Tips for attracting native birds to Sydney gardens - National Tree Day Blog

Tips for attracting native birds to Sydney gardens


Sydney is home to approximately 365 species of native birds. Some of the familiar native birds of Greater Sydney include lorikeets, kookaburras, magpies, king parrots, eastern rosellas, galahs, superb fairy wrens and tawny frogmouths.

Birds can increase the health of gardens and as well as bring therapeutic benefits for people. Research shows the soothing sound of birdsong can help improve our mental health.

If you don’t have a garden, you can create a habitat for birds in pots on a balcony. Planting native trees in your area will benefit our feathered friends and help make your community a greener, cooler and more beautiful place to live. If you register your tree you will also help Sydney reach its target of planting 1 million trees by the end of the year. This initiative is part of the NSW Government’s Greening our City Premier’s Priority which aims to combat the urban heat island effect by increasing green cover across Greater Sydney. Make your tree count by registering it here – counting your tree will help track the data across Greater Sydney suburbs so we can create a more liveable future for everyone. 

When selecting native plants, it’s important to match them to the conditions in your garden. Consider the needs of the birds and what each species will bring. Smaller shrubs and ground cover are important for encouraging birds into gardens, as well as a constant water source such as a pond or bird bath.  

Bird-attracting plants native to the Greater Sydney region  

1. Hakea seicea (Silky Hakea or Needlebush) 

  • Large shrub  

  • Dense, prickly foliage provides great shelter and habitat for small birds 

  • Produces lots of flowers in winter (pale, cream colour, sweet scent) 

  • Drought resistant   

2. Banksia integrifolia (Coast Banksia) 

  • Tree can grow 5-25m (depending on location), generally to 6m in exposed coastal areas 

  • Flowers produce lots of sweet nectar for nectar-feeders (such as honeyeaters, rainbow lorikeets and wattlebirds) 

  • The dense foliage also provides great shelter for small birds 

  • The nectar-rich flowers also attract insects, which are eaten by insectivorous birds (such as wrens and fantails) 

  • Flowers produced mainly in summer and autumn 

3. Grevillea sericea (Pink Spider Flower) 

  • Shrub can grow up to 2m high 

  • Flowers throughout the year, but mainly late winter - early summer 

  • Dense shrub provides great habitat for smaller birds, the beautiful purple flowers are a great nectar source for nectar-feeders (such as honeyeaters, rainbow lorikeets and wattlebirds) 

4. Acacia parramattensis(Parramatta Wattle) 

  • Large shrub or medium tree (can grow to 15m in some locations) 

  • Provides good shelter and perching sites 

  • Wattle seed eaten by birds such as cockatoos and lorikeets 

  • The strong-smelling flowers also attract insects for insectivorous birds (such as wrens and fantails) 

  • Flowers late spring – late summer 

5. Leptospermum laevigatum (Coast Teatree) 

  • Large shrub or small tree, to 4m 

  • Provides good shelter for small birds 

  • Older stems shed strips of bark which make good nest-building material 

  • The sweet-smelling flowers attract insects which can be eaten by insectivorous birds (including wrens and fantails) 

  • Flowers late winter – spring   

6. Allocasuarinalittoralis (Black She-oak) 

  • A medium tree 5-15m 

  • Has male and female plants – males produce flowers/pollen and females produce the seed 

  • Seed eaten by birds, including the threatened glossy black-cockatoo 

  • Smaller insectivorous birds also pluck insects from the foliage 

Plant one for our feathered friends! Make your tree count by registering it here – counting your tree will help track the data across Greater Sydney suburbs so we can create a more liveable future for everyone. 


Jennifer McMillan

Jen worked as a vet nurse while studying environmental science and completing her master's degree in Journalism. She loves bushwalking, storytelling, caring for baby animals, Australian birds and river red gums. Jen works on the National Tree Day and National Recycling Week campaigns.