Birdwatching

Christmas Island is one of the world's most spectacular seabird rookeries. Birds here come in number, variety and visibility! Birds can be seen and heard everywhere on the island - at just about any time of the day.

Around 80,000 seabirds nest here annually, with 23 breeding or resident species. The island's birds are very approachable, making a birding trip here an unforgettable experience.

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  • Resident birds

    Discover a small number of the resident birds on Christmas Island.

    • Abbott's booby

      This large endangered seabird nests only on Christmas Island - the island's rainforest providing the last remaining nesting habitat on the planet. The male, female and juveniles have identical plumage - a white body, with black upper wings and tail. Adults grow up to 80 cm or more, with a huge wingspan of about 2 m.

    • Christmas Island hawk-owl

      This small owl, less than 30 cm, has plumage of tawny orange above, barred orange and white below and bright yellow eyes. The hawk-owl is one of Australia's rarest raptors, found only on Christmas Island. The species is listed as vulnerable - it's thought that there are just 500 breeding pairs remaining.

      Image: Ian Montgomery

    • Great frigatebird

      At 85 cm to 1 m, this seabird with mostly black plumage is the second largest of the frigatebirds. The female is larger than the adult male and has a white throat and breast. The male puffs out his striking red throat sac during courtship. There are about 3,300 breeding pairs of a subspecies found only on Christmas Island.

    • Red-tailed tropicbird

      This elegant seabird has white plumage, often with a pink tinge, a black crescent around the eye and distinctive long, red tail streamers. As an adult it has a bright red beak and black feet. Also known as the silver bosun, it looks like a stout tern, its body about 35 cm.

      Image: Angry Sun bird

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  • Introduced birds

    See some of the introduced species that now call Christmas Island home.

    • Sacred kingfisher

      The gorgeous sacred kingfisher has a bright turquoise back, rump and tail, contrasting with buff-white underparts, a broad cream collar and a black eye stripe from its bill to nape of neck. It grows to about 21 cm. The female is slightly duller in colouring.

      Image: Fir0002

    • Common sandpiper

      This small sandpiper, about 20 cm in size, with a rather long body and short legs, is grey-brown above and white below, extending up in a pointed shape between the wing and the dark breast band. When at rest, the long tail projects well beyond the tips of the wings. This species is also known as the Eurasian sandpiper or summer snipe.

      Image: Ian n. White

    • Java sparrow

      The striking adult Java sparrow is unmistakable with its grey upperparts and breast, pink belly, white-cheeked black head, red eye-ring, pink feet and thick red bill. It is about 17 cm in size.

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