Solomon Islands

Rennell Shrikebill Clytorhynchus hamlini ©Pete Morris Website

The Solomon Islands is a country in Melanesia, east of Papua New Guinea, consisting of nearly one thousand islands yet with a population of around three quarters of a million people. They include Choiseul, the Shortland Islands; the New Georgia Islands; Santa Isabel; the Russell Islands; Nggela (the Florida Islands); Malaita; Guadalcanal; Sikaiana; Maramasike; Ulawa; Uki; Makira (San Cristobal); Santa Ana; Rennell and Bellona; the Santa Cruz Islands and three remote, tiny outliers, Tikopia, Anuta, and Fatutaka. Together they cover a land mass of 28,400 square kilometers (10,965 square miles). The distance between the westernmost and easternmost islands is about 1,500 kilometres (930 miles). The Santa Cruz Islands (of which Tikopia is part), are situated north of Vanuatu and are especially isolated at more than 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the other islands. The capital and largest city is Honiara, located on the island of Guadalcanal, with around 85,000 inhabitants.

Although Bougainville is geographically part of the Solomon Islands, it is politically part of Papua New Guinea.

The islands’ ocean-equatorial climate is extremely humid throughout the year, with a mean temperature of 27 °C (80 °F) and few extremes of temperature or weather. June through August is the cooler period. Though seasons are not pronounced, the northwesterly winds of November through April bring more frequent rainfall and occasional squalls or cyclones. The annual rainfall is about 3050 mm (120 in).

Birding the Solomon Islands

The Solomon Islands archipelago is part of two distinct terrestrial ecoregions. Most of the islands are part of the Solomon Islands rain forests ecoregion, which also includes the islands of Bougainville and Buka, which are part of Papua New Guinea, these forests have come under pressure from forestry activities.

The Santa Cruz Islands are part of the Vanuatu rain forests ecoregion, together with the neighbouring archipelago of Vanuatu. Soil quality ranges from extremely rich volcanic (there are volcanoes with varying degrees of activity on some of the larger islands) to relatively infertile limestone. More than 230 varieties of orchids and other tropical flowers brighten the landscape. The islands contain several active and several dormant volcanoes. The Tinakula and Kavachi volcanoes are the most active.

With around 70 endemic birds among a list of about 220 species, the islands have more restricted range species than any other Endemic Bird Area in the world. Many are difficult to find and sadly introduced species like Common Myna about and often predominate.

Amon other taxa there are numerous amphibians and reptiles and fifteen species of bat. Sea life is prolific including several turtle species.

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 326

    (As at April 2024)
  • Number of endemics: (85) 29 Non-passerines

    Sanford's Fish-Eagle Haliaeetus sanfordi
    Imitator Sparrowhawk Accipiter imitator
    Woodford's Rail Nesoclopeus woodfordi
    Roviana Rail Gallirallus rovianae
    Makira Moorhen Gallinula silvestris
    Crested Cuckoo-Dove Reinwardtoena crassirostris
    Santa Cruz Ground Dove Alopecoenas sanctaecrusis
    Silver-capped Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus richardsii
    White-headed Fruit-Dove Ptilinopus eugeniae
    Chestnut-bellied Imperial-Pigeon Ducula brenchleyi
    Pale Mountain-Pigeon Gymnophaps solomonensis
    Ducorps's Cockatoo Cacatua ducorpsii
    Yellow-bibbed Lory Lorius chlorocercus
    Meek's Lorikeet Charmosyna meeki
    Duchess Lorikeet Charmosyna margarethae
    Buff-headed Coucal Centropus milo
    Fearful Owl Nesasio solomonensis
    West Solomons Owl Athene jacquinoti
    Guadalcanal Owl Athene malaitae
    Makira Owl Athene roseoaxillaris
    Malaita Owl Athene granti
    Solomon's Nightjar Eurostopodus nigripennis
    North Solomons Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx meeki
    Malaita Dwarf-kingfisher Ceyx malaitae
    New Georgia Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx collectoris
    Guadalcanal Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx nigromaxilla
    Makira Dwarf Kingfisher Ceyx gentianus
    Ultramarine Kingfisher Todiramphus leucopygius
    Moustached Kingfisher Actenoides bougainvillei
  • Number of endemics: (85) 56 Passerines

    Black-faced Pitta Pitta anerythra
    Solomon Islands Cuckooshrike Edolisoma holopolia
    Makira Cicadabird Edolisoma salompnis
    Makira Thrush Zoothera margaretae
    Guadalcanal Thrush Zoothera turipavae
    Shade Warbler Horornis parens
    Guadalcanal Thicketbird Megalurulus whitneyi
    Makira Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus makirensis
    Kolombangara Leaf-Warbler Phylloscopus amoenus
    Cockerell’s Fantail Rhipidura cockerelli
    Brown Fantail Rhipidura drownei
    Dusky Fantail Rhipidura tenebrosa
    Rennell Fantail Rhipidura rennelliana
    Malaita Fantail Rhipidura malaitae
    Vanikoro Monarch Mayrornis schistaceus
    Rennell Shrikebill Clytorhynchus hamlini
    Santa Cruz Shrikebill Clytorhynchus sanctaecrucis
    Bougainville Monarch Monarcha erythrostictus
    Chestnut-bellied Monarch Monarcha castaneiventris
    White-capped Monarch Monarcha richardsii
    Kolombangara Monarch Monarcha browni
    White-collared Monarch Monarcha viduus
    Black-and-Whte Monarch Symposiarchrus barbatus
    Steel-blue Flycatcher Myiagra ferrocyanea
    Ochre-headed Flycatcher Myiagra cervinicauda
    Guadalcanal Hooded Whistler Pachycephala implicata
    Temotu Whistler Pachycephala vanikorensis
    Oriole Whistler Pachycephala orioloides
    Rennell Whistler Pachycephala feminina
    Midget Flowerpecker Dicaeum aeneum
    Mottled Flowerpecker Dicaeum tristrami
    Rennell White-eye Zosterops rennellianus
    Ganongga White-eye Zosterops splendidus
    Splendid White-eye Zosterops luteirostris
    Yellow-throated White-eye Zosterops metcalfii
    Solomons White-eye Zosterops kulambangrae
    Dark-eyed White-eye Zosterops tetiparius
    Kolombangara White-eye Zosterops murphyi
    Grey-throated White-eye Zosterops rendovae
    Malaita White-eye Zosterops stresemanni
    Santa Cruz White-eye Zosterops santaecrucis
    Vanikoro White-eye Zosterops gibbsi
    Bare-eyed White-eye Zosterops superciliosa
    Sanford's White-eye Zosterops lacertosa
    Scarlet-naped Myzomela Myzomela lafargei
    Yellow-vented Myzomela Myzomela eichhorni
    Red-bellied Myzomela Myzomela malaitae
    Black-headed Myzomela Myzomela melanocephala
    Makira Honeyeater Meliarchus sclateri
    Guadalcanal Honeyeater Guadalcanaria inexpectata
    Rennell Gerygone Gerygone citrina
    Guadalcanal Crow Corvus woodfordi
    Rennell Starling Aplonis insularis
    White-eyed Starling Aplonis brunneicapilla
    Brown-winged Starling Aplonis grandis
    Makira Starling Aplonis dichroa
  • Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist includes all bird species found in Solomon Islands , based on the best information available at this time. It is based on a wide variety of sources that I collated over many years. I am pleased to offer these checklists as a service to birdwatchers.
  • Living National Treasures

    Endemics Checklist
    This list of bird species found exclusively in the Solomon Islands is based on the taxonomy used in del Hoyo & Collar (2014 & 2016). The source list based on the December 2017 update is available online here. For further details on possible inaccuracies in the list see Sources & Caveats.
  • Wikipedia

    Annotated List
    The area's avifauna include a total of 321 species, of which 76 are endemic, and three have been introduced by humans. Of these, 28 species are globally threatened.
  • eBird

    PDF Checklist
    This checklist is generated with data from eBird (, a global database of bird sightings from birders like you. If you enjoy this checklist, please consider contributing your sightings to eBird. It is 100% free to take part, and your observations will help support birders, researchers, and conservationists worldwide.
Useful Reading

  • Birds and Bird Lore of Bougainville and the North Solomons

    By Don Hadden | Dove Publications | 2001 | Paperback | 312 pages, Maps, colour photos | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780959025750 Buy this book from
  • Birds of Melanesia

    (Bismarcks, Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia ) | By Guy Dutson | Christopher Helm | 2011 | Paperback | 447 pages | 75 colour plates | colour photos | colour maps | black & white illustrations | tables | ISBN: 9780713665406 Buy this book from
  • Birds of the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia

    by Chris Doughty, Nicholas Day & Andrew Plant | Christopher Helm | 1999 | Paperback | 206 pages, 91 colour plates, 340 colour distribution maps | Out of Print | ISBN: 9780713646900 Buy this book from
  • South Pacific Regional Environment Programme

    Solomon Islands

Abbreviations Key

  • Arnarvon Islands - Community-Managed Conservation Area

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The Arnarvon Islands are located in the Manning Straits, midway between Choiseul and Isabel Islands, two large mountainous islands in the Solomon Archipelago…
Guides & Tour Operators
  • BirdFinders

    Tour Operator
    This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the endemics of a region that very few birders visit. The islands hold more restricted-range species than any other EBA on the planet. In addition to the 67+ endemics, 20+ near endemics and many endemic subspecies, we will also have the chance to see the sole members of four genera exclusive to these islands: Woodford’s Rail, Solomon’s Frogmouth, Makira Honeyeater and Bare-eyed White-eye, and all in stunning scenery.
  • BirdQuest

    Tour Operator
    The Ultimate island endemics tour, including Black-faced Pitta, Fearful Owl and Sanford’s Sea Eagle
  • Naturetrek

    Tour Operator
    A 14-day wildlife holiday, including a 10-night cruise, around the Solomon...
  • ORNIS Birding Expeditions

    Tour Operator
    Our 2025 Solomon Islands tour will be the most comprehensive to ever run in this challenging but exciting country. Rather than determining a day-by-day itinerary (which is always at the mercy of Solomon Airlines), below is the summary of each island group we will be visiting. With a lot of hiking, a bit of cursing, and a pinch of luck, we have a chance to record up to 85 endemics.
  • Sicklebill Safaris

    Tour Operator
    The Solomon Islands avifauna also has a really high degree of endemism. With a total checklist of 302 birds, 102 are endemic to the islands. While 37 of these can be found throughout the archipelago the rest are endemic to very small areas, so a lot of island hopping is needed to see them.
  • Trek-Papua

    Tour Operator
    Solomon Islands Birds Watching Adventure details...

    Tour Operator
    The tour of these islands and the optional extension to the islands of the Western Province offer the opportunity to see more than 70 endemics and more than 20 near endemics (also found on other Melanesian islands), in addition to a large number of regional specialties.
Trip Reports
  • 2017 [07 July] - Charles Davies

    I joined a Birdquest tour to Solomons in July 2017 (led by Mark Van Beirs and Josh Bergmark) that visited a number of the islands, including the highlands of Makira. All of the mountain areas in the Solomons are extremely complicated to reach, and Birdquest organizes the only birding tour that visits them regularly (every two years).
  • 2017 [08 August] - Mark van Beirs

    PDF Report
    Magnificent, but often skulking birds. Mud, sweat, slippery trails, steep mountains, shaky logistics, and an airline with a dubious reputation. This is what the Solomon Islands tour is all about, but these forgotten islands in the southwest Pacific hold some glorious, very rarely observed birds that very few birders will ever have the privilege to add to their lifelist
  • 2018 [10 October] - Richard Major

    Throughout the trip we totalled 73 species observed, most of which were observed on multiple occasions. Exactly forty of these were new birds for my life list, four of which (depending on which taxonomy you follow) can not be seen anywhere else in the world, aside from Malaita. Truly fortunate to be able to travel and view the birds on Malaita with Esau and the Kwaio team.
  • 2019 [09 September] - Joshua Bergmark

    PDF Report
    Magnificent, but often skulking birds. Mud, sweat, extended slippery treks, steep mountains, shaky logistics, and constant battles with land access. This is what a Solomon Islands tour is all about.
  • 2023 [08 August] - Pete Morris

    Particular highlights included the amazing Solomons Frogmouth, the rare Solomons Nightjar, Guadalcanal, Makira and West Solomons Owls, the impressive Sanford’s Sea Eagle, the elusive Black-faced Pitta, Duchess Lorikeet, numerous Solomons Cockatoos, Ultramarine Kingfisher as well as three smart species of dwarf kingfishers, brilliant monarchs including the smart White-capped Monarch, the gorgeous Solomons Robins, the stunning Makira Thrush and a host of white-eyes including the lovely Gizo White-eye (formerly known as Splendid White-eye).
Places to Stay
  • Heritage Park Hotel

    The Heritage Park Hotel opened its doors in August 2009 on the former historical site of the Governor General’s residence in the center of Honiara. Its design blends with its aesthetic cultural heritage and recreates with state-of-art architecture, a contemporary grace set on 5 acres of prime waterfront land of private park like setting with mature trees and tranquil landscaped gardens.
Other Links
  • Solomon Island Eclectus Eclectus roratus solomensis

    The lovely Solomon Island Eclectus is a bit smaller than the Vosmaeri Eclectus. As with other Eclectus species, the male is green and the female is red and blue

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