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A Birding Trip to Vanuatu and New Caledonia

3-17 JULY 1999



As part of a one-year birding trip, Neil Bostock (NB) and myself decided to remain behind following a trip with others to other parts of Melanesia and visit the islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

Vanuatu, formerly known as The New Hebrides consists of a group of about 100 islands in the South West Pacific. The islands are home to twenty-seven restricted-range species, six of which are threatened, five near threatened and nine endemic to the archipelago. Fortunately all the endemics occur on one of the more northerly islands, Espírito Santo thus reducing the associated hassles of island hopping.

New Caledonia is a French dependency with nineteen known endemics still possible on the mainland, the New Caledonian Owlet-Nightjar, Rail and the Lorikeet almost certainly extinct. Compared to Melanesia, New Caledonia is a complete contrast with modern cities, good roads, cars and prohibitively expensive goods. The country is very mountainous but unfortunately there has been widespread logging on the islands, particularly noticeable at Mount Koghis therefore the rarity and restricted range of certain species.

On arrival in the area covered within this report we had very little gen, the best being Richard Thomas's superb report on New Caledonia and a few snippets of information from Guy Dutson on Vanuatu. The short section of text on the islands in Wheatley's, Where to Watch Birds in Australasia and Oceania was helpful though not very detailed partly a result of the limited available literature on this avifaunal region. The first problem with Vanuatu was that although all the birds endemic to Vanuatu can be found on one island, Espírito Santo, some are found at low altitude others only in the mountains. Obviously the ideal plan would be to trek up one of the mountains, picking up the lowland birds as you go through the lower elevations, before concentrating on the mid to high elevation birds. This sounds easy enough in principal, but because we only had limited time in Vanuatu and fixed flights to New Caledonia this presented a few problems. First we attempted to locate someone prepared to guide us up Pic Santo, this itself was no easy task as very few people go up there and secondly trying to get someone to start the trek as soon as possible is not entirely straightforward. As a result of the problems with organising the trek we opted to go first to Loru protected area, a superb lowland forest area. The family that runs Loru is incredibly helpful, accommodating us at short notice as well as guiding and cooking for us. Anyone wishing to visit this superb reserve will not be disappointed, with all the lowland species available, though some are more difficult than others are.

On our return to Luganville we took a gamble and hitched a lift to Ipayato to attempt to organise a trek up Pic Santo, but as is often the case in these remote areas the village chief was out of town and the trek remained very much still up in the air. The main problem was that the village chief and he alone had the say on whether we could trek up the mountain. The next day we met the chief explained why we wanted to visit Pic Santo and awaited his decision, quickly he agreed to the trek but asked us for a very large custom fee (approx. £100) in order to access the land. Devastated by this news and well beyond our budget we opted to return to Luganville and revisit Loru. As we waited by the roadside a vehicle failed to materialise and thoughts of the endemics finally got the better of us, with Neil returning to speak to the chief once more. Incredibly, and without prompting he reduced the custom fee by halve, the trek was a reality once again. This change of decision paid dividends and despite limited time we saw most of the highland specialities in a few days whilst on Pic Santo an unforgettable experience.

Our visit to New Caledonia was reasonably successful though visiting the island at this time of year is not ideal with many birds incredibly difficult to see, which resulted in insufficient time to visit Lifu. There are only two key sites to visit on the island, which ensure a good chance of all the endemic bird species, unfortunately though the weather was appalling which hampered birding considerably.


Vanuatu can be accessed from New Zealand and Australia the costs of which I don't know. We flew to Port Villa on the island of Efate from Honiara in the Solomons, flight time 1 hour 40 minutes. The cost of this flight was U$ 220 booked through Wildwings as part of a Pacific air pass, each coupon the above price for each 'hop' across the Pacific. Once on Efate we flew with Van air to Luganville on the island of Espírito Santo, which cost approx. £100 return, flight time approx. one hour.

New Caledonia can be accessed from Australia for certain with package tours available as used by Thomas et al whereas we flew from Port Villa to Noumea at a cost of U$220, flight time one hour, and U$220 to Brisbane, Australia.


On Vanuatu the unit of currency is the vatu, the exchange rate 127.25 vatu to U$1, with a bank open at the airport at Port Villa to change travelers cheques or cash. The most expensive thing on Vanuatu was the custom fee for Pic Santo that cost us 10000 vatu. Food was reasonably priced and public transport cheap unless the vehicle was a charter. On New Caledonia, get your Gold card ready as all food; drink and accommodation are very expensive. The way round this is to bring food in from Australia or even Vanuatu, and attempt to live off bread and tinned fish, jam as suggested by Thomas, not ideal but as you will soon find out food is incredibly expensive. The unit of currency is the New Caledonian franc, with roughly 178 Francs to £1 or roughly 110 Francs to U$1. NOTE: The bank at the airport can only be accessed from inside the arrivals lounge, once you go outside through customs and baggage check there is a good chance that the authorities won't let you enter the area where the bank is. In other words get the money out as soon as you arrive; otherwise you will have to go into town to get some money.


On Vanuatu, we used local transport with the cheapest available mini buses on Efate marked with a red B on the numberplate. These take you to various parts of the city for a very lost cost, whereas on Espírito Santo we used to charter a pick up if we missed the public transport for the day, this cost a lot more money but did give us some flexibility. In order to trek up Pic Santo it is a simple case of a very long walk; there is no other option. On New Caledonia we hired a car from AVIS at the airport which cost us £200 for 5 days, this was very reliable and also provided us with somewhere to sleep at night to cut down on costs and travelling. To return to Noumea airport, 55 Km from we used a public bus from the bus terminal in Noumea that cost us 400 francs each, considerably less than a tourist bus or taxi, journey time one hour.


On Vanuatu we stayed in the very comfortable Kalfabun's guesthouse located only five minutes from the airport on Efate, thus allowing easy access to the airport the next morning. Mr. Kalfabun also allowed us to leave excess luggage in his house whilst we were on Espírito Santo. The guesthouse cost us 2600 vatu for two people in a room, with use of the kitchen. On Espírito Santo we stayed at Loru protected area in the lecture room, total costs for two nights including guiding and cooking our food were 2500 vatu. In Luganville we stayed in the Unity Park Motel, clean, quiet, kitchen available for use cost us 2100 vatu for a room for two people for the night whilst in Ipayato we stayed in the village where a local family kindly looked after us. On the trek up Pic Santo we stayed in a tent for one night and a garden house at 500m for two nights.

On New Caledonia we slept in the car at Mount Koghis, the Youth Hostel in Noumea and at Rivière Bleue National Park we stayed in the research hut, courtesy of a student studying the Kagu.


On Vanuatu, we lived on rice, tinned fish, noodles, soup and biscuits and for those fancying a bit of variety; Luganville has some good restaurants where a more varied source of nutrition can be found for a reasonable price. In New Caledonia we mainly lived on biscuits, French bread, pate, jam and tinned fish due to financial situation and certainly not by choice. At the youth hostel and in Rivière Bleue we treated ourselves to some hot food, noodles and soup 'a veritable feast'. There are a wide variety of eating places in Noumea to suit all tastes and budgets, whilst at Mount Koghis there is a very expensive auberge.


We encountered no problems whatsoever in the areas we visited; the people were incredibly helpful and certainly not suspicious of our presence as we found in most of the Pacific region. On Vanuatu malaria is rife and the recommended prophylaxis is Mefloquine (Lariam) in the UK, though this regime didn't prevent myself from becoming a victim of this return later in the year following a 'long' incubation time. Other tropical diseases are present and I expect that certainly tuberculosis and Hepatitis A are a possibility if the local narcotic leaves, Kava are tried.

New Caledonia has good drinking water apparently and malaria is absent from the islands. Finally Vanuatu is famous for its active volcanoes and regular cyclones so a visit to this area is certainly a change from the usual birding route.


There is a book on the birds of Vanuatu with photographs of some of the birds, some reasonable plates of the birds and informative text. New Caledonia has a photographic guide to the birds, the text in French, and probably of limited use. The excellent trip report by Richard Thomas provides site information and identification notes on the birds of New Caledonia and Lifu. Lastly there is a new field guide to the birds of this region together with the Solomons just recently published and written by Chris Doughty. It is well worth having though some of the illustrations are not very good and there are many inaccuracies in the text.


On Vanuatu this presents several problems as some people speak English, some only speak French, others speak French and Pidgin English and a few speak only Bislama the local language of the particular tribe. On New Caledonia everyone speaks French and some people if your lucky will speak English.


July 3rd Honiara to Port Villa

July 4th Port Villa to Espírito Santo to Loru

July 5th Loru Protected area

July 6th Loru to Ipayato

July 7th Ipayato to start of trek up Pic Santo

July 8th Trek from 455m to 930m Pic Santo. Camp at 930m, cut trail to 1200m

July 9th birding from 930m to 1050m, return to camp at 455m

July 10th Trek from camp to Ipayato, return to Luganville early afternoon.

July 11th Luganville to Port Villa. Port Villa to Noumea arriving 1750, drive to Mount Koghis

July 12th Mount Koghis all day. At dusk drove to Rivière Bleue

July 13th Rivière Bleue, overnight in the research chalet

July 14th Rivière Bleue until 1530 drove to Mount Koghis

July 15th Mount Koghis

July 16th Mount Koghis early morning drove to Noumea, overnight in Youth hostel

July 17th Noumea to Brisbane 




This excellent reserve featured in World Birdwatch, volume 17 number 4, December 1995, and is an excellent example of how local people can help protect an area. The local family that owned the land decided that the number of coco crabs was in decline and measures needed to be taken to prevent over harvesting them, which resulted in Chief Kaleb Ser designating a protected area. The area supports all five lowland endemic species of bird, the Buff-bellied Monarch Neolalage banksiana, Yellow-fronted (Vanuatu) White-eye Zosterops flavifrons, New Hebrides Scrub-fowl Megapodius layardi, Vanuatu or Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher Halcyon farquhari and Tanna Fruit Dove Ptilinopus tannensis. The Monarch and White-eye are very common whilst the others are a little tricky to see and the Dove is probably seasonal in this area. There is a trail into the forest with a few side routes that enable one to penetrate deep into the forest in the hope of locating the specialities.


We traveled to Ipayato from Luganville by 4WD truck the only way of getting there due to the two very deep and wide rivers that need to be crossed. This journey would not be possible if there had been a lot of rain as the run off from the mountains will soon increase the flow of water in the rivers, and this has to be considered when traveling to and from Ipayato. The journey takes about one hour and cost us 1000 vatu if you travel with others and not as a charter. We paid the three porters 1000 vatu each per day for carrying our bags, cutting the trail and cooking. The first part of the trek from sea level to 450 metres took us five hours, is virtually birdless and passes through Copra palm plantations and a few villages where the locals wear little more than a loin cloth. We stayed overnight in a garden house and birded the area around the house, where there is an excellent tract of forest from here upwards. We recorded good numbers of Baker's (Vanuatu) Imperial Pigeon Ducula bakeri, Buff-bellied Monarch Neolalage banksiana, a pair of Chestnut-bellied kingfishers Halcyon farquhari, Tanna Fruit Dove Ptilinopus tannensis and New Hebrides Scrubfowl Megapodius layardi. The next day we trekked up to 930 metres with the chief porter Rohn cutting a trail with a machete and consequently there was little birding on route. At 930 metres a campsite was cleared, the lads erected a shelter and later on Rohn cut a trail to 1200 metres where there is excellent forest which continues much higher if time and porters permit. The only way to even have a chance of seeing the Pic Santo Mountain Starling Aplonis santovestris is to get much higher than 1200m but the problem is locating a suitable camp site with water or employing porters to carry the water up the mountain. Apparently the locals often indicate that beyond a certain point there is no more water available and this may or may not be the case.

Birding above the upper campsite at 930 m we saw lots of New Hebrides Honeyeater Phylidonyris notabilis, one Rusty-winged Starling Aplonis zelandica, a few Palm Lorikeets Charmosyna palmarum and a Guadalcanal Thicketbird Cichlornis whitneyi.)

We bought all our food supplies in Luganville, enough for Neil, the porters and myself. In order to keep the weight down and thus make it easier for the porters we bought rice (the heaviest foodstuff), a few tins of fish, noodles, soups and good supply of biscuits, sugar, tea and coffee. The porters tend to consume a lot of food and have loads of sugar in their tea evidently always an essential item on any trek. In order to keep track of the food, we kept it in our tent and distributed the food sufficient for one meal at a time in order that the food lasted. Despite speaking no English and very little French, Neil managed to communicate to the porters in pidgin and whatever he said they understood and food appeared.

There may well be others ways to access Pic Santo but this route wasn't too arduous and with more time and porters it would definitely be worth trying to get higher for the Mountain Starling last seen several years ago. This trek also accessed the mountain from Ipayato; even then only two birds were seen in several days on the mountain during the expedition. Guy Dutson accessed the area from Big Bay on Espírito Santo but the trek is a very long and his own words, 'not very enjoyable'.



This site only about 30 minutes out of Noumea, holds all the endemic birds of New Caledonia with the exception of the Kagu, whilst some birds appeared to be easier to see here rather than at Rivière Bleue e.g. The Crow Corvus moneduloides and the Parrotfinch Erythrura psittacea. We tried all trails in our few days in the area, mainly because we couldn't find Cloven feathered Dove Drepanoptila holosericae, following on from a brief view of one the first day. Eventually we located all the possible endemics except the Dove and the New Caledonian Grassbird Megalurulus mariei, which continued to evade all efforts by us. The forest here is really only located in a few valleys and consequently a lot of the birds are in low numbers and difficult to locate whereas the forest higher up the trail where one can access the deforested upper slopes eventually produced the New Caledonian Greybird Coracina analis. In Thomas et al, they mentioned seeing several Doves and Pigeons in fruiting trees, but despite finding lots of fruit we never located the Dove again. The Grassbird always seems to give people trouble, and we never even heard one let alone glimpse one possibly a result of the time of year as very few birds were singing making birding a little difficult at times. The weather here was variable with low cloud, rain, and strong winds and at other times clear blue skies.


A key site where the superb endemic Kagu Rhynochetos jubatus is nigh on guaranteed unless you are rained off and have to leave the area, as some have found in the past. The main person here is Yves Letocart who has been studying the Kagu for many years and probably instrumental in its survival by eradicating dogs and cats from the park. We had mixed fortunes here as we could only meet up with Yves for about an hour, during which time he taped out Kagu and Crow Honeyeater Gymnomyza aubryana for us and told us where to look for Cloven-feathered Dove Drepanoptila holosericae. This species still eluded us and unfortunately we had to cut our stay in the park short due to torrential rain, the prospect of being stuck in the park if the roads were closed a distinct possibility. The area to bird is along the main road through the park to Point Germain. All the birds can be found along this stretch of road and by staying in the park you have the advantage of no other people in the morning and late afternoon, making the Kagu easier to see as it comes onto the roads to feed.


We would like to thank Warakama Ser for all his help at Loru protected area, his knowledge of the area, the birds and his kind hospitality at very short notice. John the driver in Luganville helped us locate Loru and Warakama as well as helping us sort out some problems with going to Pic Santo. The people of Ipayato were excellent hosts despite us suddenly appearing in their village and provided us shelter and some prime beef to eat. We would especially like to thank the chief of Ipayato for letting us trek up Pic Santo and reducing the custom fee, which in turn benefited the porters in that they could earn some money. Our three porters on the trek, Rohn, Olivier and Vira looked after us, cooked our food, didn't laugh too much when we fell over and were always cheerful and helpful despite overnight rain, a very wet shelter and very heavy bags to carry. Without these determined and very friendly people we would not have been able to enjoy the highland birds of Vanuatu. On New Caledonia we thank Yves for his help and to his student for providing us shelter for the night and cooking our food. We also thank Guy Dutson for his snippets of information on the area and lastly we thank all the people of Vanuatu for there help in various ways and not ripping us off too much?

Anyone requiring further information regarding these islands can contact Barry Wright at the following




WHITE-FACED HERON Egretta novaehollandiae

Four birds around the lakes in Rivière Bleue.

PACIFIC BLACK DUCK Anas superciliosa

One seen from the truck on route to Ipayato on Vanuatu.

SWAMP HARRIER Circus approximans

A minimum of five birds in the Loru area, one pair at 460m on the trek up Pic Santo. Four birds at Rivière Bleue one flying over Mount Koghis.


Mega views of one bird flying and perched in a dead tree at Mount Koghis. This species could often be heard calling but took us three days and a lot of scanning to see. This species also occurs at Rivière Bleue but was not recorded by us possibly due to the appalling weather that prevented most birds from venturing out into view from the depths of the forest.

NEW HEBRIDES SCRUBFOWL Megapodius layardi (V)

At least four birds at Loru were incredibly difficult to see and very shy, running directly away and out of view. Birds were recorded calling early morning and evening at Loru and on the trek, two birds at 455m and four others were heard nearby. Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife.

RED JUNGLEFOWL Gallus gallus

(Introduced). Very common at Loru, a real nuisance when looking for Scrubfowl.

KAGU Rhynochetos jubatus (NC)

Fantastic views of this weird bird with three birds encountered in the forest whilst looking for Cloven Feathered Dove. When disturbed the birds hissed and slowly walked away into cover where they continued to make hissing sounds. Other birds encountered on the road in the morning and evening could be approached reasonably close and allowed excellent views through the rain-drenched optics. One bird at the picnic tables at Pont Germain fed on the forest edge only 15 metres from us and didn't appear to be bothered by our presence. In the very early morning many Kagu can be heard calling in the forest thus aiding the population survey of these superb birds which was an ongoing project by the researchers during our stay. Classified as Endangered by Birdlife.

BUFF-BANDED RAIL Rallus philippensis swindellsi

One at Loru, others were probably overlooked.


Two birds at Loru ssp leopoldi were seen sitting quietly in the canopy. Nine birds at Mount Koghis ssp hypoenochroa were seen very well.

EMERALD DOVE Chalcophaps indica sandwichensis

Several around the HQ at Loru were reasonably tame; two others were flushed near to Ipayato as we sped along the road. One at the picnic tables at Pont Germain, Rivière Bleue was incredibly tame.

TANNA FRUIT DOVE Ptilinopus tannensis (V)

One seen near to Loru on the approach road, excellent views of at least five birds around the camp at 455m on Pic Santo, often reasonably approachable and perching in the open towards dusk. Classified as near threatened by Birdlife.

RED-BELLIED FRUIT DOVE Ptilinopus greyii

Two at Loru and four at 455m on the trek up Santo were seen very well near to the camp.

CLOVEN-FEATHERED DOVE Drepanoptila holosericae (NC)

Brief views of one perched feeding on small yellow fruits at Mount Koghis were never relocated. Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife.

MACKINLEY'S CUCKOO-DOVE Macropygia mackinlayi mackinlayi

Two at Loru, one below 455m and one on trek up Pic Santo


Three birds seen well around the camp at 455m on Pic Santo, many other birds heard calling from 455m up to 1200m. Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife.


Seven birds at Mount Koghis often perched close and were reasonably tame; two at Rivière Bleue were equally approachable. Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife.

PACIFIC IMPERIAL-PIGEON Ducula pacifica tarrali

Common at Loru, some birds very conspicuous in the sub canopy.

PALM LORIKEET Charmosyna palmarum

A tricky bird to see well on Pic Santo, with flight views being the norm, even then incredibly difficult to see as the birds fly incredibly fast and there are few vantage points around the upper camp where the birds were most often heard. The best strategy may well be to find a viewpoint and hope that some fly past or even perch. Classified as near threatened by Birdlife.

HORNED PARAKEET Cyanoramphus cornutus (NC)

Three birds seen at close range on Mount Koghis and one bird at Rivière Bleue located by its squeaky toy call. This fantastic looking Parakeet was certainly one of the top birds of New Caledonia. Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife.

RAINBOW LORIKEET Trichoglossus haematodus

Very common at Loru spp massena and a few around Ipayato. Common in Noumea ssp deplanchii

BARN OWL Tyto alba lulu

One seen early morning at Rivière Bleue as we were listening to Kagu.

SHINING BRONZE CUCKOO Chalcites lucidus aeneus

Two birds seen at 950m on Pic Santo.

WHITE-RUMPED SWIFTLET Aerodramus spodiopygius lecopygius

Common on Vanuatu and New Caledonia.

UNIFORM SWIFTLET Aerodramus vanikorensis vanikorensis

Common on Vanuatu.


Common at Loru ssp santoensis ?? and up to 450m on the trek up Pic Santo. Common on wires near to Noumea.


A very difficult bird to locate despite the bird calling at close range. The birds heard at Loru concealed themselves in dense vine tangles in mid-canopy and once seen would fly away and commence calling once more out of view. The two birds seen at 455m on Pic Santo were almost as bad, calling early morning and towards dusk but eventually one showed well in a vine tangle though as before it realised it was being watched and bolted off to another location. Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife.

MELANESIAN GREYBIRD Coracina caledonica

Four at Mount Koghis ssp caledonica, very vocal and conspicuous, two at Rivière Bleue. Several on trek up Pic Santo ssp thileni


Only two birds seen in three days at Mount Koghis feeding on fruits on the upper forest trails with Horned Parakeets and Barred Honeyeaters. A few birds heard calling at Rivière Bleue were not seen.

LONG TAILED TRILLER Lalage leucopyga montrosieri

One bird at Mount Koghis was surprisingly the only individual encountered as it moved quickly through with a feeding flock.

ISLAND THRUSH Turdus poliocephalus vanikorensis

Excellent views on one bird that responded to pishing at 1100m on Pic Santo. The bird was very like Eurasian Blackbird Turdus merulus and appeared identical to birds seen on Kolombangara and Rennell in the Solomon Islands.

GUADALCANAL THICKETBIRD Cichlornis whitneyi whitneyi

Brief but close views of this little gem at 1050m on Pic Santo. No response to canned tape of this species. Classified as near threatened by Birdlife.

BUFF-BELLIED FLYCATCHER Neolalage banksiana (V)

Very common and obvious at Loru, fairly common at 450m on Pic Santo.

SOUTHERN SHRIKEBILL Clytorhynchus pachycephaloides 

Two birds at Loru ssp grisescens, common around the camp at 455m on Pic Santo with a few birds recorded higher up on the trek. Six seen at Mount Koghis ssp pachycephaloides in mixed species feeding flocks, one heard at Rivière Bleue.


Common at Loru ssp marinae with a few at 455m on Pic Santo. Four birds at Mount Koghis ssp caledonica.

FAN-TAILED GERYGONE Gerygone flavolateralis

Two birds around the HQ at Loru, one at 930m and 750m on Pic Santo. Common at Mount Koghis and Rivière Bleue.

GREY FANTAIL Rhipidura fuliginosa 

A few at Loru ssp brenchleyi, common on Pic Santo. Common at Mount Koghis ssp bulgeri and Rivière Bleue.

STREAKED FANTAIL Rhipidura spilodera

Common at Loru ssp spilodera and Pic Santo and on New Caledonia ssp verreauxi.

SCARLET ROBIN Petroica multicolor ambrynensis

Six birds seen often in response to pishing at 1050 to 1150m on Pic Santo.

YELLOW-BELLIED ROBIN Eopsaltria flaviventris (NC)

Common on New Caledonia, very tame.

GOLDEN WHISTLER Pachycephala pectoralis intacta

Common on Pic Santo.

NEW CALEDONIAN WHISTLER Pachycephala caledonica (NC)

Common and tame at Mount Koghis and Rivière Bleue.

RUFOUS WHISTLER Pachcephala rufiventris xanthetraea

A few at Mount Koghis

SILVEREYE Zosterops lateralis

Common at Loru ssp vatensis and Ipayato and in Noumea ssp griseonata.

YELLOW-FRONTED WHITE EYE Zosterops flavifrons brevicauda (V)

Common at Loru and on trek up Pic Santo.

NEW CALEDONIAN WHITE EYE Zosterops xanthochroa (NC)

Common on New Caledonia in forested areas.

NEW HEBRIDES HONEYEATER Phylidonyris notabilis (V)

Common from 455m to 1200m on Pic Santo.


Up to ten birds on Mount Koghis usually in feeding flocks, two at Rivière Bleue.

CARDINAL MYZOMELA Myzomela cardinalis tenuis

Common at Loru and on Pic Santo.

NEW CALEDONIAN FRIARBIRD Philemon diemenensis (NC)

Three birds at Rivière Bleue perched high in the trees calling.


Common in Port Villa ssp griseoviridis. Two at Mount Koghis ssp incana around the auberge.

BARRED HONEYEATER Phylidonyris undulata (NC)

Five at Mount Koghis, two at Rivière Bleue.

CROW HONEYEATER Gymnomyna aubryana (NC)

Only two birds seen at Rivière Bleue, one in response to tape, very difficult to see highly skulking nature. Yves is studying this species and attempting to assess its population. Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife.

WHITE-BREASTED WOODSWALLOW Artamus leucorhynchus tenuis

Two birds at 1100m on Pic Santo.


An absolute belter, six birds seen feeding at close range at Mount Koghis and twelve birds at Rivière Bleue feeding in pines adjacent to the main trail through the forest in the park.

CHESTNUT-BREASTED MUNIA Lonchura castaneothorax

(Introduced). Common at Loru and Ipayato.

RUSTY-WINGED STARLING Aplonis zelandica rufipennis

Only one seen at 1050m on Pic Santo on the final morning. The bird flew into a bare tree and sat motionless for a minute before flying off into the valley below. Classified as near threatened by Birdlife.

STRIATED STARLING Aplonis striata striata (NC)

Seven at Mount Koghis, one only at Rivière Bleue.

COMMON MYNA Acridotheres tristris

(Introduced). Common on Espírito Santo.

NEW CALEDONIAN CROW Corvus moneduloides (NC)

Twenty-two birds at Mount Koghis seen on the last day despite spending many hours in the field at this site. They were usually encountered in small groups feeding noisily in the canopy and not very approachable. No birds at all at Rivière Bleue though this species is present here and one was possibly heard.


SANTA CRUZ GROUND-DOVE Gallicolumba sanctaecrucis

A rarely seen species found on Vanuatu.

ROYAL PARROTFINCH Erythrura cyaneovirens (V)

Endemic to Vanuatu this species can be seen on Pic Santo but is evidently quite scarce and difficult to see possibly as a result of its retiring habits. Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife.

SANTO MOUNTAIN STARLING Aplonis santovestris(V)

Incredibly rare possibly extinct, this enigmatic species may be encountered if one set up an expedition to the higher parts of Pic Santo. Classified as Vulnerable by Birdlife.


Possibly not too uncommon but evidently difficult to locate if the birds are not calling. Other birders to the island have found this species very difficult to find.

OUVEA PARAKEET Cyanoramphus uvaeensis

Endemic to Ouvea in the Loyalty Islands you will need the help of local conservation bodies to access the area and see this rare endemic, split from Horned Parakeet.

LARGE LIFU WHITE EYE Zosterops inornata

Endemic and likely to be seen on a trip to Lifu in the Loyalty Islands off New Caledonia, though at times difficult to find unless good quality forest is visited.

SMALL LIFU WHITE EYE Zosterops minuta

Endemic and common on Lifu.


The Birds of Vanuatu. Bregulla.

A Birding trip to New Caledonia. Thomas et al.

Birds to Watch 2. The World List of Threatened Birds. Birdlife International.

Birds of the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia. Doughty.

Where to Watch Birds in Australasia and Oceania. Wheatley.

A Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Howard and Moore.

World Birdwatch. Vol. 17 No. 4, December 1995, pg 12 to 16.

A Complete Checklist of the Birds of the World. Howard and Moore.

Copyright © 1992-2012 John Wall