The inland of Australia is a vast and diverse area, where many different habitats are home to a huge range of birds that are adapted to the harsh arid environment. When Newhaven, a former cattle station just over four hours' drive from Alice Springs, was declared a reserve, it was great news for the birds.
At least 138 species of birds have been recorded at Newhaven, including 15 that are nationally threatened, and this reflects the diversity of habitats present in the area.
Rising abruptly from the surrounding plains, the red rocky slopes of the Siddeley and Yaripilangu Ranges impose themselves on the surrounding landscape. In the gullies and gorges of these ranges, pretty Painted Finches hop among the boulders and patches of spinifex as they peck at seeds on the ground. From the summit of the flat-topped Mt Stanley, several different habitats shimmer through the heat-haze.
The claypans seldom fill with water, but when they do, they become a haven for waterbirds. Australian Pelicans, all sorts of waterfowl, herons, egrets and waders all flock to the wetlands to take advantage of the fleeting oases. Where the water has receded from the muddy margins, Crimson and Orange Chats forage around low clumps of saltbush. Adjacent expanses of grassland support Spinifexbirds (mapped) and endangered Striated Grasswren, and Emus and Australian Bustards roam the plains, while Cockatiels, Zebra Finches, Budgerigars, Bourke's Parrots, Spinifex Pigeons and Flock Bronzewings fossick for seeds among the sand. Everywhere the white forms of Ghost Gums punctuate the landscape, contrasting with the vivid colours of the soil, rocks and the sky. Elsewhere, patches of open shrubland and woodland, dominated by acacias or broombush, are home to various honeyeaters, including the threatened, demure Grey Honeyeater, which, in turn, may become food for the near- threatened Grey Falcon.
In 1996, a pair of Night Parrots was reported on Newhaven. News of this exciting report was slow to leak out, but, as the species is probably the most mysterious of Australia's birds, its presence helps to make Newhaven a very special place.
If you want to discover more information about the birds of Newhaven or any other birds that occur in Australia, just follow this link and you can explore BirdLife Australia's Atlas of Australian Birds.