The Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL) is a world class birdwatching destination. Twitchers from around the world are drawn to this remote wilderness area, which is a refuge for a wide array of species, some of which are only found here and in Papua New Guinea. Where can you see the birds? Well, many are easily seen from Portland House which is convenient for guests. Other Iron Range birdwatching locations are roadside amongst the rainforest, at Chili Beach and in the mangrove areas. What are some of the key species to watch for? Undoubtedly the Red-bellied Pittas are highly sought-after by birdwatchers, but other stars include the Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrots and Magnificent Riflebird. You can self-guide birdwatching here or book a guided birding tour. More information on this and the birdwatching seasons is below. Many thanks to Laurie Ross of Tracks Birding and Photography Tours for allowing us to use his video and photos, taken in the Iron Range National Park on one of his guided birdwatching tours, on this website.


The Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park (CYPAL) is home to several species of birds, such as Eclectus Parrots, Red-cheeked Parrots, Yellow-billed Kingfishers and Red-bellied Pittas that are only found on Cape York and in New Guinea. Other species that have been seen and recorded here include but are not limited to the Yellow-legged Flycatcher, the Black-winged and Frilled Monarch, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Fawn-breasted Bowerbird, Rose-crowned Fruit-dove, Mangrove Robin and many, many more. One of Australia’s leading bird finders and photographers, Laurie Ross, has been bringing guests to the Iron Range National Park, Lockhart River and Portland Roads on birdwatching tours for many years.

Laurie has kindly allowed us to feature his video, showing highlights from one of his Tracks Birding and Photography tours on this website. Obviously not everyone will see or experience this in person, but guides such as Laurie can certainly provide you the very best opportunity to do so. Iron Range birdwatching is accessible to all visitors, but only the most patient will be rewarded. More information on the bird species you may see at Portland Roads, Iron Range and Chili Beach are provided on the Portland House website.

Iron Range Birdwatching SEASONS & PACKAGES

When is the best time for birdwatching in the Iron Range? Well, due to the variety of terrain, vegetation and migratory nature of some birds, there is excellent birdwatching all year round. However, for those chasing the most elusive and exotic birds in Australia – the Red-bellied Pitta – you need to visit during the ‘wet season’, between December and March. Often the roads are closed at this time, due to the annual monsoonal deluge. But Portland Roads and Iron Range can still be accessed, flying in and out of Cairns to Lockhart River on Skytrans.

The folks at Portland House have developed a Fly/Drive package in conjunction with Skytrans. These trips include return Skytrans flights, accommodation at Portland House and the use of a Toyota Landcruiser GXL 4WD during your stay. For best rates and a tailored Iron Range birdwatching travel package, please contact Greg and Sheree at Portland House on (07) 4060 7193 or email

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