Birdwatching

The Cocos Keeling Islands are the first place in Australia where a chestnut-winged cuckoo has been sighted. Richard Baxter, founder of Birding Tours Australia, spotted the migratory bird in December 2018 on Home Island. The Islands offer the avid birdwatcher the chance to combine sightings of 39 breeding or resident bird species as well as numerous migratory birds with an iconic and remote tropical island experience. Unforgettable!

The Cocos Keeling Islands intercept the southwest extremity of the East Asian - Australian flyway.

 

Migratory shorebirds are the most travelled migrants, following the sun on their 25,000 km annual round trip from the Arctic Circle through South-East Asia and Australia to New Zealand. The non-breeding cycle, which takes place in the southern hemisphere, occurs from September to April.

 

Migratory birds can be sighted while they feed and replenish their fat reserves during these months on all the islands of the Cocos Keeling group. Dedicated birding tours work closely with on-island operators and Parks Australia to access the many sighting spots across the atoll. Due to the East Asian – Australian flyway the Cocos Islands are known for megabird sightings such as the Drongo Cuckoo. The only endemic bird of the Cocos Keeling Islands is the Buff-banded rail which can be found on Pulu Keeling National Park, an island north of the atoll, which is normally closed to visitors but the Buff-banded rails has recently also been spotted on Horsburgh Island, Direction Island and Home Island

 

In addition to the Cocos endemic Buff-banded rail, birds such as the Saunders, White and Sooty tern, Red-tailed Tropicbird, Silver bosun, Red-footed, Brown and Masked booby, common sandpiper, White-throated needletail and Rudy turnstone and many more can be spotted in the south atoll.