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Independent State of Samoa

Fantail
Samoan Fantail Rhipidura nebulosa ©Andy Walker Website

Birding Samoa

There are only 34 species of land birds, of which 14 are endemic, including such forms as the famous tooth-billed pigeon, fruit doves, kingfishers, and white-eye. So says one guide - but this refers to Samoa as a whole including American Samoa…

Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa (formerly known as Western Samoa), is a country governing the western part of the Samoan Islands archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean. It was admitted to the United Nations on 15 December 1976. The entire island group, inclusive of American Samoa, was known as Navigators Islands before the 20th century because of the Samoans' seafaring skills.

The country is located east of the international date line and south of the equator, about halfway between Hawai‘i and New Zealand in the Polynesian region of the Pacific Ocean. The total land area is 2934 km² (slightly smaller than the U.S. state of Rhode Island), consisting of the two large islands of Upolu and Savai'i which account for 99% of the total land area, and eight small islets: the three islets in the Apolima Strait (Manono Island, Apolima and Nu'ulopa), the four Aleipata Islands off the eastern end of Upolu (Nu'utele, Nu'ulua, Namua, and Fanuatapu), and Nu'usafe'e (less than 0.01 km² in area and about 1.4 km off the south coast of Upolu at the village of Vaovai). The main island of Upolu is home to nearly three-quarters of Samoa's population, and its capital city is Apia.

The climate is tropical, with an average annual temperature of 26.5 °C, and a rainy season from November to April. Savai'i is the largest of the Samoan islands and the third largest Polynesian Island after Tahiti and New Zealand. The population of Savali'i is 42,000 people.

The Samoan islands have been produced by volcanism, the source of which is a geologic hotspot which is the probable result of a mantle plume. While all of the islands have volcanic origins, only Savai'i has had recent eruptions and could be considered volcanically active. The last major eruption occurred in the 1700s, and smaller eruptions occurred between 1904–1906. The highest point in Samoa is Mauga Silisili, at 1858 m. The Saleaula Lava Fields were produced by Mt. Matavanu during its eruption 102 years ago leaving 52 square kilometres of solidified lava.

Number of Species

National Bird: Tooth-billed Pigeon Didunculus sprigirostris

Number of bird species: 82

Endemics

Number of endemics: 10

Samoan Moorhen Gallinula pacifica Tooth-billed Pigeon Didunculus strigirostris Flat-billed Kingfisher Todirhamphus recurvirostris Samoan Triller Lalage sharpei Samoan Fantail Rhipidura nebulosa Samoan Flycatcher Myiagra albiventris Samoan Whistler Pachycephala flavifrons Samoan White-eye Zosterops samoensis Mao Gymnomyza samoensis Samoan Starling Aplonis atrifusca Red-headed Parrotfinch Erythrura cyaneovirens

Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

iGoTerra Checklist

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Useful Reading

A Guide to the Birds of Fiji and Western Polynesia including American Samoa, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Wallis & Futuna

By Dick Watling Hard Cover; 16 Full Colour Plates; Figures, Tables & Maps; 272 pages.

ISBN: 9829030040

Buy this book from NHBS.com

Organisations

O Le Siosiomaga Society Inc.

Facebook Page

le Siosiomaga Society Inc.P0 Box 5774, Matautu WESTERN SAMOA. + 685 21993; ngo.fiiosiomaga@samos.net

Guides & Tour Operators

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Birding Ecotours

Tour Operator

The country is part of the Endemic Bird Area (BirdLife International) of the Samoan Islands, and close to its capital Apia can be found one the six Important Bird Areas of Samoa, the Apia Catchments, where 16 globally threatened or range-restricted species have been observed.

Trip Reports

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CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

2013 [05 May] - Israel Didham

Report

…The only birds I could note down firmly were common mynahs, jungle mynahs, red-vented bulbuls and Polynesian triller…

2013 [07 July] - Jim Holmes

Report

...The trees, now were not nearly as tall and there were some shorter scrub. At this point, I started seriously looking for the white-eye. We continued up, occasionally stopping to look and play tape. Despite being late morning, there was plenty of bird activity (but no white-eyes). Cardinal Myzolemas, Wattled Honeyeaters and Samoan Starlings were all very common. I also began seeing the Samoan race of Island Thrush. We hiked past a campsite where there are remnants of prior campers. We kept going for another 2 hours without any luck. Eventually, I decided we should turn around and we kept looking for white-eyes on the way back without success. Luckily, as we just entered the main forest on the way back down, the guide pointed at a bird foraging just above eye-level. I looked at it, expecting another myzomela only to see the white-eye....

2016 [05 July] - David Hoddinott & Rich Lindie - New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu & Samoa

PDF Report

There, from the restaurant balcony itself, we watched White-tailed Tropicbirds, White Terns, hundreds of flying foxes, Cardinal Myzomelas, Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove and Polynesian Wattled Honeyeaters, whilst the surrounding greenery yielded Red-headed Parrotfinch, Samoan Flycatcher, Samoan Fantail, Samoan Whistler, Blue-crowned Lorikeet and Flat-billed Kingfisher!

2016 [08 August] - Janos Olah - New Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu & Samoa

PDF Report

We managed to see most of our targets, doing particularly well on Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji where we cleaned up on all gettable specialties and only two special birds were missed on Samoa – which is a great result for a leaderless party! The total trip list was 141 recorded species

2017 [07 July] - Erik Forsyth & Rich Lindie

PDF Report

...despite having to quickly arrange alternative transport, we did make it to our accommodation in time to see our first Samoan endemics, includ ing the tricky Mao! Another day of foul weather lay ahead of us as we awoke the following morning on Upolu Island. Nonetheless, we started with a little birding around our lodge – where wonderful views of delicate White Terns and acrobatic White - tailed Tr opicbirds were a real treat – and then jumped into our minivans and departed for the other side of the island, stopping briefly at the bottom of the driveway for our first Flat - billed Kingfishers. Along the way, and countless Buff - banded Rails later, we st opped for wonderful views of perched Blue - crowned Lorikeets; whilst the remainder of the drive was spent mostly staring through torrential rain...