Some species can be found across a range of parks, while others are endemic to a specific area. about Plants and animals you might see in our parks. Scientists estimate the continent is home to more than a million species of plants and animals. Since European colonisation, however, the Australian environment has been modified dramatically.
In the last years, more mammals have died out in Australia than on any other continent. If you'd like to do more to support our native species, your local NSW National Parks volunteer program. Or check out Backyard Buddies for educational information on how to support the conservation of Australian native species in your own backyard.
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This list of plant and animal profiles provides examples of just some of the species you might see in NSW national parks. The Australian brush turkey, also known as bush or scrub turkey, can be found in rainforests along eastern NSW. With a striking red head, blue-black plumage and booming call, these distinctive Australian birds are easy to spot while bird watching in several NSW national parks. The largest fur seal, Australian fur seals are found in isolated rocky outcrops and islands along the NSW coast. They come ashore to form breeding colonies and can often be seen at Montague Island Nature Reserve.
These Australian birds are found throughout Australian waterways and the pelican uses its throat pouch to trawl for fish. Pelicans breed all year round, congregating in large colonies on secluded beaches and islands. One of the most common frogs found in Australia, the ground-dwelling brown-striped frog lives in ponds, dams and swamps along the east coast. Also known as the striped marsh frog, this amphibian grows to 6. One of the most widespread of Australian tree-dwelling marsupials, the common brushtail possum is found across most of NSW in woodlands, rainforests and urban areas.
With strong claws, a prehensile tail and opposable digits, these native Australian animals are well-adapted for life amongst the trees. Commonly found in forests, woodlands and leafy gardens across eastern NSW, the Australian ringtail possum is a tree-dwelling marsupial. With a powerful tail perfectly adapted to grasp objects, it forages in trees for eucalypt leaves, flowers and fruit. A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.
During drought it digs deep into the soil to escape harsh conditions. Its brown shell is thin and fragile.
In colonies ing up to , eastern bentwing-bats congregate in caves across the east and north-west coasts of Australia. These small Australian animals weigh around g and can reach speeds of up to 50km per hour. Eastern bentwing-bats use both sight and echolocation to catch small insects mid-air. The eastern blue-tongue lizard, one of the largest skinks in Australia, is found throughout most of NSW. When threatened, the eastern blue-tongue lizard displays its blue tongue in a wide-mouthed intimidating show. Not an agile animal, they feed on slow-moving beetles and snails.
Found across most of NSW, the eastern snake-necked turtle, also known as the eastern long-necked turtle, can be found in swamps, lakes and inland waterways. The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula.
The largest of Australian birds, the emu stands up to 2m high and is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich. Emus live in pairs or family groups. The male emu incubates and rears the young, which will stay with the adult emus for up to 2 years. The grey-headed flying fox is one of several threatened Australian animals and the largest Australian native bat, with a wingspan that extends up to 1m.
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Known to inhabit woodlands, rainforests and urban regions, these fascinating nocturnal mammals congregate in large roost sites along the east coast of NSW. The humpback whale has the longest migratory path of any mammal, travelling over km from its summer feeding grounds in Antarctica to its breeding grounds in the subtropics. Its playful antics, such as body-rolling, breaching and pectoral slapping, are a spectacular sight for whale watchers in NSW national parks.
One of the most renowned Australian animals, the tree-dwelling marsupial koala can be found in gum tree forests and woodlands across eastern NSW, Victoria and Queensland, as well as in isolated regions in South Australia. With a vice-like grip, this perhaps most iconic but endangered Australian animal lives in tall eucalypts within a home range of several hectares.
Of the 2 species of kookaburra found in Australia, the laughing kookaburra is the best-known and the largest of the native kingfishers. With its distinctive riotous call, the laughing kookaburra is commonly heard in open woodlands and forests throughout NSW national parks, making these ideal spots for bird watching.
These Australian animals are typically dark blue in colour with whitish spots or blotches. A nocturnal marsupial and one of the smaller Australian native animals, the long-nosed bandicoot is found across eastern Australia.
Populations in the Sydney region have dwindled since European settlement, leaving only endangered colonies in inner western Sydney and at North Head, near Manly. The long-nosed bandicoot has grey-brown fur and a pointed snout which it uses to forage for worms and insects. These tree-climbing and ground-dwelling Australian animals can quickly change colour, ranging from pale green-grey by day, to a reddish brown with emerald green flecks at night.
One of the most fascinating and unusual Australian animals, the duck-billed platypus, along with the echidna, are the only known monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, in existence.
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The platypus is generally found in permanent river systems and lakes in southern and eastern NSW and east and west of the Great Dividing Range. The red kangaroo is one of the most iconic Australian animals and the largest marsupial in the world. Large males have reddish fur and can reach a height of 2m, while females are considerably smaller and have blue-grey fur. Red kangaroos are herbivores and mainly eat grass.
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With vibrant blue-violet eyes and curious antics, the satin bowerbird is a favourite for bird watching and easy to spot as it forages for food in open forest. One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. The southern boobook, also known as the mopoke, is the smallest and most common native owl in Australia. With a musical 'boo-book' call that echoes through forests and woodlands, the southern boobook is a great one to look out for while bird watching.
The sugar glider is a tree-dwelling Australian native marsupial, found in tall eucalypt forests and woodlands along eastern NSW. The nocturnal sugar glider feeds on insects and birds, and Dominant redheaded women Waratah Bay its sweet tooth with nectar and pollens. The striking blue and black plumage of the adult male superb fairy wren makes for colourful bird watching across south-eastern Australia. With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals.
A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria. The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia.
This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe. Found throughout Australia, the tawny frogmouth is often mistaken for an owl due to its wide, powerful beak, large head and nocturnal hunting habits. With a wingspan of up to 2. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km.
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White-bellied sea eagles can be easily identified by their white tail and dark grey wings. These raptors are often spotted cruising the coastal breezes throughout Australia, and make for some scenic bird watching. Powerful Australian birds of prey, they are known to mate for life, and return each year to the same nest to breed. The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is one of the largest species of parrot. With dusty-black plumage, they have a yellow tail and cheek patch.
Billy buttons are attractive Australian native plants that are widespread throughout eastern NSW in dry forest, grassland and alpine regions such as Kosciuszko National Park. The golden-yellow globe-shaped flowers are also known as woollyhe.
Plants and animals you might see in our parks
Related to the daisy, billy buttons are an erect herb growing to a height of 50cm. The black sheoak is one of a of casuarina species found across the east coast of Australia and nearby tablelands. Growing to a height of m, these hardy Australian native plants can survive in poor or sandy soils. The barrel-shaped cone of the black sheoak grows to mm long. The blueberry ash is a rainforest shrub which produces blue olive-shaped berries and spectacular bell-shaped flowers, which often appear on the plant together.
It is a tall slender shrub or small tree found in rainforest, tall eucalypt forest and coastal bushland in eastern NSW, south-east Queensland and Victoria. With glossy green leaves spanning m in length and a trunk reaching a height of up to 30m, the cabbage tree palm, or fan palm, is one of the tallest Australian native plants. Thriving in rainforest margins along the east coast of NSW, in summer this giant palm produces striking spikes of cream flowers which resemble cabbages.
Coachwood trees are Australian native plants that grow in warm temperate rainforests along coastal NSW. Also known as scented satinwood, the mottled grey bark of the coachwood has horizontal markings and a delicate fragrance. The delicate flannel flower is so named because of the soft woolly feel of the plant. Growing in the NSW south coast region, extending to Narrabri in the Central West and up to south-east Queensland, its white or pink flowers bloom all year long, with an extra burst of colour in the spring.
An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows Dominant redheaded women Waratah Bay in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.
Grey mangrove is the most common and widespread mangrove found within intertidal zones across Australia, and throughout the world. Growing to a height of m, they thrive best in estuaries with a mix of fresh and salt water.