Creating Bird Habitat

​​​​​​Having native birds in your garden is a delightful experience and very rewarding.  To attract birds to your garden choose plants that provide them with food, shelter, nesting sites and even nesting material. 

Small birds in an Australian garden bird bath

Silvereyes enjoying a good wash photo courtesy Suart Smith

​Food sources

Food sources required by birds include native plant species that provide nectar, insects, seeds and fruit (berries).  Growing a range of these types of food plants will ensure a diversity of bird species visiting or using your garden.

Plants which produce lots of nectar, have many flowers and also provide excellent shelter and protection :
  • Silver Banksia, Banksia marginata
  • Correa species, Epacris species
  • Tasmanian Laurel,  Anopterus glandulosus
  • Climbing Blueberry, Billardiera longiflora
  • Tasmanian Waratah, Telopea truncata
Plants which provide nuts and cones for many bird species such as parrots and Yellow-tailed black cockatoos:
  • Allocasuarina species
  • Banksia species
  • Hakea species
  • Leptospermum species
Plants which provide berries and fruit:
  • Dianella species
  • Billardiera species
  • Coastal Current Leucopogon parviflorus
  • Kangaroo Apple Solanum laciniatum
  • Cheesewood Pittosporum bicolor
  • Mountain Pepper Tasmannia lanceolata
  • Mountain Plumpine Podocarpus lawrencei 

Shelter and nesting sites

Plants with prickly foliage provide excellent protection and safe nesting sites for small birds.  Some good prickly plants are:
  • Spreading wattle Acacia genistifolia
  • Arching wattle Acacia riceana
  • Native currant Coprosma quadrifida
  • Mountain needlebush Hakea lissosperma
  • Yellow spiky bitterpea Daviesia ulicifolia
  • Prickly box Bursaria spinosa 

Other good plants:

Acacia species produce seeds and provide habitat for a diversity of insect species on their flowers, foliage and bark. They also provide sap that is a food source for Sugar gliders and native wasps.

Cutting Grass Gahnia grandis provides large amounts of seed for birds during the autumn and winter months.

Prickly Box Bursaria spinosa attracts Butterflies and many other insects which provide protein for feeding to young, growing birds.

Candles Stackhousia monogyna is a night fragrant small plant that attracts moths that in turn attract bats that in turn attract Tawny frogmouths, owls and quolls.

Plants for birds

Have a diversity of food plants for native birds. Too many nectar-rich plants, such as Grevilleas, will attract larger and aggressive honeyeaters leading to a reduction in smaller bird species.

Birds need safe perch sites where they can look out for predators, look for food sources (such as insects) or decide where they would like to fly to next. Dead branches near the tops of tall shrubs or trees are excellent for this, so consider retaining these in your garden if it is safe to do so.

More information:

The Birds in Backyards web site provides more information on creating bird-friendly spaces.


Illustration by Kris Schaffer