BIRDWATCHING AROUND THE COLO-I-SUVA RAINFOREST ECO RESORT

BIRDWATCHING AROUND THE COLO-I-SUVA RAINFOREST ECO RESORT

BIRDWATCHING AROUND THE COLO-I-SUVA RAINFOREST ECO RESORT

Fiji’s birds are truly beautiful and unique – you cannot see them anywhere else in the World! If you’re interested in birds - you simply must come and see them! And why not base yourself in the heart of their habitat?

Situated on the edge of rainforest and just 20 minutes from the city of Suva and from Suva’s airport (Nausori International Airport), the Rainforest Eco Resort is ideally situated for seeing the Fiji’s unique endemic birds. In fact all but 2 of Viti Levu’s endemic birds can be found within a few kms of the resort. Below we set out the key birds of the area and where to go to find them.

In addition, we have also provided information on the 2 other rare endemic birds you can find on Viti Levu and where else to travel in Fiji to see its unique birds.


THE KEY BIRDS OF COLO-I-SUVA AREA

 

Fiji Goshawk (Latui, Reba, Tuitui) - Accipiter rufitorques.

Endemic to Fiji except for Lau Group. It makes its home anywhere from Dense forest to urban areas. It rarely soars, and is more likely to be seen using a flap and glide flight, or a low twisting flight to capture prey. It is identifiable by its blue-grey plumage with a brownish pink area below and around the neck. A small Hawk with long tail, long legs and rounded wingtips. Young are speckled brown and white. Male is much smaller than female.

 

 

3. Swamp (Pacific) Harrier - (Manulevu, Taiseni, Takubu) Circus approximans

The Swamp or Pacific Harrier is a large slim-bodied raptor (bird of prey), with long slender legs and a long tail, rounded at the tip. It is mainly dark brown above and the white rump is prominent. It has an owl-like face mask. The wings are long and broad, with 5 'fingers' on the wing tips in flight. Females are larger with rufous underparts, while the smaller male is lighter underneath. The legs and eyes are yellow. This species has a slow sailing flight on up-swept wings, flying low over water. It is also known as the Marsh Harrier.

 

 

Golden Dove (Bunako, Ko) Chrysoenas luteovirens

Endemic to Fiji. One of Fiji’s most amazing birds. Found in the high canopy of the forest in Viti Levu, Ovalau, Gau and some Yasawa Islands. Often found hanging upside own to reach fruit, they forage for small fruits and berries and the odd caterpillar.They have the strangest of calls like the yap of a young dog, and also utter a low hoarse growl.

 

 

Barking Imperial Pigeon (Soqe, Tabadamu, Ruve) Ducula latrans

Endemic to Fiji. Remote Rainforest dweller. A massive imperial Fruit-Pigeon with a deep dog-like bark.

 

 

Many-coloured Fruit Dove (Kuluvotu, Kiluvotu) Ptilinopus perousil

Regional Endemic. The Many-coloured Fruit Dove is a species of bird in the Columbidae family. It occurs on islands in the south-west Pacific Ocean where it is found in Fiji, the Samoan Islands, and Tonga.

 

 

White-rumped Swiftlet (Kakalaba, Kakaba, Kakavbace) Aerodramus spodiopygius

The White-rumped Swiftlet is a species of swift in the Apodidae family. It is found in American Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu.

 

 

 

Collared Lory (Kula, Drisi) Phigys solitaries

Endemic to Fiji. Short chubby Parrot, has a patterned array of colour – Red, Green and deep Purple, with a Yellow Bill. Feeds on flowering trees including Coconut and African Tulip. These beautiful birds can be found in flocks of 6 – 50 members in all parts of Fiji except Southern Lau.

 

 

Masked Shining Parrot,(Kaka, Ka) Prosopeia personata

Endemic to Fiji. Viti Levu’s own Parrot. Slim green Parrot with a black mask on its face and a bright yellow breast. Feeds on fruits in the Forest canopy and also likes Bananas. Lives from Mangrove to wet mountain Forest, and is very noisy and sociable.

 

 

Fiji Wood Swallow (Vukase, Sikorere, Levecagi) Artamus mentalis

Endemic to Fiji. The Fiji Woodswallowis in the family Artamidae. It is endemic to most of the islands of Fiji, although it is absent from Kadavu Archipelago and the Lau Archipelago. The species was once considered a race of the White-breasted Woodswallow, which breeds from AustraliaNew Caledonia and Vanuatu through to Borneo and the Philippines

 

 

Lesser Shrikebill (Digisau, Vocia) Clytorhynchus vitiensis

Regional Endemic. The Fiji Shrikebill is a songbird species in the family Monarchidae. The Manu'a Shrikebill, subspecies powelli may have gone extinct in the 1990 due to habitat destruction. It is found in American Samoa, Fiji, and Tonga.

 

 

Black-faced Shrikebill ( Kiro) Clytorhynchus nigrogularis

Regional endemic. Scarce and can be difficult to see. Not usually seen around Colo-i-Suva – but is seen and heard along the Pipeline Road regularly.

 

Blue-crested Broadbill (Batidamu) Myiagra aureocapilla

Endemic to Fiji. The Blue-crested Broadbill (Myiagra azureocapilla) is a species of bird in the monarch flycatcher family Monarchidae. Found on the islands ofViti LevuVanua Levu and Taveuni. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests

 

 

Vanikoro Broadbill (Matayalo, Solesolewaqa) Myiagra vanikorensis

Regional Endemic. The male has dark blue-black plumage over the head and throat, back, tail and wings, and a washed out red belly with a white rump. The pattern for the female is similar, but paler overall (orange instead of red, slate grey instead of dark blue) and with the orange of the belly also coming up the throat as far as the bill.

 

 

White collared Kingfisher (Sese, Secala, Lele, Lesi) Todirhamphus chloris

May be found anywhere from Urban centres to Mangroves. They forage for grasshoppers, crickets, small lizards and crabs, and sometimes small fish. Often seen at the Raintree Lodge Lake, either on the Basovi fern near the umbrella and seat by the Lake, or on the Raintree branches hanging by the Restaurant overlooking the Lake.

 

 

Wattled Honeyeater (Kikau, Kaisau, Kaisevau, Kitou) Foulehaio carunculata

Regional Endemic. Olive green with a small orange wattle surrounded by black. Aggressive and noisy, feeds on nectar, insects and even small lizards.

 

Duetting Giant Honeyeater (Sovau, Ikou, Cavucauivalu) Gymnomya brunneirostris

Endemic to Fiji. As the name suggests, this honeyeater is a relatively large, measuring 27cm from the tip of its beak to the tip of its tail. It has a typically slender, slightly down-curved bill and dull feathers. It has recently been taxonomically separated from the Chattering Giant Honeyeater from Taveuni.

 

 

 

Orange-breasted Myomela (Delakula, Mati, Bicibicikula) Myomela jugularis

Endemic to Fiji. A small bird, has a black back, and bright yellow-orange breast and white-tipped tail. Feeds on flowering trees and shrub

 

 

Polynesian Triller (Manusa, Seasea, Se) Lalage maculosa

It is a noisy bird with a nasal, rasping call. The song is short and high-pitched. The breeding range extends through FijiSamoaTongaNiueWallis and FutunaVanuatu and the Santa Cruz Islands. It occurs in a wide variety of habitats including man-made habitats such as plantations and gardens. It feeds on insects such as caterpillars and also feeds on fruit.

 

Fiji White Eye (Qiqi, Qiliyago) Osterops explorator

Endemic to Fiji.

A common bird of forested areas. It is easily separated from the Silver-eye by its all green mantle.

 

 

 

Fiji Bush Warbler (Manu, Maya, Tikivili, Biliwi) Cettia ruficapilla

Endemic to Fiji. The Fiji Bush Warbler (Cettia ruficapilla) is a species of Old World warbler in the Sylviidae family. There are four subspecies occurring on all the main islands of the group. The species has been afforded its own genus, Vitia, in the past, but similarities of egg colour,song and morphology place it firmly within the Cettia bush-warblers.

 

 

Fiji Whistler (Ketedromo, Dibesau) Pachycephala graeffi

Endemic to Fiji. The male has a bright yellow underside and nape, olive-green back and wings and a black head. Females are overall dull brownish-grey, though some have yellowish undertail coverts. Both sexes have a black bill, dark legs and red-brown eyes.

 

 

Pacific Robin (Diriwala) Petroica multicolor

The male of the nominate race has a black head with a white forehead, a black back and tail, and the wings are also black with a white bar. The breast and belly are red, and the lower belly and rump are white. The female lacks the white forehead and the white bar on the wing; and the black plumage of the male is replaced by dark brown feathers instead. The breast is a duller red than the male and has more brown on the sides, and the white on the rump also smaller.

 

 

Streaked Fantail (Buiiri) Rhipidura spilodera

Regional Endemic. The Streaked Fantail is a species of bird in the Rhipiduridae family. Rhipidura verreauxi has precedence over Rhipidura spilodera. It is found in Fiji, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu.

 

 

Slaty Monarch (Sasaire, Cewa) Mayrornis lessoni

Endemic to Fiji. The Slaty Monarch is a species of bird in the Monarchidae family. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. It’s good to learn its call as it often leads feeding flocks.

 

 

Fiji Parrot Finch (Kulakula, Rokosolo, Qiqikula) Erythrura Pealii

Endemic to Fiji. Lovely little blue-green bird with a bright red head and a red rump.

 

 

Polynesian Starling (Vocea, Miji) Aplonis tabuensis

Regional Endemic. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical dry forests and tropical moist forests. Various subspecies exist throughout this wide range, some darker in coloration and some lighter. Its call is a raspy buzz or rattle. Diet is fruit and insects. Uncommon on Viti Levu but common on Kanavu.

 

 

OTHER BIRDS ON VITI LEVU

There are 2 very rare and localised species on Viti Levu which you are unlikely to see around Colo-i-Suva and you probably won’t wee them at all without some help: Pink-billed Parrotfinch and Long-legged Warbler. If you’d like to see these – contact Vilikesa “Vili” Masibalavu – vmasibalavu@conservation.org phone: 679-7777040 to arrange to be guided. Vili is highly recommended. You may need to rent a 4WD car though. We can assist in organising this for you?

   

Pink-billed Parrotfinch

Long-legged warbler


 

WHERE TO GO

Viti Levu Island

Colo-I Suva park: walk just down the road from the RainForest Eco Resort Lodge and pay the entrance fee ($5F). Most of the local endemic birds can be seen in this park although Pink-billed Parrot Finch and Black-faced Shrikebill are rare or absent.


Pipeline Road: From Raintree lodge (turn left), and go 900 meters and turn left on to Colo-I-Suva Vill Rd. The road is paved and there is a simple covered bus stop here. Go 200 meters and turn left (sign says Savura Road and Taquairu Settlement). Go 1,000 meters on this dirt road and you will come to a water tank. Pipeline road is to the left of this water tank. There is a gate at the entrance to Pipeline Road but it was always open and the villagers say it always stays open. It is approximately 3.5 miles to walk downhill on pipeline road to Wailoku. Most of the endemics can be seen along this road.

 

Radio Tower Road: Follow the same directions for Pipeline road. However, when you come to the water tower (start of Pipeline Road), go straight (do not turn left). You can walk/drive another 800 meters to a house with a chain across the road. You cannot drive beyond this chain. Continue walking on the road to the radio towers. There is good forest towards the end of the road. Also at this house is an overgrown road downhill to some simple farms.

Other areas further afield on Viti Levu

Namosi Road. Namosi road goes north from Queens Road approximately 26.2 miles west of the Suva market. The road is east of the town of Navua. As you are going west on Queens road from Suva, you will pass the turn for Nabukavesi village. Immediately after that will be the bridge over the Rio Camaisala. Approximately 200 meters after the bridge, there is a road that turns north. This is the road to Namosi. There is a sign for Namosi and the marker on the south side of the road says 25.4 KM. There is also a sign for the Kilo Eco Adventure Park here. Turn and go north on Namosi Road. The Eco Adventure Park is on the left in about 500meters. The road goes for over 20KM before it reaches Namosi, but the best birding is well before Namosi. After 8Km from Queens Road, you will enter good forest. The best area is the highest point of the road (over 10KM from the junction with Queens Road). You will recognize this spot as you have a great view to the south and it is the last time that you can look back and see the ocean. At this site, there is also an area to pull over and park (right side of the road as you are going north) with trash from people picnicking at the spot. Walk north from this spot for several KMs. This is the best spot for the rare Pink-billed Parrotfinch. 

Suva Point is at the end of Laucala Bay Road at its intersection with Beach Road. This is near the Vodafone Arena and the TFL stadium. This area is the best area in Suva for shorebirds. The birds roost on the jetty from Suva Point at high tide. As the tide drops they can be found on the exposed shore south of the jetty. If you go south on Queen Elizabeth Road from its intersection with Laucala Bay Road, you will see (at low tide) exposed mudflats/sand to the east). The best areas area is opposite the Corpus Christi Teachers College and the first 200 meters south of the intersection of Queen Elizabeth Road and Laucala Bay Road. As the tide is coming up, it pushes the birds off the spot opposite Corpus Christi Teachers College to the area just north. If the tide gets very high or there are people on the sand/mudflats, the birds roost on the jetty off Suva Point. 


 

BIRDING THE OTHER ISLANDS.

Kadavu 
There are four endemics on this island (Velvet Dove, Crimson Shining-Parrot, Kadavu Honeyeater and Kadavu Fantail). In addition, you will want to see the race of Golden Whistler (kandavensis) which is split by some as White-throated Whistler. You can either take a ferry or fly to Vunisea.

Once in Vunisea, you need to find the six way “roundabout” in the center of town. It is near the island hospital. At this roundabout, take the road to Namara (there was a sign) or you can simply ask the locals. There are essentially three roads that go east from this roundabout and it is the middle road. You will be able to see the bay on the south side of the island from this road but not be able to access the bay from this road. All of the Kadavu endemics can be seen along this road once you are a few KMs out of town.


Taveuni
There are four main targets for Taveuni (Orange Dove, Red Shining Parrot, Chatting Giant Honeyeater and Silktail), The best place to go is Des Voeux Peak - all the specialties are there (although Orange Dove can be difficult). Hire a 4WD to take you up just before daylight and ask him to wait for 3 or 4 hours. There will be plenty of 4WD taxis on the island or they can be arranged through hotels. The lower elevation of Des Voeux is not as good as it is cut. The goal would be to get up to the gate (about 8KM from the main road) and bird that area. Once you get dropped off at the gate, you can either walk up hill or start back downhill. Once going downhill from the gate, there is a trail to the south (left as you are going downhill, close to the gate). This trail is talked about in prior trip reports. Walk into the forest and down that trail look for Silktail There is a small fee to go up Des Voeux fee, payable at the village. You can pay your fee at the last house in the village (the last house as you are going up the road but the first house as you are coming down). Pay on the way back down (since you will be going up in the dark). 

People also go to Bobby’s Nabogiono Farm, telephone (679) 9238612 nabogiono@yahoo.com.au 
This location is about 1 hour south of the Garden Island Resort and is supposedly a guaranteed site for a male Orange Dove

Birding Trip Reports from Fiji can be found at:

http://www.surfbirds.com/Trip%20Reports/fiji.php

 

Acknowledgement:

Val and Brian at the Colo-I-Suva Rainforest Eco Resort wish to sincerely thank Rob Morris of Brisbane for his work in editing and updating this guide. It was a pleasure having you stay with us Rob, and your valuable assistance with the birding guide will help bring the excitement and the joy of observing Fijian Birds in the unique Colo-I-Suva Rainforest to other visitors for years to come – thank you.