Tasmania and its numerous offshore islands cover an area of about 6,723,000 hectares. Because of the island’s topography, vegetation communities (including buttongrass moorlands, wet and dry eucalypt forests, myrtle beech rainforests and coastal heathlands) can change over small distances. Forests still cover approximately 47% of the island; 25% is included in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage area and there are approximately 3000 kilometres of coastline.
Special Birds of Tasmania
Apart from the Forty-spotted Pardalote which has a restricted distribution in the southeast, Tasmania’s 12 endemic bird species are reasonably widespread. The two breeding endemics, both listed as endangered, include the Orange-bellied Parrot, which has a very restricted distribution in the southwest, and the Swift Parrot which, depending on the time of year and seasonal conditions, can be seen in most areas.
Other threatened species include the Tasmanian subspecies of the Wedge-tailed Eagle and Masked Owl and the pure white form of the Grey Goshawk.
Many species of penguins have been recorded from the shores of Tasmania. In many cases, the birds arrive late in the summer looking for a place to moult. The most frequently recorded species are Rockhopper penguins, but King, Macaroni and Gentoo penguins are also visitors to Tasmania. More than 100 vagrant penguins have been recorded from all around Tasmania.