The main emphasis of this exciting voyage, however, is island endemics and seabirds and over the course of our two-week cruise, we hope to land on Henderson, Morane, Tenararo and Oeno, as well, of course, on Pitcairn.
Whilst the list of land birds we can expect to find is not the longest, the quality is truly exceptional and one of the highlights is likely to be the delightful Tuamotu Sandpiper. This bizarre looking wader is now restricted to just a handful of islands in the Eastern part of French Polynesia, and they are often utterly fearless and will sometimes even fly out towards our vessel to investigate!
Other possibilities include one of the last flightless rails in the world, the delightful Henderson Island Crake, which as its name suggests is only found on one remote island. Here, we will also look for the endemic reed warbler, fruit dove and stunning lorikeet with its glowing red, green and yellow plumage.
On Tenararo, as well as enjoying the sandpipers, Bristle-thighed Curlews and beach-loving Atoll Fruit Doves, we will also go in search of the beautiful Polynesian Ground-dove. Once found across dozens, if not hundreds, of the Polynesian islands, this critically endangered bird is now sadly only known from five small atolls, with a world population of just a couple of hundred individuals.
Although the endemic landbirds are an important part of this special tour, another important component are the seabirds, and the list of likely species is truly mouth-watering and includes many range-restricted and special species. The list of Pterodroma petrel we could see includes Murphy’s, Juan Fernandez, Kermadec, Herald, Henderson, Phoenix, Gould’s, Cook’s and Black-winged, as well as Tahiti Petrel, Christmas Shearwater, Blue Noddy and two species of tropicbirds, Red-tailed and White-tailed. For keen seabirders, however, two of the real specialities are Polynesian Storm-petrel and the incredibly poorly known Titan (White-bellied) Storm-petrel. Rarely mentioned in the birding literature, the latter is so poorly known that it was only a matter of a years ago that it was rediscovered but there is every reason to believe this is a highly localised and special endemic species.
Very few people get to experience this remotest of places and join us for a trip like none other!
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