Wildlife of Lockhart River
Kutini-Payamu (Iron Range) National Park is Australia’s largest and most diverse lowland rainforest and acts as an environmental bridge from South East Asia to the Australian Mainland. The Iron Range and McIlwraith Ranges are lush rainforest areas with close affinities to Papua New Guinea in respect to flora and fauna. The rainforest is home to mammals like the Spotted Cuscus and Rufous Spiny Bandicoot. You may also see reptiles such as the amazing Green Tree Python and Australia’s largest snake the Amethystine python, also known as the Scrub Python. Inhabiting the creeks and rivers are also frogs, including the Australian Wood Frog and one we see regularly around Greenhoose is the large White-lipped Tree Frog.
The Iron Range is perhaps most renowned for its unique and diverse birdlife. According to Birdlife Australia, over 200 bird species have been identified in the Iron Range, including the Palm Cockatoo, Magnificent Rifle Bird, Northern Scrub Robin, Eclectus Parrot, Red-bellied Pitta and Southern Cassowary, the last of which the rainforest is named after (Kutini is the Kuuku Ya’u word for the Southern Cassowary). To learn more about birdlife in this fascinating region, visit our Bird Watching page.
The abundance of butterflies is also impressive. Sixty percent of Australia’s butterfly species are found in the Iron Range, including the mesmerizing Ulysses, Cape York Pearl-white and Green-banded Jewel Butterfly.
Marine life also thrives off the coast. Fishing trips can deliver Spanish Mackerel, Nannygai, Golden Trevally, and Red Emperors and if you’re lucky you may see Green Sea Turtles and Humpback Whales along the way. Be aware that Saltwater Crocodiles also inhabit the rivers, beaches and offshore islands. Contact the Park Rangers to hear recent sightings and safety precautions.