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.

Contributors
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 149

    National Bird: Palau Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus pelewensis
Endemics
  • 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
Checklist

  • iGoTerra Checklist

    iGoTerra Checklist
    Fatbirder Associate iGoTerra offers the most comprehensive and up to date birds lists on the web
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 NHBS.com
  • Marine Environments of Palau

    By Patrick L Colin | Mutual Publishing | 2009 | Paperback | 400 pages, 1200 colour photos | ISBN: 9780615274843 Buy this book from NHBS.com
Trip Reports


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  • 2010 [01 January] - Jon Hornbuckle

    Report
    …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

    PDF Report
    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…
  • 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.....
Other Links
  • List of birds of Palau

    Information
    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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