Outer Banks Wildlife

11/01/2022 | by Jaclyn Risser | Uncategorized

A trip to the Outer Banks is often an experience in shoreline fun and time enjoyed under the sun for travelers. However, those will a passion for nature will find the Outer Banks is an oasis for wildlife spotting as well! The Outer Banks wildlife scene is breathtaking thanks to the rich ecosystems and habitats that make up this region. There are also several protected preserves here that give OBX wildlife an opportunity to thrive!


bird watching

The Outer Banks is home to an incredible number of local and migratory bird species. In Nags Head Woods alone, bird spotters can potentially encounter over 50 species thanks to the lush maritime forests. A trip to Nags Head Woods could provide an opportunity for bird watchers to spot everything from Great Blue Herons and warblers to egrets as well. Buxton Woods in south Hatteras Island is another fantastic bird-watching stop for those who are looking to spot peregrine falcons and bald eagles too. Those adventuring through Kitty Hawk will want to check out the Kitty Hawk Woods Reserve where marshland and swamp bring in wrens, hawks, herons, egrets, and beyond.

Local Fish Species

While the skies of the Outer Banks are brimming with incredible birds, the waters that surround this region are brimming with incredible OBX wildlife too. The Outer Banks is home to a variety of fish species that vary depending on the area. Offshore species found here include everything from yellow-fin tuna and dolphins to white marlin, sailfish, and cobia. Species that linger in the surf include pompano, striped bass, Spanish mackerel, and bluefish. Founder, croaker, and speckled trout are most commonly found in the sounds across the Outer Banks.

sea turtles

Sea Turtles

The lineup of Outer Banks wildlife also extends to sea turtles! In fact, no less than five different types of sea turtles make their way to the Outer Banks to nest each year. Nests tend to be visible near dunes and are protected spaces that are not to be disturbed by visitors or locals. Sea Turtles species found across the Outer Banks include loggerhead, green, kemp’s ridley, leatherback, and hawksbill turtles too.


What You Can See While Hiking

The Outer Banks is a beautiful place to hike and explore your way through a stay. If you do get out and trek the trails, there’s a good chance you’ll encounter some incredible wildlife along the way. In Corolla, beaver, mink, and muskrat alike can be spotted near creeks and streams. Wild hares are often spotted in the evenings on Roanoke Island while black bears inhabit areas around the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge as well as Currituck.

Aquarium Options


Those interested in learning more about OBX wildlife will find a stop at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island to be particularly interesting. Located at 374 Airport Road in Manteo, this aquarium houses more than 20 species of animals. Guests can view jellyfish and sand tiger sharks as well as otters during a visit. There are also opportunities to learn more about the conservation efforts happening across the Outer Banks and North Carolina to ensure these species thrive well into the future.

Wildlife Tours

Corolla is home to the Outer Bank’s population of wild horses which can be safely viewed by booking a wild horse viewing tour during a visit. Seeing these incredible creatures thrive on the shorelines is bound to be a highlight of your stay!

Book Your Stay in the Outer Banks Today

Buccaneer Village 1014

Enjoy every minute of your Outer Banks adventure when you book a vacation rental through Pirate’s Cove Realty. Reach out today