Vanuatu Trip summary

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Vanuatu Trip summary
From: Phil & Sue Gregory <>
Date: Sat, 27 Mar 2010 10:39:46 +1000
We also just made a quick foray to Vanuatu, unfortunately coinciding with cyclone Ului which made birding tough, but we did get a few nice lowland things. We stayed on Espiritu Santo where we recommend Turtle Bay Resort 20 km N of Luganville as being reasonably priced and fairly close to the birding sites of Vatthe and Loru. Kenneth Iav of Santo Island Tours helped greatly with transport facilitating access and getting landowner permission, which Is essential throughout Melanesia. Santo is a lovely relaxed and friendly place, with none of the possible menace that can be found in other places in Melanesia, we recommend it. You would get another swag of endemics in the mountains including the Santo Thicketbird and Santo Mt. Starling, but it means camping and is a tough trek it seems.

36 species

Vanuatu Scrubfowl heard at Loru

Red Jungle Fowl quite common and long-established here

Pac. Golden Plover 5 at Luganville airstrip

Buff-banded Rail common

Black-backed (Purple) Swamphen saw a couple near Loru

Tanna Fruit Dove 1 at Vatthe

Red-bellied Fruit Dove common but hard to see well

Pacific Imperial Pigeon fairly common

White-throated Pigeon seen once

Mackinlay's Cuckoo-Dove quite common, and much paler beneath than Bismarck birds

Pacific Emerald Dove quite common

Swamp Harrier saw a few

Collared Kingfisher- the Vanuatu santoensis birds have rufous supercilia, are quite small and sexually dimorphic with white underparts on males and buffy on females, and an amazing blue colour above; they also have quite different calls to Australian birds, and occupy a far wider range of habitats. Apart from all this they are just like Collared Kingfisher!......This complex badly needs a huge taxonomic revision as there must be many cryptic (and not so cryptic species!) lumped therein

Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher calling well at Loru but shy and hard to see

Rainbow Lorikeet quite common

Glossy Swiftlet common

Uniform Swiftlet fairly common

Shining Bronze Cuckoo 1

Fan-tailed Cuckoo 1 heard near Vatthe, anxiety/alarm calls only, not singing

Golden Whistler another group in desperate need of revision, these males (race intacta) look quite like male Aus birds but sing differently, and the females are brown above, whitish below with abroad browny breast band, quite distinctive.

Buff-bellied Monarch Fairly common where dense undergrowth remains, a great bird with a very variable plumage, some being white on the upperparts with no yellow (? males), others very yellow above (? females) and yet others mixed.

Southern Shrikebill heard at Vatthe in the rain

Melanesian Flycatcher uncommon

Melanesian Cuckooshrike scarce, saw 2 near Loru and 1 at Vatthe

Polynesian Triller saw a  couple near Vatthe

Island Thrush a brief view of one near Lonnoc Beach was the only one, this is a dark race. Heard at Vatthe too.

Cardinal Myzomela common, with 2 juvs being fed in Luganville by a female

Streaked Fantail common in forest

Grey Fantail fairly common

White-b Woodswallow few near Luganville

Pacific Swallow a few at Luganville

Silvereye common

Vanuatu White-eye quite common, thie race has no yellow forehead so Yellow-fronted ( and many other Zosterops have Yellow in the name too) is not a good common name

Black-headed Mannikin a few flocks around Loru

Common Myna sadly quite common

House Sparrow a few at Vila and Luganville

Flying fox sp. small camps at Loru, maybe Pteropus tongaensis?

Phil Gregory
www. cassowary-house.


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