Have you seen this species?

Have you seen any of these birds, butterflies or mammals lately?

We need your help to find out more about where these animals live, so we can work out how and where to aim our efforts to care for their habitats as part of a council-wide Ecological Linkages Study.

Ten ‘flagship’ species have been chosen as indicators of ecosystem health after reviewing all flora and fauna data available for the last 10 years. These animals are all threatened with extinction but can still be found in this region. They have different habitat needs, distributions, behaviours and threats which are also representative of other animal species that live here. We hope that by looking after their habitat needs, we will also protect the habitats of other species.

Please tell us if you’ve spotted these animals to help:

  • assess the health of local ecosystems
  • identify priority habitat and wildlife corridors
  • inform the creation of a mapping tool to identify priority areas for a connected and functional conservation network.


 Species Poster More information

Sacred Kingfisher

Todiramphus sanctus

Sacred-kingfisher poster(PDF, 827KB)

This beautiful bird is closely related to the kookaburra but is smaller and more colourful. While it heads north for winter, it can sometimes be seen along creeks during spring and summer where it breeds in old tree hollows. You may see them perched in high tree branches looking for frogs, lizards, insects and mice.

For more information please visit Birds in Backyards.


Hydromys chrysogaster

Rakali poster(PDF, 1MB)

Sometimes referred to as an Australian otter because it’s quite big, with a thick tail and partly webbed feet which it uses for swimming. It lives near permanent freshwater such as rivers, lakes, wetlands, estuaries or even along the coast.

It’s been spotted along the Sturt River, upper Onkaparinga River, Scott Creek Conservation Park and around Happy Valley.

For more information, please visit Australian Platypus Conservancy website which includes a Rakali section.


Southern Brown Bandicoot

Isoodon obesulus

Southern-brown-bandicoot poster(PDF, 870KB)

This nocturnal marsupial may be found in eucalypt forest and woodland habitats with dense understorey vegetation. In this council region we are lucky to have a few populations around Coromandel Valley, Clarendon, Kangarilla and Cherry Gardens.

For more information visit the Bandicoot Superhighway project.


Black-chinned Honeyeater

Melithreptus gularis

Black-chinned-honeyeater poster(PDF, 887KB)

This bird may be seen around open eucalypt forests, woodlands, tree-lined watercourses and occasionally backyards.

There haven’t been many observations but it has been spotted along sections of Christie Creek and its tributaries between Happy Valley and Christies Beach as well as parts of Port Noarlunga, Dorset Vale and Port Willunga.

For more information visit the Birds in Backyards website. 


Tachyglossus aculeatus

Echidna poster(PDF, 894KB)

Echidnas can be found in any habitat as long as there is good ground-level vegetation cover, logs and rocks which also provide habitat for their preferred food of ants and termites. They might be common in our council area but they're rarely seen and we would like to know more about their distribution.

Please report your sightings to us or visit EchidnaCSI - Echidna Conservation Science Initiative. The University of Adelaide is supporting this project with lots of information available.


Red-browed finch

Neochmia temporalis

Red-browed-finch poster(PDF, 2MB)

These small finches can be found across the council region wherever open grasslands exist near areas of dense understorey vegetation. Therefore you might be able to spot them in urban areas that still have some bushland nearby, such as along our watercourses.

For more information visit the Birds in Backyards website.

Elegant parrot

Neophema elegans

Elegant-parrot poster(PDF, 825KB)

This medium parrot has been spotted in groups along the Onkaparinga River, Field River, Aldinga Scrub, Blewitt Springs, Coromandel Valley, Cherry Gardens, Dorset Vale, Kuitpo Forest and Kangarilla. It prefers open habitats and may be seen foraging on the ground for seeds, fruits or insects. If disturbed, they will fly up high.

For more information visit the Birds in Backyards website.

Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo

Zanda funerea

Yellow-tailed-black-cockatoo poster(PDF, 776KB)

It’s hard to miss the presence of this beautiful bird due to its loud calls and gathering in large groups. It’s been observed across most of this region but we would like to know more about what it is doing including what it's eating and how many birds there are. Collecting more data about our birdlife can help make important decisions to protect their habitat.   

For more information visit the Birds in Backyards website.

Chequered Swallowtail

Papilio demoleus

Chequered-swallowtail-butterfly poster(PDF, 1MB)

This large butterfly is uncommon but will visit our region on its spring to autumn migratory flight from tropical areas. It will breed here if it finds food for it's caterpillars which include a variety of scurf-peas or cullen species.

If you want to learn to identify this butterfly species by its caterpillars or eggs, please visit Butterfly Conservation SA for more information.


Common Brown

Heteronympha merope merope

Common-brown-butterfly poster(PDF, 1MB)

This pretty butterfly should be commonly seen in the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region as long as it can find the right environment to breed in. It needs open areas with native or introduced long grasses, some shady trees and a lot of different flowering plants for nectar.  

For more information visit Butterfly Conservation SA.


Reporting your observations

If you have recently spotted any of these species, and can tell us where and when, please get in touch. Photos and GPS locations would be great, but we appreciate that it’s not always possible. If you can report your observation through one of the free online public citizen science platforms, that’s even better. We will be able to access that data and use it to help guide future nature conservation work.  

To report a recent observation of one of these 10 species, contact:

Nikola Manos, Nature Conservation Project Officer
Email: mail@onkaparinga.sa.gov.au
Phone: 8384 0666

Or submit the form below.

Click here to view form.

What’s next?

All wildlife and native vegetation data, including your observations, will be used to create a mapping tool that will help identify critical wildlife habitat linkages and a viable conservation network. The Ecological Linkages Study will be shared with the community to provide ideas, and act as a tool to guide decisions and prioritise ecosystem restoration and conservation activities.  

What is an Ecological Linkages study?

Ecological Linkages are sometimes called wildlife corridors. It’s when two or more larger blocks of habitat, that are otherwise isolated, are connected through buffers, corridors or stepping-stones. In built up areas those larger blocks of habitat may not have much value on their own because they can’t function properly as an ecosystem. The connections may include patches of native vegetation or individual trees, non-native species, formal parks or even your own garden. The Ecological Linkages Study will identify where and how we can improve our ecological restoration and conservation efforts to address biodiversity loss and ecosystem function.

Would you like to find out what species need protecting in your suburb and what you can do to help them?

The Ecological Linkages Study will be made available to everyone and can be used to inspire conservation actions in our region, no matter how large or small the land that you care for is.