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  • Photograph of Short-tailed Albatross

    A Short-tailed Albatross off Torishima by Nigel Voaden.

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    Best Birds and other wildlife on the Western Pacific Odyssey


    Little (Blue) Penguin, Australasian Gannet, Masked and Red-footed Boobies, Japanese Cormorant, Red-tailed and White-tailed Tropicbirds, Great and Lesser Frigatebirds, Black-browed, Black-footed, Campbell, Laysan, Short-tailed, Wandering and White-capped Albatrosses, Beck’s, Black (Parkinson’s), Bonin, Bulwer's, Collared, Cook’s, Grey-faced, Kermadec, Providence, Tahiti, White-chinned, White-necked and White-winged (Gould's) Petrels, Fairy Prion, Bannerman’s, Buller's, Flesh-footed, Fluttering, Heinroth’s, Little, Short-tailed, Sooty, Streaked, Tropical and Wedge-tailed Shearwaters, Leach’s, Matsudaira’s, New Zealand, Tristram’s, White-faced (Latham's) and Wilson’s Storm-petrels, Common Diving-petrel, Common White and Grey-backed Terns, Grey Noddy and Japanese Murrelet, Arctic, Brown, Long-tailed and Pomarine Skuas, Black-billed, Black-tailed, Kelp, Silver and Slaty-backed Gulls, Black-naped, Bridled, Greater Crested, Lesser Crested, Sooty and White-fronted Terns, and Black and Brown Noddies.

    Also a chance of Antipodean, (Northern) Buller’s and Northern Royal Albatrosses, Northern and Southern Giant Petrels, Fiji, Herald, Mottled, Pycroft’s, Vanuatu and Westland Petrels, Christmas Shearwater, Band-rumped, Polynesian and White-bellied Storm-petrels, Red-necked Phalarope, Aleutian and Fairy Terns, Ancient Murrelet and Rhinoceros Auklet.

    Norfolk Island Endemics 5
    Norfolk Island Parakeet, Norfolk Gerygone, Norfolk Robin, Slender-billed White-eye and White-chested White-eye.

    New Caledonia Endemics 22
    Mainland 19
    Kagu, New Caledonian Imperial-pigeon, Cloven-feathered Dove, White-bellied (New Caledonian) Goshawk, Horned Parakeet, New Caledonian Parakeet, Crow Honeyeater, New Caledonian Friarbird, New Caledonian (Scarlet) Myzomela, Barred Honeyeater, New Caledonian Whistler, New Caledonian Cicadabird, New Caledonian Streaked Fantail, New Caledonian Crow, Yellow-bellied Robin, New Caledonian Thicketbird, Green-backed White-eye, Striated Starling and Red-throated Parrotfinch.

    Loyalty Islands 3
    Ouvea Parakeet, Large Lifou White-eye and Small Lifou White-eye.

    ('New Caledonian Storm-petrel' (similar to New Zealand Storm-petrel) remained undescribed in 2021. It was believed at that time to range through the subtropical western Pacific as far west as the Brisbane Seamounts off eastern Australia)

    New Caledonian Nightjar, New Caledonian Rail and New Caledonian (Painted) Buttonquail are probably or presumed extinct, there have been no recent records of New Caledonian Owlet-nightjar, and there is only one old record (from Mount Ignambi) of New Caledonian Lorikeet)

    Solomon Islands Endemics 72
    (Six kingfishers, eight monarchs and 13 white-eyes)
    More than one island 10
    Chestnut-bellied Imperial-pigeon, Silver-capped Fruit-dove, Buff-headed Coucal, Roviana Rail, North Solomons Dwarf-kingfisher, Yellow-bibbed Lory, Crimson-rumped (Yellow-vented) Myzomela, Chestnut-bellied Monarch, White-billed Crow and Grey-throated White-eye.

    Santa Isabel 1
    Santa Isabel (Guadalcanal) Rail.

    New Georgia Islands 11
    New Georgia Dwarf-kingfisher, New Georgia (Solomons) Cicadabird, Kolombangara Monarch, White-capped Monarch, Kolombangara Leaf-warbler, Vella Lavella (Banded) White-eye, Ranongga (Ganongga) White-eye, Gizo (Splendid) White-eye, Solomons White-eye, Dark-eyed (Rendova) White-eye and Kolombangara White-eye.

    Guadalcanal 10
    Guadalcanal (Woodford’s) Rail, Guadalcanal Boobook, Guadalcanal Dwarf-kingfisher, Guadalcanal Moustached Kingfisher, Guadalcanal Honeyeater, Black-headed Myzomela (also nearby islands), Guadalcanal Hooded Whistler, Guadalcanal (Brown) Fantail, Guadalcanal Thicketbird and Guadalcanal Thrush.

    Malaita 8
    Malaita Boobook, Malaita Dwarf-kingfisher, Malaita (Red-bellied) Myzomela, White-gorgeted Fantail, Malaita Fantail, Malaita Monarch, Malaita White-eye and Malaita (Midget) Flowerpecker.

    Ugi (Uki) 1
    Ugi (Chestnut-bellied) Monarch.

    Makira 16
    White-headed Fruit-dove (also associated islands), Makira Moorhen, Makira Boobook, San Cristobal (Makira) Dwarf-kingfisher, Makira Honeyeater, Sooty Myzomela (also nearby islands), Makira Cicadabird, Dusky Fantail, Makira (Ochre-headed) Flycatcher, White-collared Monarch, Makira (Chestnut-bellied) Monarch, Makira Leaf-warbler, Shade Bush-warbler, Makira Starling, Makira Thrush and Mottled Flowerpecker.

    Rennell 8
    Rennell (Singing/Song) Parrot, Rennell (Fan-tailed) Gerygone, Rennell Whistler, Rennell Fantail, Rennell Shrikebill, Bare-eyed White-eye, Rennell White-eye and Rennell Starling.

    Santa Cruz Islands (Solomon Islands) 7
    Temotu Whistler, White-fronted (Rufous) Fantail, Vanikoro Monarch, Nendo (Santa Cruz) Shrikebill, Sanford’s White-eye (Nendo), Santa Cruz White-eye (Nendo) and Vanikoro White-eye.

    Solomon Islands and Bougainville 24
    Crested Cuckoo-dove, Pale Mountain-pigeon, Solomons Frogmouth, Solomons Nightjar, West Solomons Boobook, Fearful Owl, Imitator Goshawk, Sanford’s Sea-eagle, Ultramarine Kingfisher, Solomons (Ducorps’s) Cockatoo, Meek’s Lorikeet, Duchess Lorikeet, Black-faced Pitta, Red-capped (Scarlet-naped) Myzomela, Oriole Whistler, North Melanesian Cuckooshrike, Solomons Cicadabird, White-winged (Cockerell’s) Fantail, Steel-blue Flycatcher, Solomons Pied (Black-and-white) Monarch, Yellow-throated White-eye, White-eyed Starling, Brown-winged Starling and Midget Flowerpecker.

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

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

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

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

    Micronesia, Palau and Northern Mariana Islands 1
    Micronesian Myzomela.

    Bonin Islands Endemics
    Bonin White-eye (Honeyeater).

    Bonin Islands and Volcano Islands Endemics 1
    Bannerman’s (Tropical) Shearwater.

    Izu Islands Endemics 2
    Izu (Owston’s/Varied) Tit (present on Miyake-jima) and Izu (Japanese) Robin.

    Ryukyu Islands and Izu Islands Endemics 1
    Izu Thrush (present on Miyake-jima).

    Other specialities
    Ijima’s Leaf-warbler (Izu and Tokara Islands, Japan, in summer, migrating south via Taiwan to the Philippines during the winter when rarely seen) and Micronesian Starling.

    Rufous Night-heron, Yellow Bittern, Brahminy Kite, Pacific Baza, Australasian (Purple) Swamphen, Grey-tailed and Wandering Tattlers, Brown-capped (Pacific) Emerald Dove, Metallic Pigeon, Coconut Lorikeet, Papuan Eclectus, Moustached Treeswift, Oriental Dollarbird, Papuan Hornbill, White-breasted Woodswallow, Golden Whistler, Pacific Robin and Blue-faced Parrotfinch.

    Sperm Whale, Bottlenose, Risso’s, (Eastern) Spinner, (Pantropical) Spotted and Striped Dolphins, and Rennell Flying Fox. Also a chance of Blue, Humpback, Killer, Bryde’s (Omaru’s), False Killer, Pygmy Killer, Dwarf Sperm, Pygmy Sperm, Ginko-toothed, Blainville’s Beaked, Cuvier’s Beaked, Gray’s Beaked, Hubb’s Beaked, Longman’s Beaked, Long-finned Pilot and Short-finned Pilot Whales, and Fraser’s and Rough-toothed Dolphins.

    Best Sites for Birds and other wildlife on the Western Pacific Odyssey

    Best Times for Birds and other wildlife on the Western Pacific Odyssey

    Cruises usually operate in April-May.

    Recommended Bird Books etc. for the Western Pacific Odyssey

    Collins Birds of New Zealand by C T Kelly. Harper Collins, 2018.

    The Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand by B Heather and H Robertson. Penguin, 2015 (Fourth Edition).

    The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand by H Robertson and B Heather. Penguin, 2015 (Second Edition).

    Birds of New Zealand: A Photographic Guide by P Scofield and B Stephenson. Auckland University Press, 2013.

    Birds of New Zealand: Locality Guide by S Chambers. Arun Books, 2014 (Fourth Edition).

    Field Guide to the Wildlife of New Zealand by J Fitter. Helm, 2010.

    Bradt Travel Guide: New Zealand Wildlife by J Fitter. Bradt, 2009.

    Birds of Melanesia by G Dutson. Helm, 2011. (covers New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands).

    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.

    Birds of East Asia by M Brazil. Helm, 2009.

    Birds of Japan by M Brazil. Helm, 2018.

    Birds of Japan and North-East Asia: A Photographic Guide by T Shimba. Helm, 2019 (Second Edition).

    550 Birds of Japan by M Kirihara et al. Bun'ichi Sogo Shuppan, two volumes, 2000 and 2004.

    Whales, Dolphins and Seals: A Field Guide to the Marine Mammals of the World by H Shirihai. Helm, 2006.

    Apps etc.

    Birds of New Zealand.

    Birding and Wildlife Trip Reports for the Western Pacific Odyssey

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

    Bird and wildlife guides specializing in the Western Pacific Odyssey

    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.

    Ship-board accommodation on the Western Pacific Odyssey

    Some Organized Tours for birds and other wildlife involving the Western Pacific Odyssey

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