A Twitchers Paradise


Bird watching on Norfolk Island can be a truly rewarding experience for bird enthusiasts. This small island in the South Pacific, located between Australia and New Zealand, is home to a variety of unique and interesting bird species. Here are some key points to consider when bird watching on Norfolk Island:

Endemic Species: Norfolk Island is known for its unique avian biodiversity. Some of the island’s birds are found nowhere else in the world. One of the most famous is the Norfolk Island Green Parrot, which was once critically endangered but has seen a successful conservation program.

Key Birding Sites: There are several prime birding locations on Norfolk Island. Some of the popular spots include:

Norfolk Island National Park: This protected area is a hotspot for bird watching and offers various trails to explore. Keep an eye out for the green parrot, Norfolk Island pigeon, and various seabirds along the coast.

Botanic Garden: The Norfolk Island Botanic Garden is another great spot to observe native and introduced bird species. It’s a lush area with a variety of habitats.

Captain Cook Monument: This site is known for seabirds, and you may spot Masked Boobies, Red-tailed Tropicbirds, and more.

Emily Bay: This is a sheltered beach area, and you can often spot various shorebirds along the shore.

Best Times to Visit: Bird watching on Norfolk Island can be rewarding year-round, but the best time to visit for birding is during the breeding season, which generally runs from August to December. During this period, many birds are more active and visible.

Bird Species: Besides the Norfolk Island Green Parrot, you can also expect to see birds like the Norfolk Island Robin, the Norfolk Island Gerygone, and the Norfolk Island Kingfisher. Seabirds are prevalent, with various species of petrels and shearwaters.

Local Bird Guides: Consider hiring a local bird guide. They can help you locate and identify birds, increasing your chances of seeing the island’s unique species.

Respect Wildlife and Environment: When bird watching on Norfolk Island, it’s important to respect the local environment and wildlife. Stay on designated trails, keep a respectful distance from the birds, and avoid making loud noises that could disturb them.

Equipment: Don’t forget to bring your binoculars, a bird guidebook or app, a camera, and comfortable hiking gear for exploring the trails.

Conservation: Norfolk Island has made significant efforts in conserving its unique bird species. Supporting local conservation initiatives can be a way to contribute to the preservation of these remarkable birds.

Bird watching on Norfolk Island offers the chance to see species that are found nowhere else in the world, in a beautiful and tranquil environment. Be sure to plan your trip during the right season and take the necessary precautions to ensure an enjoyable and responsible birding experience.

Green Parrot

The green parrot is the symbol of Norfolk Island National Park and a conservation success story.

Thanks to an assisted breeding program, this iconic bird is recovering from near extinction.

Listen for their characteristic ‘kek-kek-kek- call and keep your eyes our for this parrot’s bright green feathers, red crown- patch and blue-edged wings.

The Norfolk parakeet (Cyanoramphus cookii), also called Tasman parakeet, Norfolk Island green parrot or Norfolk Island red-crowned parakeet, is a species of parrot in the family Psittaculidae. It is endemic to Norfolk Island (located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia in the Tasman Sea).


George Robert Gray described the Norfolk parakeet in 1859 as Platycercus Cookii, from a specimen in William Bullock’s Museum, and recorded it as from New Zealand. The species name honours James Cook, who reported the species on Norfolk Island when he landed there in 1774, noting it was the same as those occurring in New Zealand. In 1862, Gray described a specimen from Norfolk Island as Platycercus rayneri, collected by a Mr Rayner. In 1891, Italian ornithologist Tommaso Salvadori confirmed the two taxa as synonymous and coming from Norfolk Island.

It was long considered a subspecies of the red-crowned parakeet of New Zealand. Ornithologists Alfred North (1893) and Graeme Phipps (1981) noted that the Norfolk parakeet was significantly larger than the red-fronted parakeet. Phipps added that further investigation was needed into their status and conservation.DNA analysis in 2001 showed that it was an early offshoot from the other parakeets in the genus Cyanoramphus, with only the New Caledonian and Chatham parakeet more divergent.

“Norfolk parakeet” has been designated the official name by the International Ornithologists’ Union (IOC). It is also known as Norfolk Island green parrot, and locally as green parrot.The name “Tasman parakeet” is used by ornithologists Les Christidis and Walter Boles on the argument that this species and the Lord Howe red-crowned parakeet (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae subflavescens) are probably a single species for which they use biogeographical arguments. Tasman is used for other species with the same distribution and they propose that name for that reason. However, the latter subspecies was not included in the genus-wide phylogenetic reconstruction using DNA sequences, and the lumping of the species should be considered tentative.

Distribution and habitat

Originally found throughout Norfolk Island (to which it is endemic), it vanished from much of its range until by 1908 it was restricted to forest around Mount Pitt in the northwestern corner of the Island. Its natural habitats are native rainforest, from which it ventures into surrounding plantations and orchards.


Seeds make up over half the Norfolk parakeet’s diet, particularly in winter. Five species make up 85% of its diet, including the Norfolk pine (Araucaria heterophylla), niau palm (Rhopalostylis baueri), ake ake (Dodonaea viscosa), as well as introduced African olive (Olea europaea subsp. cuspidata) and cherry guava (Psidium cattleyanum).


Once a common species, the Norfolk parakeet had dwindled to under 50 birds by the late 1970s. Factors contributing to its decline include habitat loss, particularly of large old trees with suitable hollows for breeding, killing of eggs and young by rats and cats, shooting by early settlers, and competition for nest sites by introduced crimson rosellas and common starlings. In 1983 a captive breeding program was commenced. Although it was not successful, it sparked interest in the bird’s fate in the people of Norfolk Island.

Between 1987 and 2000, a concerted effort to reduce rat and cat populations by trapping, and construction of nesting boxes designed to keep out rats increased parrot numbers, with around 250 young fledged. However, numbers of Norfolk parakeets were difficult to assess and concern was raised between 2009 and 2012 that it might be declining again. A census in 2009 estimated a count of 240 birds.

It is only found in Norfolk Island National Park and the surrounding area.

Historically it would have been preyed on by the brown goshawk until this species went extinct on the island in about 1790.


Chunky medium-sized green parrot with a bright red forehead and broken line through the eye. Also note electric blue wing lining. One of only two parrots on Norfolk Island; compare with immature Crimson Rosella, which is much longer tailed and differs in overall coloration. Inhabits remaining native forests on Norfolk Island. Gives noisy nasal yammering calls. Previously very rare, but active conservation management has restored numbers

Securing the future of the Norfolk Island Green Parrot

Feb 28, 2017

A chance to secure the future for one of the world’s rarest birds is about to be taken on Norfolk Island. The Norfolk Island green parrot has twice come close to the brink of extinction only to be pulled back by remarkable conservation work. Now a new project is underway to ensure that this doesn’t happen again

BBC NEWS – Norfolk Owls

May 18, 2020

Exciting news with the discovery of threatened species morepork owl chicks that have survived to their fledgling age – the first time any of this species has made it this far in more than 10 years! This video clip courtesy of the BBC

Why are Bird Lovers so Strange : Norfolk Island with my Twitcher Father for his Big Year

Credit: Justin Brown

Dec 16, 2023

Bird watchers, or twitchers, are incredibly strange people. They chase birds to build up their lists. I went to Norfolk Island in Australia with my father as it’s his Big Year – the year he wants to see as many birds in the one year as possible. It was fascinating to slow down and witness some of his curious routines.

Norfolk Island Birds Facebook Group : https://www.facebook.com/groups/623513771401079/

Click on this link to download the National Park & Botanic Garden Bird Brochure

Click on this link to download the National Park Bird Checklist Sheet

More information here : Wikipedia List of Norfolk Island Birds