Dec 22, 2008

Surfbirds Birding Trip Report: Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia And Vanuatu - 7th October - 24th October 2005


This was our favourite island mainly because it is still totally unspoilt by tourism and there were no introduced Mynas or Bulbuls. We stayed at the Airport Inn, a three-minute walk from the airport. The accommodation consisted of straw huts on the beach and although basic, it was excellent value for money as it included meals when we wanted them, e.g. breakfast at 11am after we had finished birding. The best birding area can be reached on foot so there is no need to organize transport

Contrary to what some reports stated, we found a really good large tract of undisturbed forest just outside the main town. From the airport, turn right and follow the coast for about 500m. Take the first main track on the right leading uphill. Follow the track past the school on your right-hand-side and you arrive at a six-way junction. Take the second on the right and continue along this track and after a km you reach some great forest. We walked for about further 4km with good forest most of way, which appeared to continue further.

We saw the Parrot, Fantail and Dove fairly easily, though the Honeyeater proved a little more difficult. It was easier in the morning especially around the town.

Surfbirds Birding Trip Report: Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia And Vanuatu - 7th October - 24th October 2005

Dec 14, 2008

Where do you want to go birding in Fiji today?

....Birdwatching in Fiji - Fiji, compared to other South Pacific nations

    such as New Guinea, lacks a diversity of avian life but there are enough interesting and sometimes spectacular looking birds to attract visitors from throughout the world. In all, there are about 80 species of terrestrial and freshwater birds, 70 endemics and about 10 which have been introduced.
....Bouma Forest Park - Bouma Forest Park and Reserve is a luxuriant
    and secluded setting of colourful tropical vegetation, waterfalls, and clear freshwater pools. Taveuni's birds and other exotic wildlife populate the forest park in abundance.
....Colo-i-Suva Forest Park - Only 11km from the heart of Suva. Observe
    the Fiji Goshawk glide majestically - a bird you only find in Fiji; or the Blue Crested Broadbill found only in the VitiLevu rainforest; or you may hear the deep hollow call of the barking pidgeon - a bird widely hunted, but safe here. Pick up your Colo-i-Suva Bird Guide from the Visitor Center.
....Visit the Shinning Parrots, Fiji - by Peter Lonsdal. It is good news
    that the 3 large Shining Parrots all are easy too see ( Red Shining Parrot easiest along trail to Des Voeux Peak on Taveuni; Masked Shining Parrot at Joske's Thumb near Suva; Crimson Shining Parrot anywhere on Kakavu ).
....Birds of Fiji - this site is under construction and very slow loading.
    A few nice pictures of Fijian birds, including the Many-Collared Fruit Dove, the Collared Lory, and the Giant Forest Honey-eater.
....Trip Reports: Fiji - Dick Wattling has posted a number of trip reports
    from Fiji (note only partially visible in Netscape), including:
    • Koro Island
    • Nanuyalevu (Turtle Island), Yasawa, Ba
    • Nasoata Island
    • Viwa Island
....Trip Report: Fiji, July 4 - August 6, 1999. By Barry Levine. The
    following is a report of a trip taken to 6 islands in Fiji. For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit Fiji, I'd say that you have missed one of the truly fabulous places on the planet. Aside from birding, there is ample opportunity to see many of the wonders of the sea and make connections with some of the friendliest people we have met in our travels.
....Trip Report: Kadavu and Suva, Fiji, September 26-29, 1998 - by
    Peter Lonsdale. Attending a scientific meeting in Suva, Fiji, at the end of September gave me the opportunity for some quick nearby birding trips. A couple of years ago I had birded the Fijian islands of Vanua Levu and Taveuni, plus the dry leeward side of the main island of Viti Levu (in the highlands above Nadi); this time my targets were the 4 island endemics of Kadavu, and the Pink-billed Parrotfinch that is restricted to the wet (Suva) side of Viti Levu.
....Trip Report: Taveuni (Fiji), November 28 - December 8, 1998, by
    Sarah Vetault. I stayed at the Garden Island Resort for what was primarily a scuba trip, but got a couple of days of birding in. From the balcony of the resort we had Vanikoro Flycatchers and Silvereyes feeding fledglings at eye level, clearly visible without binoculars. As far as I was concerned, that paid for the trip. Even the non-birders were taking photos.
....Trip Report: Fiji (6 Islands), July 4 - August 6, 1999, by Barry Levine.
    For those of you who have not had the opportunity to visit Fiji, I'd say that you have missed one of the truly fabulous places on the planet. Aside from birding, there is ample opportunity to see many of the wonders of the sea and make connections with some of the friendliest people we have met in our travels.
....Trip Report: Fiji - by Susan Myers. A report of a trip to Fiji made in
    March 1996 by Susan Myers, Stuart Dashper and our friend Chris Doughty. We visited three islands - Viti Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu-from 24th March to 2nd April. The numerous islands of Fiji are characterised by a high degree of endemicity, most notably the three stunning Ptilinopus fruit-doves, the Silktail and the Shining-parrots. In order to observe most of the endemics it is necessary to go to the three islands mentioned above. The islands are well-endowed with tourist facilities, and on the bigger islands there is a wide range, from backpacker hostels to 5-star hotels. English is widely spoken.
....Trip Report: American Samoa and Western (Independent) Samoa,
    November 17 - 20, 2000, by Craig Faanes. Finding the endemic birds of Samoa is an absolute piece of cake (despite Billy Crystal's admonishment in the movie Forget Paris to "never say it's a piece of
    cake."). Eight of the 10 endemics can be seen within 7 km of Aggie Grey's hotel. When Peter Lonsdale was on Upolu a couple years ago he had difficulty finding the Mao the first trip - he got it the second trip. I guess I was just damned lucky to find mine early the first day.
....Trip Report: Western Samoa, July 1996, by Peter Lonsdale.
    Several weeks ago I asked on BIRDCHAT for advice for birding Upolu, Western Samoa. I didn't get much response, but feel duty-bound to give a Trip Report, even though I ended up with barely 24 hours on the island. An Australian correspondent did provide a 1992 Trip Report, with the pleasing news of two good sites (Vaisigano Valley and Mt.Vaea) close to Apia, the capital city --- more particularly, within walking distance of Fagalii airstrip, making the real hazards of Samoan car rental unnecessary. See also Peter's March/April 1999 trip report.
Where do you want to go birding in Fiji today?

Dec 13, 2008

Bird Watching in Fiji :: Odyssey Travel ::

Birdwatching in Fiji offers the opportunity to see a number of tropical birds in the beautiful natural habitat of Fiji. We'll take trips into areas noted for specific species of bird, and we will also use the extensive land of Daku Resort where we stay. As well as many more common Fijian birds such as the reef heron, the kingfisher, the shrikebill and the honey eater, we will also set out to see the orange dove and the silktail, both of which are to be found on our island, Vanua Levu. In fact, the orange dove has been spotted on the estate of Daku Resort itself. A reasonable degree of fitness is required if you are to access all the sites; the two areas where the silktail and the orange dove are found are steep and difficult. We also set out early on most days.

Course Tutor
Robin Mercer has spent most of his life in Fiji. Originally from New Zealand, he was educated at Suva Boys Grammar School before going on to the Bank of New Zealand where he stayed for 12 years. He then moved to Vanua Levu where he bought a copra plantation, which he turned into the Kontiki Lodge, now known as Koro Sun. He has been a keen birder all his life and is well acquainted with the bird life of Vanua Levu. He is the author of "A Field Guide to Fiji Birds "published by the Fiji Museum 1965 (unfortunately now out of print). Robin has served on numerous statutory boards including the Fiji Visitors Bureau, the Coconut Board, and the National Trust of Fiji. He has been awarded an M B E and the Independence Medal of Fiji.

Visiting Lecturer in 2009

Vilikesa Masibalavu has been the BirdLife Fiji Coordinator since the project started in 2002. Vili is the joint author of Important Bird areas in Fiji, a recent study on Fiji's bird life. Based in Suva, he will be coming across to Daku to talk about the birds of Fiji.

During the week Robin and Vili will be taking you to a number of areas of noted bird spotting potential.

Program Includes

  • Return domestic flight from Nadi to Savusavu.
  • Return airport transfers from Savusavu to Daku Resort.
  • 7 nights accommodation at Daku Resort in traditional bures with private facilities.
  • Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are provided.
  • Services of a course leader and teacher.
  • Course fees.
  • Lectures, excursions as indicated.

Program Excludes

  • Return economy international airfares to Fiji.
  • Departure taxes applicable to the standard itinerary.
  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance.
  • Optional activities not listed on the program.
  • Costs of a personal nature eg laundry, massages, private trips.

Program Notes

  • Prices quoted are per person twin share with private facilities.
  • Ex Nadi.
  • The course is limited to 8 people.

:: Bird Watching in Fiji :: Odyssey Travel ::

Dec 10, 2008


Author: Sue Williams
Location: Fiji
Date: 5/27/2008 1:21:00 PM

Beach with Tongan pumice.
Beach with Tongan pumice.

PURPOSE: Experience the world class snorkeling and nature. We were not disappointed.

BEST TIME TO GO: Emailed the resort (in December 2006) and asked the best time to come for optimal snorkeling conditions, we could come ANYTIME. Joan Moody (owner), replied that October was the best month for snorkeling. So, we made our reservations for October.

WEATHER: Was rotten, such is life. 20-30 mph winds and occasional rain for 8.5 days. We had 1.5 days of sun with gentle breezes. When the sun came out and the wind died down it was heaven.

TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS: Did it all myself, direct, online, with a credit card. Emailed the resorts to ask questions. Travel was smooth. I like having the print-out of confirmation emails, etc.

Research tools below (dont forget to delete from your browser temporary internet files, cookies, and history, frequently):

try the month long search for the days they fly to Fiji and the cheapest days.

Forums and descriptions (just a sample):

Also compare prices at a few travel agencies to see if they can give you a better deal than you can find on your own.

FLIGHTS: 1. Los Angeles (LAX) to Nadi, Fiji (NAN) on Air Pacific, $1,100 person round trip (RT). 2. Nadi (NAN) to Savusavu (SVU) on Sun Air, $200 per person RT. Made reservations directly with Air Pacific on their website. Joan Moody made the reservations for our Sun Air flight to/from Savusavu. To reach the domestic terminal in Nadi, Fiji, just go outside and it is but a few minutes walk along the sidewalk in front of the terminals. I made our reservations in January 2006 with Air Pacific and Moodys. There was an airfare sale in August 2006 for $798 RT LAX to NAN. That was the cheapest airfare within that 10-month time frame.

1. LAX to NAN (and return) try to get seats where you can lay down to sleep (back of the plane). Took Ambien, it worked but I did not sleep well because I couldnt lie down. If my husband and I can get an aisle and a window together (empty seat between us) we can take turns laying down. We got seats with plenty of leg room, but the armrests did not fold up. Food on airplane was, well, airplane food, barely edible. We had noise-canceling headphones (Bose). We could read and relax. You will still hear things, but it is muted.

2. For the domestic flight, Sun Air, they not only weighed our luggage but they also weighed us! We had to stand on the scale with our carry-on bags. Sun Air left an hour earlier than scheduled, so, check in as soon as you can, and stay close. On the return flight we were bumped, twice, because there were a lot of Namale Resort guests flying to Nadi. But, we were only delayed about 45 minutes. Sun Air brought in another plane, a 9 passenger plane, for my husband and I, and a family of 4. This small plane was actually much newer and nicer than the larger one we flew over on. We had a smoother ride as well. Had to pay for overweight luggage (Sun Air) on return from SVU to NAN, $30 total (this is common on small planes).

Returning home we had about an 8-hour wait in Nadi before our 10 p.m. departure NAN to LAX. Got a day room at Tanoa International. They will pick you up at the airport and give you a ride back (or a taxi ride is $5). We had lunch and went to bed. Got up, took a shower, and headed to the airport about 8 p.m. I highly recommend doing this. We do not like to shop and there really wasnt anything else we wanted to do in that time frame. We had bought Fiji souvenirs on our previous trip in 2000.

Returning home to LAX, we decided to just stay the night and not worry about how long customs would take, making our connecting flight, etc. Stayed at Doubletree Hotel Los Angeles Airport. We highly recommend it. Clean, comfortable, quiet. Food in bar was great. There is nothing like that first hamburger when you get back to the States. BOAT

RIDE: Moodys arranged for us to be picked up at Savusavu Airport (very small and primitive) by taxi and taken to the boat dock. Boat ride was 2.5 to 3 hours in extremely rough seas. The boat captain said it was as rough as it gets, lucky us. That was one wild ride. Take something for motion sickness, you may not need it, but better safe than sorry.

RESORT: Cost for 10 days $2,365 x 2 = $4,730. Gorgeous island with astonishingly beautiful beaches. Because it is up on a ridge the views are fantastic. Lushly vegetated (native and introduced), lots of tall trees. The owners, Tom and Joan Moody, are kind and thoughtful, they take care of everything for you.

The bures are attractive and comfortable. Beautifully maintained inside and out. The towels may not match and some have holes in them, but they are clean. Toilets are flushed with seawater into a standard septic system, water for showers, sinks, and drinking is rainwater collected from the roof and stored in a cistern. Shower and sinks have hot water.

Each bure is a self-contained unit. All bures have propane lights (easy to light), some have solar lights, and 2 flashlights. Water pressure was low in our shower, but we had hot water. Your bure has a one-burner propane stove to heat up a hot water kettle for tea and coffee (instant). The floor boards are spaced with a narrow gap in between them (so the bures wont be blown away during cyclones).

To sum up the experience, think of upscale camping with a bed, running water, showers, and flush toilets. Deck around bure for sitting, lounging, tanning, bird watching, reading, and also armchair snorkeling. When on the deck of our bure, number 1, we could look down on the coral reef. I saw a turtle one day, and a giant triggerfish another day. Birds were always flying by, see below for list. Bats fly by in the evening. The wildlife comes to you.

FOOD: Set meal times: 8:00 a.m. breakfast, 12 noon lunch, between 6-7 p.m. dinner. If you get to the dining bure early (before dinner) there is usually a snack chips and salsa, popcorn, cheese and crackers. It is good food (not gourmet), and beautifully presented. John (waiter, etc.) always folded the napkins differently every meal. Mostly Americanized recipes, some Fijian, and some Indian. Lots of variation: Fresh baked bread (white bread) at every meal, fresh fruit and fruit juice for breakfast, eggs cooked to order or pancakes or cinnamon rolls, and coffee. Lunch was soup, sandwiches or lasagna or quesadillas or tacos. Dinner was beef or lamb or fish or chicken, vegetables, salads, and dessert. Ice water with all meals. John is very attentive and always remembers your name, refills your water glass, removes your plate, etc.

COMMUNAL TABLES AT MEALS: There are 2 large round tables in the main dining bure. With a lazy-susan in the center of each table where the serving bowls and platters are placed, and you just spin it to get to whatever dish you want and serve yourself. Everyone sits where they want. My husband and I really enjoyed eating with everyone else and talking. We would compare what marine life we had seen and just visit with each other. The resort was full most of the time we were there (12 guests); one German couple, the rest Americans. Most of the guests were divers. The divers said the diving doesnt get any better than Namena, now we would be spoiled for life. Tom Moody (owner) is a wonderful conversationalist, I enjoyed listening to his stories. Since the weather was so bad this was sometimes the highlight of our day!

ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES: There is a refrigerator in the dining room stocked with beer, wine, soft drinks, fruit juice, water take what you want (or ask John) and write it down on your running tab on the bar. For my husband and I we would both have a beer at lunch (Fiji Bitter), and a glass or 2 of wine at dinner. At the end of 10 days our bar bill was $196. Very reasonable for a resort. You might want to bring a bottle of vodka, or whatever, if you like mixed drinks (it would be less expensive). Moodys provides the ice and mixers.

Here are some good photos of the resort on

BIRDS: My husband is the birder.

LIST: White-tailed tropic birds, red-footed boobies, Pacific swallow, lesser frigatebird, crested tern, black-naped tern, Polynesian starling, common mynah (introduced), Vanikoro broadbill, orange-breasted myzomela (honeyeater), spotted dove, grey-back white-eye (Fiji silver eye), Pacific pigeon, white-throated pigeon, wandering tattler, white-collared kingfisher, and bulbul. And the most exciting, the Fiji banded rail (flightless, walks around on the ground like a chicken). The banded rail is extinct in most of Fiji.

At breakfast and lunch we would feed bread crumbs to the birds outside the windows of the dining bure, you can see most of the islands birds from the dining room.

Red-footed Booby Nesting Colony: The boobies nest in trees along the shore, in an area past the dock. They are noisy and smelly, but the red feet and the blue beak are very attractive, and you can get fairly close to them. On Namena they call the booby nests booby BEDS.

Nov 17, 2008

Dick Watling PH.D

The most eminent Dr Dick Watling! The ONE birder to contact if coming to Fiji for serious birding:

Dick Watling PH.D
Environment Consultants Fiji
P.O Box 2041, Government Building,
Fiji Islands

Tel: 679 383189
Fax: 679 381818


Giant Forest Honeyeater NatureFiji-MareqetiViti Endangered Species

Giant Forest Honeyeater, Gymnomyza viridis

Sovau, Ikou, Cavucavuivalu
Giant Forest Honeyeater

As the name suggests, the Giant forest honeyeater is a relatively large honeyeater, measuring 27cm from the tip of its beak to the tip of its tail.

It has a typically slender, slightly down-curved bill and dull feathers.

The entire bird is olive-green. Juveniles have lightly streaked and spotted underparts.

There is a variation in bill and feet colour between the Viti Levu where they are dark, and the, Vanua Levu and Taveuni populations where they are light yellowish.

NatureFiji-MareqetiViti Endangered Species

Nov 16, 2008

Fiji, September 2006 - BirdForum


More travelling today. Morning flight to from Suva to Kadavu Island. Speedboat transfer to Wassalima Resort on far eastern tip of Kadavu. A walk around the forest at the back of the resort produced a pair of Kadavu Shining Parrots and several loudly singing Kadavu Honeyeaters. There was almost constantly Lesser Frigatebirds in view soaring over the cliffs.


With two Kandavu endemics left to see before leafing the island the next day, I headed off along a small track into the forest west of Wassalima in the early morning. Very quickly I picked up a single Kadavu Fantail, and more Kadavu Honeyeaters. Kadavu Shining Parrots could be heard screeching in the distance. It wasn’t long before I head the loud inflected whistle of my final Kadavu endemic, but a long time searching, and hearing several other individuals didn’t lead to any sightings. Returning to Wasssalima for lunch I heard another whistle right above my head, I looked up and there was a male Velvet Dove, just metres above me. I got excellent views of this third endemic Fijian fruit dove and even managed a nice photo in very difficult (non-existent) rainforest lighting. I spent the rest of the day snorkelling off the beach, seeing a variety of colourful reef fish.

Fiji, September 2006 - BirdForum

Fiji Nov/Dec 2006 - BirdForum

We wanted to fly to Kadavu ( pronounced ‘Kandavu’) but Air Fiji doesn’t fly directly there from Taveuni so we had go via Suva which was ok, but it meant that we had to use 2 sectors to get to one destination, leaving us with one flight left.

We had to wait 1.5h in Suva for the 30min trip over to Kadavu which was on the same plane....! Oh well, the visuals were very nice as we landed and also saw 58 Pacific Golden Plovers and interestingly a pair of Masked Lapwings on the grass here – a species which looks as if it’s slowly colonizing. We walked literally just across the road to the bayside Airport Inn that we’d read about in a trip report with a lovely cool breeze blowing in off the sea...hope that stays!

Quite a few Brown Boobies were watched hunting over the bay’s turquoise waters. A lot of birders seem to stay away from here but it’s right on the doorstep and all the birds are easily found (or so I thought...!) It was a little steep at F$20 each for a dorm but it was clean enough and Sabe (the owner’s wayward son) was nice enough. In fact Sabe’s dad came over to greet us and delicately asked if we were married, much to Sabe’s embarrassment, and when we said no, he made up bunks at opposite ends to each other! How sweet!!

Thankfully there were no other guests so it made little difference to us. Even the aircraft on final approach practically overhead didn’t detract from its charm either and it has a kitchen or can supply meals if asked. A pair of Vanikoro Broadbills was nesting in the gardens giving good views.
Name:  broadbill vanikorosspkandavensis (9).bmp Views: 46 Size:  141.8 KBName:  parrot kadavushining (1).bmp Views: 46 Size:  133.9 KBName:  fantail kadavu (5).bmp Views: 46 Size:  169.3 KB
There’s a nice shop in the town of Vunisea, about a 5min walk from our digs where we bought some lovely fresh bread, beans and cheese for dinner later and saw the endemic Kadavu Honeyeater, Collared Lory and Collared Kingfisher and more broadbills on the way – cool!

We then wandered up out of the town along the road that goes into the hills and walked for a good 4km, seeing the beautiful Kadavu Shining-Parrot and Kadavu Fantail, a family party of Polynesian Trillers, Fiji Bush-Warblers and White-eyes, Peale’s Imperial-Pigeons, a single fly-over White-throated Pigeon, Island Thrush, Slaty Monarch and Polynesian Starling. Lots of large flying foxes flew overhead with a couple swooping in low to crash into the trees and land hanging upside-down.
Name:  dove velvet (15).bmp Views: 46 Size:  174.7 KBName:  whistler goldensspkandavensis (5).bmp Views: 45 Size:  142.9 KB
We spent three days on the island and finally caught up with the gorgeous Velvet Dove on the last day – realizing that I’d actually been hearing it for the last couple of days anyway!! All three ‘chrysoenas’ doves have the most un-dove-like calls imaginable but it was worth the wait for he was a truly stunning columbid! We also saw a fine female Black-faced Shrikebill too which was very nice, the local race of stunning Golden Whistlers, Lesser Shrikebills and Australasian Harrier. The walks along the road that cuts through the forest were very pleasant and on one occasion we picked a couple of friends in the form of a pair of local dogs that took it upon themselves to be our guides for the morning! In fact the younger one followed us back to the inn and spent the afternoon with us as we got through far too many beers with Sabe and his friend Ron...the 4 of us drank 18 750ml bottles of Fiji Bitter – it’s amazing how much you can drink when it’s poured into a small cup, downed, and then passed to the next person and so on!!

Dawn brought hers back up in a bag at bedtime, apparently I dozed off for a couple of hours sometime during the afternoon (don’t recall that...) and I vaguely remember Dawn ‘decorating’ the flowerbeds in the wee hours too...!! Ha ha ha! So that was the friendly island of Kadavu, great birds, great people and great visuals. What more could you ask??

Fiji Nov/Dec 2006 - BirdForum

Fiji Stamps Land Birds Of Fiji

Land Birds Of Fiji

Home, The Collection, Go to Order Page, Mailing List

Online ordering now available for Deposit/Standing order account holders!

July 25th 1995

Birds are Fiji's most conspicuous wildlife and are a key component of the nation's natural heritage. Although small in number, the avifauna abounds with interesting species. They range from the Kula with cultural significance, to the Silktail which is of special scientific interest.

More important still are those birds which give us joy everyday by their very presence. Who is not inspired by the resonant carol of the Giant Forest Honeyeater, the rare Golden Dove or a flock of Red-headed Parrotfinches on our lawn. Approximately one third of Fiji's land birds are endemic - being found nowhere else in the world.

Some, such as the Ogea Flycatcher have very restricted ranges, just a few square kilometres. Many of the more spectacular birds such as the Blue-crested Broadbill, the Yellow-breasted Musk Parrot and the Orange Dove are rarely seen by casual observers because they are confined to forests and are never seen in open habitats. Fortunately, there are exceptions, a good example being the Kula or Collared Lory. This spectacular little parrot is equally at home in central Suva as in the forested interior.

Overall the survival of Fiji's avifauna, especially the rarer endemic forms, is dependent to a large degree on the wise use and conservation of our forests.

Post Fiji has released a set of eight stamps depicting Land Birds Of Fiji. The designs are as follows:

13 cents - Island Thrush (Turdus poliocephalus)

The Island Thrush is a shy and secretive inhabitant of Fiji's forests and is confined to the larger islands. It favours forest areas with a tall continuous canopy so that there is little undergrowth at ground level where it feeds on the forest floor. Usually, all one sees of the Island Thrush is a dark flash hurtling low down in the forest, all the time scolding its disturbers with a harsh, chattering alarm call.

23 cents - Many-coloured Fruit-dove (Ptilinopus perousii)

The many-coloured Fruit-dove is one of Fiji's poorly known species, yet it is widespread in the islands and generally common, though local, in distribution. The male Many-coloured Fruit-dove is one of Fiji's most spectacularly colourful birds, yet it is surprisingly difficult to see when sitting motionless on the top of the tree. Flocks of this Fruit-dove used to commonly visit the Botanical Gardens and the Banyan Fig Trees along Suva Point Road but this is now a rare occurrence. It can still sometimes be seen in areas of bush remaining within suburban Suva.

31 cents - Mangrove Heron (Butorides striatus)

Fiji's Mangrove Heron is a shy and generally inconspicuous species. It is restricted to the presence of large stands of mangrove. In their vicinity the Heron may venture out onto adjacent mud flats and fringing reefs where it may be seen in its characteristic hunched-up posture, staying motionless for long periods as it waits for prey to venture close to it before striking with great rapidity. The Mangrove Heron builds a quite bulky nest, several metres above the water, deep in mangrove forests.

44 cents - Purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)

The Purple Swamphen is another ground-dwelling bird which has succumbed to the introduced mongoose. Consequently it is only found on some of the small islands and other mongoose-free islands such as Taveuni, Kadavu and Ovalau. Visitors from New Zealand will recognise the Fiji Swamphen as their Pukeko, but in Fiji it is not such an adaptable and common bird.

63 cents - Fiji Goshawk (Accipiter rufitorques)

The Fiji Goshawk is one of Fiji's special birds. It is a well-known and handsome bird of prey which is found nowhere else in the world. Fortunately the Goshawk is a common species and found throughout Fiji, except in the Southern Lau Group. It can be observed even in urban areas where it helps to keep down the population of Mynah birds. In Suva a pair of Goshawks have for several years built their bulky nest in the large Rain Trees on the University campus. Other pairs sometimes nest in the Botanical Gardens.

81 cents - Kadavu Fantail (Rhipidura personata)

The Kadavu Fantail, as its name implies, is found on Kadavu and nowhere else in the world. It is a common and characteristic bird of Kadavu's forests where its inquisitiveness brings it out to meet any visitors in the forest. Frequently such visitors are harangued with drooping wings, a fanned tail and harsh scolding call.

$2 - Peregrine Falcon (Falcon peregrinus)

The Peregrine Falcon is one of the world's best known species After many years of decline caused by indiscriminate use of pesticides, the Falcon is making a welcome return in many parts of the world. Fiji has only a small population of less than a 100 pairs of Peregrine Falcons. To many rural Fijians it is a well known species and the subject of folk-lore and mythology. Fiji's Peregrines are restricted to nesting sites on large cliffs. The stoop of the Peregrine Falcon, as it descends on its intended victim, is believed to be the fastest speed attained by any bird.

$3 - Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

The Barn Owl is one of the world's most cosmopolitan birds. It is found on every continent except Antarctica and on many of the smaller oceanic islands. This nocturnal bird of prey is found on all but the smallest islands in Fiji. It is a well known species and the subject of much local folk-lore. In Fiji Barn Owls eat rats and mice almost exclusively and in this manner do much good. During the breeding season they make a wide variety of noises, the best known being a harsh screeching while in flight.

Official First day Cover

Not shown

Technical details

Title Land Birds Of Fiji
Values 13c, 23c, 31c, 44c, 63c, 81c, $2, $3
Designer Andrew Robinson
Printer Joh. Enschede Security of Holland
Process Lithography
Stamp Size 25 x 18 mm
Pane 100 (2 x 50)
Perforation 12.75 x 13.25 per 2cm
Souvenir Sheet None
Paper Crown Agents Watermarked

Period of sale - The stamps of this issue will remain on sale at the Post Office and Philatelic Bureau for an indefinite period or until replaced by a new series.

Online ordering now available for Deposit/Standing order account holders!

Fiji Stamps Land Birds Of Fiji

Fiji Revisited - 2008

Fiji Revisited - 2008

Please click on thumbnails for larger versions


This trip was conceived in the early part of 2008 with the intention of making the most of the cheap airfares from Brisbane to Fiji. We found that by travelling by air from Nadi to Savusavu on Vanua Levu (second-largest Fiji Island) we could then take the passenger-ferry MV Suilven (Bligh Water Shipping) from Savusavu to Waiyevo, on the island of Taveuni (a 4.5 hour trip) Taveuni is one of the last-remaining mongoose-free islands in Fiji so there is still some pristine forest and two ‘must-see’ species, the Silktail and Orange Dove. Both species are still present on Vanua Levu so we decided to include three days at Savusavu.

Vanua Levu and Taveuni Map

We flew from Brisbane to Nadi on Pacific Blue on the 1st June, had a stop-over near the aiport in Nadi (Travellers Rest Resort, Newtown) spending the evening celebrating her birthday with a nice curry, wine and Fiji Gold!


On Monday morning we spent a couple of hours before the next flight wandering around the beach and resort area, and we found several species of endemic bird, this was a pleasant surprise as we hadn’t recorded many on our previous visit the year before. (Fiji Woodswallow, Goshawk, Parrotfinch, White-rumped Swiftlet, Wattled and Orange-breasted Honeyeater, non-endemics Pacific Swallow, White-faced Heron, Red-vented Bulbul, Red Avadavat, Jungle and Common Mynah)

Marie at Nadi Airport

In the morning we then caught a Pacific Sun flight in a Twin-Otter, the flight was smooth and in about one hour we were flying into the amazingly small palm-fringed airport at Savusavu. The airport at Vanua Levu’s second city was little more than a shed and the community is based on a sheltered harbour that must have been ‘discovered’ by yachties as there was a plush marina there.

Savusavu Airport

The town is basically one shopping-street with a couple of banks, supermarkets and restaurants. In the block that houses the Bula Re cafe is the Bligh Water Shipping Co office and it is here that you can book ferries to Taveuni or other ports (you can also contact them online) One unexpected sight on the grey beach was steam rising out of ‘fumaroles’ from volcanic activity.

Daku Resort

We stayed at the Daku Resort, a couple of kms from town and were ‘upgraded’ to a very nice ‘bure’ which looked across the bay, apparently we were sharing the resort with a (mainly) Australian writers workshop-group who were studying ‘memoir-writing’. We were greeted by the Fijian -manager Kenny who soon integrated us into his ‘family’ and helped us find our way around.

Polynesian Dancers

One evening he organised some polynesian-dancing by his children and this was very entertaining, some definite ‘Stars-in-the-making’!

Fiji Parrotfinch

Fiji Goshawk

Collared Kingfisher

Birds were fairly plentiful here but it wasn’t until the second day that Kenny told me that there was some good habitat up the hill behind the resort, Fiji Goshawk, Swiftlet, Woodswallow, Parrotfinch, Collared Kingfisher (ssp vitiensis), Barking and White-throated Pigeon, Vanikoro Flycatcher, Polynesian Triller, Silvereye, Streaked Fantail, Orange-breasted and Wattled Honeyeater and the aurantiiventris race of Golden Whistler were all recorded along with Red-vented Bulbul, Jungle and Common Mynahs. Kenny also suggested that as he was taking several guests to the Waisali Falls that he could drop us at a rainforest-walk along the way, this we duly did although as it was late-morning we failed to see Orange Dove but did get poor views of Red Shining-Parrot. Streaked Fantail, Silvereye, Scarlet Robin and Lesser Shrikebill were also seen along this trail. He also suggested that he could take us to a spot just outside Savusavu and would arrange a taxi and accompany us to the site, again (due to his managerial commitments) we didn’t arrive there until mid-morning and subsequently failed to track down the Orange Dove, however we did manage to see our first Blue-crested Flycatcher (for Vanua Levu) and many Barking Pigeons, Golden Whistler and Streaked Fantail. Marie joined a group snorkelling from a boat around the reef near the Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort.


On the Thursday morning we arose at first light and one of the writers group Andrew, kindly drove us to the nearby ferry-port where we boarded around 7am for the 4.5 hour trip to Waiyevo in Taveuni. I was very excited about the prospects for this voyage with the possibility of seeing some unusual sea-birds, as over the whole-region the outlook for many species is grim with the spread of rats, mongoose and other pests, the island of Taveuni however, is still reasonably pristine. The trip turned-out to be fairly uneventful with showers and an overcast sky with a couple of Black-winged and Tahiti Petrel, Red-footed Booby and some unidentified ‘Sooty/Bridled/Grey-backed’-type Terns however I did see a couple of large feeding-flocks but far too distant to specifically identify anything.

Black-winged Petrel

Black-winged Petrel

Red-footed Booby

Unidentified Tern

On our arrival at Waiyevo, Taveuni we were greeted by a cab-driver who offered us a reasonable fare for a 20 km trip to Matei, this we accepted and met our ‘chauffeur’ for the nest 10 days, Sukh Lal.

Sukh Lal

Sukh is a genuine character, very knowledgeable, fair and punctual and we would recommend him to anybody planning to do a trip to Taveuni. He can be reached on 8880517 or 974899 (mobile).

(If he is unavailable there are other taxis and there is a cheap bus-service, but usually only about three on a weekday.)

Bibi’s Sign

We arrived at our destination Bibi’s Hideaway, threw our bags in our ‘Bure’ and met the owner James (Jim) Bibi, a very likeable Fijian with a nice family who made us feel very ‘at-home’, their property is full of fruit-trees such as Coconuts, Paw-paws, Passion-fruit, Oranges, Cumquats and Bread-fruit and Jim’s daughter Paulina told us that we were free to help ourselves! We could order a curry from a nearby local, Chris Prasad and go snorkelling just down the road at Beverley’s Beach. Paradise?….pretty close!

Marie’s Hammock

Our bure at Bibis

Alfresco shower

Despite the garden-nature of Bibi’s we recorded twenty-two species in our ten days there, the highlight probably being a Many-coloured Fruit-Dove which I found after hearing it calling, Collared Lories were plentiful but seldom came down low enough for photos but on one occasion I spotted a pair almost at eye-level and was well rewarded! I also found several Polynesian Starling, a species which I had only a very brief encounter with at Abaca in 2007, here they were a daily sighting.

Male Many-coloured Fruit-Dove

Polynesian Starling

Collared Lories

On one occasion Jim and I spotted 8 Lesser Frigatebirds flying in a line low over the Coconut-palms on the property but despite it being a fantastic view, Jim thought it was probably a sign of impending rough-weather, which was certainly the case a few days later!

Whilst planning the trip we had read many trip-reports and some had some interesting contacts, Jon Hornbuckle who visited Taveuni in 2007 had mentioned that he had visited Bobby’s Farm in the south of the island and had seen Orange Dove very easily. Bobby has now created a website and we contacted him from Matei enquirying about birding-tours of his property, I was very surprised when he agreed to show us around but not before three in the afternoon. As Marie was keen to snorkel he told us that if we arrived earlier we could swim from his jetty, have lunch and then go birding. After lunch Bobby told us that he seldom sees the Orange Doves for long in the early-morning but after three they often come close to the homestead. He took us for a walk indicating many useful bush-medicine and told us how his grand-parents had bought the land after coming to Fiji from India as indentured labour many years ago. He also indicated to us that his property is the only one remaining on Taveuni with native-forest all the way from the higher-ground on the island down to the sea, as the vast majority of the lower-slopes had been cleared for cultivation. It was a very impressive education and we hope that his dream of hosting international birding-groups comes to fruition, he is currently fixing up a dormitory for guests. We wish him well and hope to return in the not-so-distant future. Oh and BTW, the Orange Doves were superb, as were the great views of Many-coloured Fruit-Dove and Red Shining-Parrot!

Male Orange Dove

Many-coloured Fruit-Dove

Strange fruit

Several trip-reports that we had read mentioned a bird-guide called Isaki or Sake who could show Silktail from the village of Vidawa in the Bouma Heritage Park on the eastern-half of the island, so we travelled there on the friday and asked at the park reception if it was possible that we could speak to him, the villagers told us that he did, indeed reside in the village and took us to his home. Isaki invited us into his house where we joined him for lunch , however he was rather unwell with ‘flu and told us that as he was in his late-sixties unable to take us on a hike to the rainforest but would contact his protege Ben, who was away from the village planting Dalo (Taro potato). Miriama, Ben’s wife spent time with us explaining how the villagers preserved the park to keep alive their culture and not lose their land to development. We were very enamoured with the way all the generations looked after each other and lived in harmony, something lost to our western-’civilization’. She explained the concept of saying ‘chillo’, something akin to ‘excuse-me’ in western-society. The village children were lots of fun and we hope Paolo turns into a birder like his dad, Ben.

Paolo and the kids

Ben and Tom

We arranged for Sukh to pick us up at 5.30 am on Tuesday morning and despite the wet-weather headed down to Vidawa, spotting a Barn Owl on the powerlines. On arrival Ben met us and asked if we thought that it was too wet and whether we wanted to postpone, we thought about it for a minute then told him that we wanted to go ahead, setting off up the mountain in the rain. Ben showed us where his ancestors had fought with Tongan invaders and showed us the ‘Basket’ where the enemy were thrown-down the sides of steep defensive banks., we saw the original villages on the slopes where the houses were built close-together so that the approaching enemy would not hear them as they evacuated and also the ’sacrificial-stone’ where enemy prisoners were killed. Soon we arrived in pristine-rainforest and the rain eased, Ben spotted a Red Shining-Parrot and Marie found a superb male Orange Dove, it seems that here the rainforests species form loose aggregations and once one species was seen many others would be in the same area. It wasn’t too long before I spotted a small black bird staring down at me from a branch and I squawked ‘Silktail!’ It disappeared down a gully but Ben kept on it and pointed it out, I filmed it with my handycam but all I could see was the ‘dayglo’ white tail bobbing-around! At the same time we had great views of male Golden Whistler of the torquatus race and were amazed at the display of a male Blue-crested Flycatcher, with it’s neck outstretched and red-bill pointing sky-ward. In the same area we saw Streaked Fantail, Slaty Monarch, Lesser Shrikebill and Wattled Honeyeater. We returned to Vidawa wet but very happy and were treated to lunch with Ben, Miriama and her friend (who had both contracted ‘flu and were rather unwell) The half-day tour was good value at F$40 and was well worthwhile, hopefully helping to keep a culture alive.


Golden Whistler

Blue-crested Flycatcher

After this exciting day the heavens opened for the remainder of the week forcing us to consider snorkelling as the only alternative to birding, however the fresh water flooding into the reef made the under-water visibility poor so we were forced to do domestic chores like washing and writing-up notes! One day we walked to the nearby Tramanto Restaurant (IMHO one of the best sea-watching spots that I’ve ever visited, cheap but fantastic-grub, beer and sunsets to die-for!) Marie called me over and from the clifftop she had seen a sea-snake, (a Yellow-lipped sea krait Laticauda colubrina a species which had given her a fright whilst snorkelling nearby a few days earlier) after the elation of seeing this I spotted a lone Collared Kingfisher and took a couple of shots, then realised that it’s partner was next to it, I had been searching for this image to show the strong sexual-dimorphism that occurs in this species in Fiji, however the light wasn’t very good so the pictures aren’t as useful as I would have hoped. In the same area we found the Vutu tree with it’s beautiful flowers that only come out at night, fall into the sea and drift off. Apparently these flowers were used by local fisherman to act as ‘floats’ to attach their caught fish to.

Sea Snake

Pair of Collared Kingfisher (ssp vitiensis)

Vutu Flower

Sunset Palms

On Friday afternoon the wet-weather appeared to be easing so we arranged for Sukh to pick us up early Saturday morning and take us to the base of the De Voeux Peak track, where we hoped to hike up through the cultivated land to the rainforest area near the peak and try and find some our last remaining Taveuni species, Island Thrush, Giant Forest Honeyeater, Shy Ground-dove and Black-faced Shrikebill. Fortunately on arrival the weather was perfect and we set-off, though I soon realised that my ill-fitting boots were going to cause me problems (I’m still recovering from the blisters as I write this!) As we worked our way through the farmland we got nice views of Fiji Goshawk, Wattled Honeyeater, Red Shining-Parrot, White-rumped Swiftlet, Orange-breasted Honeyeater, Polynesian Triller and heard the curious ‘tok-tok’ call of the Orange Dove on several occasions. However as we entered the undisturbed forest area Marie spotted a bird on a rock above a stream which I failed to pick up…she had great views of an Island Thrush. A few metres further up I saw a large green bird land on the flowers of some native-ginger (or something similar) with it’s pale-bill we soon realised that it was the viridis ssp of the same Giant Forest Honeyeater that we had seen (and heard) at Col-I-Suva in Viti Levu the previous year, however that one had a dark-bill and had a ‘kookaburra’-like yodelling-call which all the literature says is absent in the Taveuni one. As the bird fled from it’s food-plant it called with a very similar yodelling-call, so it appears that this conclusion may be just due to infrequent observation.

Giant Forest Honeyeater

Fiji White-eye

Fiji Swiftlet

Soon we realised that we would have to start heading back down the mountain as we had arranged to be picked up by Sukh at twelve-noon, so after getting some reasonable views of Fiji White-eye I tried again (in vain) to see the Island Thrush at Marie’s creek-spot. We finally reached the main road at 12.30pm where we were picked up and taken back to Matei with Sukh and spent the rest of the day recovering our poor feet!

Matei to Nadi Flight

Saturday morning saw us saying our goodbyes and taking ourselves to Matei Airport for the flight back to Nadi, we would love to say thanks to all who made our trip such a memorable-one, but a very special one to Jim, Paulina, Moses and Eleanora at Bibi’s, Chris Prasad at Matei, Ben Miriama and Paolo at Vidawa, Bobby at Nabogiono Farm, Sirilo from Kanacea, Terry Allen and the staff at Tramanto Restaurant, Kenny and his family at Daku and the man himself, Sukh the cab-driver!

Hope to see you all soon,

Tom & Marie Tarrant, Brisbane 2008

Birding Southern Queensland » Fiji Revisited - 2008