Republic of Palau

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva ©Andy Walker Website
Birding Palau

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.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 149

    (As at April 2020)

    National Bird: Palau Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pelewensis

  • Number of endemics: 12

    Palau Ground-Dove Gallicolumba canifrons
    Palau Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pelewensis
    Palau Owl Pyrroglaux podarginus
    Palau Nightjar Caprimulgus phalaena
    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
    Dusky White-eye Zosterops finschii
    Giant White-eye Megazosterops palauensis
  • iGoTerra Checklist

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Useful Reading

  • Birds and Bats of Palau

    By H Douglas Pratt & Mandy T Etpison | Mutual Publishing | 2008 | Paperback | 290 pages, 700 colour photos | ISBN: 9781566478717 Buy this book from
  • Marine Environments of Palau

    By Patrick L Colin | Mutual Publishing | 2009 | Paperback | 400 pages, 1200 colour photos | ISBN: 9780615274843 Buy this book from
Trip Reports
  • 2016 [04 April] - Pete Morris - Micronesia

    PDF Report
    A call from the canopy soon alerted us to a pair of the attractive Rusty-cappedKingfsher, one rusty-capped and one buff-capped, and we spent some time enjoying them. Nearby,the gorgeous Palau Flycatcher called away, dour Morningbirds hopped around us, strange-lookingPalau Bush Warblers alerted us by their song, and delightful Palau Fantails fitted past. Above us,Micronesian Myzomelas and Dusky and Citrine White-eyes foraged on fowers, the ubiquitous MicronesianStarlings few around, noisy Collared Kingfshers perched up, and Palau Fruit Doves, whilstcommon by voice, were a little elusive, though most got their frst decent views.....
  • 2019 [03 March] - János Oláh - Moicronesia

    PDF Report
    This was our fifth tour to explore some of the more remote areas of the Western Pacific. We were pioneers with our first tour back in 2008 and even nowadays very few birders visit Micronesia on such a thorough basis as we do! Virtually no other birding companies offer such a comprehensive tour to this remote corner of the World, especially now as we supplemented the main tour with a short extension to Kosrae – following the splitting of Kosrae Frui-dove and Kosrae White-eye. A
  • 2019 [05 May] - Greg Roberts

    PDF Report
    ...Seeing the Palau birds requires visiting two of the famed Rock Islands – Ulong and Ngeruktabel. I saw all the endemics on those islands except the owl and nightjar. Many can also be seen easily around Koror, especially Long Island, an area of forest adjoining a waterside park on the southern edge of the town...
Other Links
  • 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…

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