About the Mareeba Wetlands

The Mareeba Tropical Savanna and Wetland Reserve is situated on the East Asian-Australasian flyway and provides a unique environment in which to enjoy Australia’s tropical wetland and savanna birds. A series of 12 inter-connected lagoons, creeks and channels weave their way across the 5,000 acre Reserve, with lagoons ranging in size from several hundred acres to much smaller intimate habitats. The lagoons attract a rich and diverse birdlife and provide a sanctuary for almost all of Australia’s tropical waterbirds.

204 species of birds, over twenty mammal species and a myriad of lower vertebrates and arthropods are testimony to the environmental values of the Reserve. The Reserve also has some excellent examples of open tropical savanna woodland and closely related regional ecosystems, where many species of bushland birds, including such rarities as Black-throated Finches and Buff-breasted Button-quail, have been recorded. It is also the location for a landmark Gouldian Finch reintroduction programme.

A visiting birdwatcher can expect to get up to 60 species during a day’s visit, rising rapidly when staying overnight, as many species are regular visitors and breeders. The ideal way to experience the Reserve is by staying in Jabiru Safari Lodge.

All the revenue raised by the camp goes back into Reserve management and The Wildlife Conservancy of Tropical Queensland has a number of new habitat creation initiatives in the pipeline.

Pandanus Lagoon, the largest in the Reserve, is a particular delight for birdwatchers. At different times of the year, from the bird hide on the shores of this lagoon many of Australia’s species of wetland birds may be seen including ospreys, sea eagles, black swans, magpie geese, brolgas, whistling ducks in their hundreds, pelicans, pink-eared ducks and even Australia’s only stork, the jabiru.

In the winter evenings, visitors may be treated to the fly-in of several hundred cranes which roost in the Reserve, one of the tropical north’s most uplifting wildlife experiences. Jacanas are resident on Lily Lagoon, where the beautiful lotus lily flowers, and several hundred red-tailed black cockatoos visit here each year.

The wetlands also provide a habitat for reptiles, frogs, fish and of course the freshwater crocodile, while the open tropical savanna woodlands are home to much of Australia’s savanna fauna including eastern grey kangaroos, agile and whiptail wallabies, wallaroos, possums and gliders.

The Conservancy works with the FNQ Wildlife Carers in the care and rescue of native wildlife and takes part in many wildlife releases. Overnight guests may assist staff with wildlife care when appropriate.

Species Lists

The Reserve Calendar

JANUARY
• Monsoon arrives and the Wetlands become truly wet!

• The Reserve is closed
JULY
• The lagoons begin to dry, Pelicans and Cormorants arrive to fish

• As the grass gets shorter, Kangaroos and Wallabies are more visible
FEBRUARY
• The Wet Season turns everything green

• The Reserve is closed
AUGUST
• Grevilleas in flower

• Red-tailed Black and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos begin to arrive
MARCH
• The Wet Season gradually ends

• The Reserve is closed
SEPTEMBER
• Cocky Apple in flower

• Red-tailed Black Cockatoos gather at Pandanus Flat
APRIL
• As things dry out, the roads become passable

• Whistling Ducks are breeding
OCTOBER
• Brolgas and Sarus Cranes roost reaches its peak of 400-600 birds every night

• Melaleucas in flower
MAY
• Brolgas and Sarus Cranes begin to arrive as the 'Outback' dries out
NOVEMBER
• Storms become regular and fish begin to breed

•Whistling Ducks roost in their thousands
JUNE
• Large rafts of Hardheads on Pandanus Lagoon

• Spoonbills begin to arrive
DECEMBER
• Storms continue as the 'build up' to the Monsoon begins

• The Savanna is alive with the sound of birds.
Crane Week partner website
Jabiru Safari Lodge At Mareeba Wetlands