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  • Photograph of Yap Monarch

    Yap Monarch by Jon Hornbuckle.

    PALAU and YAP

    Best Wildlife in Palau and Yap

    Mammals
    Palau and Yap Flying Foxes. Also a chance of Spinner Dolphin.

    Birds

    Palau Endemics
    Palau (Micronesian) Megapode, Palau Fruit Dove, Palau Ground Dove, Palau Owl, Palau (Grey) Nightjar, Palau Swiftlet, Morningbird, Palau (Slender-billed) Cicadabird, Palau Bush Warbler, Palau (Mangrove) Flycatcher, Palau (Grey) Fantail, and Dusky and Giant White-eyes.

    Yap Endemics
    White-headed (White-throated) Ground Dove, Yap (Slender-billed) Cicadabird, Yap Monarch, and Olive and Plain White-eyes.

    Other Specialities
    Micronesian Imperial Pigeon, Micronesian Kingfisher, Micronesian Myzomela, Caroline Islands White-eye and Micronesian Starling. Also a chance of Nicobar Pigeon (on Ulong Island, Palau).

    Others
    White-tailed Tropicbird, White Tern, Little Pied Cormorant, Rufous Night Heron, Yellow Bittern, Pacific Reef Egret, Buff-banded Rail, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey-tailed Tattler, Black-naped, Bridled and Great Crested Terns, Black and Brown Noddies, Collared Kingfisher, White-breasted Woodswallow and Rufous Fantail. Also a chance of Great Frigatebird, Tropical (Audubon's) Shearwater and White-browed Crake.

    Reptiles, Amphibians and Fish
    One of the best places in the world to snorkel or scuba-dive with Manta Rays is the feeding area and cleaning station in the M’il Channel on Yap. Numerous colourful coral reef fish occur around both island groups, with over 1500 fish species recorded from Palau alone, many of which frequent the wrecks left after World War II.

    Invertebrates
    The remarkable 'Jellyfish Lake', where it is possible to swim amongst thousands of melon-sized stingless jellyfish, is on Palau. Some people have estimated that there may be 20 million jellyfish in the lake. They follow sunlight and by mid-afternoon usually concentrate at the western end of the lake.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Palau and Yap

    Best Times for Wildlife in Palau and Yap

    Manta Rays are resident around Yap but from December to April they usually live on the more easily accessible western side of the island, visiting the cleaning stations in M’il Channel, whereas during the rest of the year they are usually found on the eastern side of the island, in Goofnow Channel. The peak time for Manta Rays around Palau and Peleliu is November to May and the best time to experience 'Jellyfish Lake' is January to March.

    Recommended Books etc. for Palau and Yap

    Diving and Snorkeling Guide to Palau and Yap by T Rock. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016).

    Reef Fish Identification: Tropical Pacific by G Allen et al. New World, 2015 (Second Edition).

    A Field Guide to the Birds of Yap Island by J F Clements. Ibis Publishing Company, 2003.

    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 countries/islands/regions to visit in Oceania? 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 Palau and Yap

    Many trip reports, some for Palau and Yap, 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 Palau and Yap. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Palau and Yap' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Palau and Yap

    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.

    Accommodation in Palau and Yap

    Some Organized Tours to Palau and Yap

    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 Palau and Yap in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.