Birding Tour Australia: Northern Territory – Alice Springs Birding
Australia: Northern Territory – Alice Springs Birding
October 2023/September 2024
This short tour around Alice Springs in the south of the Northern Territory of Australia also takes in the magnificent Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). It is an ideal tour to combine with our other Australian tours, and it fits in perfectly between our Western Australia: Southwest Specialties and Northern Territory: Top End Birding tours. Combining all three of these short tours will give you an excellent list of the birds of north, central, and western Australia, complete with a multitude of highly sought-after endemic birds.
The striking Spinifex Pigeon is one of our targets on this trip.
As with all our other tours this is a small-group tour. The majority of our tour will be based in Alice Springs, though we will also venture further afield to base ourselves near Uluru so we are well placed to enjoy this important feature. We will have a wide range of target birds while here, and will focus on the region’s specials such as Spinifex Pigeon, Spinifexbird, Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, Dusky Grasswren, Rufous Grasswren, Banded Whiteface, Grey Honeyeater, Western Bowerbird, Black-breasted Buzzard, Diamond Dove, Grey-headed Honeyeater, Black Honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater, Slaty-backed Thornbill, White-backed Swallow, Crested Bellbird, Black-eared Cuckoo, Bourke’s Parrot, Mulga Parrot, Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Spotted Harrier, Little Eagle, Wedge-tailed Eagle, Purple-backed Fairywren, Splendid Fairywren, White-winged Fairywren, Red-browed Pardalote, and Painted Finch.
Splendid Fairywren is one of many spectacular species found around Alice Springs.
For those wishing to explore Australia further, in addition to the two tours mentioned above, this tour can also be combined with our two other Australian tours: Tasmania – Endemics and the Orange-bellied Parrot and Eastern Australia: from the Outback to the Wet Tropics. Not sure where to go birding in Australia? Take a look at our series of blog posts here that will give you some ideas!
Itinerary (6 days/5 nights)
Day 1. Arrival in Alice Springs
Arrival in Alice Springs. We will meet at our hotel in the evening for a welcome meal, ready to start birding the following morning. For those arriving early, there are plenty of birds in the river floodplain and botanic gardens near our hotel.
Overnight: Alice Springs
Days 2 – 3. Birding Alice Springs environs
Two full days birding the Alice Springs area. There are several sites within close proximity to Alice Springs (even inside the city limits) and we will have morning and afternoon sessions at a range of these sites, such as the old telegraph station, the botanic gardens, the desert park, and the local back roads. Some of the species we could find here include Spinifex Pigeon, Western Bowerbird, Grey Honeyeater, Pied Honeyeater, Black Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Painted Finch, Black-breasted Buzzard, Little Eagle, Galah, Australian Ringneck, Diamond Dove, Black-eared Cuckoo, Crimson Chat, Splendid Fairywren, Mistletoebird, Rainbow Bee-eater, Zebra Finch, Grey-crowned Babbler, White-browed Babbler, Torresian Crow, Little Crow, Australian Boobook, and Red-browed Pardalote.
Hooded Robin is a delightful bird, and we should find this as we bird our way around Alice Springs.
We will also venture out from the city into the ‘desert’ areas too, where we will look for some different and highly sought-after species such as Rufous-crowned Emu-wren, Spinifexbird, Dusky Grasswren, Banded Whiteface, Bourke’s Parrot, Crested Bellbird, Slaty-backed Thornbill, Red-browed Pardalote, and White-browed Treecreeper.
Red-browed Pardalotes are gorgeous, tiny birds.
Widespread Australian species we may find here include Southern Whiteface, Spotted Harrier, White-winged Fairywren, Purple-backed Fairywren, Hooded Robin, Inland Thornbill, White-fronted Honeyeater, Hooded Robin, Magpie-lark, White-backed Swallow, and Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.
Overnight: Alice Springs
A spectacular male Purple-backed Fairywren displays to a rather drab female.
Day 4. Alice Springs to Erldunda
We will have a final morning birding in the Alice Springs area looking for any of the birds mentioned above, before we drive south to Erldunda, where we will spend the night. We should have time for some birding around our accommodation in the late afternoon, when the temperature has dropped, and we will look for some of the birds mentioned for day 5 below.
Day 5. Erldunda and Uluru (Ayers Rock)
We will spend the morning birding around Erldunda and making our way to the famous Uluru (Ayers Rock), which we will reach in the mid-afternoon. Some of the birds we will be on the lookout for in the morning include Cinnamon Quail-thrush, Chiming Wedgebill, Budgerigar, Crimson Chat, Orange Chat, Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, and maybe the nomadic Inland Dotterel.
In a country blessed with a myriad of stunning parrots, Major Mitchell’s (Pink) Cockatoo takes some beating!
We will have some time taking in the sights of Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the afternoon and we will keep our eyes peeled for Rufous Grasswren, a recent (2020) split from Striated Grasswren. The birds here are touted as a further split, Sandhill Grasswren.
Day 6. Travel Uluru (Ayers Rock) to Alice Springs
After spending the early morning in the Uluru area looking for the species mentioned above, we will travel back to Alice Springs where the tour ends in the mid-afternoon.
Overnight: Not included
Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides and other factors.Download Itinerary