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Norfolk Island

Crimson Rosella Platycercus elegans ©Fatbirder

Norfolk Island is a small island in the Pacific Ocean located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. It and two neighbouring islands form one of Australia's external territories.

The Norfolk Island pine, a symbol of the island pictured in its flag, is an evergreen tree native to the island and is quite popular in Australia, where two related species also grow.

Norfolk Island is located in the South Pacific Ocean, east of the Australian mainland. Norfolk Island is the main island of the island group the territory encompasses and is located at 29°02′S 167°57′E. It has an area of 34.6 km² (13.3 mi²), with no large-scale internal bodies of water but 32 km of coastline. The island's highest point is Mt Bates (319 m above sea level), located in the northwest quadrant of the island. The majority of the terrain is suitable for farming and other agricultural uses. Phillip Island, the second largest island of the territory, is located at 29°07′S 167°57′E, seven kilometres south of the main island.

The coastline of Norfolk Island consists, to varying degrees, of cliff faces. A downward slope exists towards Sydney Bay and Emily Bay, the site of the original colonial settlement of Kingston. There are no safe harbour facilities on Norfolk Island, with loading jetties existing at Kingston and Cascade Bay. All goods not domestically produced are brought in by ship, usually to Cascade Bay. Emily Bay, protected from the Pacific Ocean by a small coral reef, is the only safe area for recreational swimming, although surfing waves can sometimes be found in Ball Bay.

The climate is subtropical and mild, with little seasonal differentiation. The island is the eroded remnant of a basaltic volcano active around 2.3 to 3 million years ago, with inland areas now consisting mainly of rolling plains. It forms the highest point on the Norfolk Ridge, part of the submerged continent Zealandia.

The area surrounding Mt Bates is preserved as the Norfolk Island National Park. The park, covering around 10% of the land of the island, contains remnants of the forests which originally covered the island, including stands of subtropical rainforest. The park also includes the two smaller islands to the south of Norfolk Island, Nepean Island and Phillip Island. The vegetation of Phillip Island was devastated due to the introduction during the penal era of pest animals such as pigs and rabbits, giving it a red-brown colour as viewed from Norfolk; however, pest control and remediation work by park staff has recently brought some improvement to the Phillip Island environment.

The major settlement on the Island is Burnt Pine, located predominantly along Taylor's Road, where the shopping centre, post office, liquor store, telephone exchange and community hall are located. Settlement also exists over much of the island, consisting largely of widely-separated homesteads.

Norfolk Island has 174 native plants; 51 of them are endemic. At least 18 of the endemic species are rare or threatened. The Norfolk Island Palm Rhopalostylis baueri and the Smooth Tree-fern Cyathea brownii, the tallest tree-fern in the world, are common in the Norfolk Island National Park but rare elsewhere on the island. 15 bird species were originally present; 6 are extinct and three species and two subspecies are highly endangered. Norfolk island has only one native mammal, Gould's wattled bat Chalinolobus gouldii, which is very rare or may be extinct.

Before European colonization, most of Norfolk Island was covered with subtropical rain forest, the canopy of which was made of Araucaria heterophylla (Norfolk Island Pine) in exposed areas, and the palm Rhopalostylis baueri and tree ferns Cyathea brownii and C. australia in moister protected areas. The understory was thick with lianas and ferns covered the forest floor. Only one small tract (5km²) of rainforest remains, which was declared as the Norfolk Island National Park in 1986. This forest has been infested with several introduced plants. The cliffs and steep slopes of Mt. Pitt supported a community of shrubs, herbaceous plants, and climbers. A few tracts of clifftop and seashore vegetation have been preserved. The rest of the island has been cleared for pasture and housing. Grazing and introduced weeds currently threaten the native flora, displacing it in some areas. In fact, there are more weed species than native species on Norfolk Island.

Contributor

Wikipedia

GNU Free Documentation License

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norfolk_Island

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 162

162 birds have been seen... however, only 59 are resident or regular and a further 30 occasionally spotted the rest can be regarded as vagrant or acidental

Endemics

Number of endemics: 4

Norfolk Island Parakeet Cyanoramphus cookii Norfolk Island Gerygone Gerygone modesta Slender-billed White-eye Zosterops tenuirostris White-chested White-eye Zosterops albogularis

Checklist

Checklist

WebBirder Checklist

Fatbirder's very own checklists are now available through WebBirder

Useful Reading

Norfolk Island - The Birds

by Margaret Christian Green Eyes 2005

ISBN: 0975821202

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Trip Reports

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

CloudBirders

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.

2013 [01 January] - Phil Gregory

Report

…The Norfolk Island Golden Whistler must be a strong candidate for a split, and work on what currently constitutes Pacific Robin might yield up another as these sure don’t look or sound like the Fiji birds. Trip List total ended up at 45 plus one large raptor sp. I missed Goldfinch and Nankeen Kestrel and had no sign of Shining Bronze Cuckoo, and think we are maybe just too early for Little Shearwater (though they say two taxa breed here, one in summer and one in winter), whilst White-necked Petrel again eluded me despite seeing so many Black-winged from shore…

Places to Stay

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Hotels

Accommodation

Several hotels with info.

Organisations

Norfolk Island Botanic Garden

Website

The Norfolk Island Botanic Gardens house a collection of specimens of plants endemic to Norfolk Island. The garden aims to develop and display a collection of Norfolk Island's unique flora with a strong emphasis on increasing knowledge, appreciation and enjoyment of Australia's plant heritage…

Reserves

National Park

Website

The island boasts a bird list of one hundred and sixteen species. Of these sixty-six are vagrants or non-breeding migrants. A number of the seabirds which nest on Phillip Island are subject to agreements which Australia has entered into with the Governments of Japan and the People's Republic of China…

Other Links

Norfolk Island National Park Birdwatching

Website

Norfolk Island is home to a fascinating mixture of land, water and seabirds. The island's isolation means that although Norfolk has relatively few land and forest bird species, a high proportion of these birds are found nowhere else in the world…

Norfolk Island Parakeet Cyanoramphus cookii

Website

Full species profile…

Norfolk Island White-eye Zosterops albogularis

Website

Full Species profile…

Norfolk Island's Flora & Fauna

Website

Some Birds To Watch Out For… White Tern - These delightful, graceful creatures are known here as Fairy Terns. Snow-white but for their black bills, feet and eyes, they have translucent wings…