Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Lewin's Rail around the Sunshine Coast

Lewin's Rail, generally regarded as a scarce and difficult-to-see species in Australia, is proving to be quite common on the Sunshine Coast. This bird was photographed in a dense thicket of two-metre vegetation in wallum heath at Peregian Beach.
This rail was co-operative but they can be difficult to see in thick wallum heath.

The rails are heard regularly - and seen much less often - in wet patches of wallum heath at Peregian Beach and near Mt Emu, as well as further north at Cooloola. They may occur in close proximity to Ground Parrot and King Quail.
Lewin's Rail is resident in the wallum; I have seen fledglings at Peregian Beach in January.
The species is not restricted to wallum heath. Lewin's Rail will readily utilise flooded grassland in areas such as the cane field flats surrounding the Maroochy River. At the site above, they were present along with Buff-banded Rail and Spotless Crake. These grasslands are normally dry but have been inundated during the past two west summers. The rails also occur in dense grass and other vegetation along freshwater streams in farmland.
The coastal plain aside, Lewin's Rail is often found in the Sunshine coast hinterland, where it appears to be more nomadic. This bird was on a small stream at Moy Pocket. I've had birds at sites intermittently where they are absent for long periods for no apparent reason. In the hinterland, the rails are usually associated with dense stands of lantana. They may also occasionally be found in the open on roadside verges.
In streamside vegetation both on the coast and in the hinterland, Lewin's Rail sometimes occurs together with Pale-vented Bush-hen.


  1. Hi Greg, thanks for sharing your photos, they're truly great. I was wandering around Emu Swamp recently and was curious about the history of Emus in the region. My Dad seems to remember them being around the Wallum heath about 30 years ago, but I can't find any records to back this up. Have you got any idea at all?

    1. Hi Tom, I remember seeing Emus near Beerwah back in the late-1970s. Also a bit north around Cooloola into the 1980s. But they have not been seen anywhere around the coast for many years, with a few hanging in there on Bribie Island