New Holland and White-Cheeked Honeyeaters.

Often heard before they are seen are the spectacular Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos who love to munch on the seeds of the Coastal Banksia. Their Jurassic - like call can be heard as they fly from tree to tree.

black cockatoos and banksias 

Image: Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo by Emma Williams

black cockatoo and banksia emma

Image: Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo by Emma Williams


Pick up a 'Bird Watching in and around Ballina' guide at the Visitor Information Centre for detailed information on bird species that can be spotted in different reserves and beaches in and around Ballina. or Download HERE

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