The 10 Best Nature Documentaries to Watch on Netflix
For a variety of different reasons, a lot of us are craving the great outdoors right now. However, not all of us have the time, money, or ability to get away from it all.
So, how else can you explore nature? Well, you can watch nature documentaries, of course. And these are the best nature documentaries currently available to watch on Netflix.
1. The Tigers of Scotland
Don’t let the subject matter fool you! We thought this documentary would be boring based upon the trailer, but after giving it a go, we can thoroughly recommend The Tigers of Scotland.
Clocking in at just under an hour, The Tigers of Scotland is all about the elusive, critically endangered Scottish Wildcat, along with the conservation efforts by local authorities to protect it.
With stunning panoramic shots of the Scottish Highlands, interviews with wildlife experts, and acerbic commentary from the narrator, this film is infused with a dry sense of humor and optimism. It’s equal parts practical, hopeful, and informative.
Pacificum is a Spanish-language documentary about the Peruvian coastline. Weaving together hand-drawn animations with vast aerial footage, it tells the story of the Pacific Ocean. This documentary details the ocean’s prehistoric beginnings to its present state, along with the impact of human expansion on the area.
Beautifully edited and almost ethereal, this documentary’s aerial footage is complemented by a host of experts explaining the importance of the ocean’s influence on the local landscape. Surprisingly—for a documentary about water—Pacificum also shows plenty of footage of nearby deserts, although this divergence does have a point.
As one of the experts explains, these deserts were once oceans; we need to study them to see what may happen to us in the future.
3. Dancing With The Birds
Looking for an absolutely hilarious, superbly edited nature documentary that can be finished in an afternoon? Then we wholeheartedly recommend Dancing With The Birds, voiced by an eternally amusing Stephen Fry.
Supremely funny but also informative, this bite-sized nature documentary on Netflix details the absolutely absurd lengths that tropical birds will go to in order to secure a mate. In the words of Fry, the entire show can be summed up as “the pursuit of love is his life’s work, but looking good is only half the story.”
Additionally, if you’re looking for more documentaries with a British influence, you can also check out the best BBC documentaries to watch on Netflix .
4. Mission Blue
Are you looking for a nature documentary that has a political edge to it? If so, we recommend Mission Blue. It follows Dr. Sylvia Earle, a famed oceanographer and legendary diver, as she tries to educate government policymakers on the state of the world’s oceans.
Part nature documentary, part biography, Mission Blue begins with Sylvia’s origins as a young woman working in a male-dominated field. It then follows her all the way up to her appointment as the head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and her activism work thereafter.
Combining in-person interviews, historical dive footage, and deep-sea exploration, Mission Blue illustrates the overall declining health of ocean ecosystems. It’s definitely one of the best nature documentaries on Netflix.
We almost didn’t recommend this documentary because we were worried it would get too “dark.” However, Terra is so beautifully shot that we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it. It also has an important message for us all.
When you first start watching the documentary, you may think that Terra is about deforestation, industrial agriculture, animal welfare, and nothing but. However, this French film contains so much more.
Beautifully filmed with haunting, panoramic imagery and eerie, forceful music, this philosophical documentary feels like a real-life Fantasia, weaving science, mythology, and religion together as it explains the history of earth’s inhabitants, and the importance of protecting them.
6. Untamed Romania
Looking for a film that is easy on the eyes, pleasant to watch, and not too taxing on the brain cells? Check out Untamed Romania, a nature documentary about the wild spaces in Romania.
As one of the last—and largest—natural habitats left in Europe, Untamed Romania sets out to educate the public about the local wildlife they may have overlooked. It also shows you the stunning landscapes that these creatures inhabit.
From the desolate Carpathian Mountains, to old world forests, to the lazy, curling sprawl of the Danube River; this nature documentary looks like it came straight out a fairytale.
7. Moving Art
Are you looking for a nature documentary with no stress, no narration, or anything even remotely related to politics? Then check out Moving Art.
Featuring shot after shot of beautiful imagery set to classical music, each episode of Moving Art focuses on a specific sort of subject matter, and is considered its own mini “film.”
From lakes to mountains, to deserts and entire countries (along with their unique ecosystems), Moving Art mixes real-time footage with time-lapses to weave together a story of peace and tranquility. It’s currently one of the best nature documentaries around.
8. Chasing Coral
Do you want a documentary that will leave you with an understanding of ecological collapse, but also with the overwhelming determination to do something about it? Check out Chasing Coral, a nature documentary by a former advertiser-turned-climate change activist.
With a tech-savvy crew of camera geeks and coral enthusiasts, the film sets out to record coral “bleaching” and educate the public about rising ocean temperatures. Part Google Street View, part advertisement—all wrapped up into one slick package—this documentary is for anyone who loves coral reefs.
9. Magical Andes
Magical Andes is probably the most human-centric documentary on this list, but it still revolves around nature.
A Spanish-language TV series, Magical Andes follows the Andes mountain range from the tip of South America all the way up to the Caribbean. It explores the different environments that have arisen around these geological features, along with the people that have settled there.
Featuring beautiful close-up shots and stunning panoramas, along with intimate, personable interviews from the locals, Magical Andes is perfect for anyone who wants to do some virtual travel.
10. Our Planet
When it comes to the best nature documentaries on Netflix, none can beat Our Planet. It’s a show that aims to celebrate earth’s natural beauty, while also talking about what we can do to protect it in the future.
Using gorgeous footage and soothing narration by David Attenborough, each episode of Our Planet focuses on an important ecosystem and the intricacies of that environment. If you’re looking for a film that has a “classic nature documentary” feel to it with a modern twist, then Our Planet is for you.
Other Great Documentaries to Watch on Netflix
Now that we’ve dived deep into the oceans and ventured far into the forests, you know about the best nature documentaries on Netflix. So all that’s left to do is watch them.
Are you looking for other documentaries that will take you to faraway places? Then check out the best travel documentaries to watch on Netflix .