The Sea Birds of Kangaroo Island

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 09/01/2017

Reading time: 3 mins

Kangaroo Island is a haven of wildlife, promising a bountiful display of creatures, birds, and plants as soon as you step on its shores. Because it’s an island, there are plenty sea and shore bird species, including several colonies of world-famous little penguins.

In fact, the bird life is huge on the island with over 260 different species. Many of which are easy to spot as you traverse the shores. Keep your eyes peeled for Glossy-black cockatoos. Make use of the viewing platforms and hides at American River, Duck Lagoon, and many of the beaches.

The best time to see the sea birds of Kangaroo Island is between May and October. You can also see the Southern Right Whales migrating at this time of year.

The Most Popular Sea Birds of Kangaroo Island

  • Little Penguins

    The stars of the show are the colonies of little penguins that call the island home. Known as the world’s smallest species of penguin, they are fascinating to watch thanks to their lively character and cute antics.

    These little critters spend their days at sea fishing for food before returning to their beachside nests as darkness begins to fall. For the best chance to see them, head over in the later afternoon or early evening. You can watch as they begin returning from a hard day’s fishing.

  • Hooded Plovers

    Also known as “hoodies”, these seabirds can be found all over the beaches on Kangaroo Island. In fact, the sandy shores are home to the majority of South Australia’s hooded plover population. A Beach Custodians programme has been set up to monitor the many nests that are on the island. The Eastern hooded plover, which is common on the island, has been listed as a vulnerable species. There are now thought to be less than 800 breeding birds left across the entirety of South Australia.

  • Coastal Raptors

    Coastal raptors, which can be split up into a selection of species, including the white-bellied sea eagle and the eastern osprey, are some of the island’s most fascinating bird species. There are thought to be around 17 white-bellied sea eagle territories on the island, which are home to around 30% of South Australia’s entire population of the species. Another census showed that there were around 12 occupied territories of ospreys.

The seabird life on Kangaroo Island is rich and varied, promising everything from cute little penguins to prehistoric coastal raptors.

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.