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Australia has numerous island territories, and these offer some great birding for the more adventurous, those chasing endemic birds, or those with a passion for seabirds (particularly penguins!).
Birdwatching options are possible at the following locations:
Christmas Island: several endemic species and subspecies (e.g. Christmas Island Frigatebird, Christmas Imperial Pigeon, Christmas Boobook, Abbott’s Booby, Christmas White-eye, and White-tailed Tropicbird) and great Asian vagrant potential during the northern winter (November-March).
Cocos (Keeling) Islands: breeding seabirds (e.g. Masked Booby, Red-footed Booby, Red-tailed Tropicbird, White-tailed Tropicbird, Great Frigatebird, Lesser Frigatebird, and White Tern) and Asian vagrants during the northern winter (November-March).
Norfolk Island: several endemic species and subspecies (e.g. Slender-billed White-eye, White-chested White-eye [possibly extinct], Norfolk Parakeet, Norfolk Robin, Norfolk Gerygone, Grey Fantail, and Australian Golden Whistler).
Lord Howe Island: Lord Howe Woodhen (a ground-nesting, endemic, flightless rail that almost went extinct but has since recovered slightly due to conservation efforts), endemic subspecies of Pied Currawong, Australian Golden Whistler, and Silvereye possibly warranting full species status, and numerous breeding seabirds such as Providence Petrel, Kermadec Petrel, Black-winged Petrel, Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Little Shearwater, White-bellied Storm Petrel, Red-tailed Tropicbird, Masked Booby, Sooty Tern, Brown Noddy, Black Noddy, Grey Noddy, and White Tern.
Ashmore Reef: large seabird rookeries and shorebird staging area, potential Asian vagrants during the northern winter (November-March). Seabirds may include Tahiti Petrel, Bulwer’s Petrel, Streaked Shearwater, Hutton’s Shearwater, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Matsudaira’s Storm Petrel, Swinhoe’s Storm Petrel, Red-tailed Tropicbird, and White-tailed Tropicbird.
Heard Island: huge range of nesting seabirds on this southerly island, including King Penguin, Gentoo Penguin, Chinstrap Penguin, Southern Rockhopper Penguin, Macaroni Penguin, South Georgia Diving Petrel, Southern Fulmar, Antarctic Prion, Fulmar Prion, Grey Petrel, Wandering Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Sooty Albatross, Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Heard Shag, Antarctic Tern, and Black-faced Sheathbill.
Macquarie Island: approximately halfway between Tasmania and Antarctica and one of the richest islands in terms of wildlife in the South Pacific Ocean with over 25 species of nesting seabirds. Key species here include King Penguin, Gentoo Penguin, Southern Rockhopper Penguin, Royal Penguin, Common Diving Petrel, Southern Giant Petrel, Northern Giant Petrel, Southern Fulmar, White-headed Petrel, Soft-plumaged Petrel, Blue Petrel, Indian Yellow-nosed Albatross, Macquarie Shag, and Antarctic Tern.
Birdwatching on these islands can prove a logistic challenge, and so we are happy to help if you’d like to add a trip there before or after a scheduled tour, or as a private standalone tour.
Where to go birding in Australia?
We hope you’ve found these recent blog posts on birdwatching in Australia useful. If you have any questions or comments or would like to see trip reports from previous scheduled group tours or customized tours please drop us an email at [email protected] Further details can also be found here.
As you can see, there are numerous options possible for birders and photographers interested in experiencing Australia.