The bird life
on Kangaroo Island is spectacular! Isolated from mainland Australia
many of the birds of various species have flourished and developed
unique characteristics. This endemism (having slight difference
in characteristics to those found elsewhere) is seen in a variety
Bush Stone Curlew
New Holland honeyeater - different plumage
Western Whipbird - different voice
Purple-gaped Honeyeater - different plumage
Red Wattlebird - larger
Brown headed honeyeater - different plumage
There are birds
such as Cape Barren Geese which were introduced here in the 1930's
because they were threatened with extinction. On this special
island they have flourished and become a spectacular part of the
bird fauna. They can be seen in Flinders Chase National Park and
American River near the roadside. These large birds fiercely protect
there young and should not be approached too closely.
One of the more
famous threatened birds is a subspecies of the Glossy Black Cockatoo.
It feeds on Drooping She-oak cones that grow in small
pockets of land on Kangaroo Island. On the brink of extinction
locals have undertaken to provide food trees and safe nesting
boxes and as a result of their efforts with the support of National
Parks and Wildlife, the numbers are steadily increasing. This
bird can be seen at Lathami National Park on the North coast and
at American River. On the right is a photo of a nesting box which
is placed high up in a gum tree.
The Superb Fairy-wren
is a small bush bird that can be seen in picnic areas and around
homes. Feeding on small insects it hops around at ground level
holding its tail up in wren fashion and for such a small bird
is quite fearless. These can be seen often in American River where
there are almost no cats to threaten them.
The White Bellied
Sea Eagle or Osprey can be seen readily on the North coast where
it nests without disturbance from man on the cliff faces. Its
numbers were threatened on the mainland when human settlement
expansion encroached into the areas where the eagles nested.
The Little or
Fairy Penguin nests in burrows around the coastline but specifically
at Kingscote and Penneshaw where visitors can see them coming
ashore in the early evening with food for their young or just
to rest after a hard day fishing for pilchards. Tour operators
provide guided twilight tours to view these flightless birds.
The Black Winged
Stilt is a elegant looking bird that lives in samphire marshes
near the mouth of the Cygnet River and Murray Lagoon. There are
a large number of wading birds to be seen both in marshes and
lagoons or along the shallow coastline areas.
Sadly, the Kangaroo
Island Dwarf Emu, which was short legged was hunted to extinction.
Nicolas Baudin took some of these birds, along with some
live kangaroos, back to France and presented them to the Empress
Josephine and they are shown in an etching on the lawns of Malmaison,
Birdlife is plentiful
with about 250 varieties on Kangaroo Island. Birdwatchers are
encouraged to respect the pristine environment here when looking
for birds but with such a large variety of birds to be seen are
sure not to be disappointed . Arising for morning birdsong at
sunrise and walking through the bush is rewarded with a delight
of sounds and images from a huge variety of different types of
This is a small
tempter of the birds here so please feel free to look through
the picture gallery and come to see and hear the beautiful
displays for yourself on Kangaroo Island.