Kangaroo Island Wildlife

Learn about our incredible Kangaroo Island wildlife. This island is home to a large range of wildlife species & 260+ bird species.

Kangaroo Island Wildlife List

We have compiled a list of species, organised into four categories. Please click a category to expand.

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COMMON NAMELATIN NAMESTATUSCHANCE OF OBSERVATION
Western Pigmy PossumCercartetus concinnusCommonExtremely Low
Little Pigmy PossumCercartetus lepidusUncommonExtremely Low
Sooty DunnartSminthopsis aitkeniRare (endemic)Extremely Low
Tammar WallabyMacropus eugeniiCommonExtremely High
Kangaroo Island KangarooMacropus fuliginosus fulinginosusCommonExtremely High
Southern Brown BandicootIsoodon obesulusVulnerableExtremely Low
Common Ringtail Possum*Pseudocheirus peregrinusCommonExtremely Low
Common Brushtail PossumTrichosurus vulpeculaCommonExtremely High
Koala*Phascolarctos cinereusRareExtremely High
Platypus*Ornithorhinchus anatinusVulnerableLow (Summer/Autumn)
Short-beaked EchidnaTachyglossus aculeatusCommonHigh
House Mouse*Mus domesticusCommonLow
Bush RatRattus fuscipesCommonLow
Swamp RatRattus lutreolusUncommonLow
Brown Rat*Rattus norvegicusUncommonLow
Black Rat*Rattus rattusCommonLow
Yellow-bellied Sheathtailed BatSaccolaimus flaviventrisRareLow
Little Mastiff BatMormopterus planicepsCommonLow
White Striped Mastiff BatTadarida australisCommonLow
Chocolate Wattled BatChalinolobus morioCommonLow
Gould’s Wattled BatChalinolobus gouldiiCommonLow
Large Forest EptesicusEptesicus darlingtonRareLow
King River EptesicusEptesicus regulusCommonLow
Lesser Long-eared BatNyctophilus geoffroyiCommonLow
Feral Cat*Felis CatusCommonHigh
Feral Goat*Capra hircusCommonLow
Feral Pig*Sus scrofaUncommonLow

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COMMON NAMELATIN NAMESTATUSCHANCE OF OBSERVATION
Southern Right WhaleBalaena glacialis australisEndangeredLow (Winter)
Pygmy Right WhaleCaperea marginataRareExtremely Low
Bryde’s WhaleBalaenoptera edeniRareExtremely Low
Fin WhaleBalaenoptera physalusRareExtremely Low
Common DolphinDelphinus delphisCommonLow
Killer WhaleOrcinus orcaRareExtremely Low
Pilot WhaleGlobicephala melaenaRareExtremely Low
Bottled-nosed DolphinTursiops truncatusCommonHigh
Pygmy Sperm WhaleKogia brevicepsRareExtremely Low
Dwarf Sperm WhaleKogia simusRareExtremely Low
Sperm WhalePhyseter macrocephalusRareExtremely Low
Southern Bottled-nosed WhaleHyperoodon planifronsRareExtremely Low
Gray’s Beaked WhaleMesoplodon grayiRareExtremely Low
Curvier’s Beaked WhaleZiphius cavirostrisRareExtremely Low
Strap-toothed WhaleMesoplodon layardiiRareExtremely Low
New Zealand Fur SealArctocephalus forsteriRareExtremely High
Australian Fur SealArctocephalus pusillus doriferusRareModerate
Australian Sea-lionNeophoca cineraRareExtremely High

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COMMON NAMELATIN NAMECHANCE OF OBSERVATION
Loggerhead TurtleCaretta carettaLow
Green TurtleChelonia mydasLow
Leathery (Luth) TurtleDermochelys coriaceaLow
Tawny DragonCtenophorus decresiiModerate (Summer/Autumn)
Bearded Dragon*Pogona barbatusExtremely Low
Marbled GeckoPhyllodactullus marmoratusHigh
Thick-tailed GeckoUnderwoodisaurus milliExtremely Low
Lined-wormed LizardAprasia striolataExtremely Low
Russett SkinkEgernia multiscutata 
White’s SkinkEgernia whiteiHigh
Three-toed SkinkHemiergis decresiensis 
Four-toed SkinkLampropholis guichenoti 
Garden SkinkLerista bougainvilliHigh
Common Blue Tongue*Tiliqua scincoides scincoidesExtremely Low
Rosenberg’s Sand GoannaVaranus rosenbergiiExtremely High (Summer/Autumn)
Pygmy Copperhead SnakeAustrelaps superbusLow (Summer/Autumn)
Black Tiger SnakeNotechis ater nigerModerate (Summer/Autumn)
Brown Tree FrogLitoria wingiModerate
Bull FrogLimnodynastes dumeriliModerate
Marble FrogLimnodynastes tasmaniensisModerate
Painted FrogNeobatrachus pictus 
Brown ToadletPseudophryne bibroni 
Brown FrogletRanidella signifera 

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COMMON NAMELATIN NAME
AlbatrossBlack-browedDiomedea melanophris
 Grey-headedDiomedea chrysostoma
 Indian Yellow-nosedDiomedea chlororhynchos
 Light-mantledPhoebetria palpebrata
 ShyDiomedea cauta
 WanderingDiomedia exulans
AvocetRed-neckedRecurvirostra novaehollandiae
Bee-eaterRainbowMerops ornatus
BitternAustralasianBotaurus poiciloptilus
Blackbird*CommonTurdus merula
Boobook OwlSouthernNinox novaeseelandiae
Brolga Grus rubicunda
BronzewingBrushPhaps elegans
 CommonPhaps chalcoptera
Brush-turkeyAustralianAlectura lathami
Budgerigar Melopsittacus undulatus
BushlarkHorsfield’sMiafra javanica
Button-quailPaintedTurnix varia
ChatCrimsonEphthianura tricolor
 OrangeEpthianura aurifrons
 White-frontedEphthianura albifrons
Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus
CockatooGang-gangCallocephalon fimbriatum
 Glossy-blackCalyptorhynchus lathami
 Sulphur-crestedCacatua galerita
 Yellow-tailed BlackCalyptorhynchus funereus
CootEurasianFulica atra
CorellaLittleCacatua sanguinea
CormorantAustralian PiedPhalacrocorax varius
 Black-facedLeucocarbo fuscescens
 GreatPhalacrocorax carbo
 Little BlackPhalacrocorax sulcirostris
 Little PiedPhalacrocorax melanoleucos
CrakeAustralianPorzana fluminea
 Baillon’sPorzana pusilla
 SpotlessPorzana tabuensis
CuckooFan-tailedCacomantis flabelliformis
 Horsfield’s BronzeChalcites basalis
 PallidCacomantis pallidus
 Shining BronzeChalcites lucidus
CuckooshrikeBlack-facedCoracina novaehollandiae
CurlewFar EasternBurhinus grallarius
CurrawongGreyStrepera versicolor melanoptera
DarterAustralasianAnhinga melanogaster
DollarbirdOrientalEurystomus orientalis
DotterelBlack-frontedElseyornis melanops
 HoodedThinornis rubricollis
 Red-kneedErythrogonys cinctus
DoveRock (introduced)Columba livia
 SpottedStreptopelia chinensis
DrongoSpangledDicrurus bracteatus
DuckBlue-billedOxyura australis
 FreckledStictonetta naevosa
 ManedChenonetta jubata
 MuskBiziura lobata
 Pacific BlackAnas superciliosa
 Pink-earedMalacorhynchus membranaceus
EagleLittleHieraateus morphnoides
 Wedge-tailedAquila audax
 White-bellied SeaHaliaeetus leucogaster
EgretEastern CattleArdea ibis
 GreatArdea alba
 LittleEgretta garzetta
Emu (extinct)Kangaroo IslandDromaius baudinianus
 MainlandDromaius novaehollandiae
Emu-wrenSouthernStipiturus malachurus
FairywrenSuperbMalurus cyaneus
FalconBlackFalco subniger
 BrownFalco berigora
 PeregrineFalco peregrinus
FantailGreyRhipidura fuliginosa
FinchRed-browedNeochmia temporalis
FiretailBeautifulStagonopleura bella
FlycatcherRestlessMyiagra inquieta
 SatinMyiagra cyanoleuca
FrogmouthTawnyPodargus strigoides
FulmarSouthernFulmarus glacialoides
Galah Cacatua roseicapilla
GannetAustralasianMorus serrator
Garganey Anas querquedula
GodwitBar-tailedLimosa lapponica
 Black-tailedLimosa limosa
GoldfinchEuropeanCarduelis carduelis
GooseCape BarrenCereopsis novaehollandiae
GoshawkBrownAccipiter fasciatus
GrassbirdLittleMegalurus gramineus
GrebeAustralasianTachybaptus novaehollandiae
 Great CrestedPodiceps cristatus
 Hoary-headedPoliocephalus poliocephalus
GreenshankCommonTringa nebularia
GullKelpLarus dominicanus
 PacificLarus pacificus
 SilverLarus novaehollandiae
Hardhead Aythya australis
HarrierSpottedCircus assimilis
 SwampCircus approximans
HeathwrenShyHylacola cauta
HeronNankeen NightNycticorax caledonicus
 Pacific ReefEgretta sacra
 White-facedEgretta novaehollandiae
 White-neckedArdea pacifica
HobbyAustralianFalco longipennis
HoneyeaterBrown-headedMelithreptus brevirostris
 CrescentPhylidonyris pyrrhoptera
 New HollandPhylidonyris novaehollandiae
 Purple-gapedLichenostomus cratitius
 RegentXanthomyza phrygia
 SingingLichenostomus virescens
 Spiny-cheekedAcanthagenys rufogularis
 Tawny-crownedPhylidonyris melanops
 White-earedLichenostomus leucotis
 White-frontedPhylidonyris albifrons
 White-napedMelithreptus lunatus
 White-plumedLichenostomus penicillatus
IbisAustralian WhiteThreskiornis molucca
 GlossyPlegadis falcinellus
 Straw-neckedThreskiornis spinicollis
JaegerParasiticStercorarius parasiticus
KestrelNankeenFalco cenchroides
KingfisherSacredTodiramphus sanctus
KiteBlackMilvus migrans
 Black-shoulderedElanus axillaris
 Letter-wingedElanus scriptus
 Square-tailedLophoictinia isura
 WhistlingHaliastur sphenurus
KnotGreatCalidris tenuirostris
 RedCalidris canutus
KookaburraLaughingDacelo novaeguineae
LapwingBandedVanellus tricolor
 MaskedVanellus miles
LorikeetLittleGlossopsitta pusilla
 MuskGlossopsitta concinna
 Purple-crownedGlossopsitta porphyrocephala
 RainbowTrichoglossus haematodus
MagpieAustralianGymnorhina tibicen
Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca
MartinFairyPetrochelidon ariel
 TreePetrochelidon nigricans
MoorhenDuskyGallinula tenebrosa
Native-henBlack-tailedGallinula ventralis
NeedletailWhite-throatedHirundapus caudacutus
NightjarSpottedEurostopodus argus
OrioleOlive-backedOriolus sagittatus
OspreyEasternPandion haliaetus
OwlEastern BarnTyto alba
Owlet-nightjarAustralianAegotheles cristatus
OystercatcherPiedHaematopus longirostris
 SootyHaematopus fuliginosus
Painted-snipeAustralianRostratula benghalensis
PardaloteSpottedPardalotus punctatus
 StriatedPardalotus striatus
ParrotBlue-wingedNeophema chrysostoma
 ElegantNeophema elegans
 RockNeophema petrophila
PeafowlIndian Yellow-nosedPavo cristatus
PelicanAustralianPelecanus conspicillatus
PenguinFiordlandEudyptes pachyrhynchus
 LittleEudyptula minor
 Northern RockhopperEudyptes moseleyi
PetrelBlueHalobaena caerulea
 CapeDaption capense
 Common DivingPelecanoides urinatrix
 Great-wingedPterodroma macroptera
 GreyProcellaria cinerea
 KerguelenLugensa brevirostris
 MottledPterodroma inexpectata
 Northern GiantMacronectes halli
 South Georgia DivingPelecanoides georgicus
 Southern GiantMacronectes giganteus
 White-chinnedProcellaria aequinoctialis
 White-faced StormPelogodroma marina
 White-headedPterodroma lessonii
 Wilson’s StormOceanites oceanicus
PigeonCrestedOcyphaps lophotes
PipitAustralianAnthus novaeseelandiae
PloverDoubled-bandedCharadrius bicinctus
 Greater SandCharadrius leschenaultii
 GreyPluvialis squatarola
 Lesser SandCharadrius mongolus
 Pacific GoldenPluvialis fulva
 Red-cappedCharadrius ruficapillus
PrionAntarcticPachyptila desolata
 Broad-billedPachyptila vittata
 FairyPachyptila turtur
 Salvin’sPachyptila salvini
 Slender-billedPachyptila belcheri
QuailBrownCoturnix ypsilophora
 StubbleCoturnix pectoralis
RailBuff-bandedGallirallus philippensis
 Lewin’sRallus pectoralis
RavenAustralianCorvus coronoides
 LittleCorvus mellori
Reed-WarblerAustralianAcrocephalus stentoreus
RobinFlamePetroica phoenicea
 Red-cappedPetroica goodenovii
 ScarletPetroica multicolor
RosellaCrimsonPlatycercus elegans
Sanderling Calidris alba
SandpiperCommonCalidris hypoleucos
 CurlewCalidris ferruginea
 MarshTringa stagnatilis
 PectoralCalidris melanotos
 Sharp-tailedCalidris acuminata
 TerekXenus cinereus
 WoodTringa glareola
ScrubwrenWhite-browedSericornis frontalis
ShearwaterFlesh-footedPuffinus carneipes
 FlutteringPuffinus gavia
 Hutton’sPuffinus huttoni
 Short-tailedPuffinus tenuirostris
 SootyArdenna grisea
ShelduckAustralianTadorna tadornoides
ShovelerAustralasianAnas rhynchotis
ShrikethrushGreyColluricincla harmonica
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis
SkuaBrownStercorarius antarcticus
 PomarineStercorarius pomarinus
SkylarkEurasianAlauda arvensis
SnipeLatham’sGallinago hardwickii
SonglarkBrownCinclorhamphus cruralis
SparrowHousePasser domesticus
SparrowhawkCollaredAccipiter cirrhocephalus
SpinebillEasternAcanthorhynchus tenuirostris
SpoonbillRoyalPlatalea regia
 Yellow-billedPlatalea flavipes
StarlingCommonSturnus vulgaris
StiltBandedCladorhynchus leucocephalus
 Black-wingedHimantopus himantopus
StintLong-toedCalidris subminuta
 Red-neckedCalidris ruficollis
Stone-curlewBushBurhinus grallarius
SwallowWelcomeHirundo neoxena
SwamphenPurplePorphyrio porphyrio
SwanBlackCygnus atratus
SwiftPacificApus pacificus
TattlerGrey-tailedHeteroscelus brevipes
TealChestnutAnas castanea
 GreyAnas gracilis
TernAntarcticSterna vittata
 ArcticSterna paradisaea
 CaspianSterna caspia
 CommonSterna hirundo
 FairySterna nereis
 Greater CrestedSterna bergii
 Gull-billedSterna nilotica
 SootySterna fuscata
 WhiskeredChlidonias hybridus
 White-frontedSterna striata
 White-wingedChlidonias leucopterus
ThornbillBrownAcanthiza pusilla
 StriatedAcanthiza lineata
 YellowAcanthiza nana
ThrushBassianZoothera lunulata
ThrillerWhite-wingedLalage tricolor
TropicbirdRed-tailedPhaethon rubricauda
TurkeyWildMeleagris gallopavo
TurnstoneRuddyArenaria interpres
WagtailWillieRhipidura leucophrys
WattlebirdLittleAnthochaera chrysoptera
 RedAnthochaera carunculata
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus
WhipbirdWesternPsophodes nigrogularis
WhistlerGoldenPachycephala pectoralis
 RufousPachycephala rufiventris
WoodswallowBlack-facedArtamus cinereus
 DuskyArtamus cyanopterus
 MaskedArtamus personatus
 White-browedArtamus superciliosus

Kangaroo Island separated from mainland Australia around 10,000 years ago, due to rising sea level after the last glacial period. Due to this long isolation, many animals are local sub-species and one, the sooty dunnart, is unique to Kangaroo Island. Other than domestics, there are few introduced species: Koalas and Platypus (released in the 1920s), cats, goats, pigs and deer, a few rodents; Bearded Dragons, Shingleback and Blue-tongued Skinks. Notably, foxes and rabbits which have had much impact elsewhere in Australia have not been established.

The marine environment is equally diverse with more variation in lifeforms in Island waters than along the entire length of the Great Barrier Reef and much of this is now protected in a network of marine parks. Key marine species other than marine mammals include Blue Groper and the ornate Leafy Sea-Dragon. Key wildlife encounters offered by Exceptional Kangaroo Island on small group tours are with Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Tammar Wallabies, Short-beaked Echidnas, Australian Sea-lions and Long-nosed Fur Seals, with a series of secondary encounters experienced on an opportunistic basis.

Summer Wildlife Sighting Opportunities

December - February

In December, black swans move in large numbers to the sheltered waters around American River as the freshwater wetlands dry up.  Australian and New Zealand fur-seal breeding peaks in January with fierce territorial battles which can be viewed by visitors from the safety of the boardwalk at Admiral’s Arch.  Hooded dotterels nest on many of the Island’s sandy beaches in January.  Watch out for the Island’s largest terrestrial predator, the threatened Rosenberg’s goannas on the roadside. They are active Island-wide as February is courtship and egg-laying season. The lime green and yellow shades of new growth transforms thousands of hectares of mallee wilderness across the Island.

Rosenbergs-goanna-kangaroo-island-wildlife-exceptional-kangaroo-island-craig-wickham

Autumn Wildlife Sighting Opportunities

March - May

Glossy black cockatoos begin to choose their nesting hollows in preparation for their annual nesting (April through June and in October). Little penguins return in April to start their annual breeding, with males selecting burrows and renovating them in the hope of attracting a female. Black Swamp in Flinders Chase National Park becomes alive in May with Cape Barren geese selecting nesting territories.

Exceptional kangaroo island glossy black-cockatoo

Winter Wildlife Sighting Opportunities

June - August

June sees Southern Right Whales make their annual visit to the protected waters around Kangaroo Island and they head back south to Antarctic waters in October. Black Swans nest on their large an elaborate nests in the wetlands and along the rivers in June. Short-beaked Echidna mating trains are seen occasionally across the Island during winter with one female doggedly pursued by up to ten males. In August, migratory waders arrive from their Northern hemisphere summer breeding (best sites include American River, Murray Lagoon and Reeves Point). Kangaroo Island Kangaroos and Tammar Wallabies have their joeys emerging from the pouch and starting to explore in August.

Black swans with cygnets - kangaroo island

Spring Wildlife Sighting Opportunities

September - November

Shearwater migration – in September, hundreds of thousands of birds move past the South Coast of the Island in a continuous stream rising and falling on the air currents above the ocean swell (best site for viewing is any of the lighthouse promontories). In November, Australian sea-lions use the broader Summer beach to bask on the sand in between fishing trips to the continental shelf. Tiny terrestrial orchids can be found flowering in deep protected leaf litter in many habitat types across the Island. These are part of a flora of almost 900 native plant species, nearly 50 of which are found nowhere else on earth. On the Eastern end of the Island, striking white or pink-tinged Centenary Starburst (Thryptomene ericaea) dominates the roadsides.

Australian sea-lions at seal bay. Exceptional kangaroo island tours.

More About Kangaroo Island

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Kangaroo Island Weather & Climate

Before you visit Kangaroo Island, make sure you're aware of the weather conditions to expect. Kangaroo Island is a beautiful place to visit year-round, but it is important to pack accordingly.​
Backroads of kangaroo island

Getting to Kangaroo Island

Find out about the best ways of getting to Kangaroo Island with our easy guide. Choose to take a quick 20 minute flight, or take the ferry. Interstate and international access tips included.
Cape du couedic lighthouse on kangaroo island

Kangaroo Island History

Learn about the fascinating history of Kangaroo Island, including both Indigenous history and the more recent European discovery.
Stokes bay tunnel - kangaroo island

Kangaroo Island FAQs

We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions about Kangaroo Island. If you cannot see your question, please ask us using the form at the bottom.