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  • Photograph of Yap Monarch

    Yap Monarch by Jon Hornbuckle.

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    Best Birds and other wildlife in Micronesia


    Palau Endemics 13
    Palau Ground-dove, Palau Fruit-dove, Palau Nightjar, Palau Swiftlet, Palau Owl, Palau Kingfisher, Morningbird (a whistler), Palau Cicadabird, Palau Fantail, Palau Flycatcher, Palau Bush-warbler, Giant White-eye and Dusky White-eye.


    Palau and Northern Mariana Islands 1
    Micronesian Scrubfowl.

    Palau, Northern Mariana Islands and Micronesia 1
    Micronesian Myzomela.

    Palau, Chuuk and Pohnpei 1
    Citrine (Caroline Islands) White-eye.

    Palau, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Nauru 1
    Micronesian Imperial-pigeon.

    Guam Endemics 1
    Guam Kingfisher (extinct in the wild since 1988 due to the introduction of Brown Tree Snakes (the reason other Guam birds have become extinct) this species now survives only in captivity where there were fewer than two hundred individuals in 2017, although there were plans then to reintroduce some birds to another suitable island).

    (Guam Rail is extinct on Guam but has been introduced on Cocos and Rota Islands in the Northern Mariana Islands)

    Guam and Northern Mariana Islands 1
    Mariana Swiftlet.

    Northern Mariana Islands Endemics 8
    Mariana Fruit-dove, Mariana Kingfisher, Tinian Monarch (Tinian, and introduced to Guguan), Mariana Crow (Rota, and reintroduced to Guam), Saipan Reed-warbler (Saipan and Alamagan), Golden White-eye (Saipan and Aguijan), Saipan White-eye (Saipan, Tinian and Aguijan) and Rota White-eye (Rota only).

    Northern Mariana Islands and Yap (Micronesia) 1
    White-throated Ground-dove.

    Micronesia Endemics 21
    Widespread 2
    Caroline Swiftlet (Chuuk, Pohnpei and Kosrae) and Caroline Reed-warbler.

    Yap 4
    Yap Cicadabird, Yap Monarch, Yap Plain White-eye and Yap Olive White-eye.

    Chuuk (Truk) 3
    Chuuk (Oceanic) Flycatcher, Chuuk Monarch and Teardrop White-eye.

    Chuuk and Pohnpei 2
    Caroline Ground-dove and Pohnpei (Purple-capped) Fruit-dove.

    Pohnpei 8
    Pohnpei Kingfisher, Pohnpei Lorikeet, Pohnpei Cicadabird, Pohnpei Fantail, Pohnpei Flycatcher, Long-billed White-eye, Pohnpei White-eye and Pohnpei Starling (not recorded since a specimen from 1994 despite an expedition to the high ridges in late 2010 and a thorough survey of the island in 2012).

    Kosrae 2
    Kosrae Fruit-dove and Kosrae White-eye.

    Other specialities
    Slaty-legged Crake and Micronesian Starling. Also a chance of Nicobar Pigeon.

    Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, Brown and Red-footed Boobies, Little Pied Cormorant, Rufous Night-heron, Yellow Bittern, Pacific Reef-egret, Buff-banded Rail, White-browed Crake, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey-tailed and Wandering Tattlers, Black-naped, Bridled, Greater Crested and Common White Terns, Black and Brown Noddies, Collared Kingfisher, White-breasted Woodswallow, Rufous Fantail and Blue-faced Parrotfinch.

    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.

    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.

    Flying Foxes are present on most islands.

    Best Sites for Birds and other wildlife in Micronesia

    Best Times for Birds and other wildlife in Micronesia

    The best time to look for birds is January to March, the coolest, least humid and driest time of the year. 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 Bird Books etc. for Micronesia

    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.

    Birds of Hawaii, New Zealand, and the Central and West Pacific by B v Perlo. PUP, 2011.

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

    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).

    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.

    Birding and Wildlife Trip Reports for Micronesia

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

    Local bird and wildlife guides in Micronesia

    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 for birders in Micronesia

    Some Organized Tours for birds and other wildlife to Micronesia

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