Tongan Whistler

To: "'Birding-aus'" <>
Subject: Tongan Whistler
From: "Ross Macfarlane" <>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2012 22:06:51 +1300
Sought and found...

With very limited time today I was successful in spotting the Tongan whistler, 
which is indigenous to Tonga’s second island, Vava’u, and one other island in 
the Tongan group.

Thanks to those who helped out with tips on finding it. Most useful to me, 
though, was this: 

... because not only did it let me identify spots to find it, but allowed me to 
cheat and call it up using a download of its own call (I know, I know, so shoot 
me. I had 1 hour left on a tropical island – what would you have done?)

I found it 100m into the trees above the Mt Talau radio tower, after a very 
obliging taxi driver drove up a track no self-respecting goat would claim, and 
thanks to my internet cheat I found it within 2 minutes of leaving my somewhat 
bewildered fellow travellers (2 Fijians and a Tongan, who just accepted it as 
Western eccentricity,) below the human-induced tree line.

The Tongan whistler has been lumped with the golden whistler, & there is a 
similar species in Fiji, but unlike the Australian & Fijian golden whistlers, 
the Tongan whistler has no white bib & just has a full black hangman’s hood. 
For the record, it was a cracker – a little golden jewel who regarded me and my 
recorded message with what I can best describe as a disdainful eye.

(This Tongan stamp was the only image I could find of the Tongan whistler on 

And then I got to fly back to Nuku’alofa on a 1945 Douglas DC3. A top day was 
had by me, at least. 
From: Ross Macfarlane 
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2012 5:45 PM
To: 'Birding-aus' 
Subject: Tongan Whistler

Anyone have any tips on places to see the Tongan Whistler on Vava’u, Tonga?

I have unexpectedly been asked to conduct a flying visit to Tonga next week, 
including Vava’u, but I will only be on the island for 1-2 days at most & will 
be working, so it needs to be a fairly accessible spot.

Ross Macfarlane

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