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.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Square-tailed Kite nesting and Shining Flycatchers galore - Burrum Heads & Bundaberg

Square-tailed Kite on nest

A Square-tailed Kite on the nest and multiple sightings of Shining Flycatcher were highlights of a visit this week to Burrum Heads and Bundaberg. We camped for three nights at Burrum Heads before moving on to Boonooroo (the subject of a separate post), and visited Bundaberg for the day.

Trevor Quested & Greg Roberts

In Bundaberg, we met up with Trevor and Annie Quested, along with Bundaberg birding legend Eric Zillmann, and headed off to an active nest being used by a Square-tailed Kite in open woodland north of the city.

Square-tailed Kite on nest

Weather conditions were lousy and the most we saw of the bird was its head occasionally showing. The nest was about 20 metres up in a Lemon-scented Gum. A single, well-developed chick was in the nest but was not visible to us.

Square-tailed Kite

Here's a more comprehensive image of this rare raptor; thanks to Geoff Jones of Barra Imaging for this one.

Eric Zillmann

Eric Zillmann reports that a pair of Square-tailed Kites has been nesting at this same site, near Smith's Crossing - usually in different nests but over a total area of just a few hundred square metres - each year since 1985. They have successfully raised young in all but a handful of nesting seasons. Usually one young is raised; although two or three chicks may hatch, the parents dispose of the others, presumably because of the difficulty of providing sufficient food. A new nest is built most years but occasionally an old one is topped up with twigs and used again.
I've written previously about Eric's knowledge of the Paradise Parrot; he is a wealth of knowledge about birds in the Bundaberg-Gin Gin region.

White-winged Triller

In Trevor and Annie's garden outside Bundaberg, a delightful male White-winged Triller was busy building a nest.

Shining Flycatcher

From Burrum Heads, I spent a morning along the Burrum River in my kayak. I saw a total of seven Shining Flycatchers and heard two others.

Shining Flycatcher

Five of the seven birds were males. Other birds seen from the kayak included:

White-bellied Sea-Eagle

Mangrove Honeyeater

Pied Cormorant
Brahminy Kite


  1. G'day Greg, fantastic that the kites have been there for so many years. Do you know how long before the chick fledges? I'd be keen to observe these rare birds. Cheers, Andrew Martin andrewpimartin@y7mail com

  2. What fabulous images! All looks magical. Cant wait for my trip to Bundaberg on the 19th Sept. So looking foward to it now.
    John Foss