9 Best Native Trees for Birds and Wildlife in Australia

Australia is popular for its iconic wildlife. It is home to a variety of trees, shrubs and other native vegetation that are popular with animals. Planting native trees is a good way to ensure that threatened wildlife have a safe habitat and regular source of food. 

Plant the following native trees to create a wildlife and bird-friendly garden:

1. Blueberry Ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)

Blueberry Ash (Elaeocarpus reticulatus)
David Lochlin/Flickr

Blueberry Ash occurs naturally in coastal areas and rocky ridges. The pink flowers bloom from October to January. They are cup-shaped and nectar-rich, making them attractive to local birds.

They give way to round blue fruits that attract birds such as White Headed Pigeons, Fig birds, Regent Blow birds and Crimson Rosellas. Blueberry Ash can be planted as a specimen tree. Blueberry Ash is low-maintenance and fast-growing

  • Prefers full sunlight or partial shade.
  • Thrives in low-nutrient, moist, well-drained soils. 

2. River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)

River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)
Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr

River Red Gum is a tree that occurs naturally along water sources in Australia. The tree produces white flowers from late spring to mid-summer. It has a short fruiting season of around four months.

Local birds and wildlife feed on the seeds and fruits of the Red Gum tree. It is characterized by dense branches that offer good nesting sites. Propagates by seeds and hardwood cuttings. 

  • Grows well in wet, well-drained clay soils. 
  • Thrive under full sunlight or partial shade. 

3. Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus tricarpa)

Red Ironbark (Eucalyptus tricarpa)
Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr

Red ironbark is a small tree characterized by alternating, green or green-gray foliage. Further, it produces green or creamy flowers, followed by wide, cylindrical fruits. They dry up to become brown or grey seeds that a favorite food for birds.

It is also ideal for building nests for local birds. The trees are a haven for small animals providing shelter from tough weather conditions and plenty of twigs and broken branches for nest building. The trees are relatively low maintenance and tolerant of dry conditions. 

  • Grows well in poor, moist, well-drained soils.
  • Thrives under full sunlight or partial shade. 

4. Tallow wood (Eucalyptus microcorys)

Tallow wood (Eucalyptus microcorys)
Harry Rose/Flickr

Tallow wood is a medium-sized tree occurring in coastal areas of New South Wales and Queensland. It is characterized by a red-brown rough bark which distinguishes it from other Eucalyptus species.

The tree produces glossy green leaves. It has clusters of white flowers that bloom in late spring and early summer. They are followed by fruits and yellow-brown seeds. Tallow wood attracts birds and other local animals to your backyard. It also offers a good location for local birds to build their nests. 

  • Grows well in moist, well-drained soils.
  • Prefers full sunlight or partial shade. 

5. Wattle (Acacia spp.)

Wattle (Acacia spp.)
Julia Gross/Flickr

Wattle is a fast-growing tree native to Australia. It is characterized by beautiful yellow flower balls. There are over 1,000 species of wattle in Australia. They provide food, shelter and habitat for native birds.

The flowers are rich in nectar and pollen and thus attract bees and other pollinators. Once established, they are relatively low maintenance. The most common wattle species grown in Australia are Black Wattle (Acacia mearnsii), Cedar Wattle (Acacia elata), Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), Blackwood wattle (Acacia melanoxylon) and Dwarf Wattle (Acacia cognata). 

  • Grows best in moist, well-drained soils. They are drought tolerant once established. 
  • Thrives under full sunlight or partial shade. 

6. Banksia (Banksia spp.)

Banksia (Banksia spp.)
Dushan Hanuska/Flickr

There are around 173 Banksia varieties native to Australia. They occur naturally in coastal areas, rainforests and some arid regions of the continent. Its most recognizable features are serrated leaves and greenish-white, yellow or orange-red flower heads.

The flowers are nectar-rich and attract bees, butterflies and birds to your landscape. Banksia flowers dry up and transform into woody cone which is eaten by local birds. The tree propagates through seeds. The most common Banksia species in Australia are Silver Banksia, Coastal Banksia and Saw Banksia.

  • Thrives under full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Grows well in moist, well-drained, slightly acidic, sandy soils. 

7. Black She Oak (Allocasuarina littoralis)

Black She Oak (Allocasuarina littoralis)
John Tann/Flickr

Black She Oak is a tough and fast-growing medium-sized tree naturalized to coastal areas in Australia. It can be identified by its needle-like leaves and showy red flowers that bloom in the spring. The flowers are replaced by seeds which are a favorite food for local birds. An evergreen perennial, it is an excellent tree for roadside plantings, and for windbreaks. 

  • Thrives under full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Grows well in dry, well-drained, acidic, neutral or alkaline soils. 

8. Illawarra Plum Tree/Goongum/Daalgaal (Podocarpus elatus)

Illawarra Plum Tree/Goongum/Daalgaal (Podocarpus elatus)
Rosita Choque/Flickr

The Illawarra plum is a slow-growing tree native to Australia’s rainforest and coastal areas. It takes around 8-10 years for the plant to reach the mature height of 8-12m. The tree produces single seeds attached to modified stalks.

The plum fruits begin appearing at around 3-5 years after planting. The plant is dioecious, with clusters of small green-white flowers that bloom in the summer. Propagates by seeds and stem cuttings. 

  • Thrives in full sunlight or partial shade. 
  • Grows well in moist, non-alkaline, well-drained soils. 

9. Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta)

Silky Oak (Grevillea robusta)
Tatters ✾/Flickr

Silky Oak can be identified by its dark grey bark, dark green lobed leaves and golden-orange flowers. The wood is high quality and used to make cabinets. The flowers bloom in the spring or summer and attract pollinators to your garden. The tree attracts local wildlife. Thrives under full sunlight or partial shade.

  • Grows well in dry, well-drained, acidic to alkaline soils. 

In conclusion, most native trees to Australia are drought tolerant. There are many species suitable for your garden and so you can choose the best that fits your wildlife and space needs. Care for the trees as they grow and enjoy the views and animals that will frequent your garden.