We are delighted to host here at Highfield the most incredible bird diversity. As at November 2019, we have identified 129 different bird species here, many of which are threatened species. [Update 10/11/19 – Black-eared cuckoo – 130. Update 11/11/19 – Dusky Moorhen sighted – 131]

A spot of bird watching near the EcoNest site

A spot of bird watching near the EcoNest site

The bird diversity found here is due to the habitat found on Highfield Farm. Two-thirds of Highfield protects critically endangered Box Gum Grassy Woodland – a habitat that is now largely cleared from the western slopes of the Great Divide from Queensland, through NSW to Victoria. Highfield is also bounded on two sides by Ellerslie Nature Reserve – a small reserve that hosts similar habitats.

Some of the greatest bird diversity can be seen where the edges of different habitats are found – where the forest meets woodland meets grassland. Areas of particular abundance can be found near the farmhouse and near the Kestrel Nest EcoHut site.

What we do in our paddocks also adds to a good habitat for bird diversity.  Here are some of the things we do or don’t do:

  • don’t use any pesticides
  • leave mistletoe in the trees (studies have shown that removing mistletoe reduces biodiversity)
  • leave standing dead trees for nesting hollows
  • fence off endangered ecological communities such as carex sedgelands – a special habitat for quail and cisticola
  • leave fallen wood on the ground to act as perches for birds that pounce on insects
  • plant paddock trees as stepping stones for birds to move across the paddocks

White-browed Woodswallow nest

White-browed Woodswallow nest


Here is a complete list of the birds we have so far identified at Highfield Farm and Woodland and their vulnerability status. Those in Bold type are classified as ‘vulnerable’ in NSW. The one in Bold Italics is classified as ‘critically endangered’.

  • Australasian Grebe
  • Gang-gang Cockatoo
  • Silvereye
  • Australasian Pipit
  • Golden Whistler
  • Southern Boobook
  • Australian Hobby
  • Golden-headed Cisticola
  • Speckled Warbler
  • Australian King-Parrot
  • Great Cormorant
  • Spotted Pardalote
  • Australian Magpie
  • Grey Fantail
  • Straw-necked Ibis
  • Australian Owlet-nightjar
  • Grey Shrike-thrush
  • Striated Pardalote
  • Australian Pelican
  • Hardhead
  • Striated Thornbill
  • Australian Raven
  • Hooded Robin
  • Striped Honeyeater
  • Australian White Ibis
  • Horsfield’s Bronze-Cuckoo
  • Sulphur-crested Cockatoo
  • Australian Wood Duck
  • House Sparrow
  • Superb Fairy-wren
  • Barking Owl
  • Jacky Winter
  • Tawny Frogmouth
  • Black Kite
  • Laughing Kookaburra
  • Tree Martin
  • Black-chinned Honeyeater
  • Leaden Flycatcher
  • Turquoise Parrot
  • Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike
  • Little Corella
  • Varied Sittella
  • Black-fronted Dotterel
  • Little Eagle
  • Wedge-tailed Eagle
  • Black-shouldered Kite
  • Little Friarbird
  • Weebill
  • Blue-faced Honeyeater
  • Little Lorikeet
  • Welcome Swallow
  • Brown Falcon
  • Little Pied Cormorant
  • Western Gerygone
  • Brown Quail
  • Magpie-lark
  • Whistling Kite
  • Brown Songlark
  • Masked Lapwing
  • White-backed Swallow
  • Brown Treecreeper
  • Masked Woodswallow
  • White-bellied Sea-Eagle
  • Brown-headed Honeyeater
  • Mistletoebird
  • White-browed Babbler
  • Buff-rumped Thornbill
  • Nankeen Kestrel
  • White-browed Scrubwren
  • Collared Sparrowhawk
  • Noisy Friarbird
  • White-browed Woodswallow
  • Common Blackbird
  • Olive-backed Oriole
  • White-eared Honeyeater
  • Common Bronzewing
  • Pacific Black Duck
  • White-faced Heron
  • Common Starling
  • Pallid Cuckoo
  • White-fronted Chat
  • Crested Pigeon
  • Peaceful Dove
  • White-naped Honeyeater
  • Crested Shrike-tit
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • White-necked Heron
  • Crimson Chat
  • Pied Butcherbird
  • White-plumed Honeyeater
  • Crimson Rosella
  • Pied Currawong
  • White-throated Gerygone
  • Diamond Firetail
  • Rainbow Bee-eater
  • White-throated Needletail
  • Dollarbird
  • Red Wattlebird
  • White-throated Treecreeper
  • Double-barred Finch
  • Red-browed Finch
  • White-winged Chough
  • Dusky Woodswallow
  • Red-capped Robin
  • White-winged Triller
  • Eastern Rosella
  • Red-rumped Parrot
  • Willie Wagtail
  • Eastern Spinebill
  • Regent Honeyeater
  • Yellow Thornbill
  • Eastern Yellow Robin
  • Restless Flycatcher
  • Yellow-billed Spoonbill
  • European Goldfinch
  • Rose Robin
  • Yellow-faced Honeyeater
  • Fairy Martin
  • Yellow-rumped Thornbill
  • Fan-tailed Cuckoo
  • Rufous Whistler
  • Yellow-tufted Honeyeater
  • Flame Robin
  • Sacred Kingfisher
  • Fuscous Honeyeater
  • Satin Bowerbird
  • Galah
  • Scarlet Robin

Double-bared Finch

Double-bared Finch


Farming towards an ethical egg

Early in our time here at Highfield, we decided if we were going to eat eggs, we wanted to raise our own. We set about learning how to raise hens for eggs, and we were quite quickly appalled by the established practices. I’m not talking about battery cages here or...

Our Farm Philosophy

In an earlier blog post we outlined some of our Guiding Principles. While that is a very helpful document, we decided we needed to go further and outline a set of Acknowledgements and Farm Rules - our Farm Philosophy if you like - the principles we could always come...

Wort Work – Eradicating the Weed Naturally

St John's Wort is by far the most prevalent weed on Highfield. Introduced from Europe, Asia and North Africa, it was brought to Australia in 1875 as a garden plant and for use in herbal medicine. St John's Wort has become a severe weed in parts of NSW. A perennial...

Ancient Paddock Trees and Succession Planning

When you look at an ancient paddock tree you are looking at a tree that will most likely be dead in 40 years’ time taking with it its important role in the ecosystem and a whole raft of biodiversity.

Guiding Principles

Many ask us if we are Regenerative Farmers. We find this problematic because, from experience, when we answer, “yes”, we often get the response, “oh good”, and that’s the end of the conversation. Many wait to here the ‘R’ word and then stop listening.

Restoring Native Grasses – Kangaroo Grass

We take seriously our obligation to protect, enhance and restore the important natural biodiversity that remains – not just in our conservation area but in our grazing paddocks as well.

Talking Grazing: Sheep and Paddock Rotation

People ask us how often we move our sheep – the answer is not a simple one.

What We’ve Learned About Thistles

TYPES OF THISTLES During the first couple of years at Highfield, we learned a lot about thistles - we had to, there were just so many of them. “Are there different types of thistles?”, I hear you ask. “Aren’t they all just Scotch Thistles?” Ah, no is the short answer....

Revegetating Sheep Camp Hill

Sheep Camp Hill grew nothing, nothing – it was too poisoned even for weeds.

Where is Your Herb Spiral? Don’t Label Us Permaculture

PLEASE DON'T LABEL US I like Permaculture. I really do. I bought and read the manuals written by Mollison and Holmgren back in the 70s when they came out (showing my age…). I read them and dreamed of the day I would have a patch of land. I liked the drawings and the...

Farming with Habitat – Wombats

Our visitor asked if we had any wombats. My reply was “loads of them!”  “Do you mind them being here?”, she asked carefully not knowing what response she might get. 

Farming With Habitat – Carex Sedgelands

Carex isn’t loved around here, on the farms of the Snowy. It’s missing from most farms landscapes now. In fact it’s so uncommon that it is now considered an endangered ecological community.







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