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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.

 

 

 


Namibia Birding Tours

Namibia is a must-visit African country since it is so very unique, with the world’s oldest desert including the highest sand dunes in the world, which are a spectacular red color, other massive sand dunes coming right down to the sea, rugged desert mountains along the Namibian Escarpment, desert elephants and rhinos, one of the world’s greatest game parks, the vast Etosha National Park. And, last but not least, Namibia has a whole bunch of birds that are only found there or in adjacent Angola.

Dune Lark - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia - Quintessential Namibia 2017

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 6
Date Start: September 02, 2017
Date End: September 12, 2017
Tour Start:: Windhoek
Tour End:: Windhoek
Price: This is an exclusive tour, prices on request.
Summary: Experience the Namib in all its splendor – the oldest desert in the world with towering red dunes. The essence of Namibia is encapsulated in this wondrous photographic birding exploration, which takes in...

See full tour detail
Rosy-faced Lovebird - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Namibia: Namibia, Okavango, and Victoria Falls 2017

Duration: 18 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 9
Spaces Available:: 0
Date Start: November 02, 2017
Date End: November 19, 2017
Tour Start:: Walvis Bay, Namibia
Tour End:: Livingstone, Zambia
Price: R77,167 per person sharing
Summary: This tour is fully booked. Please consider our Namibia, Okavango and Victoria Falls in reverse tour (20 November – 7 December 2017). This is a truly marvelous 2.5-week birding adventure, during which we ...

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Rosy-faced Lovebird - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Namibia: Namibia, Okavango, and Victoria Falls 2017 in reverse

Duration: 18 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 9
Spaces Available:: 3
Date Start: November 20, 2017
Date End: December 07, 2017
Tour Start:: Livingstone, Zambia (reverse tour)
Tour End:: Walvis Bay, Namibia (reverse tour)
Price: R77,167 per person sharing
Summary: Please note that this tour will proceed in reverse of the itinerary listed, starting in Livingstone, Zambia, and ending in Walvis Bay, Namibia. This is a truly marvelous 2.5-week birding adventure, during ...

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Rockrunner - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana: 13-day Adventure 2018

Duration: 13 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: March 09, 2018
Date End: March 21, 2018
Tour Start:: Windhoek, Namibia
Tour End:: Maun, Botswana
Price: R89,797 per person sharing, based on 4 – 7 participants in a 14-seater van with some seats removed.
Summary: This is a photographic birding tour that gives you time in some of Africa’s greatest (no exaggeration!) wildlife havens. We begin our Photo and Birding Tour Namibia and Botswana in Namibia with three da...

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Birding Tour Southern Africa - African Scops Owl - Martin Benadie

Birding Tour Southern Africa: Owls of Namibia, Botswana, South Africa 2018

Duration: 15 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 8
Date Start: April 10, 2018
Date End: April 24, 2018
Tour Start:: Windhoek, Namibia
Tour End:: Johannesburg, South Africa
Price: R66,462 per person sharing
Summary: Owls of Africa: The southern dozen – Birding Tour Southern Africa This is a trip in which we concentrate on finding the fine suite of owls inhabiting Africa south of the mighty Zambezi River. Most of...

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Dune Lark - Ian Merrill

Photo and Birding Tour Namibia - Quintessential Namibia 2018

Duration: 11 days
Limit (Group Size): 2 - 6
Date Start: September 02, 2018
Date End: September 12, 2018
Tour Start:: Windhoek
Tour End:: Windhoek
Price: This is an exclusive tour, prices on request.
Summary: Experience the Namib in all its splendor – the oldest desert in the world with towering red dunes. The essence of Namibia is encapsulated in this wondrous photographic birding exploration, which takes in...

See full tour detail
Rosy-faced Lovebird - Ian Merrill

Birding Tour Namibia: Namibia, Okavango, and Victoria Falls 2018

Duration: 18 days
Limit (Group Size): 6 - 9
Date Start: November 02, 2018
Date End: November 19, 2018
Tour Start:: Walvis Bay, Namibia
Tour End:: Livingstone, Zambia
Price: R85,655 per person sharing
Summary: This is a truly marvelous 2.5-week birding adventure, during which we sample three different countries and spectacular, diverse scenery. We start in the coastal Namib Desert with its impressive dune fields...

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Monteiro's Hornbill - Niall Perrins

Namibia day tours

Duration: 1 day
Tour Start:: Windhoek
Tour End:: Windhoek
Summary: For most Namibia day tours, out of Windhoek, we do not have a set or fixed itinerary. We basically provide a list of specials/birds that could be realistically seen, and then, once we have the wish list of...

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Featured Guide - Nick Buys

Senior tour leader for Birding Ecotours in Africa Nick was born and raised in the beautiful country of Namibia, a privilege that made Africa and its wildlife a concrete part of his childhood. His pass ...

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What our clients say

Bo Beolens of Fatbirder put me onto Chris Lotz of Birding Ecotours originally. What a favour he did me. Not only is Chris an excellent birder, but he goes out of his way to be really helpful. I and my partner settled on Namibia with Birding Ecotours as our next trip, and as we were in Jo`burg visiting friends a few days before the trip, I asked Chris if he could also arrange for me to see Flufftails in the gap available. The hub of Birding Ecotours couldn`t have been more delightful to deal with. Not only did he get very excited by this challenge, but took it upon himself to do our guiding. He found an equally enthusiastic birder, Kevin, to join the trip and off we set for the Dullstroom area, where there was a Striped Flufftail guide, all revved up and ready to go except it was miserable weather. Never mind, a quick re-calculation and we descended down to Nelspruit Botanic Garden and sunshine, and spent half a day revelling in Sth. African birds. Then we ascended and went lark and pipit hunting which Chris found by call. He also found us an Oribi which was stunning, we were so close. Chris and his guide worked extremely hard the next day, trying to call out a flufftail . We could hear them but the thick vegetation prevented any views of them. After doing a circuit of the whole area, Chris and the guide doing more, as they were going up and down the hill , we were losing heart. Luck returned as Chris planted us by a carefully placed mp3 playing flufftail, and a narrow trodden path into the bracken. We waited as the sound of another flufftail got closer. I could hear Kevin hyperventilating as he suddenly found himself looking at a full frontal view of a male Striped Flufftail. As I was at a slightly different angle, I couldn`t see this marvellous apparition, but found myself breathing hard in anticipation when, from behind the clump of grass I was straining to see through, a female suddenly leapt across the gap like a frog, so fast that all I got was a view of the back and tail! No wonder they are a difficult bird to get to grips with but I would recommend this sort of diversion to anyone. I wouldn`t have climbed the hill after the Cape Eagle Owl if it wasn`t for Chris`s infectious enthusiasm either, and we were sorry to see both of them go; they had been so easy to get on with, both entertaining and amusing We flew to Walvis Bay a few days later to meet Steve Braine, our leader for the Namibia trip, and the rest of the participants. We found that Steve was a born and bred Namibian and knew the country like the back of his hand. He knew exactly where everything was, and if he didn’t, he had a hot-line to somebody who did. Fortunately the rest of the group were a relaxed bunch and very talkative and entertaining, and soon Steve had everyone fixated on birds. Steve and his bird knowledge is fearsome. He worked tirelessly, always on the go arranging the next highlight, repeating things if he thought anybody had missed out. He knows all the mammals, all the reptiles, loves scorpions and even dabbles with Lepidoptera. We were all beginning to think he was some kind of magician a week into the trip. There are sights on this trip you will never forget. For me, even the sight of a line of larks, all squashed together along a 1 inch wide line of shade under a notice board was spectacular. The plumage of desert birds looking like ink etchings: I could go on. Steve is an extremely good leader and I for one am grateful for his excellent birding skills and tireless driving.

Jan and John, Wales



We can run any of our tours privately any time and we can also arrange custom itineraries - send us your wish-list and we'll put the itinerary together! Please click here.

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