Local Wildlife

The Karoonda region offers interesting and diverse mallee and semi-arid wildlife habitat. This includes a range of birds, reptiles and marsupials that create an unique and interesting wildlife experience.

This information is courtesy of the Natural Resources SA Murray Darling Basin.

Mallee Emu-wren

Stipiturus mallee

Mallee Emu wren

A tiny wren with a long tail of filamentous feathers that look like emu feathers. The male has a blue face and breast while the female is quite plain. Their call is weak and difficult to hear in windy conditions. Curious in nature, they often perch atop a shrub to look around, but quickly drop to cover if they sense danger. The Mallee Emu-wren, one of Australia’s smallest birds, weighs up to 6.5 grams. It uses its size to great advantage to move quickly through dense shrubs, darting about amongst the very prickly spinifex (Triodia).

Mallee Emu-wrens are thought to have home ranges of 0.5–3 hectares, and are said to be insectivores, but may also eat seeds. In spring they build a domed nest, usually inside a dense clump of spinifex, and lay 3 eggs. PDF Fact Sheet.

Red-lored Whistler

Pachycephala rufogularis


A medium-sized, brownish-grey bird with striking cinnamon colouration on the lores, throat and belly. The male and female are almost identical, though the male is slighly bigger and is often more brightly coloured. The Red-lored Whistler is inconspicuous in its habits and quite difficult to follow through the mallee due to its rapid flight and ventriloquial call. It spends a lot of time on the ground or in low shrubs foraging for beetles, grubs and other insects, as well as plant material such as berries.

This species is poorly known. They tend to be sparsely dispersed throughout the mallee and are capable of long distance movements. They form breeding pairs, but these seem to be fairly loose bonds as the two birds spend little time together and may separate after the breeding season. PDF Fact Sheet.


Leipoa ocellata


Described as the ‘spotted egg-leaver’ by naturalist John Gould in 1840, the Malleefowl is a fascinating bird that inhabits the semi-arid scrubs throughout southern Australia, including the Murray Mallee. They live mainly on the ground and have strong legs for digging and scraping in the soil and litter. The males are a little larger than the females but the sexes are otherwise very similar. Despite their size (bigger than an average chicken) Malleefowl are well camouflaged and rarely seen. They rely on their keen sight and hearing to detect danger and move away, usually on foot, but they are also strong fliers when required. The Malleefowl is known among the local indigenous people as ‘Lowan’. PDF Fact Sheet.

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Proud, Tough, Mallee Heritage