Best Australian Native Habitat Plants for Birds

Best Australian Native Habitat Plants for Birds


Australia is home to a rich variety of bird species, many of which depend heavily on native plants for their survival. These plants provide essential food sources and shelter for birds, and also play a crucial role in maintaining the health of our ecosystems.

This article will delve into the importance of habitat plants for birds, how to choose the right native plants for your area, and finally, we’ll introduce some top Australian native habitat plants for birds.

  1. This eastern rosella has made their home in a eucalypt tree hollow.

Best Plants for Birds

  1. The Role of Native Plants in Bird Conservation
  2. Importance of Native Plants for Birds

Native plants form an integral part of the diet for many bird species, providing them with seeds, nectar, fruit, and insects.

Moreover, they offer vital nesting sites and protection from predators. These plants are not just food and shelter providers; they are key components of the ecosystems in which birds thrive.

With that being said, exotic plants can help meet the needs of native birds, too. It all depends on the variety of the plant, and the species of the bird.

  1. Impact of Non-native Plants

Some non-native plants can have a detrimental impact on bird populations. They may not provide suitable food or nesting habitats, leading to decreased bird diversity and abundance. Other non-native plants provide plenty of food and habitat for native birds, and that’s the reason that they outcompete our native plants and dominate an ecosystem.

Environmental weeds degrade habitats to the detriment of our native birds. But exotic plants can still provide habitat and food for native plants in our gardens. Keep in mind that ecology is a complex subject.

Choosing the Right Native Plants for Your Area

Understanding Your Local Climate and Soil Conditions

Australia’s diverse climate and soil conditions influence the types of native plants that can thrive in different areas. To make things more complicated, modern breeding allows us to use plants in conditions that they wouldn’t typically be able to tolerate.

It’s important to select plants adapted to your garden’s conditions for successful growth to attract native birdlife.

Considering Bird Species in Your Area

Different bird species have different plant preferences. By understanding what birds are native to your area, you can select plants that will attract and support them.

For instance, many parrots and honeyeaters are attracted to nectar-producing plants like grevilleas, with parrots also feeding on the seeds.

Meanwhile, some birds like rainbow lorikeets like to build habitat in tree hollows, other birds prefer to build nests in a thicket of strappy lomandra or grass leaves. Having lots of hidey holes for smaller birds to avoid predators will attract them, especially when they can use spiky branches as protection.

By planting diversely, you can help provide habitat for a range of birds.

Top Australian Native Habitat Plants for Birds

Let’s explore some of the best native plants that you can include in your garden to attract and support local birdlife.

Diverse Native Habitat Plants for Birds

Ground Covers

Ground covers, such as lawns, other small grasses, short flowering plants, and even mulch or leaves offer a grazing ground for certain birds like magpies and plovers. They provide insects, seeds, and other food sources, while also serving as a habitat for ground-dwelling birds like scrub turkeys.

Strappy Plants

Strappy plants, with their long, strap-like leaves, are another excellent addition to a bird-friendly garden. When they’re growing in a thicket, birds love to hide and build nests in them.

i. Dianella spp.

Dianella, or flax lilies, produce berries that many bird species enjoy. They thrive in various conditions, from full sun to part shade.

ii. Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos spp.)

Kangaroo Paws bear tubular flowers, offering nectar for birds, particularly honeyeaters. They prefer sandy soils and full sun.

iii. Lomandra spp.

Lomandras provide excellent shelter for small birds. While they’re not a primary food source, their dense growth and spiky inflorescences offer protection from predators.

c. Shrubs

Shrubs can offer both food and shelter for birds, who like to hide within the thicket of branches. Spiky branches are particularly desirable for some birds.

i. Grevillea spp.

Grevilleas attract a host of nectar-feeding birds with their spectacular flowers. They are hardy plants that can tolerate a range of soil types as long as phosphorous levels stay relatively low.

ii. Hakea spp.

Hakeas are native shrubs that produce seed pods, which are a food source for birds like cockatoos. They also provide excellent shelter and prefer low phosphorous levels.

iii. Melaleuca and Callistemon spp.

Melaleucas and callistemons are closely-related, versatile shrubs that offer shelter and seed-based food for birds. They can grow in a variety of conditions, sometimes including wet feet.

  1. This red wattlebird is just chillin’ on a callistemon branch.

Best Australian Native Habitat Plants for Birds

iv. Westringia spp.

Westringias, or native rosemary, are hardy shrubs that provide dense shelter for birds, creating a safe space for nesting and refuge.

d. Climbers

Climbing plants can provide shelter and food while also adding vertical interest to your garden. They provide habitat when they climb up trees, structures, or trellises once they become thick enough for birds and other fauna to hide within.

i. Hardenbergia spp.

Hardenbergias bear pea-like flowers that provide nectar for birds. They’re vigorous climbers that can cover fences or trellises.

ii. Pandorea spp.

Pandorea vines produce bell-shaped flowers that may attract nectar-feeding birds. They’re fast-growing climbers suitable for covering pergolas or screens.

iii. Kennedia spp.

Kennedias are vigorous climbers that offer nectar-rich flowers, attracting various bird species.

iv. Hibbertia spp.

Hibbertias, or guinea flowers, are climbing or sprawling plants that produce bright yellow flowers. They can provide shelter and food for small insectivorous birds.

e. Trees

Trees of different heights, from compact dwarf trees to tall ones, can offer a variety of habitats for birds.

Some birds build their nests in tree hollows. Others use the ladder of branches to provide safety when climbing up or down layers within your garden.

i. Eucalyptus, Corymbia & Angophora spp.

Eucalypts provide both food and nesting sites for a range of bird species. They come in a range of sizes, from small mallees to giant trees.

ii. Alloxylon spp.

Alloxylon, or tree waratahs, are trees that produce large, attractive flowers. They can attract nectar-feeding birds and provide shelter with their branches.

iii. Waterhousea spp.

Waterhouseas, or weeping lilly pilly, are evergreen trees that can provide dense shelter and berries as a food source for birds. They can grow taller than 8m.

Balancing Food Abundance and Peaceful Nesting Sites

While abundant food sources like nectar-rich flowers can attract a variety of birds, they can also make the habitat noisy and busy. Some birds appreciate quieter, less frequented spaces.

To create a balanced habitat, consider incorporating plants that aren’t big pollinator buffets. These plants may not attract large numbers of birds but can provide peaceful nesting sites. For example, plants like lomandras offer excellent shelter without attracting a crowd, while many callistemons only flower prolifically through spring.

By offering a mix of food-rich and quiet plants, your garden can cater to a wider range of bird species, contributing to greater biodiversity and a balanced ecosystem.

The Benefits of a Bird-Friendly Garden

A bird-friendly garden not only contributes to bird conservation but also adds beauty and interest to your landscape. The presence of birds can help control pests, pollinate your plants, and provide endless enjoyment from their songs and antics. To maintain a bird-friendly garden, ensure a continuous supply of food, water, and shelter, and avoid using pesticides that may harm birds or the vertebrates and invertebrates they feed on.


Native habitat plants play a pivotal role in supporting Australia’s diverse birdlife. By choosing native plants suited to your local conditions and bird species, you can contribute to bird conservation and enjoy the benefits of a vibrant, bird-friendly garden.

We hope this article inspires you to incorporate more native plants into your landscape and help our feathered friends thrive.


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