May 28, 2009

Sightseeing : Birdwatching in Fiji : Gowealthy.com

Bird watching is a pleasure in Fiji, with a variety of rare and indigenous found in its forests.

You can observe the Fiji Goshawk glide majestically, a bird you only find in Fiji, or the Blue-Crested Broadbill, found only in the Viti Levu rainforest, or hear the deep hollow call of the Barking Pigeon at the Colo-I-Suva Forest Park.
 
There are about 80 species of terrestrial and freshwater birds of which about 10 have been introduced. They are distributed throughout the islands but those interested in sampling an array bird should consider visiting three islands: Viti Levu (which has 56 of the 81 known species found in the group), Kadavu, and the Garden Island of Taveuni. In general, the larger islands tend to be more ecologically intact and the bigger birds--notably the parrots and pigeons--are easily seen.
 
There are three species of hawk in Fiji. The most common is the swamp harrier, Circus approximans, which is most commonly seen over the grasslands, swamps and wooded areas. It feeds on rodents, birds and occasionally snakes. The Fiji Goshawk, Accipiter rufitoques, ranges from the coast to inland areas and preys on lizards, insects and other birds. Peregrine falcons, Falcus peregrinus, can also be found in Fiji but are not commonly observed. 
 
There are several varieties of dove in Fiji. The most common is the introduced spotted turtle dove, Streptopelia chinensis, which is also among the most destructive vis a vis fruit crops. Among the most sought after by birders is the orange dove, Ptiliponus victor found in Vanua Levu, Taveuni and some of the other offshore islands. The male of the species is a bright orange with the exception of an olive green head. So rare is this bird that you'll be hard pressed to find a photo of it in any book.
 
Peale's pigeon, Ducula latrans , as Paddy Ryan, the South Pacific's premier nature photographer points out in his superb Fiji's Natural Heritage guide, is "more likely to be seen than heard" and sounds a great deal like a barking dog. Thus when walking through a remote rainforest, the bark you'll hear is more likely avian rather than canine in origin.
 
The white-collared kingfisher, Halcyon chloris, is a striking blue with a white collar around the neck. I've often seen them dipping into a friend's swimming pool in Taveuni. Also seen on Taveuni is the silktail, Lamprolia victoriae. Once thought to be a bird of paradise, it is becoming increasingly rare on other islands most likely because of logging. Paddy Ryan describes it as a deep black with metallic blue spangling on the head and breast.


Sightseeing : Birdwatching in Fiji : Gowealthy.com

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