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  • Photograph of Kagu

    The unique Kagu, in display, by Jon Hornbuckle.

    NEW CALEDONIA

    Photograph of Kagu

    Kagus are usually remarkably confiding, like this one which was seen by Simon Colenutt.

    Best Wildlife in New Caledonia

    Mammals
    No land mammals except for nine species of bat, including New Caledonian Flying Fox.

    Birds

    Endemics
    Kagu, as well as White-bellied Goshawk, Cloven-feathered Dove, New Caledonian Imperial Pigeon, Horned, New Caledonian (Red-fronted) and Uvea (Horned) Parakeets, New Caledonian (Scarlet) Myzomela, Barred and Crow Honeyeaters, New Caledonian Friarbird, New Caledonian Cuckoo Shrike, New Caledonian Whistler, New Caledonian Crow, Yellow-bellied Robin, New Caledonian (Melanesian) Flycatcher, New Caledonian Grassbird, Green-backed, Large Lifou and Small Lifou White-eyes, New Caledonian (Striated) Starling and Red-throated Parrotfinch.

    There is just one record from the distant past of New Caledonian Owlet-Nightjar.

    Other Specialities
    Red-bellied Fruit Dove, Dark-brown Honeyeater, Melanesian Cuckoo Shrike, Long-tailed Triller and Southern Shrikebill.

    Others
    Pacific Black Duck, Tahiti Petrel, Brown and Red-footed Boobies, Little Pied Cormorant, Great and Lesser Frigatebirds, Pacific Reef Egret, White-faced Heron, Rufous Night Heron, Swamp Harrier, Whistling Kite, Brown Goshawk, Buff-banded Rail, Australasian (Purple) Swamphen, Wandering Tattler, Silver Gull, Great Crested Tern, Metallic Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Rainbow Lorikeet, Fan-tailed Cuckoo (pyrrophanus), Shining Bronze Cuckoo, Glossy and White-rumped Swiftlets, Sacred Kingfisher, White-breasted Woodswallow, Golden and Rufous Whistlers, Grey and Streaked Fantails, Fan-tailed Gerygone and Silver-eye. Also a chance of Gould’s Petrel, Short-tailed and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Black-naped, Bridled, Roseate and (Common) White Terns, Black and Brown Noddies, and Blue-faced Parrotfinch. Introduced species include Wild Turkey, Red-vented Bulbul, Common Myna, Common Waxbill and Chestnut-breasted Munia.

    Fish
    The rich marine life includes about 2000 fish species.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in New Caledonia

    Best Times for Wildlife in New Caledonia

    August to early November.

    Recommended Books etc. for New Caledonia

    Birds of Melanesia by G Dutson. Helm, 2011. (covers New Caledonia).

    Birds of the Solomons, Vanuatu and New Caledonia by C Doughty, N Day and A Plant. Helm, 1999.

    A Field Guide to The Birds of Hawaii and the Tropical Pacific by H D Pratt, P L Bruner and D G Berrett. PUP, 1987.

    Where to watch birds in Australasia & Oceania by N Wheatley. Helm, 1998.

    Don’t know which country/countries/regions to visit in Australasia? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them in the region, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for New Caledonia

    Many trip reports, some for New Caledonia, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to New Caledonia. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to New Caledonia' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in New Caledonia

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

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  • Accommodation in New Caledonia

    Some Organized Tours to New Caledonia

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who are running organized tours to New Caledonia in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.