The Pitcairn Islands, officially named the Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and Oeno Islands, are a group of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. The islands are a British overseas territory (formerly a British colony), the last remaining in the Pacific. Only Pitcairn Island, the second largest, is inhabited.
The islands are best known for being the home of the descendants of the Bounty mutineers and the Tahitians who accompanied them, an event retold in numerous books and films. This story is still apparent in the surnames of many of the islanders. With only 48 inhabitants (from nine families), Pitcairn is also notable for being the least populated jurisdiction in the world (although it is not a sovereign nation). The United Nations Committee on Decolonisation includes the Pitcairn Islands on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
The Pitcairn Islands form the southeasternmost extension of the geological archipelago of the Tuamotus of French Polynesia and consist of five islands: Pitcairn Island, Sandy Island (the last one found), Oeno Island (atoll with five islets), Henderson Island and Ducie Island (atoll with four islets). The only permanently inhabited island, Pitcairn, is accessible only by boat through Bounty Bay.
Henderson Island, covering about 67% of the territory's total land area and supporting a rich variety of animals in its nearly inaccessible interior, is also capable of supporting a small human population, but access is difficult, its outer shores comprising steep limestone cliffs of sharp coral.
The Pitcairn Islands were formed by a centre of upwelling magma called the Pitcairn hotspot. The other islands are at a distance of more than 100 km (60 miles) and are not habitable. The Pitcairn Islands are one of two places in the world in which the plant species Glochidion pitcairnense occurs.
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Number of Species
Number of bird species: 30
Number of endemics: 5
Henderson Crake Porzana atra
Henderson Fruit-dove Ptilinopus insularis
Henderson Lorikeet Vini stepheni
Henderson Reed-warbler Acrocephalus taiti
Pitcairn Reed-warbler Acrocephalus vaughani
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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 [10 October] - Jan-Joost Bouwman
…The trip was highly successful in observing all the extant endemic species of French Polynesia and the Pitcairns, with the exception of Rimatara Reed Warbler and Kuhl's Lorikeet on Rimatara, and Rapa Fruit Dove on Rapa, as neither were visited as part of the trip….
2014 [10 October] - Derek Scott
...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
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....
Henderson Island is an unihabitated raised reef island, 9.6 km long by 5.1 km wide with an area of 36 square km, in the Pitcairn Island group of the SE Pacific. The island's perimeter is 26.4 km; of this, 16.5 km is encircled by a fringing reef. It is 168 km ENE of Pitcairn. Henderson Island is the largest island in the Pitcairn Island group, one of the remotest groups of islands in the South Pacific, with no major land mass within a 5,000km radius. The group comprises four islands, with Henderson lying 200km east-north-east of Pitcairn, 200km east of Oeno and 360km west of Ducie. Only Ducie, and the Chilean islands of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) and Sala y Gomez lie further to the east within Polynesia. The Pitcairn group is a Dependent Territory of the United Kingdom governed by the British High Commissioner in New Zealand, and a 10 member island council of H.M.S. Bounty descendants on Pitcairn Island. Henderson Island is (British) Crown Land.