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Vanuatu is a chain of 83 volcanic islands which were originally named the New Hebrides by James Cook in 1774. It was here on these idyllic islands that James A. Michener was inspired to write Tales of the South Pacific, the magical Bali Hai of his imagination.

At last count there were around 178 different species of birds spotted in Vanuatu. The island of Espiritu Santo harbours all 11 of Vanuatu’s endemics. Birders can easily find New Hebrides (or Vanuatu) Scrubfowl, Tanna Fruit Dove, Chestnut-bellied Kingfisher, the attractive Buff-bellied Monarch and Vanuatu White-eye.

Located on the isolated west coast of Santo, Mt. Tabwemasana is not only the highest peak in Vanuatu but also one of the highest in the south Pacific (1875m). Surrounding the mountain are extensive tropical cloud forests and a staggering variety of ecosystems. Almost 30 different species of birds have been spotted just on the way up the mountain! It’s also home to the rare Santo Mountain Starling. A Vanuatu birdwatcher hot spot.

Without a doubt, the Vanuatu megapode (scrubfowl) is the weirdest bird living on the islands. Unlike other birds it doesn’t sit on its eggs to hatch them. Instead, it either buries its eggs in burrows between decaying tree roots (where the breakdown of compost keeps the eggs warm), or in heated soils on the side of volcanoes (where geothermal energy does the job) or on sun-exposed beaches (utilising solar energy). Even weirder, the females share their nest burrows with each other, some thing no other bird does (ie one nest may contain dozens of eggs, all from different females, all at different stages of development). Once hatched the babies have to dig themselves out of their burrows and fend for themselves (the parents effectively abandon them).

Text courtesy

Red-billed Tropicbird

Red-billed Tropicbird, copyright Dave Barnes

Sicklebill Safaris

Showing the 1 Most Recent Trip Reports Posted

Vanuatu - searching for the endemics - 17 September - 23 September 2019, author Stephen Blaber (added October 18, 2019)
(Santo, Loru, Vatthe, Tanna Fruit Dove, Red-bellied Fruit Dove, Baker's Imperial Pigeon)

No Sightings Have Been Posted for this Region Yet.