Birds & Crabs


The Cocos Keeling Islands are a known destination for vagrant shorebirds and megabird sightings and an absolute paradise for any bird-enthusiast. The remoteness of the islands has helped to maintain its rich biodiversity and unspoiled environment which provides the perfect milieu for migratory birds to feed and replenish their fat reserves.


The Cocos Keeling Islands, especially the Pulu Keeling National Park (North Keeling Island) is the only landmass within a 900 km radius. It makes it a crucial landing option for birds that are on the East Asian-Australian flyways which extends from the Arctic Circle through South-east Asia to Australia and New Zealand. The Cocos Keeling Islands offer the only place for birds that are flying or blown further south during their migration. Due to this, megabirds such as the Drongo Cuckoo can be spotted on the Cocos Keeling Islands.


The only endemic bird of the Cocos Keeling Islands, the Buff-banded rail (Gallirllus phillppensis andrewsi) is found on Pulu Keeling National Park, an island north of the atoll, which is normally closed to visitors. Over the previous months the Buff-banded rail has also been spotted on Horsburgh Island, Direction Island and Home Island.


In addition to the Cocos Keeling Islands endemic birds, the red-footed booby has one of the largest breeding colonies on Pulu Keeling National Park. Due to the close proximity to West and Home Island, the red-footed booby can often be spotted in the south atoll. Not only the red-footed booby is a regular visitor to the islands, brown and masked boobys can often be found throughout the Cocos Keeling Islands. Other commonly sighted birds the Common noddy, White tern, Frigate bird, Rufus night heron, Eastern reef egret and several species of waders.


The Cocos Islands are a wonderland for crabs! Many species of crabs make their home here - you'll see them on the sandy beaches and forest floors. Look out for the purple land crab, red hermit crab and horn-eyed ghost crab. Keep your eye out for a huge robber crab, You’ll be lucky to see one, but they are around! You might also spot some red crabs, found only on the Cocos Keeling Islands and Christmas Island.