Fiji’s large variety of birds, including 27 species that are indigenous to Fiji and can be found nowhere else in the world, make the islands excellent for bird watching. Altogether there are approximately eighty species of freshwater and terrestrial birds, of which ten have been introduced. Areas that are most recommended for bird watching in Fiji are forests and far inland areas.
The Fijian islands where you are most likely to glimpse the largest number of birds are Viti Levu, which is home to 56 of the 81 known species found in Fiji, Taveuni and Kadavu. The larger islands tend to have more and vaster areas of nature that are untouched by humans, which makes the larger birds, mostly the parrots and pigeons, more easily visible.
Largest and Most Popular Birds in Fiji
The largest bird found in Fiji is the reef heron, which can be found on coastal and in the very interior of the largest islands. It feeds on small fish and other marine animals.
The most easily seen and well-known of the larger Fijian birds are the yellow and red-breasted musk parrots, which get their name from their distinctive musky odor. Small flocks of these birds can often be seen flying around or perching on the coconut trees in Taveuni and the other larger islands. Taxi drivers on these islands may also offer to capture one of these parrots and sell it to you, as they are popular pets for locals and can be sold to visitors on the sly, despite the fact that capturing and keeping these birds as pets is illegal.
The Kadavu mask parrot is another popular bird and is now a protected species. Its native habitat is Kadavu, though it can be found in other areas of Fiji as well.
There are three species of hawks that inhabit Fiji. Out of these, the most common is the swamp harrier, which is most often seen over the grasslands, swamps and forested areas. Its main diet consists of birds, rodents and occasionally snakes. The Fiji goshawk lives on coastal and inland areas of Fiji and feeds on insects, lizards and other birds. The peregrine falcon, which can reach speeds of over 320 kmh (200 mph) in a dive, making it the fastest animal in the world, is also found in Fiji. However, it is pretty rare to catch a glimpse of this bird on the islands.
Fiji is home to several species of doves as well. The most common one is the introduced spotted turtle dove, which is also the most destructive as it eats and destroys fruit crops. The most sought after dove by birders in Fiji is the orange dove because of the male’s bright orange-colored plumage, with the exception of its olive green-colored head. This bird can be found in Taveuni, Vanua Levu and some of the other offshore islands, but it is so rarely seen that it is quite difficult to even come by a photo of it in any book. The peale’s pigeon emits a barking noise that sounds much more like a dog rather than a bird, so it can deceive people when they hear it near or inside a rainforest.
A few other species of birds that can be seen in Fiji include the white-collared kingfisher, which is striking blue in color with a white collar-like design around its neck, and the Silktail, which has become increasingly rarer on the islands, most likely as a result of logging.
The Indian myna, which is much less exotic, was introduced to Fiji in the late 19th century to feed on sugarcane pests. It is aggressive and noisy, but intelligent, in nature and can be spotted throughout the islands. Another similar bird, the jungle myna, was introduced in the early 20th century to control army worm populations. It is usually found in the countryside and is often perched on the backs of cattle.
Birds in Viti Levu, Taveuni and Kadavu
If you are visiting any of the three main “bird” islands in Fiji, the following are some of the species of bird that you may be able to observe on each island: