15 Most Common Backyard Birds in Australia

Australia is home to an astounding diversity of birdlife, with 45% of these found nowhere else. With the diversity of species, comes an amazing diversity of size, shape, and plumage color.

If you’re curious to find out more about the birds that are visiting your backyard, I’ve compiled a list of some of the birds in Australia that you’re most likely to spot in your yard.

Because of the sheer number of bird species in Australia this list will hardly do it justice, so I’ve focused on picking not necessarily the most representative specimens, but those I find the most fascinating.

Superb Fairywren

Although the brilliant colors of its plumage make the Superb fairywren easily distinguished, you may still have trouble spotting it because of its minuscule size – it’s only five and a half inches long and weighs only around 0.28–0.46 oz.

While they enjoy the eucalypt woodlands of south-eastern Australia, they’ve adapted wonderfully to urban areas so that it can be spotted in gardens and parks as well.

If your backyard or garden has a dense understory, the chances of you spotting a Superb fairywren is much higher.

The male of the species sports a light blue cap, cheeks and ear tufts as well as a dark blue with black throat and black eye stripe. The wings are brown, while the breast and belly are white.

Insects are the primary food source of these birds, which they forage for on the ground and in the canopy of low-growing trees and shrubs.


Another Australian bird species that I find fascinating and which is a common sight in backyards are the Galahs.

Unlike the fairywren, these are easier to spot due to their larger size (they reach a size of 35 cm or 13.7 inches) and color. The plumage is a bright pink and gray, which will certainly grab your attention.

Males and females are identical, except for the eyes – male Galahs have dark brown or black eyes, while females have pink or red eyes.

These friendly and playful parrots feed on seeds and grains they find on the ground. They have a colorful personality and can mimic a range of sounds and voices, which is why they’re popular pets as well.

Australian Magpie

With a mostly black plumage with white streaks, the Australian Magpie is another common visitor, especially to suburban backyards and gardens.

They’re friendly and sociable, they even approach people to ask for food. However, during the breeding season, they become aggressive, so it’s best to keep your distance.

While the colors and plumage of the magpie may not be attractive features, their intelligence and personality are definitely attractive.

They hunt for insects and feed on various seeds. Because they’re so adept in finding their own food, it’s best not to feed magpies as they can become ill if fed old seeds or processed foods.

If you want to attract them to your backyard and hear their melodious calls, install a birdbath next to dense bushes so they can feel safe.

Australian Ringneck

A large parrot, endemic to Australia, the Australian Ringneck has colorful plumage that combines various tones of green, yellow, and orange.

Although the distribution of the coloring varies based on their geographical distribution, the yellow ring across the back of the neck is a common feature.

Their habitat is as varied as their coloring. They can be found in open woodlands, forests, scrub, farmland, semi-arid desert areas. They’re no strangers to urban and suburban areas either.

Australian ringnecks feed on insects, seeds, various flowers, nectar and even some fruits. They usually feed in the early morning hours and avoid the midday heat, when they take refuge in the dense shrubs and trees.

These parrots have adapted to changes in temperature and habitat. Their varied diet also ensures that they can find various sources of food when needed.

Gray Fantail

The long-fanned tail may be the first thing you notice about this bird. The plumage is a darker gray with two small white bars on its wings and white eyebrows.

The small, pointed beak has whiskers at its base, with a double function – they help the bird protect its eyes from aggressive insects it hunts as well as provide information about the insect’s position.

With a few exceptions, it can be found throughout all of Australia. It’s an eager visitor to Australian backyards, especially in winter.

The Gray Fantail feeds on insects by chasing them out from shrubs and bushes and catching them mid-flight.

You can easily attract these birds by placing a bird bath next to a shrub or bush. Alternatively, you can call out to them with kissing or humming sounds that they may even try to imitate.

Scarlet Robin

Another frequent backyard visitor, the Scarlet Robin is an inhabitant of southern Australia and Norfolk Island.

On the island, they prefer the rainforest habitat, on the mainland, they can be found in open woodland and grasslands.

Their plumage features an orange red chest, a black hood with a white patch above the bill, and a white-gray underside.

These birds mate for life and have well-defined roles in the breeding season. The male defends its territory and its chicks, warding off other birds, while the female constructs the nest.

To encourage their visits to your garden, you can plant various native shrubs. These offer them cover from predators while they forage for insects.

Setting up a bird bath close to dense bushes offers them a source of water during hot summer days.


Small but hardy with an impressive stamina, the Silvereye is another common bird that you can spot in Australian backyards.

Despite their small size, they’re easy to recognize after the ring of white or silvery feathers around their eyes. The body is olive green with gray.

They’re migratory birds that flee to warmer regions in the summer and can travel as many as 1600 km.

Because Silvereyes make their tiny nests in tree forks at a height of approximately 16 feet, make sure to look for the nests when pruning your trees.

The diet of Silvereyes consists of fruits growing in orchards, nectar of native shrubs and bushes, juicy insects and bugs.

Predators like domestic cats and avian predators such as hawks are a threat to the Silvereye bird. It’s one of the reasons why the bird enjoys the cover of shrubs and trees. This is also the reason why migrating Silvereyes will travel during the night.

Tawny Frogmouth

At a size of 15-19 inches (40-50 cm) from head to tail, the Tawny Frogmouth is a bird that’s hard to miss despite its camouflage-like plumage.

The feathers on this bird are finely streaked and mottled in gray and brown. They’re easily confused for an owl because of their nocturnal ways. But they’re different birds.

The Tawny Frogmouth feeds on a diet of insects (e.g., worms, cicadas, beetles), worms, snails, slugs, and the occasional frog or rat.

Because they’re not as great hunters or flyers as owls are, frogmouths are more opportunistic, waiting instead for prey to approach and swooping down on them.

They’re busiest in autumn when they feast on as many insects as they possibly can before the winter arrives and insects disappear. With its food supply diminished, the Tawny Frogmouth enters in a hibernation-like state called torpor characterized by a slowed-down heart rate and metabolism.

Laughing Kookaburra

A beloved bird in the Australian suburbs, the Laughing Kookaburra features a large head relative to its body and a strong, sharp bill that’s a bit wide.

The plumage is off-white below and dark brown above. They’re named after their peculiar sound which is similar to a cackling laugh.

You’ll see the Laughing Kookaburra in your backyard, on fences, rooftops, and trees. They’re excellent hunters catching their prey in one swell swoop.

These birds feed on insects, crustaceans, worms, lizards, small mammals, frogs, small snakes, and even other birds.

While small prey is swallowed whole, the Laughing Kookaburra will bash larger prey against the ground or tree branches for easier consumption.

Black Cockatoos

Entirely black, except for their tail feathers that can be either yellow or red, depending on their species, the Black Cockatoos are common all across Australia.

They’re sociable birds that spend a lot of time in groups, these large parrots have an impressive lifespan – they can live for as many as 50 years.

Their diet is made up of cones and seeds they find on Casuarina, Hakean, Banksias and Acacias.

They used tree hollows as nesting sites. Despite their long lifespans they take very long to reproduce, and nest failure is common.

Cockatoos choose their partners for life and males will show off to the female with dances and various hairdos. The courting goes on even beyond their reproductive years.

Brush Turkey

With black plumage, a bare red head, and yellow throat, the Brush Turkey is a common, but not entirely welcomed sight in suburban gardens, where they can be seen scratching at leaf litter.

They can cause quite a bit of destruction in their path, creating large mounds with a diameter of 4 m. They use these as nesting areas carefully calibrating its heat.

Although not welcome by most people who enjoy a neat garden, the Brush Turkey relies a lot on people’s benevolence for its survival.

The Brush Turkey feeds on insects, fruit and seeds. They’re useful in keeping insect populations under control.

Crested Bellbird

Because of their brown and black plumage, the Crested Bellbird easily blends into its surroundings. You might sooner hear their calls than see them.

They can be found in eucalypt woodlands, spinifex and saltbush plains, and acacia shrub lands. They forage on the ground or in shrubs looking for seeds and invertebrates.

Besides the crest on its head and the bright yellow eyes of the male Crested Bellbird, another interesting feature of this bird is its ability to throw its call and make it sound like it’s coming from someplace else.

Plant an understory of native shrubs in your garden, and Crested Bellbirds will feel at home.

Eastern Koel

The Easter Koel has a striking red eye that’s hard to miss against the glossy black plumage they sport.

You can spot it in backyards in eastern and northern Australia, hiding in tall trees and lots of fruiting plants.

The Eastern Koel is a brood parasite, meaning it uses the nest of other bird species to lay its own eggs.

They don’t always stick around to raise their young, most times allowing other birds to do that for them.

These birds will visit your garden if you have exotic fruiting plants and a bird bath in your garden.

Eastern Spinebill

The long, narrow bill, which has a downward curve, is an excellent tool for the Eastern Spinebill to use while searching for nectar in tubular, bell-shaped flowers.

This honey-eater feeds early in the morning probing flowers for nectar and hunting on insects.

Because of their appetite for nectar, they’re also fantastic pollinators for native species. If you want to attract them to your backyard, simply plant a variety of native, nectar-producing plants such as epacrids, mistletoes, gum trees, common heath and grevilleas.

Eastern Rosella

With an undulating flight close to the ground, the Eastern Rosella is a bouquet of color – its plumage features bright red on the head and neck, white on the cheeks, while the back and wings are black, edged with yellow or yellow green.

But the abundance of color doesn’t stop here, because the flight feathers of this bird are blue. In short, they’re hard to miss.

As ground foragers, they enjoy chattering while they feed on the open ground among mature trees in urban areas.

You’ll most often see them feeding in pairs or small groups seeking out seeds fallen to the ground, but also eating berries, fruit, blossom, nectar and even insects.


It’s hard to do justice to the sheer diversity of birdlife in Australia in the confines of a single article. But hopefully, I have still managed to give you a taste of the various bird species you might come across in the backyards of urban and suburban Australian homes.

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