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Christmas Island & Cocos (Keeling) Islands

Bird Watching

Christmas Island & Cocos (Keeling) Island can offer a range of bird watching experiences. Please see our information below to get an understanding of what each island can offer and plan your expedition.

Local guides can assist you with locating and identifying our common and less common species. Visit our tours page for more details.

Contact us for further details on intensive twitching tours if you are trying to expand your Australian bird list. These tours operate November through to January.

Use our checklists for each destination to keep track of your sightings and do not hesitate to contact us if you find a real rarity. We always like to keep track of our feathered visitors!

Birdwatching Christmas Island Australia

Christmas Island

There are 23 breeding or resident species of birds on Christmas Island. Most of them are readily seen all year round and are in easy to access areas. Apr-Sep, many of the seabirds can be seen on or around nests, making this time of the year idea for good views of the birds, and also if you are into your bird photography.

Anywhere you go on the island – there are birds, almost like a Hitchcock movie. Cooing, twittering and the booming low ‘woo’ of the Imperial pigeon, follow you through the forest when you venture into the island’s National Park, which covers 63% of the island. The homely variety of forest birds share the forest with a few seabirds, including the showiest of the worlds’ seabirds – the Golden Bosun bird.

Our annual Bird & Nature Week runs in early September.  A number of specialist guides show you the absolute best the island has to offer. If you have a passing interest in birds, but an avid interest in all things unique in nature and on this unique island, we cannot recommend this event highly enough! Places are limited to keep the group manageable and packages are generally released just before Christmas.

Bird & Nature Weeks guests are offered the option to extend their stay on Cocos (Keeling) Island after the event to experience all that the region has to offer.

Christmas Island Bird Checklist
Bird & Nature Week
Bird & Nature Week Booking Form
Bird watching Australia - Cocos keeling islands

Cocos (Keeling) Islands

The Cocos (Keeling) Islands play an important role in the routes that shorebirds take during their annual migration. There are 39 breeding or resident species of birds on the atoll.

Cocos only has 1 endemic sub-species, the Cocos Buff-banded Rail and due to a successful translocation program, is now able to be seen foraging on the edge of the vegetation around the picnic area on Direction Island.  North Keeling National Park supports many of the vagrant species as it is remote to the other 26 islands. Travel to this island is limited and the best possible months are November to July. Birding Tours Australia do try to include this on their itinerary when weather conditions are favourable.

There are plenty of other islands, coastal regions and the odd swampy area that attracts birds and still gives the average birder plenty to keep busy with. Cocos (Keeling) has boasted several new sightings for Australia in the last few years, including Mugimaki Flycatcher and Common Teal.

Local operators of the motorized canoes are invaluable services to utilise to get to the more remote islands and coastlines to look for birds.  These operators now have many years experience working with the Birdwatching fraternity and can take you to the hard to reach places of the lagoon to find rarities and regular visitors. Combine your birding with a great day out on the lagoon.

Cocos (Keeling) Islands Bird Checklist