Bird Islands



Bird Islands


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Beautiful islands, aptly named Bird Islands. So often left unnoticed and undiscovered, they are the perfect place to spend a day or two. Whether you’re looking for a tranquil getaway or want to explore some of thenatural wonders of the region, these islands will not disappoint.

Bird Islands


The islands have a long and colorful history. The first European to set foot on the islands was Spanish explorer Andres de Ulloa, who arrived in 1529. He named them Islas de los Pericos (Islands of the Boars). Several years later, Englishman William Dampier landed on Bird Island and christened it ” Shipwreck Island.” During WWII, it served as a Japanese POW camp. In 1974, local farmers began to purchase the islands, which has been recognized by various treaties as a World Heritage site.


The climate is mild and subtropical, with temperatures ranging from 24 degrees Celsius in winter to 28 degrees Celsius in summer. The islands are also subject to occasional typhoons. The islands’ main building has two small sleeping cabins that face each other. The space between the cabins is fenced off and a gate can be closed for privacy on either side of the open-air space.

The Kankabu Hut is adjacent to the other cabin with two levels: A concrete deck, a large loft and kitchen with all cooking equipment required. The roof is of bamboo slats covered in canvas. Bedding, drinking water and clean-up supplies are provided for self-sufficiency during your stay.


The culture of the Bird Islands is a mix of Polynesian and Melanesian. The locals are descendants of both groups, and their cultures have blended together to form a unique island way of life. There are singers, dancers and storytellers who use traditional instruments such as the ukulele or tiari (a large four-stringed instrument).

You can also find blacksmiths crafting steel tools from local ore, artisans manufacturing nautilus shells into kitchenware and nylon stringed musical instruments, traditional dancers with their characteristic dress made of feathers, shell necklaces and tapa cloth. On Sundays locals gather at the local church to sing hymns which can be heard all over the islands!


The islands are a self governing territory under the Australian jurisdiction. The country’s head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, represented by an appointed Governor. Administrative responsibility for the islands lies with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Health care is provided by the Republic of Kiribati, funds are allocated from Australia.

Government services

are provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

There are no banks or other commercial institutions on the islands, which makes travelling money a challenge. The only place to change money is in Tarawa where there is also an ATM. There are no restaurants or hotels on Kankabu so be prepared to bring all your food and drinks with you! Your health care is provided by the Republic of Kiribati as part of your visitors visa.



The islands are a popular tourist destination, with visitors coming for the beaches and relaxed lifestyle. Visitors to Kankabu can enjoy snorkelling, diving and fishing in some of Kiribati’s most pristine waters. The island is also home to many Rothschild’s fruit bats which make an excellent viewing attraction.

Some travelers find that travelling to the islands can be quite restrictive as there is no electricity or running water on the islands . You have to bring your own supplies and warm clothes, but living in a traditional thatch roof house with double glazing is cozy!



There is no regular transport to or from the islands, but you can catch a flight to Tarawa which is the capital and most populated island. From there you will need to arrange your own transport into the isolated villages. A travel agency in Tarawa should be able to help with this.

Even getting on the plane can become problematic as many airlines have terminated service because they are overbooking flights between the UK and Kiribati, due to political unrest at home.



The cuisine of Kiribati is based around fish, coconut and taro. There are many local dishes that you will not find in other parts of the world such as pandanus fritters which are made from breaded dough filled with ground taro and a savory filling. The islands also have many traditional dances to accompany their food, which you will see regaled during your stay. Greenery, nature and wildlife

The islands of Kiribati are protected areas for whales and other animals. Many species live there including pigeons (kakapos), sea turtles, brown boobies (tukusipisia) frigate birds puffins , albatrosses , the Polynesian monk seal or ‘bou’ and many others.



The islands are home to a variety of wildlife including sharks, turtles and whales. You can enjoy spotting these creatures while snorkelling or diving in the clear waters. On the beaches, you may be able to make a discovery of your own like this scuba diving instructor who found an unidentified species in one of the reefs.

However, Kiribati is very dependent on the weather and it can be gotten up to 15 °C (50°F) in March but become so windy that your snorkel mask gets blown from what you are looking at. To get some famous beaches like this go south of Tarawa where Neptune’s reef was once known as “The rubbish tip of the sea”, where scuba diving aficionados who have dreamt about this perfect underwater paradise.


There’s something about islands that just captivates the human mind. Whether it’s due to their secluded locations, unrivaled views, or the sense of being far from the hustle and bustle of civilisation, islands are a draw for travellers from all over.

And when it comes to birdwatching, there are few places on Earth that offer as much diversity and interest as these islands do. In this blog, we will take you to some of the best bird islands in the world and teach you everything you need to know about Birding on Islands!


  1. Where Are The Bird Islands?

The Bird Islands are located in the Gulf of Thailand, about 160 kilometres off the coast of Ang Thong Province, near Surat Thani.

  1. What Is The Climate Like On These Islands?

The average temperature on the islands is 27 degrees Celsius and it rains frequently throughout the year.

  1. Are There Any Particular Species Of Birds That I Should Be Looking Out For While On These Islands?

Being relatively close to the Malaysian archipelago, there are a number of migratory species that can be found on these islands. These include Ruddy Turnstone, Northern Gulls and Red-crested Pochard.

  1. What Is So Special About Birdwatching On Bird Islands?

The view from the islands is spectacular! An observer sailing through open waters suddenly comes across an otherwordly paradise which resembles something out of a landscape painting.

  1. How Long Does It Take To Bird The Islands?

A two hour round-trip cruise from nearby Ko Sichanpi will get you close enough for this adventure. From there, your discovery trip can last between 5 – 12 hours depending upon how much time you want to spend birding; or if you are looking for something a little bit more strenuous, opt for a longer tour which takes place in December -January (when species of migratory birds congregate in the area).

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