Bird Watching on Phillip Island


Greet migratory mutton birds on their journey from Alaska, see rare wading birds and feed excitable pelicans on Phillip Island.

Migrating mutton birds

Head to Cape Woolamai's main carpark to witness the spectacle of over a million short-tailed shearwaters (mutton birds) returning to their colony en masse at sunset. The birds fly 8,000 kilometres annually from the Alaskan Aleutian Islands to Phillip Island, and between 25 September and late April you can see them return to their burrows after a day out fishing.

Water Birds at Rhyll

Spot all kids of migratory wading birds from Rhyll Inlet and wetlands. Royal spoonbills, straw-necked ibis, swans, little pied cormorants and the rare hooded plover visit annually to feed and breed. Follow the boardwalk to the lookout or the Oswin Roberts Walking Track to reach rewarding bird-watching areas.

The Pelicans

Don't miss the pelican feeding ritual daily at midday on the beach at San Remo. Enjoy seeing the wild birds squabble, sway their beaks and dance in unison.

The Penguins

Every day on sunset, the hundreds to over a thousand wild Little Penguins emerge from the sea and march across the beach to their sand dune burrows. The Little Penguin (or Fairy Penguin) is the world’s smallest (and cutest) penguin and the Penguin Parade is the best place to experience this completely natural phenomenon.

The Parade is brought to you by the Phillip Island Nature Park, a not-for-profit organisation. All profits go directly to the protection and research of the Little Penguin colony.

Cape Barren Geese

You might be lucky and see a Cape Barren Goose!

The Cape Barren goose is a handsome bird about the same size as a domestic goose. Its plumage is pale grey, with black markings near the tips of its wing feathers and tail. It has pink legs and black feet. Its most striking feature is the bright greenish yellow cere on its short black bill.

Cape Barren geese live mostly on small, windswept and generally uninhabited offshore islands, but venture to adjacent mainland farming areas in search of food in summer. Their ability to drink salt or brackish water allows numbers of geese to remain on offshore islands all year round.

These geese are grazing birds, and eat predominantly the common island tussock Poa poiformis as well as spear grass and various herbs and succulents they also eat pasture grasses including barley grass and clover.