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French Polynesia

Atoll Fruit-dove Ptilinopus coralensis ©Sebastien Palud Website

French Polynesia is a French overseas collectivity in the southern Pacific Ocean. It is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands, the most famous island being Tahiti in the Society Islands group, which is also the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the territory (Papeete). Although not an integral part of its territory, Clipperton Island was administered from French Polynesia until 2007.

The islands of French Polynesia have a total land area of 4,167 square kilometres (1,622 sq. mi) scattered over 2,500,000 square kilometres (965,255 sq. mi) of ocean. It is made up of several groups of islands, the largest and most populated of which is Tahiti.

The island groups are:

Austral Islands
Bass Islands often considered part of the Austral Islands
Gambier Islands often considered part of the Tuamotu Archipelago
Marquesas Islands
Society Islands (including Tahiti)
Tuamotu Archipelago

Aside from Tahiti, some other important atolls, islands, and island groups in French Polynesia are: Ahe, Bora Bora, Hiva 'Oa, Huahine, Maiao, Maupiti, Mehetia, Moorea, Nuku Hiva, Raiatea, Tahaa, Tetiaroa, Tubuai, and Tupai.


Number of Species

Number of bird species: 31 Terrestial Species


Number of endemics: 28

Blue lorikeet, Vini peruviana, Lori nonette, vini
Ultramarine lorikeet, Vini ultramarina , Lori des Marquises, pihiti
Tahiti swiftlet, Aerodramus leucophaeus, Salangane de la Société, `ope`a
Marquesas swiftlet, Aerodramus ocistus , Salangane des Marquises, kopekapeka, kope`a
Chattering kingfisher, Halcyon tuta, Martin-chasseur de Polynésie, ruro
Tuamotu kingfisher, Halcyon gambieri, Martin-chasseur de Niau, kote`ute`u
Marquesan kingfisher, Halcyon godeffroyi , Martin-chasseur des Marquises, Pahi
Tahiti kingfisher, Halcyon venerata, Martin-chasseur vénéré, Ruro
Pacific swallow, Hirundo tahitica, Hirondelle de Tahiti, `ope`a
Tahiti monarch, Pomarea nigra, Monarque de Tahiti, `omama`o
Iphis monarch, Pomarea iphis , Monarque pie,
Marquesan monarch, Pomarea mendozae, Monarque marquisien, koma`o, pa
Fatuhiva monarch, Pomarea whitneyi , Monarque de Fatu-Hiva,
Tahiti reed-warbler, Acrocephalus caffer, Fauvette à long bec, `otatare, manu ofe, kotiotio
Marquesas reed-warbler, Acrocephalus mendanae, Fauvette des Marquises, Komako
Rimatara reed-warbler, Acrocephalus rimatarae , Fauvette de Rimatara, oromao

Number of endemics: 28 - English, Scientific, French & Local Names

Murphy`s Petrel, rodroma ultima, Pétrel de Murphy, e`upo
otu Sandpiper, Prosobonia cancellata, Bécasseau polynésien, titi
Polynesian ground-dove, Gallicolumba erythroptera, Gallicolombe érythroptère, u`uaira`o, tutururu
Marquesas ground-dove, Gallicolumba rubescens, Gallicolombe des Marquises,
Gray-green fruit-dove, Ptilinopus purpuratus, Ptilope de la Société, `u`upa
Atoll fruit-dove, Ptilinopus coralensis, Ptilope des Tuamotu, o`o
Makatea fruit-dove, Ptilinopus chalcurus, Ptilope de Makatea, `u`upa
White-capped fruit-dove, Ptilinopus dupetithouarsii, Ptilope de Dupetit-Thouars, kuku
Rapa fruit-dove, Ptilinopus huttoni , Ptilope de Hutton, koko
Polynesian pigeon, Ducula aurorae, Carpophage du Pacifique, rupe
Nuku Hiva pigeon, Ducula galeata, Carpophage des Marquises, upe
Kuhl`s lorikeet, Vini kuhlii, Lori de Kuhl, `ura


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Societe d'Ornithologie de Polynesie - Manu


Societe d'Ornithologie de Polynesie Manu BP 21 098, Papeete, Tahiti FRENCH POLYNESIA. + 689 42 6808; sop.manug@mail.pf - Polynesia's terrestrial avifauna consists of some thirty species. This relatively low number, however, masks a high rate of endemism. Only Reef Heron, Spotless Crake and Grey Duck have a large distribution throughout the South Pacific. The rest are only found in French Polynesia…


Abbreviations Key: See the appropriate Continent Page (or Country Page of those used on country sub-divisions)

Unique Features of Polynesian Marine Protected Areas in Relation to Other French Territories


A Marine Protected Area (MPA) is a natural maritime reserve. Today, less than 1% of French marine space is protected, an area equivalent to just twice the size of Corsica. A drop in the bucket, considering that French maritime possessions currently equal some ten million square kilometers.

Trip Reports

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…


Trip Report Repository

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.

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…

2010 [07 July] - Scott Bowers


For the solar eclipse of July 11, 2010, we had intended to visit Easter Island. However, extremely poor service from LAN Chile Airlines prompted us to change our plans to visit French Polynesia instead…

2011 [07 July] - Petri Hottola - Tahiti

Report PDF

…Tahiti is the gateway to French Polynesia and has five endemic bird species to look for: Grey-green Fruit-Dove, Tahiti Kingfisher, Tahiti Swiftlet, Tahiti Reed Warbler and the critically endangered Tahiti Monarch. The few Chattering Kingfishers are very difficult to locate….

2014 [04 April] - Keith Millar

PDF Report

... We saw only 57 species, plus three mammals, three reptiles, two butterflies, a dragonfly and one freshwater fish. But that list does include eight of the world’s rarest birds, found in some of the most beautiful islands on earth. In visiting this remote part of the South Pacific you will help directly in supporting the conservation of these species. As visiting birdwatchers - a rarity in itself - you will almost automatically raise local awareness...

2014 [10 October] - Derek Scott

PDF Report

...As was to be expected, the friendly and inquisitive Tuamotu Sandpipers on Tenararo Atoll were voted the most popular bird of the trip, but the cute little Henderson Crakes on Henderson, the amazingly confiding Polynesian Ground Doves on Tenararo and the colourful Ultramarine Lorikeets on Ua Huka in the Marquesas were also much admired. Other great birds included Murphy’s, Juan Fernandez, Kermadec, Herald, Henderson, Phoenix and Tahiti Petrels, White-bellied and Polynesian Storm Petrels, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Blue and Grey Noddies, Grey-green, Atoll, White-capped and Henderson Fruit Doves, Marquesan Imperial Pigeon, Pacific Long-tailed Cuckoo, Tahiti and Marquesan Swiftlets, Society and Marquesan Kingfishers, Kuhl’s and Stephen’s Lorikeets, and Tahiti, Iphis and Fatu Hiva Monarchs...

2014 [11 November] - Chris Collins

PDF Report

...The star bird was surely the endearing Tuamotu Sandpiper and we were privileged to see this charismatic species on Tenararo and Morane Islands. Although it is believed that the world population is about 1,300 birds which are found across just five atolls, we saw good numbers on both islands....

Other Links

Land-birds on the French Polynesian Atolls


Annotated list…

The sea-birds on the French Polynesian atolls


Annotated List…