BIRDING AROUND THE WORLD

Subtitle

BIRDING IN MELANESIA: 3 May – 1 July  1999

Participants: Neil Bostock, Keith Turner, Barry Wright, Jon Hornbuckle 
INTRODUCTION

Melanesia - the Bismarck Archipelago (in PNG) and the Solomon Islands (Fig.s 1 & 2) - holds a remarkably high number of restricted range and globally threatened birds. Indeed the Solomon Islands EBA (Endemic Bird Area) with 79 restricted range species has more than any other and the New Britain and New Ireland EBA is ranked 6thet al 1998). The Solomons, a relatively small land mass, has 41 threatened / near-threatened species, most of which are endemics. Hence this rarely birded region is of prime interest and importance - in recent years only Dave Gibbs and Guy Dutson have made prolonged trips here. (Stattersfield

 

Although much forest remains, very little is protected and it has been disappearing at an alarming rate, primarily due to logging and population expansion. The situation has improved recently in the Solomons as the current government, with Australian aid assistance, is trying to curtail much of the logging sanctioned by the previous corrupt administration, but the political situation is highly volatile. 

 

Neil Bostock, Keith Turner, Barry Wright and I visited the region to find as many of the birds as possible in the time available. It was a tough trip, involving much trekking up and down mountains and inter-island travel by small plane or boat, but we were rewarded by seeing most of the specialities, including several species rarely seen before. We survived two serious problems - a robbery and a capsized boat - and one frustration, namely inability to venture into the mountains of Guadalcanal due to ethnic violence. The only other birders seen during the entire trip were two Americans at Gizo!

 

We saw 114 of the 136 restricted range species possible, ie excluding Bougainville and Santa Cruz species, the main omissions being 8 on New Britain and 7 on Guadalcanal - see appendix A.Sightings included Black-headed and Black-faced Pittas, Solomons Sea-Eagle and Heinroth’s Shearwater. I had 125 ticks, plus 7 in two mornings in and around Varirata NP near Port Moresby.

 

TRANSPORT

We all flew to Port Moresby from Australia and back there on a Pacific airpass - $220 a leg, ie same cost to/ from Sydney (JH) or Cairns (others) despite the large difference in distance. I had flown to Sydney with Singapore Airlines at a very good rate (£532) and was highly satisfied with them – they even allowed me to change my flight back to a Brisbane departure instead of Sydney as ticketed, for no charge. There are flights to Port Moresby from several Oz cities and Singapore but the only access to Honiara is from Brisbane, Port Moresby or Port Vila (Vanuatu).

 

In Melanesia we flew with Air Niugini, Airlink, Islands Nation Air in PNG (£415 excluding Mussau) and Solomon Airlines (£276), booked through WildWings. The Solomon flights were discounted for being on an airpass bought outside the country – we were able to change dates without problem, although some dates were unavailable as flights were full. The PNG flights were not on an airpass as it was not worthwhile; the tickets could have been bought at the airports (as indeed they werefor Mussau). All flights were OK except one (Silur – Rabaul) cancelled due to bad weather, and rarely late by more than 30 mins or so. Most were fairly full but rescheduling a week or more ahead was usually possible.

 

In the Solomons Honiara is the hub, with few flights between other islands. The only exceptions are the outer islands of Santa Cruz, via Makira, and the Shortlands, via Gizo, both of which we thought of going to after the Guadalcanal trek fell through but could not arrange due to unavailability of suitable dates. Reconfirm flights in Honiara or at the Solair office inside the domestic terminal, where there is also a bank for changing cash and traveller’s cheques – cash from credit cards is available in town. 

 

We hired taxis, trucks and boats, used PMVs (public minibuses) and hitched. Costs were quite reasonable, the only major expenses being the dive boats to Tench and Ranongga/ Vella Lavella. The only real problem was “Melanesia time” – pre-arranged early morning departures could be anything up to an hour late! We did not use the inter-island ferries as, although cheap, they are infrequent and long – the only one worth considering really is Honiara – Auki (Malaita), as this runs most days.

 

ACCOMMODATION etc.

We stayed in a variety of hotels, lodges etc, village houses and buildings, and camped. Except for the Hoskins Hotel, the only acceptable place there except for the even more expensive Walindi Resort, costs were reasonable with a maximum of £6 per person per night, and quality was generally good. We can particularly recommend the Anglican Church Resthouse (irrespective of  religious beliefs), our safe haven in Honiara - $10 a night with cooking facilities and fridge. The Granville Hotel, Port Moresby, was close to the airport, secure and quite reasonable at £20 a double.

 

Expenses were less than anticipated, particularly as we only paid custom fees, for land-access, on two occasions. We expected to have to pay this frequently but it was only requested on Makira (equivalent to £7 total) and Taron, New Ireland where we paid £21, half the asking price, to go up Mt Agil.

 

Food was mostly unexciting and often rather basic, eg tinned fish, rice, noodles, taro and biscuits, but rarely in short supply. Coconut crab on Rennell was very tasty (but should be refused if possible as the population is in serious decline due to over-harvesting) and there were some good restaurants in the bigger towns.

 

MISCELLANEOUS

The people were generally very friendly and helpful throughout and many spoke good English. We did encounter 3 serious problems:-

Most of our belongings were taken from a locked building on Mussau, where we had been told there was not a security problem but later learnt that the St Matthias Islands (a stronghold of Seventh Day Adventists) are totally lawless – the police station having been burnt down some 10 years ago, the prisoners released and policemen departed and not replaced. Some items were recovered but not the majority.

A small boat capsized as we came in to land on Isabel, due to the only incompetent boatman we encountered. Although we all survived without serious injury, valuables were lost or damaged, with no possibility of replacement.

Serious ethnic violence was in progress on Guadalcanal so that we could not go into the mountains there and the Mount Austen area of Honiara was potentially dangerous – we were stopped by armed vigilantes one evening but were not detained. There was still a State of Emergency in force when we left the Solomons. 

 

There were no field-guides available at the time of our visit except Hadden’s on the North Solomons, although one covering the whole of the Solomons by Doughty, Day and Plant is to be published later in the year. Beehler and Pratt’s New Guinea guide does not include the Bismarcks and is of little use as few mainland species occur here. The only real help is Coates’ excellent but large 2 volume opus. Guy Dutson is preparing a field-guide for the whole of Melanesia but this is unlikely to be available for some time.  As for sites, Wheatley (1998) is useful as is Buckingham et al‘s  Cambridge report and there are a few trip reports, but details are fairly sparse. Stattersfield et al.’s EBA book is helpful, especially for elevational ranges.

 

The most difficult identification problem is the smaller accipiters, namely how do you tell Imitator from Pied, and New Britain Sparrowhawk brachyurus and Slaty-backed from Variable, especially immatures and sub-adults? Although we tried to convince ourselves we had seen eg brachyurus, we were not able to confirm anything other than Pied and Variable. Otherwise, the problems are not irresolvable provided some homework has been done especially on rails, pigeons, myzomelas and munias.  

 

We had the usual birding frustrations, eg both Manus and Russet Hawk-Owls only called occasionally, and hardly responded to tape, whilst known roost sites of Fearful Owl were unoccupied. The probable way to see the critical Yellow-legged Pigeon was only discovered (by KT) on our last morning at Hauta, too late for JH and BW to benefit.

 

The weather was very hot and humid throughout, the only respite being when we were high in the mountains. Heavy showers were not infrequent but prolonged rain was rarely encountered. The main rainy season is November – March/ April. Two significant earthquakes were experienced, when the road shook like a jelly. We had few health problems, tropical ulcers being the only major concern. We took Larium throughout, with no ill-effects, but saw surprisingly few mosquitoes, the only real nuisance being tiny biting ants at a few localities. However, both Barry and I contracted malaria, which started in late Sept / early Oct. This was the benign Vivax form – Larium is said to be good at preventing the dangerous Falciparum but perhaps a different prophylactic should be taken for Vivax.

 

Visas for PNG were obtained in London – I posted my application to the PNG High Commission, who claimed to have never received it, hence my passport was lost. I took the new one to the London office and received it back the same day with visa, costing £7. Contrary to all advice, they can be obtained on arrival at Port Moresby airport, for a similar price, although it takes a little longer to get through immigration this way. Visas are not required for a month in the Solomons. Australian visas are electronic, ie invisible, and issued freely if you go personally to their High Commission. Agents charge between £7 and £15 for the service.

 

Both currencies were dropping like a stone during our time there, ie by more than 20% in the 4 weeks in each country, so it paid to minimise exchange at any one time. Banks would change cash or traveller’s cheques – we took US$$ but I think sterling, and certainly Oz$$ would have been OK. Hotel exchange rates were diabolical. Cash from credit cards was easily arranged at banks in the Solomons but more time-consuming in PNG. Foreign currency is rarely acceptable anywhere. 

 

REFERENCES

Beehler, B.M., Pratt, T.K. & Zimmerman, D.A. 1986. Birds of New Guinea. Princeton Univ. Press.

Buckingham, D.L., Dutson, G. & Newman, J.L. Report of the Cambridge Solomons Rainforest Project 1990.

Coates, B.J. 1985 & 1990. The birds of Papua New Guinea Vols 1 and 2. Dove Publications.

Collar, N.J., Crosby, M.J. & Stattersfield, A.J. 1994. Birds to watch 2. BirdLife International.

Doughty, C., Day, N. & Plant, A. 1999. Birds of the Solomons, Vanuatu & New Caledonia. Christopher Helm.*

Finch, B.W. 1990. The Aplonis starlings of the Solomon Islands. Muruk 1: 3-17

Gibbs, D. 1996. Notes on Solomon Island birds. Bull. B.O.C. 116: 18-25

Gibbs, D. 1996. An annotated check-list of the birds of the Solomon Islands. Unpublished.

Hadden, D. 1981 Birds of the North Solomons. Wau Ecology Institute, PNG.

Stattersfield, A.J. et al. 1998. Endemic Bird Areas of the world. BirdLife International.

Wheatley, N. 1998. Where to watch birds in Australasia & Oceania. Christopher Helm.

 

*published after our trip, useful for Solomons, with reasonable plates but poor maps, brief text and many errors.

 

Lonely Planet guides are useful but not essential.

 

Trip reports

Simon Cook  Birding in Papua New Guinea: May 1984 – includes West New Britain

Phil Gregory Solomon Islands: December 1996. Sicklebill Safaris Report No. 1

Tony Palliser Papua New Guinea: July – December 1987 – includes West New Britain & New Ireland

Gerry Richards Solomon Islands: 29 June – 21 July 1996  

 

CONTACTS

Noah Lurang, New Ireland Culture & Tourist Bureau, PO Box 419, Kavieng, New Ireland, PNG  tel 00675 9842441, fax 984 2254

Martin Kanai, Peter ToRot Conference Centre, PO Box 49, Kavieng 631, New Ireland, tel 984 2055, fax 984 2144

David Loh, New Britain Lodge, PO Box 863, Rabaul, East New Britain Province, PNG, tel 675 922247 or 982 1335, fax 923292 or 9829264

Max Benjamin, Walindi Resort, W New Britain: walindi@datec.com.pg, tel 983 5441, fax 5638

Adam Jonathan, Manus Shipping Authority, PO Box 473, Lorengau, Manus Province, PNG

Mark Hafe, c/o William Mauhange, Bauala, Santa Isabel

Anglican Church Resthouse, Honiara, tel 26602

Ken Ferris, Gold Ridge Mine, Guadalcanal, tel 25807

Isaiah Taro, Magistrates Office, Kirakira, Makira, Solomon Islands, tel 50106

Peter Hamdleby, Solomons Sight and Sounds, PO Box 1227, Honiara, tel 22230, fax 22231

Dirk Seiling, Solomon Charters, PO Box Gizo, tel/fax  00677 60321 solchar@wekam.solsomon.com.sb

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Many thanks to Guy Dutson for much excellent advice in the pre-trip preparations. Chris Eastwood, Dave Gibbs, Phil Gregory and Tony Palliser were also very helpful, Chris especially by saving the day with loan of binoculars. Alan Greensmith and Dave Pitman advised on birding around Hoskins. Ian Collier at WildWings was a tower of strength in dealing with the many changes in flight itinerary. On the islands many people were friendly and helpful, most notably David Loh, Noah Lurang, Martin Kanai, Adam Jonathan, Roger James, Mark Hafe and Moray Iles. Barry Wright drew most of the site maps, made a number of valuable comments and additions to the first draft, and along with NB and KT was excellent company throughout.


ITINERARY

 

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

May      2          Arrive Hoskins, New Britain at 16.30 from Port Moresby with PG. Hoskins Hotel.

            3          05.30 - 14.00 Lavege Track. Hoskins Hotel.

            4          05.30 - 18.00 Kulu River, Kimbe. Hoskins Hotel.

            5          05.30 - 12.00 Lavege Track. Farewell to PG; NB, KT & BW arrive p.m. Hoskins Hotel.

            6          06.30 - 15.00 Hoskins – Kimbe – Bialla – Gigipuna by PMV; bird around Gigipuna. Night in Boy’s House.

            7          06.20 - 15.30 trek up Mt Bumosi to 700m. Camp.

            8          A.m. trek to 1250m and camp; p.m. bird to 1350m.

            9          06.00 - 10.30 bird to 1350m; 11.00 - 18.15 trek back to Gigipuna. Night in Boy’s House.

            10         04.10 - 12.00, 15.00-18.30 bird around Gigipuna. Night in Boy’s House.

            11         05.00 - 08.00 bird around Gigipuna. 09.00-17.00 PMVs to Bialla, Kimbe and Hoskins.

            12         05.40 - 11.50 Lavege Track; Kimbe p.m., rained off; evening owling. Hoskins Hotel.

            13         05.45 - 13.00 Lavege Track; p.m. rain; evening owling. Hoskins Hotel.

            14         05.40 – 17.50 Kulu River, then International School grounds, Kimbe. Hoskins Hotel.

            15         08.15 - 08.50 flight to Rabaul, PMV to lodge; 13.30-17.30 boat trip to Watom Island. New Britain Lodge, Rabaul.

            16         06.30 - 15.40 Sikut Forest; heavy rain p.m. New Britain Lodge

            17         10.30 – 11.00 flight to Silur, New Ireland, truck to Taron; trek and truck up Mt Agil. Camp at 480m.

            18         05.30 – 07.00 bird campsite; trek to 680m and camp; p.m. JH netting, others cutting trail to 900m.

            19         06.00 - 08.00 bird campsite; trek to 1200m and back to camp at 17.30, rain p.m.

            20         06.00 - 10.30 JH netting, others to 900m. 11.20-18.00 back to Taron. Hot night camping. 

            21        06.00 - 10.30 waiting for transport, truck to Silur but no 12.25 flight, heavy rain; 15.30 – 19.30 lift in Peter, the district administrator’s truck to Namatani. Night at Peter’s house 

            22         08.30 – 15.30 bus to Kavieng. Night at Peter Torot Conference Centre.

            23         06.00 – 16.30 boat trip to Taskul, New Hanover with stops at 2 isles. Peter Torot Conference Centre.

            24         PG joins us from Port Moresby, 12.00 – 13.30 flight to Eloaua St Matthias Islands; heavy rain turning to showers when birded airstrip till dusk. Night in school, Eloaua.

            25         06.00 – 12.00 birding and netting on Eloaua; 13.00 boat to Palakau, Mussau Island, bird-walk later. Night in newly built hospital.

            26         07.30 – 12.00 logging trails in hills to 180m; p.m. birding and netting Palakau; robbed in evening. Hospital.           

            27         Netting and moping all day. Hospital.    

            28         Boat to Eloaua after considerable delay; bird walk; 13.30 – 14.00 flight to Kavieng. Peter Torot Conference Centre.

            29         11.00 – 18.30 boat trip to Djaul. (CE arrives from Moresby). Peter Torot Conference Centre.

            30         [CE and PG to Tench.] 13.40 – 14.30 flight to Manus, lift to Lorengau then Waterfall Trail and Rossun; 17.00 – 18.00 try for Pitta above Rossun. Night at Adam Jonathan’s house, Rossun.

            31         05.30 – 09.30 above Rossun; PMV to Lorengau; boat trip to Tong Island; 19.00 – 22.00 owling on Rossun road. Adam Jonathan’s house.

June     1          05.45 – 10.00 above Rossun. Lift with Adam to Lorengau; chill out at John Akau’s Guesthouse till late p.m. when owl near Waterfall Trail. Night at John Akau’s Guesthouse.

            2          09.30 to airport; 11.15 – 11.45 flight to Kavieng, New Ireland. (CE & PG to Moresby). PeterTorot Conference Centre.

            3          06.00 – 17.30 boat trip to Tench Island. Peter Torot Conference Centre.

            4          09.45 – 12.20 truck to Limbin turn to Lelet plateau; Limbin Forest at 800m till 16.00, back to Kavieng, arriving 19.15. Peter Torot Conference Centre.

            5          13.20 - 15.45 flight to Port Moresby. Granville Hotel. Chinese Restaurant with CE.


SOLOMON ISLANDS

June     6           08.45 – 12.05 Port Moresby to Honiara, Guadalcanal, taxi to Anglican Church Resthouse; 15.00 – 18.30 taxi to/ from Mount Austen. Night at Anglican Church Resthouse.

            7          06.00 – 11.00 Mount Austen; p.m. SIDC for Makira permit. Anglican Church Resthouse.

            8          07.30 – 09.00 flight to Tinggoa, Rennell; 11.00 – 13.00 truck to Lake Te’Nggano, boat to Kia Koe Lodge, afternoon birding by lodge. Night at Kia Koe Lodge.

            9          07.30 – 11.00 boat across lake, bird along road, then back to Kia Koe Lodge.

            10         Netting; 11.30 – 12.30 boat on Lake  Te’Nggano, then across to road; 13.00 – 14.30 wait for truck, reach Tinggoa at 16.30, bird till 17.45. Night at Resthouse.

            11         06.00 – 08.00 Tinggoa area; 09.00 – 10.15 flight to Honiara; 15.00 – 19.00 taxi to Lungga River then Mount Austen. Anglican Church Resthouse.

            12         05.45 – 06.25 awaiting taxi, Mount Austen till 11.00. 13.30 flight left at 14.15, arriving Kirakira, Makira at 15.15; truck to Tagore Community Resthouse; 16.30 – 18.00 birding above Tagore.

            13         06.45 – 12.15 hills above Tagore to 300m; afternoon rain, then back up hill 16.00 – 18.00.

            14         08.00 – 10.30 awaiting truck to the river; 11.30 – 17.30 trek to Hauta (475m). Night at John’s house.

            15 & 16             06.15 – 18.30 above Hauta to 780m. John’s house.

            17         05.45 – 10.30 above Hauta; 12.00 – 18.30 trek back to Tagore Community Resthouse; barbeque at night.

            18         06.00 to Kirakira airport; flight 30 mins late: 08.45 – 09.35 to Honiara, taxi to Anglican Church Resthouse. 12.30 back to airport for 14.00 flight, departing 14.45 – 15.45 to Fera, Santa Isabel; boat to Buala, trek to Tirotongna 16.30 – 17.45. Night at Mark Hafe’s house.

            19 - 21              Bird around Tirotongna with Mark; 21st a.m. lost to rain. Mark’s house.

            22         06.00 – 12.00 above Tirotongna; walk down to Buala; 16.15 – 17.15 boat toGarana River, capsized when landing; walked back part way before getting another boat, reaching Baula at 21.30. Night in Resthouse.

            23         Walk along coast in rain; 13.30 – 14.30 awaiting boat to Fera airport, 14.50 Honiara flight left at 16.00, taxi to Anglican Church Resthouse.

            24         05.45 to airport, 07.00 flight left at 07.45 to Gizo via Kagan, Choiseul, arriving 09.30; boat to town, hitch in truck to Electricity Generating Station, roadside birding beyond there. 15.45 – 16.25 boat to Iriri, Kulambangra. 17.00 – 19.00 Kukudu by dugout and foot. Night in Iriri village school.

            25         07.40 – 14.20 trek to Camp Professor, 1000m. Camp in porters’ shelter.

            26         07.00 – 08.30 trek to summit, 1640m and bird around there; 10.30 farewell to Keith (who had to leave early); 15.15 – 16.30 down to Camp Prof.

            27         Bird campsite till 08.00; 08.30 – 15.40 trek back to Iriri. 16.30 – 19.00 Kukudu. Iriri school.

            28         Coastal Iriri then catamaran public speedboat to Gizo via Kukudu 08.05 – 09.10; chill out in town & at Divers Lodge. 15.00 – 15.30 taxi to Pailong Ge, returning to Gizo town at 18.30. Koburutavia Divers Lodge, with good buffet.

            29         Full day boat trip: 06.25 – 08.00 to Koriovuku, Ranongga; 09.30 – 10.30 to Sanboro, Vella Lavella;  forest till 14.00 when boat to another area, walk till 16.30; return to Gizo at 18.00. Koburutavia Divers Lodge.

            30         08.45 boat to Nusatupe airport; 09.40 – 11.10 fly to Honiara, on time, taxi to Anglican Church Resthouse and town; 14.30 back to airport, 16.25 – 17.00 to Auki, Malaita, minibus to town. Golden Dragon Motel.

July      1          06.00 – 06.45 awaiting truck, 06.45 – 08.00 Mt Alsa’an, 450-550m till truck returns, 14.00 – 14.45 to Golden Dragon, Auki. 15.45 to airport, 16.40 Honiara flight rescheduled to two trips with us on 2nd at 18.00; taxi to Anglican Church Resthouse. JH returns to airport at 23.30 for early morning flight to Brisbane and home, NB and BW leaving on 3rd for Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

 


SITES / ISLANDS

 

We did not plan to go to Bougainville, politically part of PNG but geographically in the Solomons, because it was still considered unsafe.

 

New Britain (18 restricted range species + 17 shared with New Ireland & 9 with the Solomons)

This island has more endemics and specialities than any other PNG island but some are very difficult to see – we missed 7. Birders have usually concentrated on the western part, flying to Hoskins and birding the nearby Lavege Track (Fig 3). All the lowland species have been claimed along here, except New Britain Sparrowhawk, but we failed to find Slaty-backed Sparrowhawk, the Rail, Bronzewing and Golden Owl. Transport can sometimes be hired from Hoskins Hotel, as done initially with Phil Gregory, but the bus broke down and we had to hire a PMV, at a similar price (£25) but unreliable starting time.

 

The other lowland area is the Kulu River, a left turn off the Kimbe to Walindi road opposite a small cemetery. I saw Black Honey-buzzard, Bismarck and New Britain Kingfishers and Lesser Shining Flycatcher here. It is possible to walk into the foothills from here but easier to drive to the logging tracks off the Bialla road, where the White-eye and Rusty Thicketbird have been seen. For the higher elevation species it is necessary to trek. We followed Guy Dutson’s trail to Mt Bamusi, taking PMVs to Bialla then Gigipuna. We stayed in Gigipuna, taking our own food, and recruited porters and a guide  - George, the only one who knew the route up Mt Bamusi (Fig. 4). We saw the Fantail and White-eye on the way up and on the second day camped at 1100m, finding the Melidectes at 1300m, but no Goshawk or Zoothera (BW had Meyer’s Gos). Guy saw the Zoothera on Mt Otu near Hoskins. The remnant forest around Gigipuna village was rewarding, with Green-fronted Hanging-Parrot, Black-headed Paradise-Kingfisher (common), Bismarck Woodswallow and the undescribed Microeca flycatcher.

 

The alternative is to fly to Tokua airport, Rabaul, eg direct from Moresby, or take the public ferry (catamaran) there from Bialla. Although there appears to be no forest nearby, there is good lowland forest 1-2 hours away, Sikut Forest, which is likely to hold most of the specialities. It is easy to bird along the road here, with little traffic, but we did not find any decent trails into the forest. We went there by hiring the New Britain Lodge pick-up – the driver knew the area. However, the forest is being clear-felled and so may not be viable in the future. The mountains can be reached by going to Wild Dog, an inactive mine site, some 4 hours on roads requiring a 4-wheel drive / high clearance vehicle. We intended to do this in the Lodge pick-up, after seeking permission from John McWhirter (tel 982 8227), but were unable to return to Rabaul because of flight failure at Silur. The Rail and Rusty Thicketbird are said to be common here, and PG saw the rare Yellow-legged Pigeon.

 

While at Rabaul it is worthwhile hiring a boat for a half-day trip to Watom Is to see Sclater’s/ Scarlet-bibbed Myzomela and good coral reef.

 

New Ireland (10 restricted range species + 2-5 on St Matthias Islands)

We followed in the footsteps of Beehler, Palliser and Dutson, trekking up Mt Agil at the eastern end of the island (Fig. 5). This is the only sure way to see the 4 montane endemics. The easiest approach is to fly from Rabaul to Silur, buy supplies and take a truck to Taron (30 mins) where permission and porters can be obtained. We paid a custom fee of £22, half the original asking price, to Sebastian who claimed to own the mountain; engaged 3 porters and arranged for the truck to take us up to 500m. One of the porters failed to materialise and the truck was late arriving but we eventually made the 480m camp site and were rewarded by good views of the Boobook. The following morning we had a hard trek, over many fallen trees (as someone said, never had he had his leg-over so many times in one day!) on the almost invisible trail to camp 2 at 700m. We finally achieved 1200m the following morning and saw the Lory and Friarbird (a frustratingly brief view). We walked back to Taron the next day to catch our flight to Rabaul the day after, but that day was wasted as the flight never came. We had to settle for an overland trip to Kavieng at the west end of the island, overnighting at Namatani en route.

 

We later discovered that all the endemics except the Friarbird can be seen on the two trans-island roads which cross the Lelet Plateau near Namatani, and confirmed this on a day trip from Kavieng. Hence the simple, quick option is to fly direct to Kavieng and rent a vehicle, eg via Noah Lurang (the very helpful Tourist Officer), Martin Kanai at our cheap residence, the Peter Torot Conference Centre, or the Malagan Beach Resort. Take the road to Namatani and after 160km, 2.5 hrs drive, turn right towards Limbin and the Lelet plateau (Fig. 6). Bird the higher part of Limbin Forest (700- 800m) after 10-12km, the only site where we definitely saw New Ireland Myzomela.

 

New Ireland Mannikin is found at Silur Airport, but CE & PG also saw it on their day-trip to Limbin, before the turn off (and the new flycatcher, but did miss the Lory).

 

Kavieng is the gateway to Djaul, New Hanover, the St Matthias Islands and Tench Island. Boats are easily hired, eg through Martin Kanai, to visit Djaul (£24) and Taskul, New Hanover (£21), where the endemic Monarch and Mannikin may be found, respectively. The monarch (possibly a dubious split) had us sweating but was eventually located, by its high fequency whistle, in second growth, after we had walked a long way to find remnant primary forest which we then could not really penetrate. The boat journey to Djaul was also rewarding, with Heinroth’s and Wedge-tailed Sheerwaters, Melonheaded Whales and Spinner Dolphins. 

 

A day trip to Tench Island is quite an experience. We hired the dive boat from Darrell at Archipelago Diving, for the princely sum of £240 cash, but were shocked to discover it had only one engine and a compass, and no radio or GPS, to accomplish the 100km journey in the open Pacific and find the island, little more than a km across. As we later heard, had we missed it, it could have been months before other land or boats were sighted – the fate of 5 islanders who ran out of fuel earlier in the year and had to live off rain water and raw fish for 2 months! Although the sea was not particularly rough, our bodies received quite a pounding, and we were soaked by heavy showers after the canopy broke off. The trip was worthwhile though, since we had excellent views of Atoll Starling, Nicobar Pigeon, Pacific Imperial Pigeon, Red-footed Booby and White Tern, not to mention the Tahiti / Beck’s Petrel which inspected us en route.

 

The most important and risky side-trip in New Ireland Province is to the St Matthias Islands. There are two flights a week to Eloaua, and the occasional small passenger ferry. At present the only recognized endemics are White-breasted Monarch and Matthias Fantail, but the Zoothera thrush, the Triller and possibly Lesser Shining Flycatcher and Cicadabird are sufficiently distinctive to warrant specific status. The monarch and thrush occur on Eloaua, along with the endemic race of Meek's Pygmy-Parrot but it is necessary to take a boat to Palakau on Mussau Island to see the other species. The Fantail and Cicadabird are in woodland around Palakau but access to the logging trails in the hills (to 180m) is needed to see the Triller, kindly given to us by Michael, the District Administrator, in his pick-up. The problem here is lack of security or police, and so only a minimum of belongings should be taken.

 

Another bird to look out for is any Lonchura, as none is known from these islands but one was seen in flight on Eloaua by NB.

 

Manus (8 restricted range species)

The key to success here is to find Adam Jonathan, who should be written to beforehand. There are 2 or 3 flights a week from Madang and Kavieng to the off-shore island of Momote, from where you hitch or taxi to Lorengau, the main town on Manus. Adam lives at Rossun, some 7km above Lorengau, and is well known, so it should be easy to hitch or taxi to his house. Try Babes, manager of the largest supermarket,Papindo if in difficulty – she was very helpful to us. The forest above Rossun holds all the specialities except the Tyto and Fantail. Morgan, a local known to Adam, can call up the Pitta, but ensure you are sitting inside the forest with good visibility before he starts in earnest - a pair responded from a high perch (20m). Adam will put you up in his large house and his wife cook your food for you. The Boobook is common along the road to Lorengau, but we could not see it as it rarely called when we were there. The Tyto is unknown.

 

The Fantail no longer occurs on the mainland and so a boat trip to Tong Island is required. Adam may be able to arrange a boat or you can hire the one at John Akau’s guesthouse (£40 including fuel) on the airport road just beyond Lorengau. This is a pleasant half-day trip, with the possibility of meeting the goal-ace of the PNG women’s football team, who took a shine to Barry. Small numbers of Fantails reside in the coconut palms.

 

Guadalcanal (10 restricted range species including those shared with Bougainville)

Mount Austen above Honiara holds all the lowland specialities, although White-eyed Starling has not been seen for several years. Most taxis will take you up to the top, although not down the steep other side, but do not rely on being picked up before dawn. The forest starts just beyond the highest point and goes down most of the way to the river valley, with two decent logging trails on the left. Notable birds here were Yellow-bibbed Lory, Ducorp’s Cockatoo, Buff-headed Coucal, Ultramarine Kingfisher, Chestnut-bellied and Black-and-white Monarchs, White-billed Crow, Solomon Cuckoo-shrike, Black-headed Myzomela and Midget Flowerpecker.

 

It is also worth checking the grassland edge between the plantation and the top in late afternoon or early morning for rails, as there is an undescribed species here.

 

To see the 5 montane endemics is much more difficult. The only quick way of getting in range of most is to drive to Gold Mine Ridge and walk the trail to 1000+m. Permission for birders to do this is easily obtained from Ken Ferris of Ross Mining in normal times but the whole area was off-limits during our stay due to ethnic violence. The Honeyeater has been seen here (D Milton in litt.) but the only known site for the Kingfisher and Thrush is the trek from Ando to Mt Mbutohaina (1565m), undertaken independently by Gibbs and Dutson, one of the toughest they have ever done (and they are no sluggards), requiring at least a week. We did intend to do this of course but were foiled by the ethnic unrest.

 

Rennell (6 restricted range species)

This is the easiest of the main islands as all the endemics can be seen in a few hours near the airport. Unfortunately, there are only 2 flights a week so you have to stay at least 3 days. We followed Gerry Richards in heading along the island to Lake Te’Nggano, two hours drive in a chartered truck, and staying at the relaxing Kia Koe Lodge (£4 a night), a sensible strategy with time to kill. We saw all the endemics and Island Thrush – an unusual form here being at sea-level - around the lodge, particularly by taking the short trail at the back. On returning to Tinggoa airport, we also saw all the endemics in the hour or so before the flight, by taking the track from the end of the airstrip, away from the Lake. There is a sea-bird breeding colony on an island at the far end of Lake Te’Nggano, a couple of hours boat journey, the star attraction being Red-footed Booby. 

 

Makira (15 existant restricted range species)

                   This, the most important island in the country for birds, was formerly known as San Cristobal. It is vital to get above 500m, which can be done by trekking to the village of Hauta. This is in a conservation area, requiring permission to visit – do not go without permission as you will be turned away. We tried to get permission through the Solomon Islands Development Corporation in Honiara, without success – they are only interested in expensive ecotours. We flew to Kirakira and took the truck west to Tagore Community Resthouse where, fortunately, Roger James, working for Conservation International, was in residence. He contacted John, the village headman for us, who did give us permission but said that we should have gone through Peter Hamdleby of Solomons Sight and Sounds in Honiara, or  Isaiah Taro in Kirakira. He does not want individuals to come. Roger said there was another way into the hill forest, via a village east of Kirakira, which he could have helped us with, although this was not so straightforward. If all else fails, you can bird up to 300m above Tagore, as we did on the day awaiting permission, and see some of the specialities.

 We were able to get a truck to take us for the first 5-6km towards Hauta, after a considerable delay, to where our porters were waiting, and arrange for it to pick us up 4 days later. There are two routes up: the shortest involves 11 or so river crossings, some of which are quite deep, while the longer route involves trekking up and down several 100m but only 4 or 5 river crossings. It is essentially a half day’s walk up 500m, with some of the river crossings the only real trial. We stayed at John’s house and had a young guide to show us the trail from 475m to 780m (Fig 7). Birding was good, with more species seen here than anywhere else in the Solomons. Three  species were difficult – Yellow-legged Pigeon, Dusky Fantail and the Zoothera thrush. The best way of seeing the pigeon appears to be by watching for post-roosting flights from a view-point during the first hour of daylight. The other two can be seen by luck and quiet, careful observation. Allow at least 3 days to catch up with these species.

The other side-trip to make is to off-shore Ugi Island, where the Chestnut-bellied Monarch may be splittable. We did not go on our spare day, a Sunday, as Roger said it would be difficult to find a boat that day, and we wanted to get to grips with some of the endemics, but in retrospect we should have tried then. 

 

Santa Isabel (7 restricted range species including those shared with Choiseul)

Apart from the mountains of Guadalcanal, this was the only location in the Solomons where we missed key birds, namely Fearful Owl and Woodford’s Rail. It was also the only place where we found a local knowledgable bird enthusiast, Mark Hafe. Flights to off-shore Fera run 3 times a week from Guadalcanal; then a small boat takes you across the bay to Buala. We soon engaged porters to carry our bags up toTirotongna (470m), an hour’s continuous walk. Here we located Mark Hafe and stayed at his house. He had found a Pitta’s nest with a pullus but it was empty when he took us to see it, and we only had a brief view of the adult. We had better views later but it was not an easy bird to see. Mark also knew roost sites for the two owls and succeeded in showing us the Hawk-Owl but not the large Fearful Owl. We spent hours raptor- watching, for the Eagle and Imitator Sparrowhawk, but only KT had a flight view of the former. We also failed to locate Marbled Frogmouth, worth trying for as it calls with a whistle, unlike the Australian form.

 

The last afternoon was allocated to seeing Woodford’s Rail at the Garana River, where GD and Mark had seen it (and stayed at the incomplete Rural training Centre). Firstly we had to obtain permission to visit the site, which entailed seeing the First Secretary at the provincial Government offices in Buala – he was none too enthusiastic, as the pitch had been queered by  3 American specimen-collectors, who apparently had permission to shoot birds from the national authorities but not the locals. However,  our assurance of being simple bird-watchers and not “researchers” was eventually accepted.

 

We hired a boat from the Solair “agent” who steered it himself. After an hour we came to the river mouth and on approaching the shore a small wave capsized the boat, due to total incompetence of the helmsman. Neil and I were trapped under the boat, before it eventually righted; I lost my glasses and camera, while others got water in their binoculars. The engine would not restart and so we had to abandon our attempt to see the rail and walk several km along the beach in the dark, until we reached a palm oil mill where we eventually took another boat back to Buala.

 

New Georgia (12 restricted range species)

Flights go at least daily to Gizo, which, with nearby Munda, is the diving centre of the Solomons and the only place other than Honiara where we saw tourists. It proved straightforward to clean up here, with our timing and itinerary working out well. The first port of call was Gizo Electricity Generating Station, on the road to Pailong Ge, where roadside birding gave the endemic White-eye and White-capped Monarch. Then we hired Dirk’s boat (Solomon Charters) to Iriri on Kulambangra, where we were allocated the village school for accommodation. A late afternoon visit to Kukudu, across the small bay by dugout canoe, gave Solomons Eagle at last, at the fruit bat roost near the quay, and Roviana Rail on the airstrip (Fig. 8).

 

The next morning we trekked to Camp Professor at 960m, finding the Myzomela, Kulambangra Monarch and Solomon Is. White-eye on the way. After sleeping in the porters’ shelter, we quickly climbed to the summit, at 1640m, seeing Kulambangra White-eye and Leaf-Warbler, Island Thrush and Scarlet Robin in the beautiful moss forest. We spent most of the last day trekking back to Iriri from Camp Prof., finally spotting Pale Mountain-Pigeon below the view-point at 400m. Paid another late afternoon visit to Kukudu for good views of the rail, but no eagle this time.

 

This was the only place in the Solomons where we paid an access fee, but only £7 in total. Porterage was £4 a day per porter (we used 3).

 

We took the morning catamaran public speedboat from Iriri to Gizo for £2 each.  An afternoon taxi trip to Pailong Ge to look for the Eagle was unsuccessful – displaying Beach Kingfishers and frigatebird passage were some consolation. There was a nasty incident on the way back when a drunken youth knifed the bonnet of the taxi, causing considerable damage. The final day here was spent on a full day trip to Ranongga and Vella Lavella in Dirk’s well-equipped boat, in the charge of an excellent local. Two Heinroth’s Shearwaters provided the first excitement but were eclipsed by close studies of Solomon Eagle, perched and in flight, by the track just beyond Koriovuku village on Ranongga. The smart endemic White-eye was also located here. Travelling on to Sanboro, Vella Lavella, we spent hours in the forest, soon finding Banded White-eye and later White-winged Fantail and Solomons Cuckoo-shrike, but failing to see the all black-winged form of Kulambangra Monarch. A further stop on the island for this was unsuccessful but another eagle was soaring over the boat when we returned to the shore.

 

Malaita (4 restricted range species)

There are daily flights to Auki, the main town on highly populated Malaita, and overnight ferries. The endemics are in the hills, so we hired a truck for the hour’s journey to 550m up Mt Alsa’an. Here we easily saw the White-eye and Malaita Starling (officially a form of A.grandis but see Finch, 1990), and then walked back along the road from the highest point. After some 2 km max. we took a track on the right down through cultivated land and up into a patch of forest ca.1 km from the road. Here at 500m in thick bamboo we saw the scarce Red-bellied Myzomela and the endemic form of Black-and-white Monarch, possibly splittable, but not the endemic taxon of White-winged Fantail. We returned to Auki in the afternoon, knowing that it would be a much more time-consuming, and probably expensive, task to find the Malaita Fantail which occurs in forest above 900m - difficult to reach.

 

Others (6 endemics including those shared with Bougainville)

The two other island groups holding endemics in the Solomons are the Shortlands, for Bougainville Crow and Monarch, and Santa Cruz with 3 white-eyes and a monarch. There are 2 flights a week from Gizo to the Shortlands, and from Kirakira to Nendo, Santa Cruz. Two of the white-eyes can be seen at Lata on Nendo, along with Red-bellied Fruit-Dove, Rusty-winged Starling, Polynesian Triller and Black-faced Shrikebill if lucky, all birds found on Vanuatu. The monarch and other white-eye occur on Vanikolo, which is almost impossible to reach, along with Vanikoro Flycatcher which is also found on Fiji. A day trip by boat to Tinakula, weather permitting, could be worthwhile as it holds Polynesian Starling and Santa Cruz Ground-Dove was last seen here.

 

In addition, the large island of Choiseul, with a similar avifauna to Isabel, has the distinction of White-eyed Starling apparently being relatively common.


SYSTEMATIC LIST OF BIRDS

 

PAPUA NEW GUINEA

Taxonomy and names based on current practice in the PNG Bird Society, which follows Beehler et al and Coates, with significant differences in Birds of the World: a Checklist by JF Clements (1991) in parenthesis; an asterisk indicates a recent change. Notable records by only one or two observers are initialled in parenthesis.

KEY

NB = New Britain, NI = New Ireland

Threatened species (in bold): C critical, E endangered, V vulnerable, DD data deficient, NT near- threatened

 

Tahiti Petrel Pseudobulweria rostrata                                          1 on both legs of the Tench trip, nearer to Kavieng. The possiblity of it being the similar “unknown” Beck’s Petrel P. becki cannot be dismissed

Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus                               1 Mussau - Eloaua, 2 Kavieng - Djaul

E Heinroth's Shearwater Puffinus heinrothi                            1 Kavieng - Djaul

White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon lepturus                                  5+ Tench Is

Great Frigatebird Fregata minor                                                 15 Eloaua, 20 Tench Is

Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel                                                 8 Taron, NI, 2 Watom Is and Eloaua, a few Manus

Masked Booby Sula dactylatra                                                 1 Kavieng - Tench Is

Red-footed Booby Sula sula                                                    Common Tench Is, breeding high in trees

Brown Booby Sula leucogaster                                                 2 Kavieng - Djaul, a few Tench Is, 1 Manus Tong

Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos                     1 Kulu River, NB

Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa                                        5 Hoskins, 1 Kulu River, NB

Pacific Reef-Egret Egretta sacra                                               1-3 widespread on coasts

Striated Heron Butorides striatus                                               1 Kavieng, NI

Rufous Night-Heron Nycticorax caledonicus                               2 Hoskins airport, 1 Mt Bumosi, NB

Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis                                            1 near Kimbe, towards Kulu River, NB

Osprey Pandion haliaetus                                                         Widespread with a max of 4 Kavieng - New Hanover

Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata                                              Widespread with up to 4 most days in the lowlands of NB & NI

NT New Britain Buzzard (Black Honey-buzzard) Henicopernis infuscatus         1 Lavege Track 3.5, 1 adult & 1 brown imm. Kulu River 4.5, a pair & a separate imm. Sikut Forest, NB (JH)

Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus                                                    Widespread, with a max of 10 at Gigipuna

White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster                         Widespread singles, even 1 at Tench Is, with a pair at the nest at Gigipuna

Grey (Variable) Goshawk Accipiter novaehollandia (hiogaster)     Widespread with a max of 5 Lavege Track

Meyer's Goshawk Accipiter meyerianus                                     Singles at 1350m Mt Bumosi, NB on 8.5 (BW) & Rossun, Manus 31.5 (JH)

Sparrowhawk sp. Accipiter brachyurus/ luteoschistaceus       1 dark grey-backed accipiter flew briefly beneath us at 400m on Mt Agil, NI (JH, KT). The only candidate known from here is brachyurus New Britain Sparrowhawk, although it appeared more like luteoschistaceus Slaty-mantled – no sign of a brachyurus rufous collar.

Oriental Hobby Falco severus                                                   Singles Lavege Track and near Kimbe, NB

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus                                             1 dark bird above Silur airport, NI

Common (Melanesian) Scrubfowl Megapodius freycinet (eremita) 5-6 Lavege Track & Kulu River, NB; heard Sikut Forest, NB, Mussau and Tench Is

(Rufous-tailed) Bush-hen Amaurornis olivaceous (moluccanus)    2 Mt Agil, 1 Kavieng, NI

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus                                                  2 Eloaua, 1 Mussau

Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos                                     2 Hoskins airport

Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes                                             6 Namatani, 1 New Hanover

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres                                           4 Eloaua

Beach Thick-knee Esacus magnirostris (Burhinus giganteus)       2 on islet between Kavieng and New Hanover

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva                                         3-4 Silur - Namatani, NI & Eloaua

Lesser Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus                                  1 Eloaua

Australian Pratincole Stiltia isabella                                           1 Kavieng airport on 5.6 (possibly only the second record for the region!)

Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii                                                A few Kavieng - New Hanover, Kavieng - Djaul, Manus - Tong

Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana                                          10 Kavieng - New Hanover

Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus                                                 2 Kavieng - New Hanover, 15 Kavieng - Djaul

Little Tern Sterna albifrons                                                         2 Kavieng - New Hanover

Brown Noddy Anous stolidus                                                    50+ Kavieng - New Hanover, Kavieng - Djaul & Tench

Black Noddy Anous minutus                                                     20 Manus - Tong, common Tench Is

Common White Tern Gygis alba                                                Abundant Tench Is

Brown (Slender-billed) Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia amboinensis    Widespread and common NB & NI

Black-billed Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia nigrirostris                      1 Lavege Track, NB & Limbin Forest, NI

Mackinlay's Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia mackinlayi                      5 Watom Is, fairly common Mussau, 2 Djaul

Pied Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena browni                                  1 at river at base of Mt Bumosi, NB (BW); 2 at c.300m Mt Agil, Limbin Forest, Djaul & Djaul - Kavieng, NI

Stephan's Ground-Dove Chalcophaps stephani                          Common Mussau, a few singles NB & NI

NT Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica                                 10 Tench Is [38 flew off to roost on 30.5 (CE, PG)]

White-bibbed Ground-Dove Gallicolumba jobiensis                    1 Lavege Track, NB on 5.5 (PG, JH)

Bronze Ground-Dove Gallicolumba beccarii                               2 of distinctive form eichhorni (1 trapped) Mussau

Superb Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus superbus                                      Singles Lavege Track, Kulu River & Sikut Forest, NB

White-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus rivoli                                 1 Kulu River, 5 Mt Bumosi, NB and 2 Mt Agil, NI

Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus solomonensis                     10 Watom Is. NB, common Mussau

Red-knobbed (Knob-billed) Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus insolitus          Widespread and fairly common NB & NI including Mussau

Pacific Imperial-Pigeon Ducula pacifica                                     5 Tench Is

Red-knobbed Imperial-Pigeon Ducula rubricera                          Fairly common NB, NI & Manus

Grey (Island) Imperial-Pigeon Ducula pistrinaria                          5 Lavege Track, NB; few New Hanover & Djaul; common Manus, Watom Is, Mussau and Tench

NT Finsch's Imperial-Pigeon Ducula finschii                           1-3 Lavege Track, Kulu River & Gigipuna NB, Mt Agil NI & New Hanover

NT Black (Bismarck) Imperial-Pigeon Ducula melanchroa       30+ Mt Agil &a few Limbin Forest, NI, 5+ Mt Bumosi, NB

*Yellowish (Torresian) Imperial-Pigeon Ducula (spilorrhoa) suffilavescens Up to 10 Lavege Track & Kulu River, NB; 2 Mt Agil, NI

Buff-faced Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta pusio                               Heard Lavege Track & Kulu River, NB

Meek's Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta meeki                                    2 Eloaua, heard Mussau, St Matthias Is; a few Manus

[Green (Finsch's) Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta finschii                    Probables: 2 Namatani - Kavieng, NI - all poor flight views]

Red-breasted Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta bruijnii                          20 Mt Agil, NI

Song (Singing) Parrot Geoffroyus heteroclitus                            Only a few seen on NB, but many heard on Mt Bumosi; 1+ New Hanover; 2 Limbin Forest, NI

Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus                                               Widespread & common NB, fewer on NI & Manus

NT Bismarcks (Green-fronted) Hanging Parrot Loriculus tener Up to 4 near Gigipuna, NB

Blue-eyed Cockatoo Cacatua ophthalmica                                 Widespread & common NB

Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus                             Widespread & fairly common except St Matthias Is.

Eastern Black-capped (Purple-bellied) Lory Lorius hypoinochrous Widespread & common NB & NI

NT White-naped Lory Lorius albinuchus                                 2 on 19.5, 3 on 20.5 Mt Agil & 3 Limbin Forest, NI

Red-chinned Lorikeet Charmosyna rubrigularis                           2+ Mt Bumosi, NB; 1-2 Mt Agil, common at Limbin Forest, NI but hard to see clearly anywhere

Red-flanked Lorikeet Charmosyna placentis                               Widespread and common in lowlands, NB &M

Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus                                        Commonly heard NB, NI & Manus

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus                           2-4 Gigipuna, singles Kulu River and Tench Is

Australian Koel Eudynamys cyanocephala                                 Heard Lavege Track & Kulu River, NB

Channel-billed Cuckoo Scythrops novaehollandiae                     Singles Kulu River & Mt Bumosi, NB & heard on Mt Agil, NI

Violaceus Coucal Centropus violaceus                                      2-4 at sites in West NB

White-necked (Pied) Coucal Centropus ateralbus                        2-6 widespread except St Matthias Is.

Manus Boobook (Hawk-Owl) Ninox meeki                                 10 heard Waterfall Trail - Rossun, Manus

Bismarck Boobook (Hawk-Owl) Ninox variegata                         1 pair 480m camp & another at 680m, Mt Agil, NI

New Britain Boobook (Russet Hawk-Owl) Ninox odiosa               1 flushed by earthquake Sikut Forest (NB) & another mobbed by friarbirds and sunbirds shortly after the 'quake (JH); 2 heard Gigipuna

Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus                                1 seen & 2 heard Gigipuna. A nightjar seen briefly in flight Limbin - Kavieng, NI was presumably this sp.

Moustached Treeswift Hemiprocne mystacea                             Up to 6 at sites in NB & NI

Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta                                          Widespread and common, NB & NI

White-rumped Swiftlet Collocalia spodiopygius                           Widespread and fairly common in lowlands throughout

Uniform Swiftlet Collocalia vanikorensis                                     Widespread and fairly common, NB, NI & New Hanover.

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis                                             1-4 most days on the coast but rare inland

Bismarcks Kingfisher Alcedo websteri                                       Singles Kulu River & Gigipuna, NB

Variable Kingfisher Ceyx lepidus                                               Singles Kulu River, NB, Mt Agil, NI and Rossun, Manus; 3 Mt Bumosi, NB - with black bill on NB & NI, red an Manus

White-mantled (New Britain) Kingfisher Todirhamphus albonotata A pair Km 37 trail, Lavege Track & Kulu River, 1 heard Sikut Forest, NB

Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris                                  Common Eloaua and Manus

Beach Kingfisher Todirhamphus saurophaga                             1-2 Kavieng - New Hanover, Djaul, Eloaua &Tench

Sacred Kingfisher Todirhamphus sancta                                     Widespread and fairly common, NB & NI

*Black-headed Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera (sylvia) nigriceps             Singles Lavege Track, Kulu River & Gigipuna, NB with others heard

Rainbow Bee-eater Merops ornatus                                           Widespread and fairly common, NB & NI. [300 roosted in a few trees at the Granville Hotel, Port Moresby on 5.6.99.]

Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis                                                2 Lavege Track, 1 Kulu River & Sikut Forest, NB

Blyth's Hornbill Aceros plicatus                                                 Up to 40 roosting Gigipuna & several elsewhere in W NB, common Sikut Forest, NB; fairly common Mt Agil, NI

V Superb (Black-headed) Pitta Pitta superba                           A pair above Rossun, Manus

*Ashy (Red-throated) Myzomela Myzomela (eques) cineracea     2-3 daily NB with 6 Kulu River

Red Myzomela Myzomela cruentata                                          10 Mt Bumosi, common Limbin Forest, NB; a few Mt Agil, NI

New Ireland Myzomela Myzomela pulchella                                5 Limbin Forest, NI; 1 or 2 probables Mt Agil

Scarlet-bibbed (Sclater’s) Myzomela Myzomela sclateri              Common Watom Is, NB

Bismarck Black (Ebony) Myzomela Myzomela pammelaena        Common St Matthias Is and Tong Is.

New Britain Red-headed (Black-bellied) Myzomela Myzomela erythromelas           Up to 4 daily NB

Manus (White-naped) Friarbird Philemon albitorques                   Common throughout Manus

New Britain Friarbird Philemon cockerelli                                    Common throughout NB

New Ireland Friarbird Philemon eichhorni                                    1 at 1150m Mt Agil, NI

New Britain Honeyeater (Bismarck Melidectes) Melidectes whitemanensis 1 taped in Mt Bumosi, NB at 1300m and another heard

*Bismarck Flycatcher Microeca sp. nov.                                    3 together Gigipuna, 1 at 680m Mt Agil

Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis                                   5+ Gigipuna, NB, fairly common Mt Agil, NI; a few Mussau and Manus

Mangrove Golden (Black-tailed) Whistler Pachycephala melanura 1-2 Watom Is

Willie-wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys                                            Widespread and fairly common outside forest

Northern Fantail Rhipidura rufiventris                                          Widespread and fairly common in forest

Bismarck Rufous Fantail Rhipidura dahli                                    7+ Mt Bumosi, NB and 2 Mt Agil, NI

DD Mussau Rufous (Matthias) Fantail Rhipidura matthiae       4 Mussau, St Matthias

V Manus Rufous Fantail Rhipidura semirubra                         4 Tong Is., Manus

Island Monarch Monarcha cinerascens                                      4 Watom Is., common Eloaua & Mussau, 10 Tench Is.

NT Admiralty Pied (Manus) Monarch Monarcha infelix            1 above Rossun, Manus

DD Mussau Pied (White-breasted) Monarch Monarcha menckei           Several Eloaua and Mussau, St Matthias

Djaul Pied Monarch Monarcha ateralba                                      2 Djaul

Bismarck Pied (Black-tailed) Monarch Monarcha verticalis          2 Lavege Track & Kulu River, NB; 3 Mt Agil, NI

Golden Monarch Monarcha chrysomela                                     Fairly common throughout NI including New Hanover & Djaul

Shining Flycatcher Myiagra alecto                                             Widespread in small numbers NB, NI & Manus

Lesser Shining (Dull) Flycatcher Myiagra hebetior                       1 Kulu River, NB; 2 Mussau

New Ireland (Ribbon-tailed) Drongo Dicrurus megarhynchus       10+ Mt Agil, 1-2 Silur & Limbin Forest, NI

Spangled Drongo Dicrurus bracteatus                                       Fairly common throughout NB

*Island (Torresian) Crow Corvus insularis                                   Widespread & common

White-backed (Bismarck) Wood-swallow Artamus insignis          1-2 Lavege Track, up to 9 Gigipuna, 3 Bikut Forest, NB; 1-4 Mt Agil, 1 Limbin Forest, NI

 

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina papuensis                        Fairly common throughout

Common Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris                                 1-2 throughout, with distinctive form matthiae common on Mussau

Varied Triller Lalage leucomela                                                  Fairly common throughout.

*Mussau (Varied) Triller Lalage (leucomela) conjuncta                 20+ in hills of Mussau

*Matthias (Russet-tailed) Thrush Zoothera (heinei) eichhorni         4+ Eloaua and Mussau, St Matthias

Singing Starling Aplonis cantoroides                                          Locally common in or near settlements, eg Hoskins & Kavieng

Atoll Starling Aplonis feadensis                                                 15 Tench Is

Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica                                             Common throughout

Long-tailed (Yellow-faced) Myna Mino (dumontii) kreffti              Fairly common throughout NB & NI

Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica                                                Widespread in small numbers

Striated Swallow Hirundo striolata                                              6 Rabaul, NB

Black-headed White-eye Zosterops hypoxanthus                        10 Gigipuna, 2 Watom Is, NB; 30+ Mt Agil, NI; 1 New Hanover; 15+ Manus

Golden-headed Cisticola Cisticola exilis                                    5 Silur and Namatini, 1 Taron, NI; 2 New Hanover

Clamorous Warbler Acrocephalus stentoreus                             A few Rabaul airport, NB

Island Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus poliocephalus                         2 Mt Agil, NI

Rufous-faced Thicket-warbler (Rusty Thicketbird) Megalurulus rubiginosus            1 heard Km37 trail, Lavege Track; a bird seen briefly (NB) and taped calling (JH) at 1350m Mt Bumosi may have been this sp. or the “unknown” Megalurulus grosvenori

Blue-faced Parrotfinch Erythrura trichroa                                   6-8 Eloaua and Mussau

Hooded Mannikin (Munia) Lonchura spectabilis                          15 Rabaul airport, NB

Hunstein’s Mannikin (Mottled Munia) Lonchura hunsteini             15+ Kavieng and Namatani road, 60km SE of Kavieng, NI; 2 Lonchura sp. at Namatani were this or forbesi

New Ireland Mannikin (Munia) Lonchura forbesi                           5+ Silur airport, NI

New Hanover (Mottled) Mannikin (Munia) Lonchura (hunsteini) nigerrima    Flocks of 17 and 30 New Hanover

Buff-bellied Mannikin (Bismarck Munia) Lonchura melaena         2 Hoskins airport, 4 Kulu River, 3 Gigipuna, NB

Bismarck (Red-banded) Flowerpecker Dicaem eximium              Fairly common throughout NB & NI, 2 New Hanover

Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia                                              Fairly common throughout NB & NI

Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis                                  Several throughout NB & NI, common Manus & Mussau


SOLOMON ISLANDS

Taxonomy and names based on Birds of the World: a Checklist by JF Clements (1991+ updates). Notable records by only one or two observers are initialled in parenthesis.

 

Australasian Grebe Tachybaptus novaehollandiae         2 Lake Te’Nggano (Rennell)

Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus                 2 Gizo - Kulambangra

E Heinroth's Shearwater Puffinus heinrothi               2 Gizo - Renongga

Great Frigatebird Fregata minor                                   A few Rennell and Gizo area

Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel                                   Common Lake Te’Nggano (Rennell); 60+ Gizo & a few elsewhere

Brown Booby Sula leucogaster                                   1 Gizo - Kulambangra

Little Pied Cormorant Phalacrocorax melanoleucos       Common Lake Te’Nggano (Rennell)

Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo                          1-2 Lake Te’Nggano (Rennell)

Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa                          2 Iriri (Kulambangra) and near Garana River (Isabel)

Pacific Reef-Egret Egretta sacra                                 2 Isabel; singles Gizo and Iriri (Kulambangra)

Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia                          1 Tagore (Makira) on 18.6 (a vagrant)

Great Egret Casmerodius albus                                   2 Lake Te’Nggano (Rennell)

Striated Heron Butorides striatus                                 2 singles Gizo and 1 Malaita

Rufous Night-Heron Nycticorax caledonicus                 Singles Makira, Tiratongna (Isabel) and Ranongga

Black Bittern Ixobrychus flavicollis                               1 Lake Te’Nggano (Rennell)

Australian Ibis Threskiornis molucca                            10-25 Lake Te’Nggano (Rennell)

Osprey Pandion haliaetus                                           Widespread with up to 4 most days

Pacific Baza Aviceda subcristata                                 2 Tiratonga (Isabel)

Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus                                      Up to 3 daily at most localities

V Solomon Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus sanfordi                Singles Tiratongna (Isabel) (KT), Kukudu (Kulambangra, 2 KT), Gizo (KT) & Ranongga; 1, probably 2 Vella Lavella

Swamp Harrier Circus approximans                              1 Honiara airport            

Variable Goshawk Accipiter hiogaster                          Singles Tirotongna (Isabel) and Vella Lavella         

Brown Goshawk Accipter fasciatus                              2 Rennell

Pied Goshawk Accipiter albogularis                             1 Mt Austen (Guadalcanal) 6.6, 2+ Makira, 1 Kulambangra and Ranongga

Imitator Sparrowhawk Accipiter imitator                        2+ Isabel (including 1 on nest) – Pied Gos does not occur here, apparently

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus                               1 chasing a Yellow-bibbed Lory Mt Austen on 12.6 (JH)

Melanesian Scrubfowl Megapodius eremita                  2+ Kulambangra, 3 Ranongga, 2 Vella Lavella & 1 heard Tagore (Makira)

rail new sp. Gallirallus sp. nov.                                    1-3 Mt Austen

Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis                      1+ Mt Austen, 2-5 lowlands of Makira       

NT Roviana Rail Gallirallus rovianae                         3-4 Kukudu, Kulambangra

Rufous-tailed Bush-hen Amaurornis moluccanus          2 Malaita, 1 heard both nights at Camp Prof, Kulambangra

Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio                         2 Lake Te’Nggano (Rennell)

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus                                     3 Fera (Isabel), 1 Malaita airport

Grey-tailed Tattler Tringa brevipes                                1 Kulambangra (NB)

Beach Thick-knee Burhinus giganteus                          2 Vella Lavella, & Kukudu, Kulambangra (KT)

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva                           3 Fera airport

Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii                                  Up to 20 in waters around Gizo, 2 off Isabel

Black-naped Tern Sterna sumatrana                            6 Ranongga, 10 Vella Lavella

Bridled Tern Sterna anaethetus                                    3 Vella Lavella

Brown Noddy Anous stolidus                                      10+ Gizo - Kulambangra  & Vella Lavella

Black Noddy Anous minutus                                       1 Gizo - Kulambangra

Metallic Pigeon Columba vitiensis                               1 Mt Austen, 2+ Hauta (Makira) & Kulambangra

C Yellow-legged Pigeon Columba pallidiceps           1-2 Hauta (Makira) on 2 days (NB, KT)

Mackinlay's Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia mackinlayi        A few Rennell, 1+ Kulambangra

Crested Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena crassirostris       1 below & 2 above Hauta (Makira)

Stephan's Ground-Dove Chalcophaps stephani            2 singles Mt Austen

NT Nicobar Pigeon Caloenas nicobarica                   1 Kulambangra (KT)

Bronze Ground-Dove Gallicolumba beccarii                  2 singles Hauta (Makira)

Superb Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus superbus                        1 Tirotongna (Isabel)

Silver-capped Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus richarsii                Common Rennell

Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus solomonensis       Common Hauta, few Tagore (Makira), 2 Kulambangra

Claret-breasted Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus viridis                 Common Mt Austen

NT White-headed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus eugeniae      Up to 4 daily below Hauta (Makira)

Pacific Imperial-Pigeon Ducula pacifica                       3 Rennell

Red-knobbed Imperial-Pigeon Ducula rubricera            Widespread in small numbers

E Chestnut-bellied Imperial-Pigeon Ducula brenchleyi  Common above Hauta (Makira)

Pale Mountain-Pigeon Gymnophaps solomonensis       1 flock of 12 Kulambangra

Finsch's Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta finschii                   2-6 Makira, a few Tirotongna (Isabel); heard Vella Lavella and Malaita

Singing Parrot Geoffroyus heteroclitus                         10 Rennell, a few Hauta (Makira) & Malaita

Eclectus Parrot Eclectus roratus                                 1 Mt Austen & Hauta (Makira), a few Malaita

Ducorp's Cockatoo Cacatua ducorpsii                         1-5 Mt Austen, 10 Isabel, 5 Gizo & Malaita

Cardinal Lory Chalcopsitta cardinalis                            Up to 4 Mt Austen, fairly common Isabel, common Kulambangra, a few Malaita

Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus haematodus               Widespread and common except Rennell

Yellow-bibbed Lory Lorius chlorocercus                       8+ Mt Austen, 4 Rennell, fairly common Hauta (Makira), a few Malaita

Meek's Lorikeet Charmosyna meeki                             4 Tirotongna (Isabel), a few Kulambangra

NT Duchess Lorikeet Charmosyna margarethae        6 above Hauta (Makira), 2 Kulambangra 25.6

Brush Cuckoo Cacomantis variolosus                          Commonly heard, especially at Hauta (Makira) & Kulambangra

[Fan-tailed Cuckoo Chrysococcyx flabelliformis            Calls believed to be this sp. Were heard at Mt Austen, Makira and Gizo]

Shining Bronze-Cuckoo Chrysococcyx lucidus             A few Rennell, 2 singles Tirotongna (Isabel), 1 Malaita

Australian Koel Eudynamys cyanocephala                   1 heard Mt Austen & Tirotongna (Isabel)

Buff-headed Coucal Centropus milo                            1-2 Mt Austen, Gizo & Kulambangra

Solomons Hawk-Owl Ninox jacquinoti                          1 Tirotongna (Isabel); 2 heard Mt Austen

V Fearful Owl Nesasio solomonensis                        1 heard one night Tirotongna (Isabel)

Moustached Treeswift Hemiprocne mystacea               10 Mt Austen; 2 Rennell, Hauta (Makira), Kulambangra and Malaita

Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta                            Widespread and common

Uniform Swiftlet Collocalia vanikorensis                       Widespread and common except Makira & Kulambangra

Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis                               Singles at shore of most islands

Variable Kingfisher Ceyx lepidus                                 Singles Tirotongna (Isabel) & Hauta (Makira); heard Kulambangra & Vella Lavella

Ultramarine Kingfisher Todirhamphus leucopygius         2 Mt Austen, singles Makira, Isabel and Vella Lavella

Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris                     2 singles Rennell

Beach Kingfisher Todirhamphus saurophaga                2 Kulambangra, 5 Pailongge (Gizo), I Gizo airport

Sacred Kingfisher Todirhamphus sancta                      1-2 widespread

Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis                                  2 Mt Austen and Tagore (Isabel)

Blyth's Hornbill Aceros plicatus                                   1 and 5 Mt Austen, few Isabel & Kulambangra

V Black-faced Pitta Pitta anerythra                            1 at 3 sites Tirotongna (Isabel)

Fan-tailed Gerygone Gerygone flavolateralis                 Common Rennell

Cardinal Myzomela Myzomela cardinalis                      Common Rennell

Scarlet-naped Myzomela Myzomela lafargei                 Only 3 or 4 brief sightings of singles near Tirotongna

Yellow-vented Myzomela Myzomela eichhorni              Common Kulambangra, Gizo & Vella Lavella

Red-bellied Myzomela Myzomela malaitae                   2 males at 450m Malaita, & 2 females (BW)

Black-headed Myzomela Myzomela melanocephala      Common Mt Austen

Sooty Myzomela Myzomela tristrami                           Common Makira

San Cristobal Melidectes Melidectes sclateri                Fairly common Makira

Scarlet Robin Petroica multicolor                                 1 Kulambangra; 2 Hauta (Makira) (NB)

Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis                     Common Makira, 2 Isabel, fairly common Kulambangra; 2 of the distinctive form feminina Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell & a few heard Vella Lavella

Willie-wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys                               Widespread in lowlands in small numbers

White-winged Fantail Rhipidura cockerelli                     2 Tirotongna (Isabel) & Kulambangra, 1 Vella Lavella

Grey Fantail Rhipidura fuliginosa                                  Common Hauta (Makira)

NT Dusky Fantail Rhipidura tenebrosa                      A pair above Hauta (Makira), and a single (KT)

Rennell Fantail Rhipidura rennelliana                            2 daily Rennell

Rufous Fantail Rhipidua rufifrons                                 2 Mt Austen, fairly common Hauta (Makira), up to 5 Kulambangra

NT Rennell Shrikebill Clytorhynchus hamlini            1 Kia Koe Lodge, 2 Tinggoa (Rennell)

Chestnut-bellied Monarch Monarcha castaneiventris     2+ Mt Austen, common Isabel, 10 Makira, 1 Malaita

White-capped Monarch Monarcha richardsii                 2 nest building Gizo, common Kulambangra, 2 Ranongga; heard Vella Lavella

Black-and-white Monarch Monarcha barbatus               3 Mt Austen, 2 Tirotongna (Isabel) & of the distinctive form malaitae at 450m on Malaita

NT Kulambangra Monarch Monarcha browni             3 Kulambangra on 25.6 and 1 on 27.6

White-collared Monarch Monarcha viduus                    Common Makira

Steel-blue Flycatcher Myiagra ferrocyanea                   4 Mt Austen & Kulambangra, 2 Tirotongna (Isabel), Ranongga, Vella Lavella & Malaita

NT Ochre-headed Flycatcher Myiagra cervinicauda    6 above Hauta (Makira)

Solomon Islands (Spangled) Drongo Dicrurus (bracteatus) solomonensis [Doughty et al 1999]      4 above Hauta (Makira)

NT White-billed Crow Corvus woodfordi                    1-2 Mt Austen, common Isabel

Melanesian Cuckooshrike Coracina caledonica             1 at c.700m Kulambangra

Yellow-eyed Cuckoo-shrike Coracina lineata                2-4 widespread except Makira

White-bellied Cuckoo-shrike Coracina papuensis          Up to 6 widespread except Rennell & Makira

Common Cicadabird Coracina tenuirostris                    1-2 widespread except Rennell; the Makira race salomonis is very distinctive

Solomon Cuckoo-shrike Coracina holopolia                  4 Mt Austen, 1 Vella Lavella

Long-tailed Triller Lalage leucopyga                             Fairly common Makira

NT San Cristobal Thrush Zoothera margaretae          5 individuals seen above Hauta, Makira at various times by different observers, often fleetingly

Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus                              1-3 Rennell and Kulambangra

Singing Starling Aplonis cantoroides                            Widespread and locally common, absent from Rennell

NT Rennell Starling Aplonis insularis                       6+ near Lake Te’Nggano & Tinggoa (Rennell) with others heard

Brown-winged Starling Aplonis grandis                         Fairly common Mt Austen, a few Isabel, 1 Kulambangra, 2 Ranongga

Malaita Starling Aplonis (grandis) malaitae [Finch 1990]  7+ at 400-500m Mt Alsa’an, Malaita

San Cristobal Starling Aplonis dichroa                         3 above Tagore, 20 Hauta (Makira)

Metallic Starling Aplonis metallica                                Widespread and common

Common Myna Acridotheres tristis                              Common Honiara, Gizo and Malaita

Yellow-faced Myna Mino dumontii kreffti                      Fairly common Mt Austen, Isabel, Kulambangra & Malaita; heard Vella Lavella

Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica                                  Widespread in small numbers

NT Rennell White-eye Zosterops rennellianus           2-4 daily Rennell

Banded White-eye Zosterops vellalavella                     6 Vella Lavella

Ganongga White-eye Zosterops splendidus                  10 Ranongga

V Splendid White-eye Zosterops luteirostris             5 Gizo

Solomon Islands White-Eye Zosterops kulambangrae  5-10 Kulambangra

Kulambangra White-eye Zosterops murphyi                  Common above 500m Kulambangra

Yellow-throated White-eye Zosterops metcalfii              Common Isabel

Grey-throated White-eye Zosterops rendovae               Common Hauta (Makira)

Malaita White-eye Zosterops stresemanni                     Common Malaita

Bare-eyed White-eye Woodfordia superciliosa               Common Rennell

NT Shade Warbler Cettia parens                                1-3 Makira and others heard

Island Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus poliocephalus           6+ Kulambangra

NT San Cristobal Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus makirensis  Fairly common Hauta, Makira

V Kulambangra Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus amoenus  3 pairs at 1400 – 1600m Kulambangra

Midget Flowerpecker Dicaeum aeneum                        Common Isabel, a few Mt Austen and 10 Malaita

Mottled Flowerpecker Dicaeum tristrami                      Several Makira

Olive-backed Sunbird Nectarinia jugularis                    Widespread & fairly common except Makira & Isabel

 

 

SPECIALITIES NOT SEEN

New Britain Goshawk Accipiter princeps                                      760+m NB, although claimed down to sea level by D Bishop

New Britain Sparrowhawk Accipiter brachyurus                            Possibly montane, eg Pamio on

S coast of W New Britain, specimens taken on Mt Agil, NI by B Beehler

Slaty-mantled Sparrowhawk Accipiter luteoschistaceus                Kimbe, NB?

Woodford's Rail Nesoclopeus woodfordi                                     Garana River, Isabel

New Britain Bronzewing Henicophaps foersteri                             Lavege Track, NB (Km40 trail, 8/98, claimed by D Pitman)

Santa Cruz Ground-Dove Gallicolumba sanctaecrucis                  Tinakula, Santa Cruz, if not extinct, and Santo in Vanuatu

New Britain Rail Gallirallus insignis                                              Lavege Track, Mt Bamusi & Wild Dog Mine, NB, possibly commoner in mts

Manus Masked-Owl Tyto manusi                                                Completely unknown

Bismarck Masked-Owl Tyto aurantia                                           Lavege Track, NB (Km40, 8/98 per D Pitman’s local guide, only recent record)

Manus Hawk-Owl Ninox meeki                                                    Rossun, Manus

Fearful Owl Nesasio solomonensis                                              Tirotongna, Isabel

Marbled Frogmouth Podargus ocellatus                                      Tirotongna, Isabel – subsequently split as a new species

Moustached Kingfisher Actenoides bougainvillei                          900+m Guadalcanal

Guadalcanal Honeyeater Guadalcanaria inexpectata                     950+m Guadalcanal

Mountain Whistler Pachycephala implicata                                  700+m Guadalcanal

Malaita Fantail Rhipidura malaitae                                               900+m Malaita

Brown Fantail Rhipidura drownei                                      700+m Guadalcanal

Vanikoro Monarch Mayrornis schistaceus                                   Vanikolo, Santa Cruz

Bougainville Monarch Monarcha erythrostictus                            Shortlands

Vanikoro Flycatcher Myiagra vanikorensis                                   Vanikolo, Santa Cruz

Bougainville Crow Corvus meeki                                                 Shortlands

New Britain Thrush Zoothera talaseae                                          580+m New Britain

Guadalcanal (San Cristobal) Thrush Zoothera (margaretae) turipavae         1000+m Guadalcanal

White-eyed Starling Aplonis brunneicapilla                                   Choiseul, recent record from Rendova

Louisiades White-eye Zosterops griseotinctus                              Nissan Is, New Ireland

Santa Cruz White-eye Zosterops santaecrucis                              Nendo, Santa Cruz

new species White-eye Zosterops sp nov                                    Vanikolo, Santa Cruz

Sanford's White-eye Woodfordia lacertosa                                  Nendo, Santa Cruz

Bismarck Thicketbird Megalurulus grosvenori                               Unkown, supposedly 1050+m New Britain

Guadalcanal Thicketbird Megalurulus whitneyi                             700+m Guadalcanal (and on Santo, Vanuatu)

Rusty Thicketbird Megalurulus rubiginosus                                  Widespread but elusive, scarce in lowland, several heard daily at Dog Mine, NB by GD

Rusty-winged Starling Aplonis zelandicus                                    Nendo, Santa Cruz

Polynesian Starling Aplonis tabuensis                                         Tinakula, Santa Cruz

 

MAMMALS

Common Dophin Delphinus delphis                                            1 Vella Lavella

Spinner Dolphin  Stenella longirostris                                          20+ Taron, Namatani and Djaul, NI

Melon-headed Whale  Peponocephala electra                              6+ Djaul

Grey Cuscus Phalanger orientalis                                                1 Manus and 1 caught Gizo

Cuscus sp. Phalanger sp.                                                          2 Mussau


 

RESTRICTED RANGE BIRDS OF MELANESIA – Appendix A

The following list includes all species basically confined to Melanesia, some of which are also found on a few other nearby islands. Where a species is listed under a single island with an asterisk, it may occur on other islands but is most readily found on this island. Birds in square brackets are not widely accepted as full species.

 

New Britain - 18

Black Honey-buzzard Henicopernis infuscatus

Slaty-mantled Sparrowhawk Accipiter luteoschistaceus

New Britain Goshawk Accipiter princeps

New Britain Rail Gallirallus insignis

New Britain Bronzewing Henicophaps foersteri

Blue-eyed Cockatoo Cacatua opthalmica

Bismarck Masked Owl Tyto aurantia

Russet Hawk-Owl Ninox odiosa

New Britain Kingfisher Todirhamphus albonotatus

[Black-headed (Buff-breasted) Paradise-Kingfisher Tanysiptera (sylvia) nigriceps]

Ashy (Red-throated) Myzomela Myzomela (eques) cineracea

Black-bellied Myzomela Myzomela erythromelas

New Britain Friarbird Philemon cockerelli

Bismarck Melidectes Melidectes whitemanensis

New Britain Thrush Zoothera talaseae

Bismarck Thicketbird Megalurulus grosvenori

Rusty Thicketbird Megalurulus rubiginosus

Bismarck Munia Lonchura melaena

 

New Ireland - 10

White-naped Lory Lorius albinuchus

Bismarck Hawk-Owl Ninox variegata

New Ireland Myzomela Myzomela pulchella

New Ireland Friarbird Philemon eichhorni

[Djaul (Pied) Monarch Monarcha (verticalis) ateralba]       Djaul

Ribbon-tailed Drongo Dicrurus megarhynchus

Atoll Starling Aplonis feadensis*                                                 Tench and Nissan

Mottled Munia Lonchura hunsteini

[New Hanover Munia Lonchura (hunsteini) nigerrima]        New Hanover

New Ireland Munia Lonchura forbesi

 

St Matthias Islands - 5

Matthias Fantail Rhipidura matthiae                                 Mussau

White-breasted Monarch Monarcha menckei                               

[Mussau (Varied) Triller Lalage (leucomela) conjuncta]      Mussau

[Matthias (Olive-tailed/ Russet-tailed) Thrush Zoothera (unulata/ heinei) eichhorni]

[Mussau (Dull) Flycatcher Myiagra (hebetior)sp. nov.]       Mussau

 

New Britain & New Ireland - 17

New Britain Sparrowhawk Accipiter brachyurus

Pied Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena browni

Knob-billed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus insolitus

Finsch's Imperial-Pigeon Ducula finschii

Bismarck Imperial-Pigeon Ducula melanchroa

[Yellow-tinted (Torresian) Imperial-Pigeon Ducula (spilorrhoa) subflavescens] – and Manus

Green-fronted Hanging-Parrot Loriculus tener

Violaceus Coucal Centropus violaceus

Pied Coucal Centropus ateralbus

Bismarck Kingfisher Alcedo websteri

Bismarck Flycatcher Microeca sp. nov.

Bismarck Fantail Rhipidura dahli

Black-tailed Monarch Monarcha verticalis

Dull Flycatcher Myiagra hebetior – and St Matthias

Bismarck Woodswallow Artamus insignis

Black-headed White-eye Zosterops hypoxanthus             and Manus

Red-banded Flowerpecker Dicaem eximium

 

Manus - 8

Meek's Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta meeki                                     and St Matthias

Manus Masked Owl Tyto manusi

Manus Hawk-Owl Ninox meeki

Black-headed Pitta Pitta superba

Ebony Myzomela Myzomela pammelaena*                      and St Matthias

White-naped Friarbird Philemon albitorques

Manus Fantail Rhipidura semirubra

Manus Monarch Monarcha infelix

 

Guadalcanal (including those shared with Bougainville**) - 10

Buff-headed Coucal Centropus milo* – and New Georgia

Ultramarine Kingfisher Todirhamphus leucopygius**

Moustached Kingfisher Actenoides bougainvillei**

Black-headed Myzomela Myzomela melanocephala

Guadalcanal Honeyeater Guadalcanaria inexpectata

Mountain Whistler Pachycephala implicata**

Brown Fantail Rhipidura drownei**

Guadalcanal Thrush Zoothera (magaretae) turipavae

Guadalcanal Thicketbird Megalurulus whitneyi                 and Vanuatu

White-eyed Starling Aplonis brunneicapilla                       and Choiseul

 

Rennell - 6

Silver-capped Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus richarsii*

Rennell Fantail Rhipidura rennelliana

Rennell Shrikebill Clytorhynchus hamlini

Rennell Starling Aplonis insularis

Rennell White-eye Zosterops rennellianus

Bare-eyed White-eye Woodfordia superciliosa

 

Makira - 18

San Cristobal Moorhen Gallinula silvestris – extinct?

Yellow-legged Pigeon Columba pallidiceps*                    and New Britain

Crested Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena crassirostris*

Thick-billed Ground-Dove Gallicolumba salamonis – extinct?

White-headed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus eugeniae

Chestnut-bellied Imperial-Pigeon Ducula brenchleyi*

Sooty Myzomela Myzomela tristrami

Mottled Flowerpecker Dicaeum tristrami 

San Cristobal Melidectes Melidectes sclateri

Dusky Fantail Rhipidura tenebrosa

White-collared Monarch Monarcha viduus

Ochre-headed Flycatcher Myiagra cervinicauda

Solomon Islands (Spangled) Drongo Dicrurus (bracteatus) solomonensis             and Guadalcanal

San Cristobal Thrush Zoothera margaretae

San Cristobal Starling Aplonis dichroa

Grey-throated White-eye Zosterops rendovae*                 and Guadalcanal

Shade Warbler Cettia parens

San Cristobal Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus makirensis

 

Santa Isabel and Choiseul - 7

Imitator Sparrowhawk Accipiter imitator

Woodford's Rail Nesoclopeus woodfordi

Fearful Owl Nesasio solomonensis

Black-faced Pitta Pitta anerythra

Scarlet-naped Myzomela Myzomela lafargei

White-billed Crow Corvus woodfordi*                               and Guadalcanal

Yellow-throated White-eye Zosterops metcalfii

 

New Georgia - 12

Heinroth's Shearwater Puffinus heinrothi*

Roviana Rail Gallirallus rovianae

Pale Mountain-Pigeon Gymnophaps solomonensis*

Yellow-vented Myzomela Myzomela eichhorni

White-capped Monarch Monarcha richardsii

Kulambangra Monarch Monarcha browni

Banded White-eye Zosterops vellalavella             Vella Lavella

Ganongga White-eye Zosterops splendidus                     Ranongga

Splendid White-eye Zosterops luteirostris                        Gizo

Solomon Islands White-Eye Zosterops kulambangrae

Kulambangra White-eye Zosterops murphyi                     Kulambangra

Kulambangra Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus amoenus          Kulambangra

 

Malaita - 4

Red-bellied Myzomela Myzomela malaitae

Malaita Fantail Rhipidura malaitae

[Malaita Starling Aplonis (grandis) malaitae]

Malaita White-eye Zosterops stresemanni

 

Shortlands (shared with Bougainville) - 2

Bougainville Crow Corvus meeki

Bougainville Monarch Monarcha erythrostictus

 

Santa Cruz - 4

Vanikoro Monarch Mayrornis schistaceus                       Vanikolo

Santa Cruz White-eye Zosterops santaecrucis                  Nendo

Vanikolo White-eye Zosterops sp. nov.                           Vanikolo

Sanford's White-eye Woodfordia lacertosa                      Nendo

 

Widespread in the Solomons except Rennell - 14

Solomon Sea Eagle Haliaeetus sanfordi                          mainly New Georgia

Pied Goshawk Accipiter albogularis

Yellow-bibbed Lory Lorius chlorocercus

Meek's Lorikeet Charmosyna meeki

Duchess Lorikeet Charmosyna margarethae

Ducorp's Cockatoo Cacatua ducorpsii

Solomons Hawk-Owl Ninox jacquinoti

White-winged Fantail Rhipidura cockerelli

Chestnut-bellied Monarch Monarcha castaneiventris

Black-and-white Monarch Monarcha barbatus

Steel-blue Flycatcher Myiagra ferrocyanea

Solomons Cuckoo-shrike Coracina holopolia

Brown-winged Starling Aplonis grandis

Midget Flowerpecker Dicaeum aeneum

 

Bismarcks & Solomons - 8

Melanesian Scrubfowl Megapodius eremita

Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus solomonensis          and Manus & Geelvink Bay islands

Red-knobbed Imperial-Pigeon Ducula rubricera

Mackinlay’s Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia mackinlayi           and Karkar Is.

Cardinal Lory Chalcopsitta cardinalis                               Isabel, Makira and Nissan

Finsch's Pygmy-Parrot Micropsitta finschii

Singing Parrot Geoffroyus heteroclitus

[Long-tailed (Yellow-faced) Myna Mino (dumontii) kreffti]

 

Bismarcks & Karkar Island - 2

Red-chinned Lorikeet Charmosyna rubrigularis

Scarlet-bibbed Myzomela Myzomela sclateri*                  small islands like Watom Is.

 


 

Birds trapped in Melanesia, May – June 1999

 

Bronze Ground-Dove Gallicolumba beccarii eichhorni       1 Mussau, St Matthias 

Glossy Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta desiderata                1 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell                                                                                                                                                                      

Uniform Swiftlet Collocalia v. vanikorensis                      1 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell                                                                                  

Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris matthiae          3 Eloaua, St Matthias                                                                                        

Fan-tailed Gerygone Gerygone flavolateralis citrina          1 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell       

Ashy Myzomela Myzomela cineracea                              1 Lavege Track, NB                                                                                           

Cardinal Myzomela Myzomela cardinalis sanfordi             2 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell       

Ebony Myzomela Myzomela pammelaena hades             5 Eloaua, St Matthias 

Golden Whistler Pachycephala pectoralis sexuvaria         1 Mussau, St Matthias 

P. p. citreogaster                                                           4 Mt Agil, NI                                                                                                      

Rennell Fantail Rhipidura rennelliana                                4 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell                                                                                  

Matthias Fantail Rhipidura matthiae                                 1 Mussau, St Matthias                                                                                       

Rennell Shrikebill Clytorhynchus hamlini                          1 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell                                                                                  

Island Monarch Monarcha cinerascens perpallidus           7 Eloaua, St Matthias 

White-breasted Monarch Monarcha menckei                    4 Eloaua, 2 Mussau, St Matthias                                                                        

White-collared Monarch Monarcha viduus                        1 Hauta, Makira                                                                                                 

Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus kulambangrae            1 Kulambangra

T. p. rennellianus                                                           1 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell                                                                                                                                                                      

Rennell Starling Aplonis insularis                                    2 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell       

Black-headed White-eye Zosterops hypoxanthus ultima    1 Mt Agil, NI

Rennell White-eye Zosterops rennellianus                        1 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell                                                                                  

Bare-eyed White-eye Woodfordia superciliosa                  15 Kia Koe Lodge, Rennell                                                                                

Shade Warbler Cettia parens                                          1 Hauta, Makira                                                                                                 

Blue-faced Parrotfinch Erythrura trichoa eichhorni            3 Eloaua, 7 Mussau, St Matthias 

New Hanover Munia Lonchura nigerrima                          5 New Hanover                                                                                                  

Black Sunbird Nectarinia aspasia crinna                           2 Mt Agil, NI                               

 

77 birds of 26 taxa, 24 species                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

           

 

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