Park & Animals
With a focus on observation, appreciation and conservation, our Port Douglas is a sanctuary making a difference!
The award-winning Wildlife Habitat is Australia’s leading environmental wildlife experience, providing visitors with a chance to observe up close a huge range of flora and fauna.
Situated at Port Douglas, Tropical North Queensland, Wildlife Habitat was constructed in 1988 on 8 acres (2 hectares) of land that has been recreated to provide a window into our natural environment.
At Wildlife Habitat, visitors can enjoy an open and interactive wildlife immersion exhibit where they can observe and appreciate our native species. Our park is divided into five distinct environments and offers unique experiences such as hand-feeding kangaroos, exploring the starlight walk, and immersing oneself in the wet tropics at our Rainforest Habitat. With an Advanced Ecotourism Accreditation, we are committed to conservation through our wildlife rescue program, the Tropical Animal Rehabilitation Centre.
Visit us at Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas and you will thoroughly enjoy immersing yourself in our park, meeting our animals, and making memories to last a lifetime!
Ready to see birds in Port Douglas? Wildlife Habitat is renowned for its abundance of local bird species. More than half (approx. 52%) of Australia’s bird species are found within the Wet Tropics region. Over 75 species of bird can be discovered whilst you are walking through our large immersive habitats, including the endangered Southern Cassowary, the Black Necked Stork and an abundance of cheeky cockatoos.
If you’re looking for an extra special experience with birds in Port Douglas, why not book Breakfast With The Birds?
Cockatoos are distinguished by their erect crest. These charismatic birds are common pets in Australia and are one of our most well-known and recognisable species. Generally Cockatoos have black, grey or white plumage with minimal vibrant colours. Some of the most stunning cockatoos in Australia include the Major Mitchell Cockatoo, and the Red-tailed Black Cockatoo.
Cockatoos have a large robust bill for processing seeds and nuts along with their muscular tongue. We have 5 different species of cockatoo at Wildlife Habitat: Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, Galah and the Cockatiel.
Of the 20 odd species of finch found in Australia, 18 are native to this country. Finches are members of the family Passeridae and all have short conical bills, well adapted to enable these small birds to eat and catch food. Finches mainly eat grass seeds, small insects and some vegetation. They busily forage through grasses and on the ground throughout the daylight hours and never are still for long. Most finches weave intricate grass nests to raise their young, but will happily utilise man-made options if available, weaving grasses inside boxes and hollows. Depending on the season, it is regularly possible to see nesting finches in action in our Woodlands Aviary. Finch species found at the park – Gouldian Finch, Red-browed finch.
The Australian Pelican is part of the family Pelecanidae and can be found in Australia, New Guinea, Fiji and parts of Indonesia. They occur on open water and their habitats include billabongs, rivers, lakes and coastal lagoons.
Pelicans hunt for fish as a large group and work by driving fish into shallower waters and then catching them in their bills. The Australian Pelican has a particularly sensitive bill which helps it to detect prey in murky waters.
Of the 3 known cassowary species, only the Southern Cassowary (or double wattled cassowary) is found in Australia. A keystone species, it is believed there are only approximately 4000 individuals left in the wild, from Airlie Beach, throughout the Daintree Rainforest and into Cape York. Reasons for the cassowary population decline is predominantly related to habitat clearing, dog attacks and being struck by cars on roads.
These birds play a pivotal part in rainforest regeneration with their capability for long range seed dispersal. Looking more like they have stepped out of the Jurassic period, these large, compact and heavy flightless birds can be viewed here at the Wildlife Habitat in our Rainforest walk through aviary.
A duck isn’t just a duck – some dabble, some graze, some dive and some dredge. At Wildlife Habitat we have divers, grazers and dabblers. Next time you are looking at a duck, watch how it is feeding and see if you can work out what feeding technique it is using. The main diet of ducks include grasses, aquatic plant life, insects, frogs, worms, and molluscs. One of the iconic features of a duck is, of course, its webbed feet. Having webbed feet enables the bird to move efficiently through the water and with some species, also dive.
Species of duck and goose at Wildlife Habitat: Wandering Whistling-duck, Pacific Black duck, Maned duck, Plumed Whistling-duck, Radjah Shelduck, Magpie Goose, Grey teal , Chestnut teal , Blue-billed duck, Hardhead duck.
The Emu is the second tallest bird on the planet and is Australia’s tallest native bird. The Emu can grow to between 1.6 and 1.9 metres in height and can run up to 50 kilometres per hour! Like the Southern Cassowary, the Emu is a flightless bird and belongs to the family ratites.
Emus are found throughout mainland Australia and habitats range from coastal regions and mountain ranges to arid desert plains.
Their diet includes flowers, insects, fruits and seeds, and they aid their digestion by consuming stones.
Pigeons and doves are plump birds found all over the world, except for the polar areas. Australia has 22 native species. The main difference between pigeons and doves is their size, with doves usually classed in the smaller category. One thing they both have in common is the construction of flimsy twig nest platforms. Some are so sparse it is amazing their chicks get to fledge!
Most species forage for fruits and seeds as well as the occasional insect or two. Most species of birds need to take small gulps of water at a time which they then swallow, but pigeons and doves are able to drink continuously without needing to raise their heads to swallow. Incredible!
Species found at the park include the Emerald Dove, Rose-crowned fruit-dove, Pied imperial pigeon, White-headed pigeon, Wonga pigeon, Brown cuckoo dove, Forest Bronzewing, Diamond dove, Bar shouldered dove and the Peaceful Dove.
There are representatives of all 3 Australian families of parrots at Wildlife Habitat – the Cockatoos (see Cockatoos), Lorikeets and the true parrots. Notable features of all parrots are their strong down-turned beaks, vibrant feather colouration and toe structure. They have two facing forward toes and 2 facing backward facing toes that enable them to perch and climb easily. Did you know that most are left handed?
Species at Wildlife Habitat include – Red-collared lorikeet, Rainbow lorikeet and Scaly-breasted lorikeet, Double-eyed Fig-parrot, Cockatiel, Eclectus parrot, Budgerigar and Pale-headed rosella.
Wildlife Habitat is home to two species of Kookaburra; the Laughing Kookaburra and the Blue Winged Kookaburra.
Known for its distinctive cackle, the Laughing Kookaburra can be found throughout eastern Australia and south-west Western Australia. It is the largest member of the Kingfisher family and can grow up to 45cm in length.
The Blue Winged Kookaburra is a smaller species that can be found in north east and north west Australia in coastal and subcoastal areas. The Blue Winged Kookaburra also has a “laughing” call.
Kookaburras are carnivorous and live on a diet of reptiles, large insects, fish and small mammals.
Although common in our local region the Bush stone-curlew is endangered in the southern states of Australia. This cryptic bird relies on its ability to camouflage during the day whilst hunting for insects by night. The “stone” reference in their name refers to the tendency of these birds to consume small pebbles to help break up the insects they consume. The curlew is renowned for its mournful cry, and this is often the only way to identify its presence.
When disturbed it crouches down low to the ground or freezes rather than flying away which is a major contributor to its decline. Introduced predators such as the fox are a major threat to the species. The stone curlew relies on fallen branches and debris to assist in its ability to hide, to both roost and nest. This too may be a contributor to its decline.
Widely known as the Jabiru, the Black-necked Stork is the only representative of its family within Australia. Wildlife Habitat is proud to have homed the world’s only successful captive breeding pair – James and Jabbie.
After James’ unfortunate passing in 2018, Wildlife Habitat is still home to Jabbie, who has mothered 18 young.
These majestic birds are predators of mainly coastal and near-coastal wetland areas of northern and eastern Australia. Throughout the monsoonal areas of northern Australia, the Black-necked Stork is still widespread, but fewer numbers appear through southern QLD and NSW.
They are usually found independently feeding on fish from freshwater ecosystems, however crustaceans, baby crocodiles and turtles also form part of their diet.
Although often mistaken for an Owl, Frogmouths are a nocturnal bird found throughout Australia, and are more closely related to a Nightjar.
Frogmouths are masters of camouflage; their textured plumage resembles tree bark, which makes them incredibly hard to spot in the wild.
Wildlife Habitat is home to two varieties of Frogmouth; the Papuan and the Tawny. The easiest way to differ between these two species is to look at their eye colour. Tawny Frogmouth’s have yellow-orange eyes, whereas Papuan Frogmouths have red eyes.
Part of the beauty of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area is its biodiversity. There are 13 species of Australian mammals found nowhere else in the world! Wildlife Habitat is home to 4 of these special animals – Lumholtz’s Tree-kangaroo, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Mahogany Glider and Northern Bettong.
Wildlife Habitat also has one of Queensland’s largest collections of macropods (meaning large foot), including kangaroos, wallabies, pademelons and bettongs.
Learn more about our Australian mammals on our Savannah & Lumholtz’s Tree Kangaroo Tour. Enjoy an educational experience about the iconic Koala on the Koala Feeding Presentation and Koala Presentation.
The most recognisable of all Australian mammals, the Koala is a species that is is known for its cute and cuddly appearance. This arboreal marsupial is found in pockets from North Queensland through to Victoria. In the north the species is very difficult to find and is quite sparse, living mainly along rivers and creeks in the dry savannah country and Eucalypt woodlands.
Koalas are aptly adapted to the treetops with their muscular forearms and hind legs and long strong nails for purchase on branches. They even possess two thumbs on their forelimbs and a nail-less thumb on their hindlimbs for extra grip. Koalas are known to eat many different Eucalypt species and will consume around 500gms per day depending on the size of the animal. Wildlife Habitat feeds 12 different species of Eucalypt whilst in some parts wild koalas may only have a home range that has one or 2 different species.
With the ability to position themselves into nooks and forks of trees they are able to rest easily for between 18 and 20 hours.
The Striped Possum is a shy, small possum with a distinguishable bold black and white, skunk-like, pattern.
It has an elongated fourth ginger and unusually large tongue, both of which are used to extract insects out of tree bark.
In Australia, the Striped Possum is endemic to the Wet Tropics Rainforest of North Queensland stretching from the Cape York Peninsula to Townsville. It can also be found in New Guinea.
Both of Wildlife Habitat’s Striped Possums have been rescued from the wild and are unable to return due to blindness. You can meet them in the Nocturnal Habitat.
The Mahogany Gider is cryptic, elusive and virtually silent (Van Dyck 1995). The geographic range of the mahogany glider is limited to an area of coastal lowland forest in the Cardwell – Tully region – a range of about 120km.
The 100km east-west range extends from the coast to the lower Herbert Gorge and foothills of the Mt Fox section of Girringun National Park in the Wet Tropics Bioregion. Clearing, mainly for sugar cane, has greatly reduced and severely fragmented available habitat to 20 percent. Weighing only 350g these gliders depend on tropical plants, acacias, eucalypts and grass trees for their nectar and sap and will also eat insects and their larvae. These gliding possums require a home range of up to 20 hectares in their natural habitat.
Wildlife Habitat is working with Zoo Aquarium Associate with a population management program to ensure this species maintains a secure population within captivity.
These tiny marsupials are the world’s smallest gliding mammal, weighing just 10-15 grams! With silky grey-brown fur and dark-ringed eyes, the Feathertail Glider is undoubtedly one of Wildlife Habitat’s cutest residents.
Feathertail Gliders are found along the East Coast of mainland Australia, from North Queensland to south-east South Australia.
Like all gliders, they have a gliding membrane extending from the elbow to the knee. This allows them to glide for long distances between trees and they have been known to glide up to 28 metres! They are known to nest in trees in tend to live in communal groups of up to 30 individuals.
The Spinifex Hopping Mouse can be found in arid zones through central and western Australia. These desert mammals are Nocturnal and avoid the heart of the day in their deep, humid burrow systems.
Interestingly, their kidneys dissolve all the water from their waste and they have solid urine! Their large ears also help to keep them cool from the desert heat.
They are able to move around on four legs or two legs and hop on their hind-legs to move fast and help them to dive into their burrows.
Wildlife Habitat has a variety of Australian and Wet Tropics Macropodidae species including Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Agile Wallaby, Northern Nail-tail wallaby, and the Red-legged Pademelon. Similar species of a different family including the Northern Bettong and Rufous Bettong, are also located at the nature park. Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo, also a relative of this family of Australian mammals, can be found at the entry to Savannah Habitat.
Kangaroos and wallabies cover much of Australia in distribution. Due to the diversity of species, there is general similarities between each including the body shape which exhibits strongly developed hind limbs and smaller forelimbs and upper body, a long tail, and prominent ears.
Although most of this family hop, not all use this method of locomotion including the tree kangaroo which has the ability to move both bipedally and quadrupedally.
Kangaroos and wallabies cover much of Australia in distribution. Due to the diversity of species there is general similarities between each including the body shape which exhibits strongly developed hind limbs and smaller forelimbs and upper body, a long tail, and prominent ears.
Although most of this family hop, not all use this method of locomotion including the tree kangaroo which has the ability to move both bipedally and quadrupedally.
The Northern Bettong is part of the family Potoroidae and is listed as endangered. This marsupial is endemic to the Wet Tropics and lives in fragmented pockets of upland grassy eucalypt woodland between the Mt Windsor Tableland and the Coane Range.
The Northern Bettong is an omnivore and eats truffles, cockatoo grass, insects, grass and leaves. This macropod plays an important role in the spreading of truffles, as some truffles that the Bettongs eat are eaten by the Bettongs alone.
The Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo is the smallest of the tree kangaroo species, but one of the largest of the arboreal Australian mammals. This arboreal species spends most of its life in the canopy of the Australian rainforest foraging on leaves, fruits and flowers. Their muscular and powerful forelimbs and broad hind feet allow them to move in both a quadrupedal and bipedal motion. They have a long tail in comparison to their body size which they mainly use for balance and is not prehensile.
Their hind feet are also much less elongated than their kangaroo relatives, having become shorter and more broad creating a greater surface area for improved grip in the trees. Although not commonly sighted the Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo is listed as least concern under the Nature Conservation Act, due to much of its habitat being protected within the Wet Tropics World Heritage area.
Wildlife Habitat is one of the few zoos in the world that house and breed the species.
Wildlife Habitat is home to a number of iconic Australian reptiles. From the world’s largest reptile, the Estuarine (Saltwater) Crocodile to the camouflaging Boyd’s Forest Dragon, our Australian reptiles are all iconic in their own right.
Written on large yellow signs throughout the Northern Regions of Australia, the message is clear. Swimming in areas known to be crocodile habitat can be fatal. Estuarine crocs, also known as Saltwater crocodiles or “salties” are Australia’s largest predator.
They inhabit the warmer waters of the North and can be found in salt, brackish or fresh water environments consisting of the ocean, creeks, rivers and estuaries. Particularly fond of areas where food is plentiful and easily obtainable, these living dinosaurs are referred to as ambush predators. Even if the water looks safe, Estuarine crocodiles can hold their breath for hours and can slow their heart beat to around 3 beats per minute. They have sensitive skins, allowing them to detect the tiniest movement and vibrations within the water, and due to the arrangement of their scales and scutes, they can move through the water with barely the smallest disturbance on the surface.
If they are ready for a feed, humans, kangaroo, buffalo, birds, in fact everything is on the menu. They are the epitome of the term opportunistic hunter.
With a body length of around 15cm and a tail twice that length, these beautiful rainforest dragons can certainly reach an impressive size. Their scales can often represent different colours such as yellows and lichen greens to assist with their camouflage technique of resting commonly on vertical tree branches. When sighted by a potential predator they will move slowly to the other side of the tree trunk or branch with a minimum amount of movement to avoid detection. Females will lay their fertilised eggs in shallow depressions in the soil in sunny patches of the rainforest floor and young are completely independent from hatching.
Boyds Forest Dragons consume rainforest fruits as well as invertebrates and insects and tend to favour drinking water as it runs down tree branches with gravity. Their skin is quite delicate and can also absorb a quantity of hydration from external sources such as rain or sitting in a water source.Boyds Forest Dragons consume rainforest fruits as well as invertebrates and insects and tend to favour drinking water as it runs down tree branches with gravity. Their skin is quite delicate and can also absorb a quantity of hydration from external sources such as rain or sitting in a water source.
As their name suggests, these impressive Dragons are found along the east coast of Australia from Victoria to North Queensland, usually not far from permanent water sources. With fossil records dating over 20 million years old that are hardly changed from the water dragons seen today, they are likely Australia’s most primitive dragon species.
They eat a range of foods including carrion, insects, small mammals and birds, and fruits and vegetation. They’re an all-round omnivore and are certainly not fussy!
Pythons Pythons are a group of snakes which are non-venemous, constricting and characteristically have heat sensitive pits (sensitive to within 0.3 degree celsius) to locate potential prey items which are generally warm blooded, such as rodents, marsupials and birds. These snakes can consume huge prey items in comparison to their head size by being capable of separating the non-fused bones in the lower jaw and having small body scales allowing great elasticity of their skin. One group of Python – Aspidities (Black headed Pythons and Woma Pythons) do not have heat sensing pits as they predominantly constrict and consume reptiles!
Python species you can meet or see at the Park – Jungle Carpet, Coastal Carpet, Black-headed, Olive, Water, Scrub (also known as Amethystine).