Wildlife

Christmas Island is often referred to as the Galapagos of the Indian Ocean - and rightly so. It's a place of great natural beauty, where a unique ecosystem of plants and animals has developed over millions of years. It is one of the world's most significant seabird breeding sites, and home to a number of endemic crabs. The red crab migration each year is a world-famous event that inspires awe and wonder in all who witness it.

Download our wildlife fact sheet

  • Crabs

    Christmas Island is home to more than 20 species of crabs!
    They are remarkable for their abundance and the role they play in the ecology of the island's rainforest, recycling nutrients and tilling the soil.

    • Red crabs

      Red crabs may be the island's most famous inhabitants. Their annual migration is world-famous - and rightly so. The crabs' dependence on natural signifiers is fascinating - and their sheer number are truly a wonderous sight. Throughout the year the crabs usually live in dirt burrows throughout the rainforest - where they scavenge for leaf litter, fruit, seedlings and flowers.

    • Robber crabs

      Robber crabs are a close relative of hermit crabs, but do not (at least as adults) carry shells to protect their abdomen. They are found in most parts of the island. From the shore terrace to the highest plateau areas, generally sheltering during the day and venturing out at night or on overcast days. They forage on any vegetable material or carrion on the forest floor. The fruits of some trees and the pith of fallen Arenga palms are favourite foods. Though found through the tropical islands of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Christmas Island now supports the world's largest population.

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  • Birds

    Birds can be seen and heard everywhere on the island - just about any time of the day.

    • Visitors come from all over the world to experience Christmas Island's spectacular seabird rookeries. 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.

      Every year Christmas Island hosts a hands-on bird week with opportunities to help colour band and monitor birds in remote areas of the island as well as workshops and seminars. For more information visit the Christmas Island tourism website.

      Our iPhone app!

      Download our free iPhone app to take with you - the app has lots of information on our birds as well as the best spots to see them and other park info. Download the app at the iTunes store. or Download the app at the Android store.

      Find out the best walks and more information about our birds on our Birdwatchingpage.

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