Media release

A decade of Rainbows – 10 years of the Aussie Bird Count

Thursday, 14 March 2024

  • Estimated reading time 4 minutes

Announcing the 2023 Aussie Bird Count results

Tens of thousands connecting with nature in Australia’s largest citizen science event

BirdLife Australia, leaders for bird conservation in Australia, today announces the official and certified results of the 10th annual Aussie Bird Count, Australia’s largest citizen science initiative.

From last October, 60,598 Australians across the nation turned their eyes to the sky to tally an astonishing 3,608,545 birds, with the colourful Rainbow Lorikeet continuing to hold the crown.

“Australia has undergone a lot of changes in the past decade, but the results of BirdLife Australia’s 10th Aussie Bird Count show that two things have remained constant in that time Rainbow Lorikeets continue to rule the roost when it comes to counting Australia’s most common birds, and Aussies love to get out and connect with nature in the places where they live,” explains BirdLife Australia spokesperson, Sean Dooley.

When the Aussie Bird Count was first held in 2014, the Rainbow Lorikeet came in as number one by the 9,000 bird counters who took 20 minutes out of their week to do a survey using the Aussie Bird Count app in the places where they lived, worked or played. The second most counted bird was the Noisy Miner, a native honeyeater found in eastern Australia, followed by the Australian Magpie and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo.

Over the next 10 years the number of Aussie Bird Counters grew to 60,000 in 2023. The top four birds remained the same: over the past decade, only one new species has climbed into the top 10 the Australian White Ibis (also disparagingly known as the “Bin Chicken”) at the expense of the maligned introduced Common Myna.

More than 60,000 out for the count

The results of the 2023 Aussie Bird Count reflect a nationwide effort, with people contributing their time and energy into counting what they see above them in every state and territory of Australia.

New South Wales led the count with 1,084,976 birds, followed closely by Victoria with 846,890 and Queensland with 872,204. Inspiring young minds, the event saw 877 schools join the count.

No state was more than Tasmania, it seems. Per capita, people in the island state were the most keen to count birds, followed by the ACT, Northern Territory and Queensland.

While the majority of participants counted birds in their own backyards, surveys came in from across the country including remote places like outback South Australia and offshore territories such as Christmas and Norfolk Islands.

Between us, Australians counted more than 3.6 million birds in the 2023 Aussie Bird Count.

In total, 597 different bird species were recorded during the Aussie Bird Count. Among the top 10 birds observed nationwide were, of course, the vibrant Rainbow Lorikeet in first place followed by the territorial Noisy Miner and iconic Australian Magpie.

Regionally, the top three birds varied across states and territories, showcasing the unique avifauna of each region. Based on the official results, Rainbow Lorikeets dominate the skies in NSW, VIC, QLD, and WA, while the majestic Magpie Goose reigns supreme in the Northern Territory. Each state and territory contributes valuable data to our understanding of bird populations.

BirdLife Australia relies on data to inform priorities and insights from the count help shape its broader Bird Conservation Strategy, aiming to halt bird extinctions by 2032 and overall bird declines by 2050.

Join BirdLife Australia in its mission to protect and conserve Australian birds and the ecosystems they inhabit and find out more about the Aussie Bird Count.


Quotes attributable to Sean Dooley, National Public Affairs Manager at BirdLife Australia:

“While it may seem as nothing much has changed with the birds we are most familiar with, if we had begun the Aussie Bird Count back in the 1950s or even the 1990s, the top 10 would have been quite different.”

“Birds tell us a lot about the environment we live in. In the past, there were few ongoing chances for long-term study of how populations of our most common birds are faring. The Aussie Bird Count has given us the chance to take a snapshot each year to help build a long-term picture. It will be fascinating to see the ranking of the top 10 birds are in the Aussie Bird Count in 10, 20 or 30 years time.”

“One thread linking the most successful birds that have been recorded living in the places where we live, is that they tend to be bolder, more aggressive species with a broad, generalist diet. We are picking up a decline in reporting rates of smaller, more specialist bush birds that were once fairly common garden birds such as Silvereyes, and fairy-wrens.

“The information we are collecting from the Aussie Bird Count is confirming what other research is showing about the challenges facing our native birds.”

Quotes attributable to Kate Millar, CEO of BirdLife Australia:

“My family and I  joined the tens of thousands of other Australians in participating in their first Aussie Bird Count in 2023, and we were excited to count the birds in our neighbourhood. The Aussie Bird Count tells us so much about the birds we share our environments with, but it also tells us something about ourselves. Australians right across the country really love their birds!”

“We’re so proud that the Aussie Bird Count continues to be as popular as it is. It has become the largest citizen science project in Australia and we thank every single person who has added their sightings to the app, it’s truly a community effort.”

“We now have 10 years of data showing us who our most familiar bird neighbours have been over that time. It’s great information that we can also use to investigate other trends about birds to ensure we’re doing all we can to protect Australia’s unique birdlife.”

Media contact: James Johnson, Communications and Media Advisor (0423 659 324 or media@birdlife.org.au) or Sean Dooley, National Public Affairs Manager (0407 789 067)