The Quilpie Shire is fortunate to be home to an abundance of birdlife! Here a 10 interesting birds you should definitely keep your eye out for!
1.Bush Stone Curlew
Now we thought we might start with a challenge and put the Stone Curlew in the top spot. Now he is a ground-dwelling nocturnal bird so all you night owls (yes bird pun was intended….obviously) should keep an eye out! He is also very rare so double points if you do spot him!
Now we put the Curlew on the list because in fact the name Quilpie is derived from the Aboriginal word Quilpeta which means ‘Bush Stone Curlew’.
They are very hard to spot as the colour of their feathers allows them to camouflage in the bushland. However if you can’t see them you may hear their very distinctive long wailing call which, to be quite honest can be most terrifying when trying to sleep in your tent at night!
Fast fact about the Bush Stone Curlew: They usually live in pairs!
If we are writing a list of birds to see then we couldn’t go past the Brolga, especially because Quilpie’s main street is in fact ‘Brolga Street’.
These large silver/grey birds are actually a member of the crane family and are also known as the Australian Crane. Males grow to around 105-134cm’s tall and females 77-113cm.
If you are lucky enough to witness the elaborate dance performed by Brolga’s you will be rewarded with a spectacular show that involves leaping, wing flapping and loud trumpeting.
Make sure you come and see the Visitor Information Centre’s resident Brolga’s Bob and Madge (no we do not run a Brolga sanctuary…..Bob and Madge are steel).
Fast fact about the Brolga: The Brolga’s dance was sometimes imitated by Aborigines in ceremonies.
Any bird list for Outback Queensland would not be complete without the inclusion of the second half of the Coat of Arms now would it?!
The Emu (our friend up there is called Engelbert), is a large flightless bird that runs with a bouncy swaying motion….and let me tell you when you are 8 years old and they are chasing you on your 80cc motorbike because you tried to pat their babies, they seem to run as fast as Usain Bolt.
You can find Emu’s by themselves, in family groups or in large flocks. And get this ladies….the males sit on the eggs and then rear the chicks! Oh to be an Emu…..
Fast fact about the Emu: They are around 150-190cm tall.
Ah the graceful Pelican. Now you will find these guys peacefully drifting along the calm waters in most of the watercourses around the Shire…..usually gobbling up the fish you are trying to catch for dinner!
They like to fly in lines or ‘V’s and soar in large circles. And for a fairly large bird they can get themselves extremely high in the air.
They make a distinct grunting noise so next time your down fishing and you hear some grunting, chances are it’s a pelican trying to steal your bait and not a wild boar!
Fast fact about the Pelican: When a fella is courting a lady his bill and facial skin will turn red.
5. Wedge-tailed Eagle
Yet another bird a street is named after in Quilpie (we should have mentioned earlier that most of the streets in Quilpie are named after birds). The road leading into the Quilpie Golf Club is aptly called Eagle Drive. Clearly someone out here likes a good pun!
The Quilpie Shire is home to several species of Eagles including the majestic Wedge Tail Eagle. The Wedgy as we like to call him is a beautiful dark brown/black eagle with fully feathered legs and a distinctive wedge shaped tail in flight.
The Wedge Tailed Eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey, weighing approximately 4 kg and with a huge wingspan of up to 2.8 metres and can soar to a height of 2,000 metres.
You’ll often see the old Wedgy sitting on top a piece of road kill in the middle of the road. If we dare make another bird pun, he does like to play a game of chicken with traffic at times so be sure to slow down!
Fast fact about the Wedge-tail eagle: The Wedge-Tailed Eagle’s nest is a large structure of dead sticks and can be up to 3 metres deep and two metres wide.
Photo: Peter Flegg
Now I’m sure even some of you have had some of these little guys as pets at one time or another (I myself had 3 when we were kids called Tom, Dick and Harry……pretty sure there were at least 2 Tom’s and 3 Harry’s throughout the time we had them)!
Unlike Tom, Dick and Harry though wild budgies like to travel in densely packed, fast flying flocks….not in 3’s! They feed entirely on seeds of grasses and herbaceous plants which they find on or near the ground and their travel patterns of these flocks are dictated by the availability of water and grass seed.
Fast fact about the Budgerigar: Budgies can register 150 images per second and humans can only register 16.
7. Mulga Parrot
The Mulga Parrot. Now he just might be one of the prettiest little fellas you will see out here!
Also known as the varied parrot or the Many-coloured parrot….(seems the official namer of birds had a half day on that last one)!
They travel in pairs or in family parties and like to feed on the ground near trees and in the foliage of saltbush, eucalyptus, and as the name would suggest, the Mulga tree.
Fast fact about the Mulga Parrot: The female is much duller in colour than the male…..I’m willing to bet the little guy playing in the water above is a male!
Photo: Aaron Kent
8. Black Kite
The wing span of the Black Kite (also known as the Fork-tailed Kite or Kite-Hawk) can span to 1.2m. Now that’s not quite as big as the Wedgie but impressive none the less!
This Kite likes to frequent open plains, timbered watercourses, cattle yards, road kill and the odd rubbish dump.
Fast fact about Black Kite: They like to build their nests in trees on watercourses and the nests may be lined with wool.
Photo: Aaron Kent
So I bet you just had to look twice to make sure you weren’t seeing things, but yes….peacocks!
Now I’m not saying that you are going to find a peacock along the side of the road or around one of the waterholes but there is one place in the Quilpie Shire that you will find peacocks and that is at Moble Homestead.
When you are staying out at Moble make sure you explore the garden’s and keep an eye out for the peacocks that call Kylie’s beautiful garden home! Maybe even pick up a souvenir peacock feather at the last place you’d ever think you’d see a peacock….Outback Queensland.
Fast fact about Peacocks: The tail feathers when spread out is more than 60 percent of their total body length.
Photo: Richard Waugh
10. Red-tailed Black Cockatoo
We’ve included this guy because well he is supposed to mean rain and if you are sitting in the Quilpie Shire today the sky is dark and it looks promising! And boy do we need the rain.
Now we aren’t saying that the Black cockatoo is a definite sign of rain, lord knows they’ve lied to us before but it’s nice to believe!
If you’ve heard the cry of the black cockatoo than you know that the only way to describe it would be the sound of a rusty windmill on a windy day! These noisy birds like to travel in flocks and let me tell you…..you know when their coming!
Fast fact about the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo: They grow to around 50-64cm’s
Now I bet we’ve got you going out to buy binoculars and the best bird book money can buy now! While you do that we are going to keep an eye out for those black cockatoo’s and the rain.
Start planning your birdwatching trip today!