Birds are the most conspicuous fauna of the region. Ninety-seven species of bird have been observed in the Canning River Regional Park alone – which is approximately half the number of species recorded on the Swan Coastal Plain.

The Canning River region is used as a nesting site by most of the resident birds. Waterbirds are attracted to the area because it is a productive aquatic ecosystem, the river banks have fringing vegetation which provides cover and nesting sites for many species and trees along the shore provide nesting and roosting sites. The tidal mudflats around Riverton Bridge provide a valuable feeding ground for waterbirds and waders such as the Great Egret, Black-winged Stilt and Red-necked Avocet. The Canning River has been found to be the most important wetland in WA for the Dusky Moorhen and the Buff-banded Rail. It also supports relatively large numbers of Little Pied and Little Black Cormorants, Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal and Crakes.

The wetlands provide an important habitat for many other species of waterbirds including the Australasian Grebe, Black-fronted Plover and migratory birds including the Greenshank, Curlew Sandpiper and Red-necked Stint.

Birds of prey that frequent the region include Ospreys, Little Eagles, Australian Hobby, Black-shouldered Kite, Brown Falcons, Whistling Kites and Sea Eagles.

Other birds observed in the region include a great variety of ducks, Eurasian Coots, Hoary-headed Grebes, Black Swans, Spoonbills, Ibis, Australian Pelicans, Magpie Larks, Wattle Birds, Butcher Birds, Black-faced Cuckoo-shrikes, Black Cockatoos, Rainbow Bee-eaters, Magpies, Rainbow Lorikeets and Willy Wagtails.


Five large reptiles are found within the region and there are also abundant smaller lizards. The five large reptiles are; Long-necked Turtle, Dugite, Western Tiger Snake, Bobtail and the Western Bearded Dragon.


The Brush-tail Possum, Short-nosed Bandicoot and native Water Rats are present in the Canning River Regional Park. The Quenda (Southern Brown Bandicoot) is found in Brixton Street Wetlands and Forrestdale Lake Nature Reserve.

Spiders and Insects

Spiders are also abundant and include the Golden Orb-weaving Spider, Saint Andrew’s Cross Spider and the Christmas Spider. Other insects include butterflies, dragonflies, scorpion flies, grasshoppers, mosquitoes, beetles, slaters, ants and termites.


Numerous frogs inhabit the area. Species recorded include the Western Green Tree/ Motorbike Frog, Slender Tree Frog, Moaning Frog and the Western Sign Bearing/ Squelching Froglet.

Aquatic Fauna

The fish of the Canning River are comprised of 12 species including four native freshwater fishes (Cobbler, Western Minnow, Western Pygmy Perch and Nightfish), three fishes that are generally considered estuarine species (Western Hardyhead, South-west Goby and the Sea Mullet), and four introduced species (the One-spot Livebearer, Eastern Mosquitofish, Goldfish and the Rainbow Trout).

There are also many varieties of zooplankton, shrimp, mussels, crab, prawns, tubeworms, bloodworms and dolphins are often seen as far up as Riverton Bridge.

Acknowledgements: City of Canning, Department of Parks and Wildlife, Department of Water.

  Birds of Canning River website
  Bush Birds of the Canning River
  Waterbirds of the Canning River
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