Muttonbirds of the 12 Apostles Coast

Muttonbirds of the 12 Apostles Coast

Observe the return to roost of the muttonbird, from September until April, from a viewing platform in the Loch Ard Gorge precinct.

During this time Muttonbird Island becomes home to about 12,000 birds. The nightly swarming return and almost instantaneous disappearance of the birds into their burrows is a spectacle worthy of the incredible backdrop. Arrival times are similar to the penguins making it near impossible to see both displays on the one night.


Muttonbird is also called the Short-tailed Shearwater.

Both parents incubate the egg! Incubation lasts roughly 2 months and once the chick hatches, during the 3rd week of January, both parent birds will return to roost and regurgitate for the chick (effectively doubling the numbers returning each evening).

The annual migration of the Shearwater takes them on a round trip of around 30.000km taking in Northern Asia and the Aleutian Islands in the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia. Only 10% of birds survive until their 3rd year. 50.000 birds are drowned annually by fishing nets in the North Pacific Ocean.

A joint treaty protecting the short-tailed shearwater exists between Australia and Japan. Both countries monitor the shearwater populations whilst the birds are in their area. Japan and other countries are attempting to minimize the number of birds that are drowned by their fishing operations.

To report injured wildlife call  03 8400 7300.

Accommodation Nearby

Beacon Point House

Port Campbell


Port Campbell


Port Campbell

Beach Perfect

Port Campbell

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Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the Great Ocean Road region the Wadawurrung, Eastern Maar & Gunditjmara. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging. We recognise and respect their unique cultural heritage and the connection to their traditional lands. We commit to building genuine and lasting partnerships that recognise, embrace and support the spirit of reconciliation, working towards self-determination, equity of outcomes and an equal voice for Australia’s first people.