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.

Friday 31 May 2013

Raptors of the Maroochy River Canelands

Peregrine Falcon
The sugar cane flatlands in the vicinity of the Maroochy River on the Sunshine Coast have proven to be a magnet for various species of diurnal raptor. They are attracted to waterbirds and rats inhabiting the wetlands and grasslands in the area. This adult female Peregrine Falcon has been a regular visitor in recent weeks.

Peregrine Falcon
I've watched the falcon hunting Purple Swamphen and Pacific Golden Plover. Flocks of Red-kneed Dotterel and Black-fronted Dotterel presently in the area appear to be in a constant state of alertness, presumably due to the presence of this and other raptors.

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrines can be difficult to photograph but this bird has been co-operative.

Mt Coolum
The bird is likely one of a pair which has been nesting on the cliffs of the south-western slopes of nearby Mt Coolum, pictured here from where the falcon was photographed. There has been some controversy recently about whether the activities of rock climbers may be interfering with the birds' nesting.

Australian Hobby
Australian Hobby is a regular visitor, often perching on roadside telegraph poles.

Brown Falcon
Today I had this Brown Falcon near Bli Bli. The species is an infrequent visitor to the area.

Brown Falcon
Nankeen Kestrel
Nankeen Kestrel is somewhat more common. I saw three today.

Spotted Harrier
Spotted Harrier is a resident of the canelands. Although regarded as a rare visitor to coastal south-east Queensland, I see them on most visits to the area in all plumage phases and at all times of the year. I saw two birds today.
Swamp Harrier
With the cooler months here, Swamp Harriers are about in numbers; they are a winter visitor to south-east Queensland. I saw 3 today in the Maroochy River area. Often the two harrier species are seen quartering the grasslands in close proximity to each other.

Grey Goshawk
Grey Goshawk continues to be a regular visitor to the grasslands, often perching conspicuously in the open. By contrast, Brown Goshawk and Collared Sparrowhawk are less frequent visitors that keep to cover, never perching in the open.

Black Kite
Black Kite is one of several predominantly western species that have invaded south-east Queensland in recent weeks. The kite is presently one of the most numerous raptors about the Sunshine Coast, including the Maroochy River canelands, where today I saw several. I have seen up to 20 together near Nambour in recent days.

Black-shouldered Kite
Black-shouldered Kite is the most numerous raptor in the canelands, where several pairs nest annually. Today I saw 8 birds.

White-bellied Sea-Eagle
Three White-bellied Sea-Eagles were seen today. They often feed over the grasslands as well as along the river.


  1. If I saw all these raptors in one day I would be in .... well .... raptures!
    Great collection - thanks for sharing

  2. Wow!! These canelands seem to be abundant in raptors!! I've had very little success photographing raptors in the past as I mainly see them on our drives out west from Brisbane! I think I may have to give the Maroochy River area a go. I'd love to know the exact location of these if you don't mind sharing.

  3. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or
    did you download it from somewhere? A theme like yours with a few simple adjustements would
    really make my blog stand out. Please let me
    know where you got your design. Cheers

    Here is my website home hair treatments (

  4. Yesterday, 8 Nov 2016, visiting from New Zealand, I saw a bird fly past the window of our fifth floor apartment overlooking the mouth of the Maroochy River. It had a fish in its claws. I had previously only seen such a thing on TV on a program.