Kakadu’s Angbangbang Billabong

Angbangbang Billabong (eBird Barcharts, official site) in Kakadu National Park (Darwin, NT, AU), is not as flashy as the Yellow Water Cruise or Fogg Dam just east of Darwin. However, it has some advantages over those places and you just can’t go to Kakadu without also checking out Angbangbang Billabong. It even has some birdwatching advantages over Fogg Dam.

Magpie Goose (Anseranas semipalmata), the only bird called “Goose” not in the Anatidae family

What is Angbangbang Billabong? It is a mini-lake surrounded by a small 2.5km trail that would take about twenty minutes to complete. I suggest taking longer, soaking up the cool stuff you can see here. As anyone who has lived in Australia knows, if you go to any place in a hot dry climate and find one of those rare places with water, you’ll find birds. This is even more so in the north in the dry season, because these small ephemeral pools are drying up and birds just go crazy for them. They won’t fly away and just sit there, eating or cooling off. With that being said, things are quite different during the wet season, where the birds are more dispersed. So, come here during the dry season.

Little Corellas (Cacatua sanguinea) sitting on the drying mud, trying to cool off in the heat of the Northern Territory

Now, one of the cool parts of Angbangbang Billabong is that it is a pond with both waterbirds like ducks and egrets, and it is surrounded by a more forested region, so you’re bound to see both kinds of birds. As with all places in Kakadu, I recommend early mornings or evenings, both for the forest birds and for your sanity (otherwise you’ll just be sweating an uncomfortable). The waterbirds will probably be there at any time.

A Royal Spoonbill (Platalea regia) waves its big spatulate bill back and forth to find food

We had already gone to Fogg Dam and Yellow Water by this point, so I don’t believe we saw any new species here. However, we did get better views of many species we had seen before, and this means better photographic opportunities and just pure enjoyment of watching these cool birds.

Little Black Cormorants (Phalacrocorax sulcirostris) and Little Pied Cormorants (Microcarbo melanoleucos) rest in a tree

We saw birds like plumed Whistling Duck, Magpie Goose, and Great Egret all by the edge of the water. There were Australian Ibises and Spoonbills feeding and Little Corellas in the trees. The Comb-crested Jacana made an appearance as well as the Magpie-Lark, Radjah Shelduck, and of course the Masked Lapwing. The forest birds we saw were Leaden Flycatcher and Rufous Whistler. I’m sure we could have seen more but it was getting quite hot!

Plumed Whistling Ducks (Dendrocygna eytoni) lookin’ good

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