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Western Samoa

Common Noddy Anous stolidus ©Tom Tarrant Website

There are only 34 species of land birds, of which 14 are endemic, including such forms as the famous tooth-billed pigeon, fruit doves, kingfishers, and white-eye. So says one guide - but this refers to Samoa as a whole rather than just Western Samoa…

Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa), is a country governing the western part of the Samoan Islands archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. It was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa, was known as Navigators Islands before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills.

The country is located east of the international date line and south of the equator, about halfway between Hawai‘i and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The total land area is 2934 km² (slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Rhode Island), consisting of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i which account for 99% of the total land area, and eight small islets: the three islets in the Apolima Strait (Manono Island, Apolima and Nu'ulopa), the four Aleipata Islands off the eastern end of Upolu (Nu'utele, Nu'ulua, Namua, and Fanuatapu), and Nu'usafe'e (less than 0.01 km² in area and about 1.4 km off the south coast of Upolu at the village of Vaovai). The main island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa's population, and its capital city is Apia.

The climate is tropical, with an average annual temperature of 26.5 °C, and a rainy season from November to April. Savai'i is the largest of the Samoan islands and the third largest Polynesian Island after Tahiti and New Zealand. The population of Savali'i is 42,000 people.

The Samoan islands have been produced by volcanism, the source of which is a geologic hotspot which is the probable result of a mantle plume. While all of the islands have volcanic origins, only Savai'i has had recent eruptions and could be considered volcanically active. The last major eruption occurred in the 1700s, and smaller eruptions occurred between 1904–1906. The highest point in Samoa is Mauga Silisili, at 1858 m. The Saleaula Lava Fields were produced by Mt. Matavanu during its eruption 102 years ago leaving 52 square kilometres of solidified lava.

Number of Species

National Bird: Tooth-billed Pigeon Didunculus sprigirostris

Number of bird species: 78

Checklist

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Useful Reading

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: 9829030040

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 [05 May] - Israel Didham

Report

…The only birds I could note down firmly were common mynahs, jungle mynahs, red-vented bulbuls and Polynesian triller…

2013 [07 July] - Jim Holmes

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...The trees, now were not nearly as tall and there were some shorter scrub. At this point, I started seriously looking for the white-eye. We continued up, occasionally stopping to look and play tape. Despite being late morning, there was plenty of bird activity (but no white-eyes). Cardinal Myzolemas, Wattled Honeyeaters and Samoan Starlings were all very common. I also began seeing the Samoan race of Island Thrush. We hiked past a campsite where there are remnants of prior campers. We kept going for another 2 hours without any luck. Eventually, I decided we should turn around and we kept looking for white-eyes on the way back without success. Luckily, as we just entered the main forest on the way back down, the guide pointed at a bird foraging just above eye-level. I looked at it, expecting another myzomela only to see the white-eye....

2015 [05 July] - K. David Bishop - Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu & New Caledonia

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...there were Common Noddies, Tongan and Samoan Fruit Bats roosting in the surrounding trees, ‘scope views of a pair of Mao, Samoan and Polynesian Starlings, the very distinctive Samoan race of Wattled Honeyeater, Blue-crowned Lorikeets constantly flying back and, less commonly, Red-headed Parrotfinches and a nesting pair of Cardinal Myzomelas. Darkness came much too quickly!

Organisations

le Siosiomaga Society Inc.

le Siosiomaga Society Inc.P0 Box 5774, Matautu WESTERN SAMOA. + 685 21993; ngo.fiiosiomaga@samos.net

Reserves

Wetlands

Website

There are six main wetland communities in Western Samoa, distinguished from each other by floristic, physiognomic and geographical differences. Three of these communities, coastal marsh, montane marsh and montane bog, are dominated by herbaceous species; the other three, mangrove scrub, mangrove forest and swamp forest, are dominated by woody trees. Of the two main islands of Western Samoa, Upolu is the older and possesses the most wetland areas, especially herbaceous marshes in low-lying coastal basins which are separated from the sea by a sand barrier and lack a stream outlet. This absence of a stream outlet restricts the growth of mangroves in these areas…

Other Links

Samoan Birds

Website

All the restricted-range bird species occur in forest but many are also found in plantations and gardens. This use of man-modified environments may be important for the survival of some indigenous species, given the severe loss of native habitat as a result of man's activities and cyclonic storms…