Victoria's varied landscapes and habitats sing with the songs of rare birds, colourful birds, and migrating, making it a fabulous destination for both ardent and casual birdwatchers.
Bushland birds and wetland wonders
The bushlands of the Grampians are home to over 200 species of birds, including a wide variety of parrots like gang-gang cockatoos and long-billed corellas. The morning laugh of the kookaburra is as reliable as an alarm clock in the Grampians.
Up in the Murray region you're sure to spot the mallee fowl, and the local ibises will be on show at the Kerang Wetlands near Echuca.
Head to the coast along the Great Ocean Road to see shorebirds and seabirds, including albatrosses and petrels. The endangered orange-bellied parrots can be glimpsed on the Bellarine Peninsula as they migrate from breeding grounds in south-western Tasmania for the winter.
Phillip Island is a birdwatching haven, with the mangroves and mudflats of Rhyll Inlet a significant site for the wading birds that fly thousands of kilometres to feed during the summer months. Walk on the elevated boardwalks to witness spoonbills, oyster catchers, herons, egrets and cormorants. Pelicans gather around the San Remo shoreline, the rare hooded plover can be seen on the beaches, while Woolamai is host to around a million short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds) that return to their colony en masse at sunset between late September and April. The famous little penguins making their way up the beach every night to the joy of visitors from all around the world is Phillip Island's biggest avian drawcard.
Birds of paradise
Superb lyrebirds, with their mocking calls, can be seen and heard in the Dandenong Ranges. Over at Healesville Sanctuary, Australia's majestic birds of prey and magnificent parrots dazzle visitors in spectacular daily performances.
Closer to Melbourne
Victoria's bird emblem is the endangered helmeted honeyeater (the only bird endemic to Victoria). It is now restricted to a small area in Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve near Yellingbo, about 50 kilometres east of central Melbourne.The helmeted honeyeater is also bred in captivity at Healesville Sanctuary.
Owls can sometimes be seen in the city in places such as the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Waterbirds make a beeline for Werribee, near the city, where vagrant migratory waders from the northern hemisphere can occasionally be spotted.
Finally, the Melbourne Zoo's Great Flight Aviary offers visitors the chance to get up close to Australia's best-loved birds.