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  • Where to watch BIRDS and

  • other wildlife in the world
  • Photograph of White Tern

    The beautiful White Tern by Mike Hunter.

    POLYNESIA

    Best Wildlife in Polynesia

    Mammals
    Humpback Whale.

    Birds
    Island and region endemics (see below), specialities such as Henderson and Murphy's Petrels, Polynesian Storm Petrel, Bristle-thighed Curlew and Grey Noddy, and other seabirds including Herald, Kermadec, Phoenix and Tahiti Petrels, Christmas and Tropical Shearwaters, White-faced Storm Petrel, Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, Brown, Masked and Red-footed Boobies, Great and Lesser Frigatebirds, Crested, Sooty and (Common) White Terns, and Black and Brown Noddies, as well as Pacific Reef Egret, Spotless Crake, Pacific Golden Plover, Wandering Tattler, Long-tailed Cuckoo (Koel) and Pacific Swallow. Also a chance of Cape, Collared, Westland and White-chinned Petrels, Flesh-footed Shearwater, Grey-backed (Spectacled) Tern and Blue Noddy.

    The many introduced species on Tahiti include Swamp Harrier, Zebra Dove, Red-vented Bulbul, Common Myna, Silvereye, Crimson-backed Tanager, Common Waxbill, Chestnut-breasted Mannikin and Red-browed Firetail.

    Fish
    Numerous coral reef fish and Manta Rays (at Bora Bora for example, and Tikehau where there is a particularly shallow Manta Ray cleaning station).

    Other Natural Wonders in Polynesia

    Bora-Bora
    The classic Pacific atoll; an extinct, sunken volcano in a shallow, sandy lagoon encircled by long, narrow coral islands (motus), about 200 km (125 miles) northwest of Tahiti. The main island, in the middle of the lagoon, is up to about 8 km (5 miles) long and up to 5 km (3 miles) wide, rising to 727 m (2385 ft). It’s a beautiful scene and to cap it all Bora-Bora is also one of the best places for scuba-diving and snorkeling in the world, with numerous fish including Manta Rays.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Polynesia

    Best Times for Wildlife in Polynesia

    The best time to visit Polynesia is September-October.

    Recommended Books etc. for Polynesia

    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.

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

    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 Polynesia

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

    Local Guides and Tours in Polynesia

    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 Polynesia

    Some Organized Tours to Polynesia

    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 Polynesia in the next couple of years include the following. Many of these also offer custom tours.