The Birds and Plant Life of the Kakadu Wetlands

Kakadu Wetlands

The Kakadu Wetlands is Australia’s largest national park and covers an area of over 20,000 square kilometres. The world heritage listed site is brimming with over a third of Australia’s bird species and 2,000 plant types. It’s the perfect holiday for nature lovers who have a keen interest in wildlife spotting in the diverse ecological system that is the Kakadu National Park. The park belongs to the traditional owners of the land, the Bininj and the Mungguy people but is managed in partnership with Parks Australia to ensure that the land is being respected. Whilst Kakadu is open all year round, the best time to visit is dry season from May to October, as the wet season brings tropical thunderstorms and most attractions are otherwise closed.

History of the Binij and Mungguy People in Kakadu

For over 65,000 years, Kakadu National Park has been called home by the Bininj people in the north and the Mungguy in the south. Today they work in collaboration with Parks Australia to keep alive an integral part of their culture; the conservation of the land. Through one generation to the next, their children are taught about the deep spiritual connection they have with the land, something that they also teach visitors when they come to Kakadu. Here they will tell you the Dreamtime stories, teach you how to basket weave and explain the symbolism of the ancient Rock art.

Plant Life

There are over 2,000 plant life species in Kakadu which has been used by the local Bininj and Mungguy people for thousands of years. There were many uses for the plants for both dietary and medicinal purposes, and there are some that are quite commonly found today. A certain strand of the Pandanus species; screw palm, is the most frequently used. One of its main uses is by using the leaves to weave baskets, however, it is also used to treat stomach pains or toothaches. Speargrass is also a common plant found in the region, a tall spear shaped grass that can grow up to two metres long. There are also many fruit-based plants like the Kakadu plum and the red bush apple which the Bininj and Mungguy people use as a food source.

Birds

Bird spotting in the Kakadu National Park is extremely popular and the area has been named by Australian Geographic as the number one bird spotting location in Australia. There are around 280 species of birds in Kakadu, which amounts to about a third of all bird species in the country. Throughout the park, you’ll come across bird watching platforms where you can spot the Jacana, Egrets, and Jabiru that waddle around the billabongs. In the sky, birds of prey circle the land above in search of their next feed, whilst the water birds like the magpie geese migrate to wet grasslands in mass congregations.

Check out our Kakadu Day Tour from Darwin today!

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