Fiji, officially the Republic of the Fiji Islands (Fijian: Matanitu Tu-Vaka-i-koya ko Viti), is an island nation in the South Pacific Ocean east of Vanuatu, west of Tonga and south of Tuvalu. The country occupies an archipelago of about 322 islands, of which 106 are permanently inhabited, and 522 islets. The two most important islands are Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, which together account for 87% of the population.
The islands are mountainous, with peaks up to 1,300 metres (4,250 ft), and covered with tropical forests. Viti Levu hosts the capital city of Suva, and is home to nearly three quarters of the population. Other important towns include Nadi (the location of the international airport), and the second city - Lautoka (the location of a large sugar mill and a seaport). The main towns on Vanua Levu are Labasa and Savusavu. Other islands and island groups include Taveuni and Kadavu, the Mamanuca Group (just outside Nadi) and Yasawa Group, which are popular tourist destinations, the Lomaiviti Group, outside of Suva, and the remote Lau Group. Rotuma, some 500 kilometres (310 mi) north of the archipelago, has a special administrative status in Fiji. Fiji's nearest neighbour is Tonga. The climate in Fiji is tropical and warm most of the year round.
Taveuni is the third-largest island in Fiji, after Vanua Levu and Viti Levu, with a total land area of 435 square kilometers. The cigar-shaped island, a massive shield volcano which rises from the floor of the Pacific Ocean, is situated 6.5 kilometers to the east of Vanua Levu, across the Somosomo Strait, and is part of the Northern Division. It had a population of around 9,000. Taveuni has abundant flora and is known as the 'Garden Island of Fiji'. It is a popular tourist destination and has world class birding opportunities. Access to the mountainous area of Des Voeux Peak which is the second highest on the island, a prime birding habitat, is literally just minutes from the main town Waiyevo area. The best way is to take a 4-wheel drive vehicle nearly to the top of the 1195 meter peak, and then walk up from the locked gate. Likewise, Qeleni, on the northern end of the island also affords excellent bird watching. To get to Qeleni you have to take a 4-wheel drive about 5km up a rugged mountain road. Both locales offer the chance to see Orange Breasted Doves, Silktails, Ferntails and the Taveuni Musk Parrots.
Kadavu with an area of 411 square kilometers, is the fourth largest island in Fiji, and the largest island in the Kadavu Group, a volcanic archipelago consisting of Kadavu, Ono, Galoa and a number of smaller islands in the Great Astrolabe Reef. It is a tropical bird watcher's dream come true! No 3 day hike or drive into a jungle to catch a glimpse of a bird, most of the native life flyaround the island and the resorts all day and night! Kadavu has the additional attraction of the 4 endemic species found only on Kadavu and these species, like the Kadavu musk parrot, can all be seen on the grounds of most resorts.
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 133
Number of endemics: 22
Fiji Goshawk Accipiter rufitorques Orange Dove Ptilinopus victor Golden Dove Ptilinopus luteovirens Velvet Dove Ptilinopus layardi Peale`s Imperial-Pigeon Ducula latrans Crimson Shining-Parrot Prosopeia splendens Masked Shining-Parrot Prosopeia personata Collared Lory Phigys solitarius Orange-breasted Myzomela Myzomela jugularis Wattled Honeyeater Foulehaio carunculata Kadavu Honeyeater Xanthotis provocator Giant Honeyeater Gymnomyza viridis Streaked Fantail Rhipidura spilodera Kadavu Fantail Rhipidura personata Slaty Monarch Mayrornis lessoni Fiji Shrikebill Clytorhynchus vitiensis Black-throated Shrikebill Clytorhynchus nigrogularis Vanikoro Flycatcher Myiagra vanikorensis Blue-crested Flycatcher Myiagra azureocapilla Fiji Woodswallow Artamus mentalis Layard`s White-eye Zosterops explorator Fiji Bush-Warbler Cettia ruficapilla Fiji Parrot-Finch Erythrura pealii
Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder
A Guide to the Birds of Fiji and Western Polynesia including American Samoa, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Wallis & Futuna
By Dick Watling Hard Cover; 16 Full Colour Plates; Figures, Tables & Maps; 272 pages.
ISBN: 9829030040Buy this book from NHBS.com
Important Bird Areas in Fiji
Conserving Fiji's Natural Heritage Edited by Vilikesa T Masibalavu and Guy Dutson 66 pages, 50 Col photos, 14 tabs, 17 maps. BirdLife International Distributed by NHBS
ISBN: 9829101010Buy this book from NHBS.com
Pocket Poster Guide to the Birds of Fiji - Volume 1 - Landbirds
Dick Watling Series: POCKET POSTER GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF FIJI Col illus. Distributed by NHBS - other posters available too…
ISBN: 99085Buy this book from NHBS.com
Guides & Tour Operators
Kiwi Wildlife Tours
South Pacific Islands Birdwatching Tours - Fiji offers many birding delights (large musk parrots, frenetic flashing silktails, garrulous honeyeaters, exquisite golden and orange doves, Fijian goshawk, tropic-birds, frigatebirds, boobies and noddies). New Caledonia is also a must (kagu, cloven feathered dove, horned parakeet); with tropical, coral-fringed, rainforest-rich, mountainous islands or coral atolls throughout the region…
CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.
2005 [10 October] - Richard Thomas
The October 2005 tour to the island archipelagos of New Caledonia and Fiji was the most successful Birdquest ever to this magical part of the South Pacific. In 2003, Birdquest became the first tour company to record all known 21 extant endemics on New Caledonia and the Loyalty Islands, and this feat was emulated in 2005. Highlights included stunning views of the notoriously skulking and elusive New Caledonian Grassbird, superb views of male Cloven-feathered Doves and Crow Honeyeater, and all topped off by the incomparable Kagu. Our visit to Fiji recorded 22 endemic species…
2007 [08 August] - Israel Didham
This was my first trip to Fiji, even though I live in New Zealand and the island group is almost right in my own backyard, so to speak. I normally travel alone but this trip I had my girlfriend Robyn for company. This meant that it wasn't solid birding during our stay because she had the strange idea that there were other interesting things to do besides look for birds…
2008 [03 March] - Murray Lord & Chris Gladwin
We visited the islands of Taveuni, Kadavu and Viti Levu in Fiji between March 3 and 11, 2008. It was a successful trip, seeing all but one of the birds we hoped to find, and making up for that with one species we had not expected to see (Pacific Imperial-Pigeon)…
2008 [07 July] - Tony Pym - The Fiji Petrel Expedition
This year's mission to try and observe the Fiji Petrel at sea unfortunately had to be aborted after three days due to mechanical problems with the boat. Two chumming sessions on the journey to Gau, the island where birds have been grounded in the past, produced four Kermadec Petrels (only the second record for Fiji waters), a White-necked Petrel (though possibly a Vanuatu Petrel), 20+ Tahiti Petrels, four Collared Petrels and one probable, though brief, Providence Petrel. Of special note was a small 'Cookilaria-sized' dark petrel seen by three of the team, which flew under the Kermadec's giving a direct size comparison…
2008 [09 September] - Mark Finn - Tahiti, New Calednonia & Fiji
This was the first Birdwatching Breaks tour of the South Pacific taking in the islands of Tahiti, Moorea, New Caledonia, Lifou and the two Fijian islands of Viti Levu and Taveuni. During the tour we recorded 128 species. We started by visiting Tahiti where we quickly located all the remaining endemic birds including the globally-threatened Tahiti Monarch and Tahiti Reed Warbler…
2011 [09 September] - Phil Gregory
2012 [09 September] - Jim Holmes
Places and list…
2012 [09 September] - Phil Gregory
Fiji next, this year doing Viti Levu first which was actually very good- we had the Giant Forest Honeyeater at Raintree Lodge with the Fiji Parrotfinch and Masked Shining-Parrot nearby, and picked up most of the lowland forest birds in Colo-i-Suva…
2013 [09 September] - Phil Gregory - New Caledonia, Fiji & Vanuatu
…On next to Fiji, starting on Viti Levu with excellent Fiji Parrotfinch at Nausori Airport, then Masked Shining-Parrot and Giant Forest Honeyeater right at Raintree Lodge. A short walk got us Pacific Robin and Blue-crested Flycatcher, plus Fiji Whistler, whilst next day we put in some effort and finally got a fine male Golden Dove calling…
2014 [04 April] - David Klauber
I saw 53 species, and heard four more on the main three islands, with another 22 plus 1 heard on the Heritage trip for a total of 80 on my Fiji checklist. Best targets were the stunning Orange and Golden Doves and Pink-billed Parrotfinch, plus on the Heritage trip Fiji Petrel and Ogea Monarch. My biggest misses were Whistling/Velvet Dove and Long-legged Warbler, both heard only, and Friendly / Shy Ground-Dove, a regional endemic. Many islands have unique subspecies – refer to the Watling guide for detailed information...
2014 [08 August] - Mark van Beirs
Our New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu and Samoa tour offers the best of South Pacific birding with well-behaved flightless, brilliantly-coloured or mega skulking species, comfortable lodging, smooth travelling, glorious scenery, lush lowland and dripping montane forests, turquoise seas, palm-lined white beaches, impressive shield volcanoes and a peculiar mix of Melanesian and Polynesian culture...
2015 [07 July] - K. David Bishop - Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu & New Caledonia
...called in a superb Black-faced Shrikebill. As we waited for permission to be granted for us to enter the dam area we enjoyed the opportunity to photograph Fiji Woodswallows tamed by the daily presence of moth food at the lights of the guard’s hut. Permission granted, thanks to the good offices of Vindo, we descended to the dam wall and entered some very dense, rich looking forest along a pipeline trail.
Places to Stay
Fijis Premier Eco Adventure Resort - Welcome to Fiji Bird Watching, our website dedicated to the birds and avifauna of the Fiji Islands where 27 species were found nowhere else in the world, such as the fabulous Golden and Orange Doves (Bune or Bunako), three species of Shining-Parrots (Kaka), and the widespread Collared Lory (Kula) which is even found in town centres… although some species are now extinct.
Raintree Lodge is the first fully designed ecotourism lodge in the Fiji Islands! Colo-I-Suva Forest Park is a delight and is only 5 minutes walk away. The early morning observer may well be the first to greet the unafraid scarlet robin and be scolded by the spotted fantail. The sounds of civilization fade as the bush deepens, and soon the twitter of the mixed flocks of golden whistlers, blue-crested broadbills, slaty flycatchers and spotted fantails take over, punctuated occasionally by the raucous screech of the sulphur-breasted musk parrot or the resounding woof of a barking pigeon.
Dr Dick Watling, c/o Environment Consultants Fiji, P0 Box 2041, Government Buildings, Suva. +679 383189 firstname.lastname@example.org
NatureFiji-MareqetiViti is Fiji’s only domestic NGO working solely for the conservation and sustainable management of Fiji’s unique natural heritage. We aim to generate enthusiasm and local expertise in all matters associated with wildlife conservation and management through raising the level of conservation and environmental awareness and education…
Bouma National Heritage Park
Pristine rainforest covers much of the island of Taveuni, and around 80% of this is protected by forest reserve and the Park. At about 15,000 hectares, the Park can be regarded as a conservation success story. An agreement in the 1980s between the four Park communities of Waitabu, Vidawa, Korovou and Lavena ensures the forests will be protected indefinitely. Instead of cutting down the forests, these communities have turned to tourism as a means of generating income. Park entry fees go towards maintaining the Park, community education, and community development…
Colo-I-Suva Forest Park
Colo-I-Suva Forest Park (pronounced Tholo-ee-Suva) was once a true tropical lowland rainforest, which has been interplanted with mahogany. It is in the upper drainage area of Waisila catchment, alongside Princes Road. The Department of Forestry manages the Forest Park.
Fiji Bird Watching - Dr Dick Watling
The most eminent Dr Dick Watling! The ONE birder to contact if coming to Fiji for serious birding…
Birds and bird-watching
Overview of a number of other islands too…
Birds of Fiji
The total number of land birds on the Fiji islands compared to the totals on neighbouring islands and archipelagos in the South Pacific Region. The number of species declines with distance from the major source of immigrants, the New Guinea region, illustrating the filter effect…
Birdwatching in Fiji
Fiji, compared to other South Pacific nations such as New Guinea, lacks a diversity of avian life but there are enough interesting and sometimes spectacular looking birds to attract visitors from throughout the world. In all, there are about 80 species of terrestrial and freshwater birds of which about 10 have been introduced…
Effect of Insularity on the Diversity of Land Birds in the Fiji Islands
Implications for Refuge Design - Ecologists have argued over rules of thumb that could be used to set priorities in configuring systems of reserves for preserving biological diversity. To evaluate these simple strategies, I assembled a particularly large and comprehensive data set on the land birds of the Fiji archipelago…
Endangered Wildlife of Fiji
A resource paper for teachers and others…
The website of Dick Watling, Pacific naturalist, author and environment consultant…