Why Bird Watchers Love Maria Island

If the vibrant feathers of a Magpie make your heart skip a beat and the sweet melodies of a male Thrush serenade your soul, then Maria Island should be your next destination. This little island located off the coast of Tasmania has donned several hats throughout its history; from a convict probation station to an industrial enterprise. Now, it's blossomed into a national park showcasing its rugged cliffs, endless eucalyptus forests and sweeping bays.

But Maria Island’s wildlife is what makes it a must-visit for birdwatchers. Apart from the species who have always walked its land, the island is also home to some endangered ones that were introduced here to be protected. In fact, you can spot all of Australia’s native birds here – that’s more than 125 species of birds! Allow us to introduce you to some of the incredible feathered residents and visitors that we are sure you’d be excited to meet on a Maria Island tour.

Forty Spotted Pardalote

Forty Spotted Pardalote spotted in Maria Island

It is no secret that you’ll meet some of Australia’s rarest wildlife in Maria Island, and a Forty Spotted Pardalote is an elite member of that group. These pint-sized birds are some real beauties! They are a dull olive-green colour with grey chest and belly, and black wings with twenty white spots on either side. They love White Gums (Eucalyptus viminalis), and the coast. Maria Island boasts both, hence the largest colony of this beautiful species lives here. But, hold onto your binoculars, because spotting these beauties has become a bit hard, as they’re on the brink of extinction. Who knows, you might just find yourself in the right place at the right time, and catch a glimpse of these lovelies flitting through the eucalyptus forests.

Cape Barren Goose

Cape Barren Goose spotted in Maira Island

These pale-grey geese are truly a sight to behold. Well, how can they not be, with their enormous size and pig-honk calls? Once upon a time, they were the second rarest goose in the world. Surprisingly, these majestic birds are not a native species of Maria Island? Yeah, they were introduced here in the 1970s, and have been thriving on the island ever since. Interestingly, they're primarily terrestrial, rarely venturing into the water. So, look out for them grazing on grass (their favourite meal), or, in the sky. They make such a graceful sight while flying; a spectacle you do not want to miss!

Wedge-Tailed Eagle

The mighty Wedge-Tailed Eagle spotted in Maria Island

Here’s one for the fans of ‘Birds Of Prey’. Wedge-Tailed Eagles are mighty and boast a regal aura. The Tasmanian Wedge-Tailed Eagles are distinctively larger than their mainland Australia counterparts. You can spot their nests on Maria Island. With a span of 2.3m, they’re one of the largest eagles in the whole world! It’d be really hard to miss them soaring or gliding in the sky!  Sadly, these majestic birds are endangered.

Tasmanian Native Hen

Tasmanian Native Hen spotted in Maria Island

Now onto a far-relative of our domestic hens. These flightless birds are so full of life, and very fast runners (can cover 50 km/hr!). Oh, and good swimmers too. Their yellow beaks and red eyes complement their grey bodies quite well. If these birdies find themselves in danger, they’ll start flicking their tails to warn others. They were almost driven to extinction in the mainland by Dingoes. On Maria Island though, a large population is already established, which means their sightings are guaranteed for you!

Ocean Birds

An adorable Hooded Plover spotted in Maria Island

There are just so many ocean birds that call Maria Island home. A Maria Island day trip is an excellent choice to meet adorable Hooded Plovers. They are stocky birds with a white body, grey wings, black head, and a lovely red beak. Look out for Oystercatchers too! These waders or shorebirds look like they’ve flown straight out of a cartoon, with their long orange beaks (think of a sharp cheetos or a thin carrot) and beady orange eyes. Let’s not forget Albatrosses and the countless Muttonbirds you’ll see here.

So, pack your binoculars and get ready for an unforgettable bird watching experience on Maria Island. Brace yourself for some unforgettable encounters with these incredible feathered wonders.