Kangaroo Island (part 1)

August 30, 2013

Kangaroo Island, situated 15 km off the mainland of South Australia, is the third largest of Australia's islands. The island has beautiful secluded beaches, an impressive rocky coastline and features 27 protected areas covering over 116,000ha (or 25%) of the island. One of South Australia's premier holiday locations, Kangaroo Island also offers some excellent birdwatching.

The Kangaroo island race of the Glossy Black Cockatoo (halmatorinus) has been the subject of an extensive recovery program. The island is also a stronghold for the Hooded Plover – check sandy beaches. Many of the coastal areas are good spots for waterbirds. White-bellied Sea-eagle and Osprey breed on steep, inaccessible cliffs but can often be seen flying around the coastline. Antarctic Tern turned up during two consecutive winters in the mid-2000‟s and may be irregular winter visitors. Bush Stone-curlews can be found all over the island, calling during mild summer nights. Purple-gaped and Crescent Honeyeater are common across the island.

On the ferry across to the island, look for seabirds such as Pacific Gull, Australasian Gannet, Crested Tern, and Arctic Jaeger and in winter Albatross such as Shy, Yellow-nosed, and Blackbrowed. Upon arriving at Penneshaw Black-faced Cormorant will be seen congregating in the breakwater, and there is a Little Penguin breeding colony immediately next to the Penneshaw Ferry Terminal. Each evening guided tours are conducted.

A good place to look for Glossy Black-Cockatoo (halmaturinus) is in the township of American River, for example along the Fish Cannery Walk (3 km return). Check the she-oak (Casuarina) trees in particular.

Murray Lagoon is a salty backwater surrounded by melaleuca trees. Check the Sharp-tailed Sandpipers for possible Pectoral Sandpipers. Here you could also find Eastern Curlew, Banded Stilt and Rufous Fieldwren. Introduced Indian Peafowl occur here. The lagoon can often be dry during summer.


In both Lathami Conservation Park and Western River Conservation Park near Stokes Bay on the north coast you will have a reasonable chance of seeing Glossy Black Cockatoo ssp. halmatorinus. They can often be located in the large gum trees that have metal possum guards on them, or take the walk down to the waterfall late in the afternoon. Hooded Plovers can often be seen on the sandy beach at Stokes' Bay. 

Locations visited

Kangaroo Island



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