Native birds in Samoa

Samoa boasts a wealth of wildlife viewing opportunities. Rich in native avian species, the region is a birdwatcher’s paradise.

Native bird of Samoa

Native bird sheltered under coconut tree

Samoa is home to more seabirds than any other form of wildlife. National Park of American Samoa. “Nature and Science.” National Park Service, 19 March 2018.
In total, researchers have identified 20 seabird species nesting on the Samoan Islands. University of Hawaii Department of Botany. “Samoa’s seabirds: tava’e, gogo and manusina.” Pacific Islands Coral Reef Project – National Park Service, Natural History Guide, 2005. Web.

 

Petrels and shearwaters—both related to albatrosses and unable to walk on land—nest in Samoa’s mountaintop burrows. These procellariidae share unique tube-shaped nostrils, and though they are only rarely spotted, their calls can be heard late at night. University of Hawaii Department of Botany. “Samoa’s seabirds: tava’e, gogo and manusina.” Pacific Islands Coral Reef Project – National Park Service, Natural History Guide, 2005. Web.

Boobies and frigatebirds, meanwhile, circle the Samoan coasts and nest in remote areas—often atop cliffs. The former are members of the sulidae family, medium to large in size, and dive for fish.

The latter are striking members of the fregatidae family, and feature massive wingspans and forked tails. Joyce, Christopher. “Nonstop Flight: How The Frigatebird Can Soar For Weeks Without Stopping.” National Public Radio, 30 June 2016. Web.
They are either black-and-white or entirely black, and males have inflatable throat pouches. Although they cannot swim or walk, frigatebirds may stay in flight for more than a week at a time.

That said, Samoa’s most familiar bird is likely the tern. Members of the Laridae family, terns are white in color and circle the islands’ lush forests. They feed on small ocean fish, and carry their finds directly in their beaks rather than initially swallowing them for their chicks. University of Hawaii Department of Botany. “Samoa’s seabirds: tava’e, gogo and manu sina.” Pacific Islands Coral Reef Project – National Park Service, Natural History Guide, 2005. Web.

Forest Birds of Samoa

The forest birds of Samoa include pigeons and doves, starlings, and honeyeaters—members of the columbidae, sturnidae, and meliphagidae families, respectively.

Samoa’s largest forest bird is the Pacific pigeon, which is the only avian species that can spread the seeds of some of the region’s rainforest trees. University of Hawaii Department of Botany. “The Pacific Pigeon (lupe), Samoa’s royal bird.” Pacific Islands Coral Reef Project – National Park Service, Natural History Guide, 2005. Web.

Native bird of Samoa

Native bird sittings on coconut branch.

Touted as Samoa’s “royal bird,” it has a large build and a dignified look, and finds food in both coastal and mountainous areas. Pacific pigeon nests are difficult to find; they are usually placed in dense clumps high up in trees. University of Hawaii Department of Botany. “The Pacific Pigeon (lupe), Samoa’s royal bird.” Pacific Islands Coral Reef Project – National Park Service, Natural History Guide, 2005. Web.

Honeyeaters are the most common forest bird of the Samoan Islands. Named for their diet, which includes the nectar of flowers, the wattled honeyeater features greenish-brown feathers with bits of bare skin on the face. This energetic bird chases other avian species, and has a special call to warn its flock of impending danger. University of Hawaii Department of Botany. “The honey-birds.” Pacific Islands Coral Reef Project – National Park Service, Natural History Guide, 2005. Web.

The cardinal honeyeater has more vivid coloring than its cousin. Male birds are bright red with black wings, while females are gray with a bit of red in the back. Small to medium in size, honeyeaters nest in grassy areas and have a great deal in common with other passerines, or perching birds.

One such passerine is the Samoan starling, which enjoys an adventurous diet. The Samoan starling will eat everything from insects to fruit to lizards, and features brown plumage with a glossy metallic sheen. University of Hawaii Department of Botany. “Samoa’s starlings.” Pacific Islands Coral Reef Project – National Park Service, Natural History Guide, 2005. Web.
Native to Samoa like its cousin the Polynesian starling, it nests year-round in the hollows of trees.

Samoa contains a variety of native birds. To learn more about what the birdwatching destination has to offer, view the Avibase checklist and access the full database of species bird tourists can find on the Samoan Islands. Lepage, Denis. “Avibase – Bird Checklists of the World – Samoa.” Bird Studies Canada, Bird Life International, 2018. Web.

2018-10-10T11:44:06+00:00