Wildlife - Birds of Cradle Mountain National Park
The forests, valleys and highlands of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park provide habitat for many of Tasmania’s abundant bird species—from the mountain-dwelling black currawong to soaring wedge-tailed eagles and tiny robins.
Endemic Tasmanian birds found in the Park include the delicate dusky robin, Tasmanian thornbill and scrubtit; the nectar loving strong-billed and yellow-throated honeyeater and yellow wattlebird; several parrots, including the green rosella; and the ground-dwelling Tasmanian native hen.
The bird that is perhaps most closely associated with the Tasmanian mountains is the endemic black currawong. These large birds grow up to 50 cm in length, with heavy black bill and a wingspan of around 80 cm. They are almost completely black, apart from white-tipped feathers in the tail and wings. Currawongs feed on mice, small reptiles, fruit and insects. They are not above ‘borrowing’ food from bushwalkers and campers, and can have an alarmingly stealthy approach for such a large bird. They will often approach people but, however tempting, hand feeding is strongly discouraged, as it can introduce harmful foods to the bird’s diet and cause them to become a nuisance.
Black currawongs build a large nest of sticks in the forks of trees in which they raise between two and four young each breeding season, between August and September.
The sound of the currawong’s distinctive call n the forest canopy, is a sound that is deeply connected with the Tasmanian highlands.
Birds of prey
Wedge-tailed eagles are one of Tasmania’s two eagle species, alongside the white-bellied sea eagle. Wedge-tailed eagles are Australia’s largest raptors, standing up to one metre tall with a wingspan of 2.2 metres. These massive birds (affectionately known as ‘wedgies’) can be identified in flight by their large size and distinctive wedge-shaped tail. Wedge-tailed eagles feed on small mammals and carrion and are often seen riding thermal air currents high overhead.
Other birds of prey found within the Park include the peregrine falcon, brown falcon, brown goshawk, grey goshawk, swamp harrier and collared sparrowhawk.
If you’d like to know more about the birds of Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, a number of excellent books and guides are available from the Wilderness Gallery and Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre. Check with our Reception team to find out more.