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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.

 

 

 


Madagascar Birding Tours

Birding Madagascar, our world’s fourth-largest island is, quite simply, unique. Five bird families and five mammal families (including the lemurs) are endemic to this massive island, and half the world’s chameleons, weird and wonderful endemic plant families, and tons of other wildlife can be found here. An astonishing 120 bird species are endemic ( including such exotic groups as vangas, ground rollers, cuckoo roller, couas, asities, and mesites). Lemurs vie for attention, from the tiny mouse lemurs to the marvelous sifakas and the amazing indri with its calls that resound through the forest. Our tour visits a range of habitats: grasslands, dry deciduous woodland, the bizarre spiny forest with its odd octopus trees (Didiera madagascariensis) and elephant’s foot trees (Pachypodium rosulatum), and lush eastern rainforest, as well as lagoons and mudflats.

The birds that we’ll look for include the roadrunner-like Long-tailed Ground Roller and the stunning Pitta-like, Scaly, and Rufous-headed Ground Rollers, as well as the highly-prized Subdesert Mesite, the unforgettable Giant Coua, the astounding Velvet Asity, and Madagascan Ibis, to name just a handful. We invite you to join us on a special tour to an amazing island!

The Masoala Peninsula extension can generate the unbelievable Helmet VangaBrown Mesite, and Short-legged Ground Roller, as well as the largest, and most bizarre, nocturnal lemur, the aye-ayeand a stack more.

One hundred and twenty nine species of birds have been recorded in the northwestern Ankarafantsika National Park, more than half of them endemic to Madagascar. They include Van Dam’s Vanga, Rufous Vanga, the elusive Banded Kestrel, and the more easily observed Madagascan Fish Eagle, which can often be seen at Ravelobe Lake. The endangered Humblot’s Heron can also be seen at Lake Ravelobe.

Berenty Reserve is a haven for birdwatchers, boasting a high number of endemic species. With luck we might be able to find Madagascan Sandgrouse, Madagascan Green Pigeon, Torotoroka Scops Owl, and perhaps even Madagascan Cuckoo-Hawk here.

 

Madagascan Pochard - Remote Madagascar birding tour

Birding Tour Madagascar: The Remote North 2017

Duration: 10 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 19, 2017
Date End: September 28, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €4982 per person sharing
Summary: Our Birding Tour Madagascar: The Remote North is good for serious listers who may have already done the basics of Madagascar; the standard Madagascar trips that most birding companies do allow one to see p...

See full tour detail
Sickle-billed Vanga - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Madagascar: 7-day Northwest Pre-tour 2017

Duration: 7 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 06, 2017
Date End: October 12, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2781 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: One hundred and twenty nine species of birds have been recorded in Ankarafantsika National Park, more than half of them endemic to Madagascar. They include Van Dam’s Vanga, Rufous Vanga, the elusive...

See full tour detail
Red Owl - Alan van Norman

Birding Tour Madagascar: 6-day Masoala Peninsula Pre-tour 2017

Duration: 6 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 12, 2017
Date End: October 17, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2149 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: The Masoala Peninsula extension can generate the unbelievable Helmet Vanga, Brown Mesite, and Short-legged Ground Roller, as well as the largest – and most bizarre – nocturnal lemur, the aye-aye, and a...

See full tour detail
Tomato Frog - Fabienne Raphoz

Birding Tour Madagascar: Best of Madagascar Birds and Wildlife 2017

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Spaces Available:: 4
Date Start: October 17, 2017
Date End: October 31, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €5307 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: Madagascar! Our world’s fourth-largest island is, quite simply, unique. Five bird families and five mammal families (including the lemurs) are endemic to this massive island, and half the world’s chame...

See full tour detail
Giant Coua

Birding Tour Madagascar: 6-day Berenty Reserve Extension 2017

Duration: 6 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 31, 2017
Date End: November 05, 2017
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2154 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: The small, private Berenty Reserve, situated at the southern tip of Madagascar, is one of the island’s best-known and most frequently visited nature reserves. Stretching along the Mandrare River, it is c...

See full tour detail
Madagascan Pochard - Remote Madagascar birding tour

Birding Tour Madagascar: The Remote North 2018

Duration: 10 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: September 19, 2018
Date End: September 28, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €4982 per person sharing (These are 2017 prices; 2018 prices are expected to be 5 - 10% higher.)
Summary: Our Birding Tour Madagascar: The Remote North is good for serious listers who may have already done the basics of Madagascar; the standard Madagascar trips that most birding companies do allow one to see p...

See full tour detail
Sickle-billed Vanga - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Madagascar: 7-day Northwest Pre-tour 2018

Duration: 7 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 06, 2018
Date End: October 12, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2976 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: One hundred and twenty nine species of birds have been recorded in Ankarafantsika National Park, more than half of them endemic to Madagascar. They include Van Dam’s Vanga, Rufous Vanga, the elusive...

See full tour detail
Red Owl - Alan van Norman

Birding Tour Madagascar: 6-day Masoala Peninsula Pre-tour 2018

Duration: 6 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 12, 2018
Date End: October 17, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2299 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: The Masoala Peninsula extension can generate the unbelievable Helmet Vanga, Brown Mesite, and Short-legged Ground Roller, as well as the largest – and most bizarre – nocturnal lemur, the aye-aye, and a...

See full tour detail
Tomato Frog - Fabienne Raphoz

Birding Tour Madagascar: Best of Madagascar Birds and Wildlife 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 17, 2018
Date End: October 31, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €5678 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: Madagascar! Our world’s fourth-largest island is, quite simply, unique. Five bird families and five mammal families (including the lemurs) are endemic to this massive island, and half the world’s chame...

See full tour detail
Giant Coua

Birding Tour Madagascar: 6-day Berenty Reserve Extension 2018

Duration: 6 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 8
Date Start: October 31, 2018
Date End: November 05, 2018
Tour Start:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Tour End:: Antananarivo (Tana)
Price: €2305 per person sharing, assuming 6-8 participants
Summary: The small, private Berenty Reserve, situated at the southern tip of Madagascar, is one of the island’s best-known and most frequently visited nature reserves. Stretching along the Mandrare River, it is c...

See full tour detail

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What our clients say

Birding Ecotours company and SA office staff I can highly recommend booking a trip through Birding Ecotours South Africa. The Birding Ecotours staff is professional, the e-mail responses fast and all questions receive detail replies. Chris Lotz of Birding Ecotours forwarded excellent advice to me on how to start world birding, which countries to visit in order to find a high number of birds over a short period and which bird book(s) to use for a country. Birding Ecotours’ newsletters provide further information on upcoming trips, details on areas (e.g. East African birding), on target birds per trip, as well as regarding birding books available for countries or areas. Trip reports (forwarded upon request) allow one to mentally prepare regarding number of possible birds, endemics per country and difficulty or travel time of a trip. The Birding Ecotours’ Facebook postings include snippets from current trips with photos as well as spaces available on future trips. The single supplement for Birding Ecotours’ trips is in most cases lower than other tour companies, which makes for safe as well as affordable travelling.

Lisl van Deventer, Pretoria, South Africa



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