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Worldwide Birding Tours - Birding Ecotours





This October Birding Ecotours tour leader and guide Andy Walker led a custom Pacific Tour around New Caledonia, Fiji, and Samoa. This custom tour followed our scheduled departure Pacific Tour itinerary, and the 2017 itinerary can be viewed here. The trip report is now online and can be found here. Below, Andy summarizes the trip and provides a few photos. Please visit our tour page for many more photos.

 

We had a great tour around several Pacific Islands this October. First stop was Grande Terre, the largest island in New Caledonia and home to plenty of endemics, several of which are totally astonishing, like Kagu, Cloven-feathered Dove, Horned Parakeet, and the tool-using New Caledonia Crow. These are some of the most interesting, beautiful, and bizarre birds on our planet, and we enjoyed taking pictures and observing them all at length.

birding ecotours kagu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kagu

Cloven-feathered Dove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cloven-feathered Dove

We also enjoyed spending time with numerous other endemics, such as New Caledonian Whistler, Yellow-bellied Flyrobin, Crow Honeyeater, White-bellied Goshawk, New Caledonian Myzomela, and Red-throated Parrotfinch.

Our second destination was Fiji. We spent time on three islands: Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, and Kadavu. Here we experienced real Fijian culture and weather and an assortment of exciting birds. Endemic parrots were a big draw with Masked Shining Parrot, Maroon Shining Parrot, Crimson Shining Parrot, and Collared Lory all spectacular birds. However, the shining parrots were outshone by the totally outrageous fruit doves with the following all seen well: Golden Fruit Dove, Orange Fruit Dove, Whistling Fruit Dove, and Many-colored Fruit Dove.

Orange Fruit Dove

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orange Fruit Dove

It wasn’t all about the doves and parrots, though, with loads of other endemics seen well: Azure-crested Flycatcher, Vanikoro Flycatcher, Fiji Whistler, Sulphur-breasted Myzomela, Black-throated Shrikebill, Fiji Goshawk, and of course one of the main Fijian targets – Silktail.

Our final stop was a brief one on Upolu, Samoa, where we found some very nice birds during our short stay. Flat-billed Kingfisher was a big target, and we got good views of several birds. Other highlights included the showy Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove, Cardinal Myzomela, Blue-crowned Lorikeet, Pacific Robin, Mao, Samoan Whistler, and Red-headed Parrotfinch. It was also hard not to enjoy the sight of Buff-banded Rails walking around gardens and roadside verges out in plain sight and totally abundant!

Also while on Upolu we saw the graceful White-tailed Tropicbird and White Terns displaying over forests we were birding in along with a constant stream of Brown Noddies passing overhead taking a shortcut across the island. All very spectacular!

Cardinal Myzomela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cardinal Myzomela

This Pacific Tour gives the perfect introduction into the region. Some great food, scenery, and people also accompany the wonderful birds and make for a great experience. A final word from Andy:

There is a lot of work to do on the taxonomy of many species in the region. Recent updates from BirdLife International hint at many proposed splits; however, we used the IOC taxonomy for our tour and so will have to wait whether any of these are accepted by the IOC.

We saw several subspecies across different islands in Fiji or the wider region, and many of these may be elevated to full-species status in the near future. Examples that spring to mind include the Fiji Whistler complex – we saw at least three very different subspecies on the Fijian islands we visited (these looked and sounded very different to each other – see the photos below of two of the three subspecies we encountered, one from Vanua Levu and one from Kadavu). Similarly, the Streaked Fantail on Grande Terre (New Caledonia) looked and sounded very different to those seen on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu (Fiji)… just some food for thought.

The trip list in the Trip Report is broken down to subspecies level so that we can keep track of any potential armchair ticks that may arise in the future!

Fiji Whistler – (aurantiiventris) from Vanua Levu, Fiji

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji Whistler – (aurantiiventris) from Vanua Levu, Fiji

Fiji Whistler – (kandavensis) from Kadavu Island, Fiji.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiji Whistler – (kandavensis) from Kadavu Island, Fiji.

 

 

 


Ghana Birding Tours

Ghana must be the easiest West African country to travel in and thus gives relatively easy access to a very large number of West African endemics, as well as good access to some star North African birds. Ghana has 180 of the Guinea-Congo Forests biome birds, including 12 out of the 15 Upper Guinea Forest endemics, 11 of which are of global conservation concern. These 180 species are West and Central African rainforest birds, some of them reaching as far east as the DRC/Uganda border, but most of them are found only with difficulty outside of West Africa, making Ghana a very convenient country for finding them. This little country also boasts 37 Sudan-Guinea Savanna biome birds, this biome is a strip of savanna just south of the Sahel of North Africa. It is also possible to access the edge of the Sahel itself within Ghana for sought-after species such as Egyptian Plover. Ghana boasts a 100 percent success rate for finding White-necked Rockfowl (Yellow-headed Picathartes), a fine representative of a completely West African family. The people of Ghana are also superbly welcoming and friendly, and fluent in English, enhancing the overall experience.

Birding Tour Ghana - White-necked Rockfowl

Birding Tour Ghana: Upper Guinea Forest and Pre-Sahel 2018

Duration: 22 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: March 01, 2018
Date End: March 22, 2018
Tour Start:: Accra
Tour End:: Accra
Price: £5205 per person sharing
Summary: (Please ask us about “Owls of Ghana”, a ‘Birding Tour Ghana’ trip we do by special request.) Ghana is arguably the best and easiest country in which to start one’s West African ...

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African Wood Owl - Niall Perrins

Owls of West Africa

Summary: West Africa holds some fantastic owl species hiding in a range of habitats from the deep upper Guinea forests of the coast to the dry open areas of the north. Red-chested and Pearl-spotted Owlets, African ...

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Featured Guide - To be assigned

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What our clients say

Hi Chris, Thank you so much for arranging the tour yesterday. I would just like to say that Jason was amazing, my father and myself were blown away by his knowledge, patience and true passion, a true gentleman and a credit to your operation. I would please like to be added to your newsletter and in the future we will be looking to do a birding tour. Many thanks. Katharine

Katharine, South Africa
05/03/2014



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