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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
FIJI , 28 July to 11 August 2007,
I can be contacted at email@example.com
2) Brief itinerary
3) Day to day diary
4) Annotated list of birds seen
5) Annotated list of land-birds NOT seen
6) Annotated list of mammals seen
7) Annotated list of reptiles and amphibians seen
This was my first trip to Fiji, even though I live in New Zealand and the island group is almost right in my own backyard, so to speak. I normally travel alone but this trip I had my girlfriend Robyn for company. This meant that it wasn't solid birding during our stay because she had the strange idea that there were other interesting things to do besides look for birds.
It was winter in Fiji so daytime temperatures were usually around 24 degrees Celsius. It did tend to get rather chilly at night in most places which didn't bother me so much, but Robyn felt the cold quite a bit. Travelling at night in an open-sided public bus to Savusavu on Vanua Levu was freezing! The weather was variable, usually fine or partly-cloudy with light drizzle on several days, but the only days with real rain were on Kadavu.
The trip was taken not long after one of Fiji's regular coups. The world's media did its usual job of stirring up a lot of fuss about nothing, succeeding in keeping lots of tourists away. In reality, coups very rarely affect tourists. Fiji is built on and relies on tourism. Apparently hotels and resorts were at 30% occupancy, down from the 70-80% usual at this time of year. Prices don't normally drop, but it does make it easy to get accommodation!
The return flights from Christchurch were NZ$812 each. We were following the standard bird route (Viti Levu, Kadavu and Taveuni, but also including Vanua Levu because I wanted to try for the silktail subspecies found there). The internal flights were arranged upon arrival at Nadi airport without any problems. It seems only birders and divers go outside the Coral Coast / Yasawas / Mamanucas area, so the flights to other islands are never full. Airfares were as follows: Suva to Kadavu FJ$139 per person each way; Suva to Taveuni FJ$210 per person; and Savusavu (Vanua Levu) to Suva FJ$180 per person. At the time NZ$1 equaled about FJ$1.20.
We didn't book any accommodation in advance, but the only time we couldn't get a room at the first try was on Kadavu at Biana's Accommodation due to them being fully-booked by a large party of researchers from the University of the South Pacific (USP). We stayed at the following places:
1) in Suva, at the South Seas Private Hotel FJ$44 for a double room. Acceptable premises, lots of birds along the street outside. Right next to the Fiji Museum. About a twenty minute walk to central Suva.
2) at Colo-i-Suva, at the Raintree Lodge (of course!) FJ$65 for a double room (the dorms are much cheaper). Very nice room, lots of birds in the gardens. The restaurant food varied in quality from day to day but was generally good. There is a buffet (FJ$15) every Sunday night, with movies played on a big screen. Bottled water is extremely overpriced at the Lodge so stock up at either Suva or Nausori. Some of the staff were very nice, others somewhat distant. The obvious drawcard for Raintree Lodge is that the entry to the Colo-i-Suva Forest Park is only about five minutes walk away. Be warned that the "Feejee Experience" bus arrives every Thursday to deposit its load of annoying idiot tourists for one night's stay -- try to remain in the forest as long as you can if you are unlucky enough to be here at this time!
3) on Kadavu, at Reece's Place on Galoa Island FJ$30 each per night. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided at FJ$6, $8 and $10 respectively, eaten communally in Humphrey and Maria's house. Very nice place, lots of birds, no electricity. Apparently has had a name change to "Nakuita Resort", but NOBODY we spoke to knew it by this name! Most birders and birding groups to Kadavu stay here so they know the business well!
4) on Taveuni, at Tovutovu Resort (in the town of Matei) FJ$75 for a double room. Fantastic place, highly recommend it. Nice restaurant.
5) at Savusavu (on Vanua Levu), at the Hidden Paradise Guesthouse FJ$30 each (whether in a room or the dorms, same price for all). Wouldn't really recommend this place, especially not the particular room we were in -- the whole town is geothermal, and there appeared to be a hotspot directly underneath the floor of our room because it stayed at a constant 34 degrees Centigrade! The lady who ran it was very pleasant but the Indian chef was extremely rude to me on several occasions for no apparent reason.
I consulted various trip reports on the internet before travelling (although almost all birders go to the same places in Fiji). Books I used were as follows (the first two I read before leaving and took notes; the other three we had with us in Fiji):
1) "Fiji's Natural Heritage" by Paddy Ryan (Exile Publishing: Auckland, 2000). Very good book on all aspects of Fijian natural history. Highly recommended.
2) "Mammals of the South-west Pacific & Moluccan Islands" by Tim Flannery (Reed Books: Chatswood, 1995). The definitive guide to the region.
3) "A Guide to the Birds of Fiji and Western Polynesia" by Dick Watling (Environmental Consultants: Suva, 2001). The best guide for the islands, although there are a few problems with it. The plates for seabirds and waders are inadequate (I took copies of pictures from field guides for other regions for the boobies, frigatebirds and tropicbirds). There are not enough pictures for subspecies from different islands that vary in appearance (eg, island thrush). The blue-crested broadbill, for some reason, does NOT have a red bill in the picture, even though the colour is so bright that it is the first thing you notice when seeing the bird in the flesh. However, despite these things, it is still an excellent guide. And, in any case, after a couple of days birding in Fiji you don't even need to carry the book around with you because you've already seen all the commoner birds and can easily identify the rest!
4) "A Field Guide to the Herpetofauna of Fiji" by Clare Morrison (USP: Suva, 2003). This is a very useful guide although some of the photos are rather poor. I bought it from the university bookshop at the USP in Suva for FJ$20 but it is available at various other outlets also (for FJ$30-40); I saw it, for example, at the airport bookshops and at the Kula Eco-park.
5) "Lonely Planet Fiji"
2) BRIEF ITINERARY
28 July: arrive in Nadi, arrange internal flights, then mini-van to Suva where we stayed at South Seas Private Hotel.
29 July: bus to Colo-i-Suva, stayed at Raintree Lodge.
30 July: Colo-i-Suva.
31 July: bus to Nausori, taxi to airport, fly to Kadavu. Stayed at Reece's Place (aka Nakuita Resort).
1 August: Reece's Place. Raining almost all day. Beach-combing and dove-hunting.
2 August: more dove-hunting, then fly back to Nausori and on to Taveuni. Stayed at Tovutovu Resort.
3 August: Attempted trip to Lavena. Robyn went diving.
4 August: Vidawa Rainforest Hike.
5 August: Tavoro Waterfalls at Bouma.
6 August: ferry across to Natuvu (on Vanua Levu). Bus north to Devo then back south to Savusavu.
7 August: Waisali Rainforest Reserve. Robyn went diving instead.
8 August: fly from Savusavu to Nausori, and back to Colo-i-Suva.
9 August: bus into Suva, visit the Fiji Museum, USP, National Stadium and Suva Point.
10 August: finally got the golden dove at Colo-i-Suva! Then back to Suva, to Suva Point and National Stadium. Tried the Pipeline Road at Colo-i-Suva in evening.
11 August: return to Nadi for flight home, stopping en route to visit the Kula Eco-Park at Korotogo.
3) DAY TO DAY DIARY
28 JULY: After leaving NZ at 6.30am (necessitating a 3.30am arrival at the airport!) we flew into Nadi at about 10.30am. Fiji is technically in the same time-zone as NZ, although everywhere we went seemed to have a different idea of what the correct time actually was! From the plane as it taxied in to a stop I saw my first Fijian birds, Pacific swallows hawking over the grass, and then on the walk into the terminal common mynahs. We arranged the flights that we needed to Kadavu and Taveuni at the travel agents in the airport without any problems. From inside the office I spotted more common mynahs and an Australasian harrier gliding around in the distance. Three birds in, and none of them were new. Good start! We were heading straight to Suva because there was nothing to interest us in Nadi. There is a regular bus that goes from Nadi to Suva but we took a mini-van which was faster (because it doesn't stop en route) and only costs a few dollars more. You need to take a local bus from outside the airport to the bus station in Nadi itself (FJ$0.75), then the mini-vans leave from the road opposite the station (FJ$15 per person). Birds seen on the way to Suva were feral pigeons (in Nadi), red-vented bulbuls on every single powerline by the roadside (first new bird!), spot-necked dove, jungle mynah (second new bird!), reef heron and Fiji woodswallow (first endemic Fijian bird!). In Suva we stayed at the South Seas Private Hotel, chosen for its relative proximity to Suva Point, although as it happened we didn't actually get to Suva Point until the end of our trip. The trees in the street outside were full of Fiji parrotfinches, wattled honeyeaters, mynahs and silvereyes. We spotted a mongoose dashing across the road further up the street.
14 bird species seen today, 6 of them new. Also Pacific fruit bats, Indian mongoose, mudskippers (in a drain in Suva), and various geckoes.
29 JULY: In the morning we had a quick wander round the grounds of the Fiji Museum (about a minute's walk from the Hotel, but closed because it was Sunday) to see if we could find if the numbers of fruit bats we had seen last evening were roosting there. No fruit bats but among the birds seen were two more new ones, orange-breasted myzomela and Vanikoro broadbill. Then we set off on the bus for Colo-i-Suva, the forest park about 25 minutes outside the city. As do all birders who go to Colo-i-Suva, we stayed at Raintree Lodge. The garden is an excellent place to spot many of the birds for which we had come, including masked shining parrots, barking pigeons and a giant forest honeyeater (which turned out to be the only one I saw the whole trip). Of course I was itching to get out into the forest itself, so after stowing our bags in our room, we headed off down the road. As other people have found we didn't come across too many birds on the forest trails apart for barking pigeons (although a pair of streaked fantails on the nest was a nice surprise), but on the main access road the viewing was much better, including a good mixed feeding flock of ten species which kept me busy for a while (new birds in the wave were golden whistler, lesser shrikebill, blue-crested broadbill, slaty monarch and Fiji white-eye). We also found a scarlet robin nest above the road. The main bird I was after at Colo-i-Suva was the golden dove though. They were calling everywhere along the road, sounding just like small dogs yapping, but I couldn't sight any despite many hours of searching.
24 birds seen today, 14 of them new. Also Indian mongoose in Suva, and Pacific and Samoan fruit bats at Colo-i-Suva.
30 JULY: Apart for an early-morning bus trip into Nausori (FJ$1.60 each way) to buy water and other goods, today was largely spent in the forest searching unsuccessfully for the golden dove. I'd got most of the local forest birds yesterday, so the only new bird for the day was Fiji bush-warbler.
17 birds seen today, 1 of them new.
31 JULY: Our flight to Kadavu was booked for today, so leaving the uncooperative golden doves for our return we bused into Nausori and made our way to the airport (there is a local bus that goes from the Nausori bus station past the entrance-way to the airport but if you grab a taxi from beside the station its only FJ$3 so the price difference is minimal when split between two people. A taxi all the way from Raintree to the airport is only about FJ$12 or so). When we arrived in Kadavu we headed to Biana's Accommodation but discovered it to be full of marine biologists from the USP, so arranged a place at Reece's Place on Galoa Island instead. We had to wait for the tide to turn before Humphrey could pick us up. Robyn used the time productively by going to sleep. I went out after birds. The four endemic birds of Kadavu are the whistling dove, Kadavu shining parrot, Kadavu honeyeater and Kadavu fantail. All are supposed to be relatively easy. The honeyeater certainly was -- there was one in a coconut tree feeding on the flowers with a collared lory on the road outside Biana's. They really are a very smart-looking bird, much nicer in person than their picture in the field guide. I followed a dirt track which looked like a logging road that headed up the hill behind Biana's and took a turn-off that led into forest. In here I found the shining parrots as well as the Kadavu subspecies of Vanikoro broadbill. Whistling doves were calling in the trees but, shades of the golden dove, remained hidden from view. Back at the beach I spotted the Kadavu subspecies of collared kingfisher. Once on Galoa Island and settled into Reece's Place we just did some beach-combing before the sun set.
18 birds seen today, 4 of them new. Also Pacific fruit bats, pigmy snake-eyed skinks and various marine critters.
1 AUGUST: It was bucketing down through the night and for most of today. Robyn had been planning on going diving but she wasn't feeling that great and the conditions weren't good enough in any case. I went out anyway, of course, into the bush behind the coconut plantation that the bures are set in. Few birds were daring to brave the weather that morning and the only new one I got was a many-coloured fruit dove. A break in the rain in the early afternoon let me sight the Kadavu race of the Polynesian triller and my first white-throated pigeon searching for food amongst the debris on the beach. Then we both took a boat across to a property on the opposite shoreline (seeing a green turtle on the way). All the birders and birding groups that stay at Reece's Place go here to get the whistling dove and fantail. Today, naturally, the doves declined to play nice. We wandered around in the forest for hours with not even a single whistle being heard. Our guide (I have forgotten his name), on who's property we were, was quite obviously embarrassed. It was the first time he had ever not found the doves. Normally they were calling non-stop everywhere. We did see a couple of the endemic fantails though, which was a small consolation (they are very nice, much nicer I think than the streaked fantails found on all the other Fijian islands), as well as a pair of black-faced shrikebills (the only ones I saw in Fiji).
17 birds seen today, 4 of them new. Also green turtle.
2 AUGUST: With us being scheduled for a flight back to Suva today and then on to Taveuni, this was the last chance to see the whistling dove. Robyn wasn't overly enthusiastic about another fruitless slog up a hill in the rain so she stayed at Reece's Place while I gamely tried to avoid looking too silly being guided by a six-year old boy (the son of yesterday's guide). However in the first eight minutes we did actually see a whistling dove, a female sitting silently on a branch only a few metres above ground-level, who stayed put for a viewing session of somewhere in the region of ten seconds! (When I say "we" spotted the dove I mean the boy spotted it and I stood there for what seemed like an eternity completely unable to see it, a pattern that then repeated itself several times with other birds. He had eyes like a hawk! If there was a bird sitting motionless in a thicket of leaves exactly the same size, shape and colour as the bird, he would see it). Among other birds seen that morning were a couple more Kadavu fantails and also the local subspecies of golden whistler, but not much else of any real interest. I was hoping we would find a male whistling dove but the tally remained at just the one female. So with the dove taken care of, it was back to Suva and onwards to Taveuni. We stayed at Tovutovu Resort in the town of Matei (a town that seems to exist almost solely to cater to American tourists). There were oceanic geckoes in the room, giant land crabs and cane toads in the gardens, and a pair of Vanikoro broadbills in the tree right outside the window. It's a very nice place to stay.
17 birds seen today, 2 of them new. Also an Indian mongoose at the Nausori airport, and various lizards
3 AUGUST: Today was a bit of a bust from my point of view. Robyn finally got to go out diving so she had lots of fun. I was booked for the Vidawa Rainforest Hike tomorrow, so today thought I'd head off to the Lavena Coastal Walk. There is only one bus company on Taveuni and they appear to only have two buses so its hard to get around without using (expensive) taxis. I had been told that there was a morning bus to Lavena and then an afternoon bus as well, so I would be able to spend two hours at Lavena (not nearly enough to actually do the whole walk but enough for a decent look round). However when I got to Lavena the driver told me there was in fact only one bus that day because it was Friday. So I just caught the same bus back to Matei without even getting off. The only bird out of the usual was an Australian magpie by the side of the road near Lavena.
10 birds seen today, none new
4 AUGUST: Took a taxi in the morning to the village of Vidawa. A bus to there costs about FJ$2.40. The taxi is FJ$50. However when doing the Rainforest Hike you need to take a taxi so you can get there early. The cost of the Hike apparently used to be FJ$60 and included the taxi, but now it is FJ$40 without the taxi included. For birders the two main birds sought on Taveuni are the orange dove and the silktail. The two main choices for locations are Des Voeux Peak from the west coast and Vidawa from the east coast. Vidawa is the more convenient and has the added advantage that by doing the Rainforest Hike you are also helping protect the forests. The villages along the east coast have created a series of protected environments (including a forest park and a marine reserve), choosing to keep their forests and reefs intact for eco-tourism rather than destroy them for quick profit. When I was at Vidawa they asked me for my thoughts on creating a backpacker lodge on their land which I told them was an excellent idea. Really the only accommodation is up at Matei and it is expensive getting down the east coast, so a cheap place to stay close to the forests and marine reserve would certainly bring a lot more money to the villages. My guide on the Rainforest Hike was Pela (every trip report on the internet seems to name a different guide so I think there are a number of people in the village who do the job). Over the next few hours we found two full-colour male orange doves, an immature male, and two adult females, as well as a pair of silktails and the Taveuni subspecies of golden whistler, blue-crested broadbill, streaked fantail, lesser shrikebill and wattled honeyeater. The orange doves really are amazing birds, with the most outrageously colourful plumage. On the nearby islands of Qamea, Laucala and Matagi is another subspecies (C.v.aureus) which is even brighter in colour. The only accommodation on those islands -- unless you know some local villagers -- are high-priced resorts (as in hundreds or thousands of dollars per night), but next time I go to Fiji I am going to try and see about a day-trip to Qamea to try for aureus.
20 birds seen today, 2 of them new
5 AUGUST: Today both Robyn and I travelled to the village of Bouma where there are some waterfalls. I don't really care about waterfalls but I figured I would be able to find some red shining parrots there seeing I had missed them yesterday (they should have been in the village at Vidawa but that day they decided to go elsewhere for a change). We had to take a taxi, which was FJ$50, plus $8 each entry to go to the falls. The track that leads through the fields and forest to the various falls is splendid for lizards (four species of skinks seen), and we also saw several shining parrots which was good.
14 birds seen today, one of them new
6 AUGUST: Most birders fly out of Taveuni back to Viti Levu or on to Kadavu, but we wanted to go to the second of Fiji's main islands, Vanua Levu, mainly because I wanted to try and see the other subspecies of silktail, which is smaller and more brightly-coloured than the Taveuni one. Accordingly we caught a taxi round to the west coast port of Somosomo (FJ$15) and took a car ferry across to Natuvu on Vanua Levu (FJ$7 each). We had been planning on staying at a place called Silktail Lodge (aka Devo Plantation Retreat). This was the one place I had tried to contact in advance before leaving NZ and I had had no responses from them. Stuart Chambers, a NZer who helped set it up, told me via email that he hadn't heard from the owners for months and the only thing he could suggest was to just turn up and see what happened. So thats what we did. The worst that could happen is that we get back on the bus and go to Savusavu, so there was nothing to lose. As it turned out Silktail Lodge was no longer operating, although their website was still running with nothing on it to suggest otherwise, so we just caught the return bus and headed into Savusavu. The owners of Silktail Lodge are hoping to start up again some time in the future.
12 birds seen today, none new
7 AUGUST: Robyn went off diving again today, and I caught a bus to the Waisali Rainforest Reserve an hour out of Savusavu on the road to Labasa. It is only open between 9am and 2pm. There is a FJ$5 entry fee. Its a nice little bit of forest with a track through it. I'm sure there is lots to see there but on this particular day the birds were dominated mostly by wattled honeyeaters, along with a few streaked fantails, collared lories, golden whistlers, and a female orange dove. Highlight of the day, apart for the dove, was a turquoise tree skink (very rare). I heard the Vanua Levu subspecies of red shining parrot but couldn't find them.
16 birds seen today, none new
8 AUGUST: caught the plane back to Nausori from Savusavu and took a taxi back to Raintree Lodge (sharing the cost with a German backpacker going to the same place). I was going to go back into the forest for another attempt at the golden dove but it got too late so I didn't.
16 birds seen today, none new
9 AUGUST: an early morning search for the golden dove came up empty. Then we went into Suva and visited the Fiji Museum (FJ$7 entry, small but good), followed by a trip to the University of the South Pacific (USP) to buy the "Field Guide to the Herpetofauna of Fiji" (FJ$20) and then to the National Stadium right next door. Apparently the open fields here attract Java sparrows and red avadavats. We found the avadavats but no Java sparrows. Then we walked round the coastline around Suva Point and back into Suva. It was high tide however so there were no waders, only great crested terns and white-faced herons in a patch of mangroves. There is a large colony of Pacific fruit bats in the front garden of a house between Suva Point and west Suva.
21 birds seen today, one new. Also Indian mongoose at Colo-i-Suva, and Pacific fruit bats
10 AUGUST: Today I finally got a golden dove! Although everyone seems to see these birds from the main access road through the forest I was having no luck with that, so I struck off into the trees after a calling male, eventually tracking him down after 25 minutes (and a further 20 minutes standing under the tree trying to actually see the damn thing). A truly beautiful bird. A visit to Suva Point later in the day got me some wandering tattlers but nothing else, and the National Stadium was still Java sparrowless. Back at Raintree Lodge that evening I took a wander to Pipeline Road to try and scare up an island thrush (a common bird which I had been unable to find). A trio of birders at Raintree had told me they had seen them there. To get to Pipeline Road walk along the main road from the Lodge in the direction of Nausori for about ten to fifteen minutes until you reach a dirt/gravel road on the left with a bus stop at the junction. This road leads to a village (take your hat off when passing through). Follow this and take the first road that branches off again to the left (at the start of the village). After about fifteen minutes on this road you will come to a big water tank. Pipeline Road goes left from this tank. Many birders have good luck along this road (with reports of giant forest honeyeaters, golden doves, even pink-billed parrotfinches). The best I could come up with was hearing giant forest honeyeaters and finding a pair of roosting Samoan fruit bats. There were no island thrushes for me here.
17 birds seen today, 2 of them new. Also Pacific and Samoan fruit bats
11 AUGUST: last day in Fiji. The plane didn't leave from Nadi until 8.30pm so we had all day to get there. Between Suva and Nadi is the Kula Eco-park. We took a mini-van to Korotogo where the park is and when finished caught a bus from the roadside the rest of the way. Kula originally opened as a general bird park but is now a specialist collection of Fijian wildlife. I had already seen most of the animals there in the wild but it is still well worth visiting. The entry fee for us was FJ$20 each but we got the impression that this was "flexible" depending on whether you were local or tourist, and if tourist how gullible you looked. The park does conservation work for many species, including breeding programmes for the Fijian ground frog and peregrine falcon (although somewhat disturbingly their website says that they were planning on importing North American peregrines to breed with the Fijian subspecies). The wildlife place near Suva called Orchid Island (as mentioned in Paddy Ryan's "Fiji's Natural Heritage") is now derelict, but apparently there is a thriving scam involving taxi drivers taking tourists there and then splitting the entry fee with the staff.
11 birds seen today, none new
4) ANNOTATED LIST OF BIRDS SEEN:
There are 68 species of resident or migrant land-birds in Fiji (that is, excluding seabirds and shorebirds, but including ducks, herons and kingfishers). I managed to see 46 of them which was a pretty good total I feel. On the other hand, despite being at the coast quite a bit I only saw two species of seabird (great crested tern and lesser frigatebird) and one of shorebird (wandering tattler). Other travellers have commented that July/August are poor months for seabirds, so I'll use that excuse too. This Fiji trip was almost like a sorty to take care of all the commoner things so when I get back there I can concentrate on trying to find the rarer ones. Of the endemic birds, I saw all that I thought was likely (21 species). Of the ones I didn't see (7 species), the pink-billed parrotfinch is very rare (more so every year) and appears to be nomadic, so I didn't think I'd see it anyway. The long-legged warbler is quite possible if you know where to look but I left it because it is still very difficult (it was actually thought to be extinct until just a few years ago). The red-throated lorikeet is close to extinction so I didn't even try this time round. The Rotuma myzomela and Ogea monarch are only found on small distant islands so are logistically difficult. The Fiji petrel is known from only a few specimens so most attempts to try and see it would be doomed to failure. The barred-wing rail is generally accepted as being extinct. Of the non-endemics some are also only found on distant or small offshore islands, but I did miss a few common birds -- for example, the island thrush is found on every island in the group but I never saw one (they are rather shy); and the Friendly ground dove is likewise found on every island we visited but are even harder to find (their more apt name is shy ground dove). Anyway, here are the species I did see (new species for me are asterisked):
*Lesser frigatebird Fregata ariel (native: largish group seen at Kadavu, on the boat trip between Galoa Island and the main island)
Reef heron Egretta sacra (native: common everywhere around the coasts, but relatively few were the white morph)
White-faced heron Ardea novaehollandiae (native [self-introduced in 1997]: Suva Point)
Pacific black duck Anas superciliosa (native: seen only twice, at ponds near Nausori airport (from the plane when coming in for landing!) and on Vanua Levu)
*Fiji goshawk Accipiter rufitorques (endemic: common everywhere, especially in forest)
Australasian harrier Circus approximans (native: common in open habitats)
*Wandering tattler Heteroscelus incanus (migrant: Suva Point)
Great crested tern Sterna bergii (native: common everywhere round the coasts)
*Collared lory Vini solitarius (endemic: common everywhere)
*Masked shining parrot Prosopeia personata (endemic to Viti Levu: common at Colo-i-Suva)
*Red shining parrot Prosopeia tabuensis (endemic: common on Taveuni, although I saw them only at Bouma. Heard them on Vanua Levu also but didn't manage to see them)
*Kadavu shining parrot Prosopeia splendens (endemic to Kadavu: common)
Spot-necked dove Streptopelia chinensis (introduced: common everywhere in open places, except on Kadavu where it is not found)
Feral pigeon Columba livia (introduced: common around towns)
*White-throated (metallic) pigeon Columba vitiensis (native: common, especially in disturbed forest)
*Barking pigeon Ducula latrans (endemic: common everywhere in forest)
*Many-coloured fruit dove Ptilinopus perousii (native: apparently common but can be hard to find. I only saw two, one on Kadavu and one at Raintree Lodge)
*Whistling dove Chrysoenas layardi (endemic to Kadavu: commonly heard but can be hard to see. I only saw one, briefly)
*Orange dove Chrysoenas victor (endemic to Taveuni and Vanua Levu: common in forest)
*Golden dove Chrysoenas luteovirens (endemic to Viti Levu: common in forest. I finally managed to see one!)
*White-rumped swiftlet Aerodromus spodiopygus (native: common everywhere)
Collared kingfisher Todiramphus chloris (native: common everywhere)
Pacific swallow Hirundo tahitica (native: common, but not so much so as the swiftlet)
Australian magpie Gymnorhina tibicen (introduced to Taveuni: apparently not as common as in NZ; I only saw two. Taveuni's birds are apparently a hybrid population between the black-backed G.t.tibicen and white-backed G.t.hypoleuca)
*Fiji woodswallow Artamus mentalis (endemic: common everywhere)
*Polynesian starling Aplonis tabuensis (native: only seen on Kadavu. Apparently declining in Fiji)
Common mynah Acridotheres fuscus (introduced: common everywhere)
*Jungle mynah Acridotheres fuscus (introduced: common everywhere)
*Red-vented bulbul Pycnontus cafer (introduced: almost as common as the mynahs)
*Fiji bush warbler Cettia ruficapilla (endemic: common but hard to see. I saw them only at Colo-i-Suva)
*Scarlet robin Petroica multicolor (native: seen by me only at Colo-i-Suva)
*Silktail Lamprolia victoriae (endemic to Taveuni and Vanua Levu: I saw one pair in the Vidawa forest)
*Streaked fantail Rhipidura spilodera (native: common everywhere except on Kadavu where it is not found)
*Kadavu fantail Rhipidura personata (endemic to Kadavu: can be hard to find)
*Slaty monarch Mayrornis lessoni (endemic: common everywhere)
*Lesser shrikebill Clytorhynchus vitiensis (native: fairly common)
*Black-faced shrikebill Clytorhynchus nigrogularis (endemic: only seen by me once, on Kadavu)
*Vanikoro broadbill flycatcher Myiagra vanikorensis (native: very common everywhere)
*Blue-crested broadbill flycatcher Myiagra azureocapilla (endemic: seen several times. Is not found on Kadavu)
*Golden whistler Pachycephala pectoralis (native: common in forests everywhere)
*Polynesian triller Lalage maculosa (native: common but I saw it only a few times)
*Fiji white-eye Zosterops explorator (endemic: common in forests)
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis (native: common everywhere)
*Fiji parrotfinch Erythrura pealii (endemic: common everywhere in all habitats)
*Red avadavat Amandava amandava (introduced: only seen well at the National Stadium in Suva but flocks of small birds seen from buses were probably this species)
*Orange-breasted myzomela Myzomela jugularis (endemic: common everywhere)
*Wattled honeyeater Foulehaio carunculata (native: common everywhere except Kadavu where it is not found)
*Kadavu honeyeater Xanthotis provocator (endemic to Kadavu: not hard to find)
*Giant forest honeyeater Gymnomyza viridis (endemic: only seen once, at Raintree Lodge)
5) ANNOTATED LIST OF LAND-BIRDS NOT SEEN:
These are the other 22 land-birds that I didn't see (not including the barred-wing rail, wandering whistling duck and grass owl, all of which are presumed extinct in Fiji; or the vagrants):
Mangrove heron Butorides striatus (native: secretive but fairly common in mangroves so I obviously wasn't looking hard enough)
"Junglefowl" Gallus gallus (introduced [I would class these as just feral chickens not true junglefowl]: common on mongoose-free islands. I heard them on Taveuni. There was a newly-captured male tethered in the village at Vidawa)
Brown quail Coturnix ypsilophorus (introduced: rare, and only in the west of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu)
Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus (native: very rare)
Banded rail Gallirallus philippensis (native: common only in mongoose-free areas. I was sure I'd see it on Kadavu and/or Taveuni, but I didn't. On the Vidawa Rainforest Hike, Pela told me they eat them -- and they rarely see them anymore!)
White-browed crake Porzana cinereus (native: apparently rare, and only in specific habitats)
Spotless crake Porzana tabuensis (native: probably declining, but hard to find anyway)
Purple gallinule Porphyrio porphyrio (native: not common, and pretty much eliminated from islands with mongooses. I probably should have been able to find it on Taveuni at least, but didn't)
Friendly ground dove Gallicolumba stairi (native: found on all the islands, common where there are no mongooses, but very difficult to actually find)
Pacific pigeon Ducula pacifica (native: really only found on small offshore islands so I wasn't expecting to see it)
Crimson-crowned fruit dove Ptilinopus porphyraceus (native: as for the Pacific pigeon)
Red-throated lorikeet Charmosyna amabilis (endemic: close to extinction)
Blue-crowned lorikeet Vini australis (native: in Fiji found only on the distant Southern Lau Islands)
Fan-tailed cuckoo Cacomantis flabelliformis (native: apparently common but I can't find cuckoos!)
Long-tailed cuckoo Eudynamys taitensis (migrant, breeding in NZ and wintering in the Pacific)
Barn owl Tyto alba (native: apparently not very common)
Island thrush Turdus poliocephalus (native: common but shy, and I just struck it unlucky. I'm pretty sure that a bird that zipped past me in the forest at Colo-i-Suva was an island thrush, but I didn't see where it landed so it remained unticked. Some birders that I met at Raintree Lodge said the only places they had seen them was at Des Voeux Peak on Taveuni where they were very easy to find, and on the Pipeline Road just down the road from the Lodge)
Long-legged warbler Trichocichla rufa (endemic: rare, until recently thought extinct)
Ogea monarch Mayrornis versicolor (endemic: found only on two islands in the distant Southern Lau group)
Pink-billed parrotfinch Erythrura kleinschmidti (endemic: rare)
Java sparrow Padda oryzivora (introduced: declining in Fiji, but I was expecting to find it in Suva)
Rotuma myzomela Myzomela chermesina (endemic: only found on distant Rotuma Island)
6) ANNOTATED LIST OF MAMMALS SEEN:
Fiji has six bat species and a few introduced mammals, of which we saw the following...
*Pacific fruit bat Pteropus tonganus (native: common everywhere)
*Samoan fruit bat Pteropus samoensis (native: fairly common but really needs to be seen at roost to distinguish reliably from the Pacific fruit bat. The Samoan fruit bat flies during the day quite often, but so does the Pacific fruit bat -- for example, bats are commonly seen on Kadavu during the day but the Samoan fruit bat is not found on that island. The Samoan fruit bat roosts alone or in pairs, occasionally amongst colonies of Pacific fruit bats, and has a habit of soaring when in flight. The differences in colour, size etc are obvious when seen at roost)
*Indian mongoose Herpestes auropunctatus (introduced: common on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu; fortunately not found on Taveuni or Kadavu)
7) ANNOTATED LIST OF REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS SEEN:
(I found one of the four possible sea turtles; four out of ten geckoes; and seven out of twelve skinks. Sadly didn't manage to find any iguanas, snakes, or native frogs)
*Green turtle Chelonia mydas (native: one from the boat between Galoa Island and Kadavu)
Stump-toed gecko Gehyra mutilata (introduced, with a limited range: only seen in Suva)
*Oceanic gecko Gehyra oceanica (native: common in and around buildings)
Common house gecko Hemidactylus frenatus (introduced: only seen on Taveuni)
*Mourning gecko Lepidodactylus lugubris (introduced: common everywhere in and around buildings)
*Brown-tailed copper-striped skink Emoia cyanura (native: commonly seen only on mongoose-free Kadavu and Taveuni)
*Blue-tailed copper-striped skink Emoia impar (native: common on Taveuni. Note that this and the preceeding species are very difficult to distinguish from one another)
*Pacific black skink Emoia nigra (native: only seen on Taveuni)
*Fijian copper-headed skink Emoia parkeri (endemic: only seen on Taveuni)
*Turquoise tree skink Emoia mokosariniveikau (endemic: very rare species. One seen at Waisali on Vanua Levu)
*Moth skink Lipinia noctua (native: seen only on Taveuni)
*Pigmy snake-eyed skink Cryptoblepharus eximius (endemic: common near beaches on Kadavu where there are no mongooses; very rare on Viti Levu [none seen] and Vanua Levu [one seen])
*Cane toad Bufo marinus (introduced: unfortunately very very common)
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