top birds to spot on a tasmanian kayak adventure

Kayaking is an ideal way for avid and casual bird watchers alike to enjoy their hobby. Gliding silently across the water brings paddlers closer to birds and other wildlife without disturbing their natural behaviour. Kayaking provides access to secluded areas where birds nest and feed, enabling peaceful and unobtrusive sightings often missed from the land.

As far as bird-watching (and paddling!) destinations go, it doesn’t get much better than beautiful Tasmania. The island’s diverse landscapes, ranging from rugged coastlines to dense eucalypt forests, are a haven for a variety of bird species, including several that are unique to the state.  

Our Tasmanian adventures – Three Capes PaddleBruny Island Paddle and Freycinet Peninsula Kayak Expedition – each offer not only unique kayaking experiences, but also diverse and delightful bird-watching opportunities.

Below, we’ve listed eight highlight bird species that you might spot on a SSV Tasmania paddling trip.

Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle

(Aquila audax fleayi)

The Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagle is a majestic and powerful bird, larger than its mainland counterpart. With a wingspan that can reach over two metres, it is one of Tasmania’s most awe-inspiring birds of prey. They can often be seen soaring high above the mountains and forests, scanning the land for prey. Their nests are typically located in tall trees or on cliff faces, making sightings a truly spectacular event.

Tasmanian Nativehen

(Gallinula mortierii)

This flightless and charismatic bird is unique to Tasmania. Known for its fast running and distinctive calls, it is a symbol of the island state’s diverse wildlife. Typically found near freshwater sources, the Nativehen is a curious and bold bird, often observed foraging along riverbanks and wetlands. Its adaptability and resilience make it a fascinating subject for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts alike.

White-bellied sea eagle

(Haliaeetus leucogaster)

The White-bellied Sea Eagle, with its impressive wingspan and striking white and grey plumage, is a sight to behold. These powerful birds of prey are often seen soaring high above the coastline or perched atop tall trees and cliffs. They are skilled hunters, feeding mainly on fish and small mammals, making the coastal environments of Tasmania ideal for sighting them. Spotting their nests, typically large and located high in trees or on cliffs, can be a highlight for birdwatchers on these trips.


(Diomedea spp.)

Albatrosses, with their expansive wingspans, are masters of the open ocean. They are often seen gliding gracefully over the open waters on our Freycinet Peninsula expedition. These majestic seabirds can cover vast distances with minimal effort, riding the ocean winds. Spotting an Albatross in its natural habitat is a memorable experience; their serene flight and striking appearance make them a favourite among birdwatchers.

Swift Parrot

(Lathamus discolor)

This strikingly vibrant, critically endangered bird migrates across the Bass Strait to breed in Tasmania during the summer months. Known for its rapid, acrobatic  flight and bright green plumage, the Swift Parrot feeds on nectar from Tasmania’s blue gum flowers.

Australasian Gannet

(Haliaeetus leucogaster)

The Australasian Gannet is a remarkable seabird, known for its dramatic diving behaviour. With their stark white plumage and black-tipped wings, they stand out against the blue ocean backdrop. Their nesting colonies are usually located on offshore islands, but they can frequently be seen foraging along the coast. Observing these gannets dive is a captivating sight and a true testament to their prowess as ocean hunters.

Yellow Wattlebird

(Anthochaera paradoxa)

The Yellow Wattlebird is the largest honeyeater in Australia and is endemic to Tasmania. Recognisable by its yellow wattles, quirky behaviour and distinctive raspy calls, this bird is commonly found in Tasmania’s dry forests and urban gardens. 

Forty-spotted Pardalote

(Pardalotus quadragintus)

Endemic to Tasmania, this tiny, critically endangered bird is known for its distinctive forty spots and a unique feeding behavior called ‘lerp’ harvesting, making it a fascinating species for birdwatchers.

The forty-spotted pardalote is one of Australia’s rarest birds and can now only be found in south eastern Tasmania where they rely on white gum trees in dry eucalypt forests for nesting and feeding.

group of kayakers near incredible rock formation

Dreaming of a sea kayaking adventure in tasmania? contact us to enquire or book!