The Best Nature Documentaries on Netflix Will Make You More Worldly

For an intellectual night in.

Best nature documentaries on netflix

Cristina Cianci


Whether you live in a city and need to fill the tree-shaped void in your life or just want to take in some truly spectacular scenery, a nature documentary is the answer to captivate, educate, and inspire you. There are so many great documentaries on Netflix right now, and it's worth adding some of their nature-focused offerings to your queue. We found the best nature documentaries on Netflix that will, without a doubt, make you more worldly. From a visually stunning film showcasing incredible underwater life to an eye-opening look at the illegal ivory trade, these are the flicks that we think everyone should watch this Sunday night.

Here are our picks for the best nature documentaries on Netflix.

01 of 12

The Ivory Game (2016)

The Ivory Game


Leonardo DiCaprio's documentary, The Ivory Game, exposes the deep-rooted corruption driving the global ivory-trafficking crisis. Filmed over the course of 16 months, filmmakers went undercover to gain intel on the trade. The film watches more like a thriller, but, shockingly, it's all true.

Available on: Netflix

02 of 12

72 Cutest Animals (2016)

72 Cutest Animals


If you just want a daily dose of cute without any of the extreme or gory footage nature documentaries can often bring, this is a failsafe option. With episodes titled "Fluff and Stuff" and "Bouncing Buddies," this documentary is guaranteed to warm your heart.

Available on: Netflix

03 of 12

Our Planet (2019)

our planet


This is the first original nature documentary made by Netflix, and it's definitely worth checking out. You'll experience Earth's natural beauty and learn how climate change impacts all its living creatures.

Available on: Netflix

04 of 12

Night on Earth (2020)

night on earth


Curious what life is like when night falls and the world is asleep? This nature series takes you inside the lives of the world's nocturnal creatures and animals that are active during the night, including lions hunting and bats in flight.

Available on: Netflix

05 of 12

Mission Blue (2014)

mission blue


This critically acclaimed documentary follows oceanographer Sylvia Earle on her personal mission to save the ocean from threats like pollution, overfishing, and climate change. Not only will you take in spectacular scenery, but you'll also witness a story with a profound purpose.

Available on: Netflix

06 of 12

Dancing with the Birds (2019)

dancing with the birds


Bird lovers, this one's for you. See birds flaunt their moves to find a mate and learn about mating behavior from tropical bird species around the world. The stunning film features gorgeous cinematography as well as narration from Stephen Fry.

Available on: Netflix

07 of 12

Chasing Coral (2017)

Chasing Coral

Visit Aruba

This Netflix original documentary comes from the director of Chasing Ice. It takes you inside the world of coral reefs, which are vanishing rapidly. The Emmy-winning documentary seeks to discover why the reefs are disappearing and gives viewers a glimpse inside the underwater world.

Available on: Netflix

08 of 12

Life in Color (2021)

Life in Color documentary poster


The charismatic David Attenborough hosts this visually stunning and aptly named documentary series that's setting new standards in the industry. High-tech cameras capture spectrums of light invisible to the human eye, making for an actually draw-dropping nature viewing experience.

Available on: Netflix

09 of 12

Absurd! Planet (2020)

Absurd! Planet documentary poster

New on Netflix

Need a laugh? The goofy creatures big and small in this series are proof that Mother Nature has a sense of humor, plus you might learn a thing or two about this big ol' planet.

Available on: Netflix

10 of 12

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet (2020)

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet documentary poster


Another documentary with Attenborough at the helm, this one takes a more personal approach. Hear him recount his life and the evolutionary history of life on Earth, along with his vision for the future.

Available on: Netflix

11 of 12

Growing Up Wild (2016)

Growing Up Wild documentary poster

To & Fro

Major cuteness alert: Watch five baby animals from all over the world grow up learning to live in the wild with the guidance and love of their families. This is the exact perfect medicine for when you really need to smile.

Available on: Netflix

12 of 12

My Octopus Teacher (2020)

My Octopus Teacher movie poster


Another heartwarming look at the animal kingdom, this documentary tracks an unusual friendship between a filmmaker and an octopus off the coast of South Africa. In the end, the animal has more to teach the human than he ever expected.

Available on: Netflix

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