History repeating itself

10,000 Birds

I certainly did when I visited the two southern islands of Tonga a few years ago. The two endemic species found in Tonga are not found in these islands, and the other species present are also found on more traditional destinations of Fiji and Samoa. And it is found in Tonga today, darting across the road being the usual view you’d get of these small rails. Southern Tonga had its own flightless Gallirallus rail (an undescribed species).

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Tongatapu and ‘Eua; Birding Southern Tonga

10,000 Birds

I mentioned last week, while talking about rails and the Pacific, that Tonga is not a particularly birdy birding destination. Tonga is still a fun place to visit, particularly if you’re a poor PhD student anxious to escape the Austral winter. According to the guides it is a forest bird in Fiji (and an elusive one, I never saw one in my week there in 2005) but in Tonga I saw it in the towns and country gardens. Birding Pacific Pacific birds Tonga

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Armchair Splits in the Pacific

10,000 Birds

The Wattled Honeyeater is a species, or now more accurately a genus, found in eastern Melanesia (Fiji) and in western Polynesia (Samoa and Tonga). In spite of the bird extinctions that have plagued the islands of the Pacific, it doesn’t seem to have suffered that much; I saw it in gardens in both Fiji and Tonga. Photo from ‘Eua, Tonga.

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Where Are You Birding This Third Weekend of June 2011?

10,000 Birds

Gorgeous skies over ‘Eua National Park in the Kingdom of Tonga a. I don’t know about you, but for me summer has always stood apart from the other seasons. No doubt, the cessation of school does a lot to distinguish summer, but of course those long, hot days promise so much more than just the absence of academics.

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Clearing up the Collared Kingfishers

10,000 Birds

All the way back in 2011 I wrote about the confusing taxanomic enigma that is the Collared Kingfisher , a species that ranges from the Red Sea to Tonga in a bewildering variety of forms. Subspecies sacer , ‘Eua, Tonga. I’m happy to report that an analysis of the species and some relatives has found that, as suspected, it isn’t a single species.

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The complete guide to Dodo relatives, living and dead

10,000 Birds

A large, extinct relative of the (barely) extant Tooth-billed Pigeon described above was described in 2006 from remains found in Tonga ( Steadman 2006 ). The Dodo ( Raphus cucullatus ) — that towering icon of modern anthropogenic extinctions — was a pigeon. Not, as Linneaus thought, an ostrich, nor even, as later scientists concluded, a distant cousin of pigeons deserving of family rank, it was an honest-to-goodness pigeon, deeply embedded within the family Columbidae.

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Confusing Collared Kingfishers

10,000 Birds

The Collared Kingfisher isn’t the most widespread kingfisher in the world (a distinction that would probably go to the Common Kingfisher or the Pied Kingfisher ), but it is close, ranging from the African coast of the Red Sea through to Tonga and American Samoa. Subspecies sacer , ‘Eua, Tonga.

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Regarding Kakariki

10,000 Birds

It was long expected that the fossil record would show extinct members of the genus in the islands between New Zealand/New Caledonia and the Society Islands (places like Tonga, Fiji, the Cook Islands) that had gone extinct before Europeans arrived, but no such fossils have been found. One of the joys of blogging for a widely read blog is that it gives one a platform on which to moan and complain about subjects which interest the blogger and no one else in particular.

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