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Birds The rich biodiversity and isolated environment of the Cocos Keeling Islands provides the perfect milieu for migratory birds

This environment is perfect for migratory birds to feed and replenish their fat reserves over the Northern Hemisphere winter.

There is one endemic subspecies, the Cocos Buff-banded Rail, which can be seen foraging around the pristine picnic area on Direction Island and also spotted on Horsburgh Island.

White Tern_Credit Richard Baxter

Birds As the only land mass within a 900 km radius, the Cocos Keeling Islands are unique in bird attraction

We are the only location in Australia that attracts birds on both the East Asian-Australian flyway and the Indian Flyway as well as the Western Paleoarctic. Incredibly, the islands are also often a refuge for birds from Africa or the Middle East. 

Over on the Pulu Keeling National Park, the Red-footed Booby has one of the largest breeding colonies in the world and due to the island’s closeness, it can often be seen in the southern atoll.

Saunders_s Tern 2__Credit Richard Baxter

Birds Common sightings include the White-breasted Waterhen, Intermediate Egret, Western Reef Heron, Saunders’s Tern, Green Junglefowl and several species of waders

Along with these are the ever-present frigatebirds, noddies, boobies and tropicbirds soaring around the atoll. Local tour guides are also up for helping visitors reach hard-to-reach places in the lagoon to find one of the local specialties or even a MEGA or two. The best time to visit Cocos Keeling Islands for birdwatching is from November to early March.

Birding Tours Australia offer special packaged tours on Cocos Keeling Islands and Christmas Island designed for birders, twitchers and photographers.

Saunders_s Tern__Credit Richard Baxter

Crabs, blue-tailed skinks

Crabs, blue-tailed skinks The endless stretches of white-sand beaches and forest floors are a wonderland for crabs

Including the purple land crab, red hermit crab, horn-eyed ghost crab and the huge robber crabs. The Cocos Keeling Islands are also home to red crabs, which are only found here and on Christmas Island. 

Also not to be missed are the blue-tailed skinks. The rainbow-hued lizard can be seen roaming free and basking in the tropical sun on Pulu Balan and Pulu Balan Madar after a small population were relocated here from Taronga Zoo, Sydney in a bid to find a new, safe home to grow in the wild.

Blue Tail Skink_0000_coconut crab

It is rare, in this day and age, to come upon a place so delightful in both looks and temperament that, on the very first sighting, one’s jaw does genuinely drop.

Georgia Rickard Australian Traveller

If going with the flow is how you roll, you will love the Cocos Keeling Islands. They have a small – very small – country town vibe. Your activities revolve around the exquisite lagoon whether they be snorkelling, diving, fishing, parasailing, or just relaxing under a coconut palm reading a book while inhaling the frangipani infused air

Steve Klein Curious Campers

Scuba diving at Cocos Keeling islands is nothing short of spectacular. Fabulous visibility, pristine coral reefs, abundant marine life and all the trappings of a tropical paradise without the flashy resorts. Yes, it is isolated and it takes some effort to get there, but this is more than offset by the quality of the diving, the friendly locals and the very laid back and relaxing ambience of the entire place. It is quirky, fun and a great place for a holiday. We will return and soon

Phillip Tubb Melbourne

Don’t miss this place. My wife and I recently spent a fantastic week on Cocos Keeling Islands. We took the opportunity to take the twice weekly ferry service from West Island to Direction Island... we loved it so much we came back for a second time.

Mike G Joondalup

Home Island is definitely quieter than West Island with religion a big part of daily life but the locals were so friendly and welcoming. It was so nice to be able to swim straight off the shore in amazing turquoise water while we cooked BBQs at sunset. Highly recommended!