Half a million king penguins, each standing three feet tall, pack shoulder to shoulder in mesmerizing colonies on this hundred-mile-long, glacier-studded island–reached by two days of sailing east of <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destination/chile" target="_blank">Chile</a>’s Cape Horn. Millions of smaller seabirds nest on the island’s tussock-covered slopes, partly thanks to the largest-ever rat-eradication effort, completed on <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/travel/destination/antarctica" target="_blank">South Georgia</a> in 2015. While drinking in the abundant birdlife, raise a glass to Ernest Shackleton at his final resting place. [Read more about <a href="https://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/article/wildlife-viewing-south-georgia-sandwich-islands" target="_blank">wildlife in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands</a>.]

South Georgia Island

Half a million king penguins, each standing three feet tall, pack shoulder to shoulder in mesmerizing colonies on this hundred-mile-long, glacier-studded island–reached by two days of sailing east of Chile’s Cape Horn. Millions of smaller seabirds nest on the island’s tussock-covered slopes, partly thanks to the largest-ever rat-eradication effort, completed on South Georgia in 2015. While drinking in the abundant birdlife, raise a glass to Ernest Shackleton at his final resting place. [Read more about wildlife in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.]
Photograph by Eric Chen, Getty Images

The World's Best Destinations for Bird-Watching

Slow down for epic spectacles of nature in these world wonders for birding.

Birds are the world’s quintessential travelers, free to fly at a moment’s notice without carry-on or even a passport. Some cross hemispheres to meet a mate; others gather in stupendous flocks for the sake of a little company. And in a few corners of the Earth, like in Denali, birds create avian spectacles that make its own weather.

So grab your binoculars! From king penguins to melancholy woodpeckers, about 10,000 feathered species share this planet with us—and in these ten hotspots, they will take your breath away.

Bird expert Noah Strycker is author of National Geographic book Birds of the Photo Ark. Follow his story on Twitter.

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