Palau, officially the Republic of Palau, is an island nation in the Pacific Ocean, some 500 miles (800 km) east of the Philippines and 2,000 miles (3,200 km) south of Tokyo. Having emerged from United Nations trusteeship (administered by the United States) in 1994, it is one of the world's youngest and smallest nations.
Palau's most populous islands are Angaur, Babeldaob, Koror, and Peleliu. The latter three lie together within the same barrier reef, while Angaur is an oceanic island several miles to the south. About two-thirds of the population live on Koror. The coral atoll of Kayangel is situated north of these islands, while the uninhabited Rock Islands (about 200) are situated to the west of the main island group. A remote group of six islands, known as the Southwest Islands, some 375 miles (600 km) from the main islands, are also part of the country and make up the states of Hatohobei and Sonsorol.
Palau enjoys a tropical climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 82 °F (27 °C). Rainfall can occur throughout the year, averaging a total of 150 inches (3,800 mm). The average humidity over the course of the year is 82%, and although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine. Typhoons are rare, as Palau is outside the main typhoon zone.
While much of Palau's natural environment remains free of environmental degradation, there are several areas of concern, including illegal fishing with the use of dynamite, inadequate facilities for disposal of solid waste in Koror, and extensive sand and coral dredging in the Palau lagoon. Like the other Pacific island nations, a potential major environmental threat is global warming and the related rising of sea level. Water coverage of low-lying areas is a threat to coastal vegetation, agriculture, and the purity of the nation's water supply. Palau also has a problem with inadequate water supply and limited agricultural areas to support the size of the population. The nation is also vulnerable to earthquakes, volcanic activity, and tropical storms. Sewage treatment is a problem, along with the handling of toxic waste from fertilizers and biocides.
On November 5, 2005, President of Palau, Tommy E. Remengesau, Jr. took the lead on a regional environmental initiative called the Micronesia challenge, which would conserve 30 percent of near shore coastal waters and 20 percent of forest land by 2020. In addition to Palau, the initiative was joined by the Federated States of Micronesia and Marshall Islands, and the U.S. territories of Guam and Northern Mariana Islands. Together, this combined region represents nearly 5 percent of the marine area of the Pacific Ocean and 7 percent of its coastlines.
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Number of Species
Number of bird species: 149
National Bird: Palau Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pelewensis
Number of endemics: 13
Palau Ground-Dove Gallicolumba canifrons
Palau Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pelewensis
Palau Owl Pyrroglaux podarginus
Palau Swiftlet Aerodramus pelewensis
Palau Bush-Warbler Cettia annae
Palau Fantail Rhipidura lepida
Palau Flycatcher Myiagra erythrops
Palau Kingfisher Todiramphus pelewensis
Palau Cicadabird Coracina monacha
Micronesian Megapode Megapodius senex
Morningbird Colluricincla tenebrosa
Dusky White-eye Zosterops finschii
Giant White-eye Megazosterops palauensis
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2006 [01 January] - Gary and Marlene Babic
This is a report on a short birding trip to Palau that had been intended as the first leg of a multi-island Micronesian trip that was cut short by injury. However, new information not contained in previous trip reports shows how all Palau endemics can be seen using Koror as a convenient base…
2010 [01 January] - Jon Hornbuckle
…Ashore after 40 mins, walked right, along the bottom edge of the cliff and had good views of Micronesian Scrubfowl, Palau Ground-dove and Morningbird, plus several rats. Left at 09.30 for Margie’s Beach on Urukthapel island, a 30 min ride…
2010 [06 June] - Petri Hottola
Palau has no less than thirteen endemic species: Palau Owl, Micronesian Megapode, Palau Fruit Dove, Palau Ground Dove, Palau Swiftlet, Palau Kingfisher, Palau Cicadabird, Morningbird, Mangrove Flycatcher, Palau Fantail, Palau Bush Warbler, Dusky White-eye and Giant White-eye…
List of birds of Palau
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Palau. The avifauna of Palau includes a total of 149 species, of which 10 are endemic, 3 have been introduced by humans, and 17 are rare or accidental. 3 species are globally threatened…