Best time to travel to Northern Territory

Budgie Tornado in Northern Territory

A rare spectacle of thousands of budgies flocking in huge swarms

Best time: November–February

Budgie Tornado
Budgie Tornado
Budgie Tornado
Budgie Tornado
Budgie Tornado
Budgie Tornado

In a dry place like Northern Territory of Australia, these small nomadic birds flock around water sources and places with access to food. Usually, they can be seen in groups of about 200 species, but sometimes they tend to gather in huge swarms that reach hundreds of thousands.

That happens in Australia's Alice Springs when a flock finds a water source every day at sunrise and sunset. Huge numbers of budgies, trilling at the same time and flying all over, create different shapes trying to get their sip of water.

There's one sad thing about this magical spectacle: there are predators that hunt budgies especially during gatherings like this. Although scientists think that little green birds are trying to protect themselves by flocking in big numbers, predators like falcons still manage to catch some. So be prepared to see not only happy little budgies, but also cruel and hungry falcons hunting them.

Practical info

When is the best time to see the budgie tornado in Northern Territory?

Witnessing the budgie tornado in Northern Territory is ideal from November to February, the rainy season. Budgies gather around water sources during this season, but the tornado's appearance depends on various factors, such as weather conditions and water sources, and isn't guaranteed. Show more

Where in Northern Territory can I witness the budgie tornado phenomenon?

Alice Springs is a popular location to witness the budgie tornado phenomenon. However, the barkly tablelands and the Kimberly region also offer excellent chances of witnessing the little bird's spectacle. In Northern Territory, the budgies typically gather in areas with accessible food and water sources. Show more

How many budgies gather in the huge swarms during the tornado?

Hundreds of thousands of budgies gather in the huge swarms during the tornado phenomenon. The number depends on factors such as weather conditions, the size of the gathering water source, and access to food. Budgies feed and gather around water sources in the early morning and evening, making it easier to witness the beautiful migration during these times. Show more

What kind of predators hunt the little budgies during the tornado gathering?

The most common predators hunting the budgies during the tornado gathering are falcons. Though hawks and eagles can also pose a threat. The predatory birds usually target the weaker and younger birds, making an easy catch. However, the budgies have developed a keen sense of alertness to avoid becoming the predator's dinner, keeping them on their toes during the tornado migration. Show more

Can I take a guided tour to see the budgie tornado and learn more?

Yes, guided tours to witness budgie tornado phenomenon are available. Experienced guides usually lead them, showing the best locations and times to catch the phenomenon. The tours can also provide valuable information, including budgie behavior, predators, and history. For a more thorough tour, camping options are available, allowing more time to explore the area and discover other wildlife species. Show more

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