Quite simply, this is a tour unlike any other! Each island that we explore on this epic adventure exhibits its own distinctive ensemble of characteristic and rarely-seen endemics, including some of our planet’s least-known species; and, although these oceanic islands and their bird lists are not large, they are nevertheless very special indeed. On this trip, we will be treated to a wonderful assortment of imperial pigeons, fruit doves (one of the most beautiful of all bird groups), parrots and lorikeets, kingfishers, hosts of flycatchers, monarchs, fantails, whistlers, honeyeaters and white-eyes, all of which are endemic and consequently found nowhere else on earth. In the mid-80s, the Kagu was critically endangered and seemingly impossible to see. Now, thanks to concerted conservation efforts by the local park authorities, it has staged a remarkable comeback, and with special help, we have an excellent chance of seeing this “missing link” in the avian world. And while seeing this iconic species may well be the main focus of the tour for many of us, we should also encounter a remarkable diversity of other spectacular avian endemics.
We begin on the islands of Samoa, visiting the main island of Upolui. Here we will explore O Le Pupu-Pu’e National Park, where we should be able to find a large proportion the Samoan specialities, including the lovely White Tern, Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove, Blue-crowned Lorikeet, Flat-billed Kingfisher, Samoan Fantail, Samoan Flycatcher, Samoan Whistler and Samoan Starlings.
Moving westwards, we will next wing our way to the lovely Fijian Islands, where we will wander balmy, sun-bleached beaches and explore luxuriant forests only a short distance from our delightful hotels. We will visit three islands, Viti Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu, each supporting its own coterie of exciting endemics and near-endemics. Among mist-draped montane forests, we may be treated to such spectacular surprises as Orange Fruit Dove (an almost unbelievable colour!), the enigmatic Taveuni Silktail, Azure-crested Flycatcher (a real humdinger!) and a plethora of other attractive endemics, including Fiji Goshawk, Golden and Whistling Fruit Doves, Tongan Ground Dove, Barking Imperial Pigeon, Collared Lory, Maroon Shining and Masked Shining Parrots, Polynesian Triller, Fiji Bush Warbler, Slaty Monarch, Vanikoro Flycatcher, Fiji Shrikebill, Fiji Whistler, Fiji White-eye, Sulphur-breasted Myzomela, Fiji Wattled Honeyeater, the spectacular sounding Giant Honeyeater, Fiji Woodswallow, and the handsome Fiji Parrotfinch. We will also seek out some of Fiji’s most elusive and least-known species, including Long-legged Thicketbird and Pink-billed Parrotfinch.
Samoa: Crimson-crowned (Purple-capped) & Many-colored Fruit Doves, Metallic (White-throated) Pigeon, Pacific Imperial Pigeon, Blue-crowned Lorikeet, Flat-billed Kingfisher, Samoan & Polynesian Triller, Mao, Wattled Honeyeater, Samoan Whistler, Samoan Flycatcher, Samoan Fantail, Samoan Starling, Cardinal Myzomela, Red-headed Parrotfinch
Fiji: Golden, Orange & Many-coloured Fruit Doves, Tongan (Shy) Ground Dove, Barking (Peale’s) Imperial Pigeon, Fiji Goshawk, Masked Shining Parrot, Red-throated Lorikeet (very rare), Collared Lory, Giant & Wattled Honeyeater, Silktail, Black-throated(-faced) & Fiji Shrikebill, Long-legged Warbler (Long-legged Thicketbird), Pacific Golden Plover, Fiji Woodswallow, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Pacific Reef Heron, Fiji Goshawk, Vanikoro Flycatcher, Slaty Monarch (Flycatcher), Sulphur-breasted (Orange-breasted) Myzomela, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Polynesian Triller, Vanikoro & Azure-(Blue-)crested Flycatcher, Fiji Bush Warbler, Fiji (Layard’s) White-eye, Red-headed & Pink-billed Parrotfinch
Kadavu: Whistling (Velvet) Fruit Dove, Crimson Shining Parrot (split from Red), Kadavu Fantail & Kadavu Honeyeater
Tongan Flying Fox
various forest types, small islands, beaches, shoreline, open ocean, airports
mostly tropical conditions; warm and humid with some rain expected, can be very cool in the highlands
mostly easy with some short walks over steep ground, with the possibility of one very steep and strenuous optional hike for a specific target species
great food, little-explored islands, fantastic scenery, fascinating collage of landscapes & culture, lovely accommodation