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birds making calls at night in Victoria


  • camping in Victoria can offer you are surprising variety of bird noises and calls at night which can at times interrupt your sleep - bring ear plugs or headphones if you want to sleep!
  • there are a number of true nocturnal birds which hunt at night and are characterised by near-silent flight (thanks to combed feathers and other feather features) and large eyes, these include owls and night jars and related species
  • other birds are mainly active during the day but can be noisy at night, especially at dusk and within 1-2 hours of sunrise such as:
    • kookaburras - often the first to start in the morning
    • cockatoos

True nocturnal birds

  • *many owls and nightjars rely on tree hollows to rest in - these take hundreds of years to form - hence, campers should take this into consideration when looking for wood for their fires


  • barking owl
    • makes a woof-woof call
    • drier woodland and forest type zones, often near creeks, but fairly uncommon
  • powerful owl
    • one of the few Australian owls with a standardized “whoo-hoo” call which, is most often heard during winter months when breeding occurs.
    • deep, double hoot: ‘woo-hoo’
    • Australia's largest owl, feeds on possums and males can attack humans if they get too close to their nests
  • southern boobook / mopoke
    • higher pitched double hoot (“boo-book” or mo-poke”)
    • smallest and most widespread owl in Australia
    • roosts in dense foliage or safely inside a tree hollow
  • Morepork
    • these can come to Victoria from Tasmania in Spring
  • eastern barn owl
    • often found in open country, farmland and woodlands and feeds mainly on rodents
  • sooty owl
    • call is like a bomb whistle or women screaming
    • dimly lit wet sclerophyll forests and feeds on arboreal prey eg. the Australian Greater Glider
  • Australian owlet-nightjar
    • smallest of the nocturnal birds found in Australia
    • loud grating chirr of either two or three notes, typically “chirr-chirr-chirr”
  • savanna nightjar
    • open forest, woodland - from eastern and south east Asia that is a vagrant in Australia
    • high pitched tweet
  • white-throated nightjar
  • tawny frogmouth

Other birds who make calls during the night

  • willy wagtails
    • 30% make call during the night 1)
    • have a twinkling song, often described as sounding like they are saying “sweet pretty creature”
  • koel
    • can wake people at midnight and are pretty hard to drown out
    • usually arrives in Australia (esp. NSW) from Papua New Guinea and Indonesia to breed from late September to early October each year - but may not make it to Victoria although this has been happening more frequently this century

Many other birds make calls mainly only at either dusk or dawn

  • kookaburras
  • sulfur crested cockatoos
  • little raven
  • magpie
  • fairy wrens and eastern robins - soft tweets
  • pallid cuckoos
  • grey shrike-thrush - melodic
  • wattlebirds
  • etc.
australia/vic/nocturnal_birds.txt · Last modified: 2024/01/30 22:52 by gary1

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