Native Wildlife

Surrounded by Moreton Island National Park & Moreton BAy Marine Park

Tangalooma and Moreton Island is the home to a wide variety of local and native wildlife protected by national parks. Our passionate and dedicated team of Eco Rangers provide a wide range of Eco Walks, Tours and Presentations for all ages and backgrounds educating guests on the local marine and wildlife that calls Moreton Island home.

Moreton Bay Marine Life


Between 600 and 800 dugongs live in Moreton Bay, and are commonly found in large herds of up to 100 animals. The Moreton Bay dugong population is geographically located with the closest other population 200km away at Hervey Bay. Moreton Bay’s dugongs are listed as vulnerable due to their slow rate of reproduction and a decrease in sea grasses, their primary food source.


Each winter, the East Australian humpback whale population migrate north from the Antarctic waters, along the eastern coastline of Australia to mate and give birth in the warmer waters of North Queensland. Although they are currently listed as "least concern" species under the Nature Conservation Act, the humpback whale population is gradually increasing each year. The now famous 'Migaloo' and other White Whales have also been sighted migrating past Moreton Island. Other species of whales known to visit Moreton Bay include southern right whales, sperm whales, melon-headed whales and minke whales. It is important when boating to give Whales a clear distance, and to turn off your engines when near Whales. Want to see the whales for yourself?Tangalooma runs whale watching cruises from June through to October each year.


Moreton Bay Marine Park has two resident dolphin species, the bottlenose dolphin and the Indo-Pacific hump-backed dolphin. Bottlenose dolphins are commonly seen swimming around Moreton Bay and are the same species that come into Tangalooma on a nightly basis to be hand fed. In the Bay, they form small groups of about 15 individuals, while groups offshore may number in the hundreds. The less common of the two resident species, the Indo-Pacific humpbacked dolphin, is characterized by its dorsal fin, which rests on a hump on its back. Listed as rare under the Nature Conservation Act 1992, body colours range from pale pink to grey.


Moreton Bay is home to six of the world’s seven species of sea turtles with the seagrass meadows providing a vital feeding area. Of these six species, those commonly seen in Moreton Bay include green turtles, loggerhead turtles and hawksbill turtles, each listed as vulnerable under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. Moreton Bay is also home to more than 10,000 green sea turtles and 2,000 loggerhead turtles.

Tangalooma Island Resort Dolphins
Tangalooma Island Resort Turtles

Moreton Island's Native Birds

About 195 species of birds that live or migrate to Moreton Island and Moreton Bay, including 31 species of migratory birds protected under international agreements (JAMBA, CAMBA).


There are plenty of Kookaburra's who call Moreton Island home, with some of them visiting the resort to enjoy a free meal courtesy of the Kookaburra Feeding. Kookaburra's are also known as kingfishers and are often seen as a proud mascot by many of Australia's sporting teams, even becoming one of the three mascots chosen for the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

Kookaburra's are very social birds and can easily be recognised by their iconic 'laugh'.

Pelicans and Cormorants

The most common birds seen at Moreton Island and Tangalooma are the local Pelicans and Cormorants, who regularly arrive for a fish feed near the Tangalooma Jetty. The local Cormorants are known to be quite cheeky and will even try and steal some of the fish set aside for the nightly dolphin feeding!

Pelican Feeding at Tangalooma
Kookaburra Feeding at Tangalooma

Moreton Island Flora & Fauna

Moreton Island and Tangalooma is the natural habitat for a variety of local wildlife, including:

  • 36 types of reptiles
  • 14 species of mammals
  • 11 species of amphibians
  • 11 native terrestrial mammals including 6 bat species

Moreton Island has a complex and fragile ecology with many plants adapted to the low nutrient sandy soils and “tea-tree”-stained, acidic waters. There are a number of vegetation communities supported on the Island, including: swamps; heathlands; and open woodlands dominated by Scribbly Gum and Pink Bloodwood trees. Salt-resistant ground-cover plants play an important role in protecting the sand dunes by trapping and binding the sand, which allows other plant species to thrive. Also, there are about 64 edible plant species found on Moreton Island.

Moreton Island
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