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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.

 

 

 


Uganda Birding Tours

The essential birds of Uganda are Shoebill (this is the easiest country to see this monster in), the 20-plus Albertine Rift endemics (including African Green Broadbill), and finally a few other birds tough to locate elsewhere, such as Green-breasted Pitta. Most other birds can be seen in other countries and are not focused on during this tour, although you’ll certainly see a lot of some widespread spectacular species such as Great Blue Turaco, Ross’s Turaco, amazing barbets, and so many others.

Birding Tour Uganda - Shoebill - Errol de Beer

Birding Tour Uganda: 14-day Shoebill and Albertine Rift Endemics 2017

Duration: 14 days
Limit (Group Size): 1 - 8
Spaces Available:: 6
Date Start: August 01, 2017
Date End: August 14, 2017
Tour Start:: Entebbe
Tour End:: Entebbe
Price: US$7359 per person sharing, Murchison Falls NP extension US$2673 per person sharing
Summary: The main trip allows one to find the most important birds and primates that Uganda has to offer in just 14 days. Shoebill is almost guaranteed. Over 20 Albertine (Western) Rift endemics are also sought, in...

See full tour detail
Archer's Robin-Chat by Oz Horine - Uganda birding tour

Birding Tour Uganda: Shelley's Crimsonwing Expedition, RFCG conservation tour 2017

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: August 22, 2017
Date End: August 29, 2017
Tour Start:: Kigali, Rwanda
Tour End:: Kigali, Rwanda
Price: US$ 3585 per person sharing assuming 6 – 7 participants; US$4149 per person sharing assuming 4 – 5 participants.
Summary: This is a Rafe Finch Conservation Group conservation trip. Ten percent of the tour costs will be donated to the RFCG. We would like to try and get photos and sound recordings of Shelley’s Crimsonwing, on...

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Birding Tour Uganda - Shoebill - Errol de Beer

Birding Tour Uganda: 14-day Shoebill and Albertine Rift Endemics 2018

Duration: 14 days
Limit (Group Size): 1 - 8
Date Start: August 01, 2018
Date End: August 14, 2018
Tour Start:: Entebbe
Tour End:: Entebbe
Price: US$8168 per person sharing, Murchison Falls NP extension US$2967 per person sharing
Summary: The main trip allows one to find the most important birds and primates that Uganda has to offer in just 14 days. Shoebill is almost guaranteed. Over 20 Albertine (Western) Rift endemics are also sought, in...

See full tour detail
Archer's Robin-Chat by Oz Horine - Uganda birding tour

Birding Tour Uganda: Shelley's Crimsonwing Expedition 2018

Duration: 8 days
Limit (Group Size): 4 - 7
Date Start: August 22, 2018
Date End: August 29, 2018
Tour Start:: Kigali, Rwanda
Tour End:: Kigali, Rwanda
Price: US$ 3979 per person sharing assuming 6 – 7 participants; US$4605 per person sharing assuming 4 – 5 participants
Summary: On this tour we would like to try and get photos and sound recordings of Shelley’s Crimsonwing, one of Africa’s rarest finches. We plan to be as close as possible to the sites we feel are best for the ...

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Featured Guide - Jason Boyce

Senior Birding guide and administrative assistant for Birding Ecotours. Jason recently completed a BSc in Environmental Science and now does a lot of guiding in Africa and Europe. We’re aiming to ha ...

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What our clients say

I have birded with Birding Ecotours since 2004. As I stated in my first web trip report of Southern South Africa that I thought you were one of the most competent guides I had ever birded with and that Birding Ecotours was an extremely professional organization in every way. In 2013, after birding with you a dozen times in 8 countries (and more this April and June) my opinions are now cast in concrete. Your ear and ability to co-ordinate the sounds with species is unsurpassed. You are decisive and a lot of fun to travel with which, in my opinion, are qualities essential in a top guide. You and Nadia organize trips meticulously and show truly sound judgment in your choices of routes, lodging and transportation arrangements. As you know, I ask a lot of questions and have always received thoughtful and timely answers. I have never been left feeling neglected in any way. I’ve been asked many time by birding friends all over the world for recommendations, and Birding Ecotours is always my first choice in Africa. I don’t doubt that our coming trips to Asia and the Caribbean will be equally productive and fun.

Jay Lamb, San Francisco Bay area of California



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