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ISLAND BIRD LIFE

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 of ways:

Bush Stone Curlew - smaller
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.Glossy Black Cockatoo Nesting Box 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.Pelican over American River

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, her residence.

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 birds.

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.

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