Top of page
Global Site Navigation


Local Section Navigation
You are here: Main Content

5 animals you’ll encounter at ECU

By studying at ECU, you’ll not only be sharing the university grounds with up to 27,000 students and 4000 staff, but a variety of animals that call campus home.

Carnaby's cockatoo in flight
A Carnaby’s black cockatoo at the Joondalup Campus

1. Carnaby’s black cockatoos

One of the most endangered birds in Australia, Carnaby’s black cockatoos were discovered on the ECU Joondalup campus in 2015.

Two nesting sites were found in hollows of trees next to the very appropriately named Ngoolark Building (Ngoolark is the Nyoongar word for black cockatoo).

Two chicks hatched and environmental students at ECU monitored their progress. The birds, which were named Chappie and Ronnie, were banded and with help from the Department of Parks and Wildlife more man-made nesting sites were established.

Rob Davies from ECU’s School of Science says it’s the first time that Carnaby’s have been recorded breeding in a developed area in Australia.

“These artificial nesting boxes have encouraged them to breed, they love the native vegetation, the woodland and they’re not disturbed,” he said.

Kangaroos on-campus
Kangaroos used to be a familiar sight in the 1990s.

2. Kangaroos

Back when ECU’s Joondalup Campus was surrounded by native bushland there used to be plenty of kangaroos. But with the development of Joondalup into a bustling city centre most have now moved on.

Senior Groundsmen Neil Mouritz says there’s one kangaroo that sometimes puts in an appearance.

“We used to have hordes of kangaroos, but now anyone visiting will be lucky to see this solitary one. We think he has lost his way from the nearby Neil Hawkins Park,” he says.

“There was a time when we had lots of kangaroos and echidnas or spiny anteaters too, they looked fantastic with their sharp spines.”

3. Parrots, magpies and wagtails

Some of ECU’s noisiest residents are the colourful rainbow lorikeets, lincoln parrots and ringnecks. The ringnecks are also known as twenty-eights because their whistle or contact call sounds like ‘twen-ty-eight’.

The willy wagtail is another common sight. It’s so tame they’ve been known to sit on students’ laps.

Hatching willie wagtails and wattlebirds are also noisy and produce a range of raucous calls, especially when they’re waiting for food.

And yes, the stories about swooping magpies are true. This happens between August and October as male magpies become protective of their nesting young.

They’re rarely seen swooping on ECU campuses but pedestrians and cyclists using the streets nearby may encounter the dive-bombing birds!

4. Ducks, frogs and water fowl

One of the best places to sit and watch the world go by is next to the lake on the Joondalup Campus. This man-made lake holds eight million litres of water. And a few different animal species.

There are around five different kinds of ducks in this small wetland area. You might also see several frogs, including the western banjo and the motorboat frog.

One of the rarest waterbirds can also be found here: the buff-banded rail likes to nest in long grass and is fairly secretive and may dart for cover if disturbed.

Senior Groundsmen Neil Mouritz says it’s a place to find your inner calm.

“It really is very picturesque. Some of the wild fowl are extremely tame. The male coutts will walk over to you and say hello and the water from the fountain makes it a very tranquil setting.”

Students with ECU's Ernie Emu mascot
ECU’s official mascot Ernie the Emu at Orientation Week celebrations.

5. Emus

We can guarantee you’ll see one bird at the Joondalup Campus which will never become extinct: ECU mascot Ernie the Emu.

Ernie can often be seen roaming the grounds at student events so be sure to say hello to him when you do spot this big bird around campus.


Skip to top of page