The Ultimate In Birding Tours

Australia & The Pacific Islands

SOLOMON ISLANDS – The Ultimate island endemics tour, including Black-faced Pitta, Fearful Owl and Sanford’s Sea Eagle

Friday 11th October – Friday 8th November 2024

Leaders: Pete Morris and local guides

29 Days Group Size Limit 7
Friday 31st July – Friday 28th August 2026

Leaders: Birdquest leader to b announced and local guides

29 Days Group Size Limit 7


Birdquest’s Solomon Islands birding tours explore these rarely-visited but endemic-rich islands that lie to the east of New Guinea. Our Solomon Islands birding tour provides a very comprehensive coverage of the islands for the more adventurous birder who longs to see its rich birdlife, including that final glorious pitta right at the edge of the family’s world range.

Scattered in a loose oval to the east of New Guinea, the Solomon Islands are a quintessential South Pacific idyll, combining a classic landscape and largely tourist-free, easy-going island life with exotic endemic birds. The nation is an archipelago of volcanic islands, still largely cloaked in luxuriant rainforest, sweeping down to golden sand beaches and fringing coral reefs. Who else has a national flag symbolizing sea, sand and forest?

The environment is still remarkably pristine as most Solomon Islanders pursue their traditional life of fishing on the reefs and tending lush gardens hidden in the forest. Few tourists have discovered this Eden, and the Solomon Islanders remain overwhelmingly friendly and generous to visitors whilst retaining much of their cultural heritage. Beyond the central island of Guadalcanal, famous for some of the most heroic battles of the Second World War, and Gizo, a fledgling scuba-diving destination, we may well encounter no other visitors.

During our journey through the Solomons, we will visit twelve of the islands, allowing us the opportunity to find the great majority of the Solomons endemics. The Solomons form a chain of islands stretching out beyond Papua New Guinea into the deeper Pacific. They are close enough to retain a reasonably high bird diversity yet isolated and fragmented enough to enable an amazing level of speciation of endemic birds. Here, islands only eight kilometres (five miles) apart have evolved their own endemic bird species!

The Central Solomons is unequivocally the richest ‘Endemic Bird Area’ in the world, having more restricted-range species than any other EBA. with at least 62 completely endemic species (depending on the taxonomy followed). Combined with the biogeographically distinct islands of Rennell and the Santa Cruz group, the Solomons have a total of 84 endemic birds plus another 12 endemics shared only with other Melanesian islands. Many more species are due to be recognized in future if current concepts of species limits are applied. Whilst searching for many of these incipient species, we will marvel at the subspecific variation between islands and come to our own ideas about species limits, which are still poorly understood in this part of the world. Still yielding undescribed species and rediscoveries of birds long feared extinct, this region has truly been overlooked both by scientists and by birders.

This exciting tour aims to see as many as possible of the accessible Solomon Islands endemics during a four-week timescale. While much of the tour involves nothing out of the usual and has moderate or even easy walking, this tour also involves some quite demanding hiking and very basic village accommodation at times, so will definitely appeal to the more adventurous birder! Provided you are prepared, this adventurous tour is incredibly rewarding and the hospitality shown on many of the islands is unparalleled.

We will begin our Solomon Islands birding tour on the island of Guadalcanal where we will be based at the small capital town of Honiara. We will have to return repeatedly to Honiara as it is the hub of the Solomons air services, so we will have several opportunities for local birding. On Guadalcanal, the lower altitude forests hold such endemics as Pied Goshawk, Solomons (or Ducorps’s) Cockatoo, Guadalcanal Owl, the attractive Ultramarine Kingfisher, Chestnut-bellied Monarch, Steel-blue Flycatcher, Midget Flowerpecker, Brown-winged Starling, and the uncommon Black-headed Myzomela.

On Malaita, we will be seeking the endemic Malaita White-eye and the endemic Red-vested Myzomela.

The New Georgia Islands are rich in endemics and we will thoroughly explore this fascinating part of the Solomons, taking in Munda, Tetepare, Kolombangara, Gizo, Ranongga and Vella Lavella.

On Tetepare our main targets will be Solomons Nightjar, Crimson-rumped (or Yellow-vented) Myzomela, White-capped Monarch and Dark-eyed White-eye.

Afterwards, we take a boat to Kolombangara (or Kulambangra), a steep volcanic cone with a series of exciting endemic birds including the magnificent Sanford’s (or Solomons) Sea Eagle, the flightless Roviana Rail, Buff-headed Coucal, Pale Mountain-Pigeon, Meek’s Lorikeet, the beautiful Duchess Lorikeet, White-winged Fantail, Kolombangara Monarch, Solomons Cuckooshrike and Solomons White-eye. For Kolombangara Leaf-Warbler and Kolombangara White-eye we will have to trek up into the highest moss forest.

On Gizo, the endemics include Gizo (or Splendid) White-eye. From there we will make a day trip by boat to the islands of Ranongga and Vella Lavella, each with endemic white-eyes and the chance of Heinroth’s Shearwater en route.

On Santa Isabel, we aim to see some of the most spectacular Solomons birds and in particular, the recently-described Solomons Frogmouth and the recently rediscovered Black-faced Pitta at its single known site. Other endemics include the flightless Woodford’s Rail, Red-capped Myzomela, White-billed Crow, Solomons Cuckooshrike, Solomons Monarch and Yellow-throated White-eye, not to mention West Solomons Owl and the impressive Fearful Owl.

On Makira (or San Cristobal), we will trek into the highlands where a very distinctive array of endemic birds includes the attractive White-headed Fruit Dove, the bizarre Crested Cuckoo-Dove, Chestnut-bellied Imperial Pigeon, Makira Owl, Sooty Myzomela, Makira Honeyeater, the shy Makira Thrush, Shade Bush Warbler, Makira Leaf Warbler, White-collared Monarch, Makira Flycatcher, Makira Fantail, Makira Starling, Grey-throated White-eye and Mottled Flowerpecker. This is the only island where we stand a good chance of seeing the little-known, range-restricted Yellow-legged Pigeon.

Far to the south of the main Solomons group is the remote island of Rennell, a raised coral atoll that is a World Heritage Site. Rennell holds no fewer than six single-island endemics – Rennell Fantail, the beautiful Rennell Shrikebill, Rennel Whistler, Rennell Starling, Rennell White-eye and the weird Bare-eyed White-eye, as well as the slightly more widespread endemic Silver-capped Fruit-Dove. The number of single-island endemics may be swelled by ‘Rennell White Ibis’ in the future.

As this ground-breaking tour unfolds, the presence of large flocks of parrots, especially the raucous Solomons (or Ducorps’s) Cockatoo, and many large pigeons, reminds us just how unspoilt these wonderful islands still remain.

Birdquest has operated Solomon Islands birding tours since 1996.

Santa Cruz Islands Extension Option: Doing the main Solomon Islands properly means a long tour in itself, owing to the infrequent flights to most islands combined with the need to ensure enough time on each island. There are, however, four additional endemics and three near-endemics that are accessible in the remote Santa Cruz Islands. Endemics on Nendo and nearby Tinakula include Temotu Whistler, Santa Cruz and Sanford’s White-eyes and the scarce Santa Cruz Shrikebill. The Santa Cruz forms of the Rufous Fantail could possibly represent a distinct species. Near-endemics (shared with the highlands of Vanuatu) include Santa Cruz Ground Dove, Palm Lorikeet and Rusty-winged Starling. (Note: the endemic Vanikoro Monarch and Vanikoro White-eye are effectively beyond the scope of bird tours given the lack of suitable boats in this part of the world for long sea crossings.) If we have participants on our Solomon Islands tour who would like to visit the Santa Cruz Islands, we will arrange an extension. The cost will depend on both the number of participants and the necessary duration (most likely five extra days after allowing for the infrequent flights). Please inform us at the time of booking if you are interested in a Santa Cruz Islands extension.

The Highlands of Guadalcanal: The difficult-to-reach highlands of Guadalcanal hold five endemics, including Guadalcanal Honeyeater, Hooded Whistler, Guadalcanal Thicketbird, Guadalcanal Thrush and Guadalcanal White-eye, as well as the rare and beautiful Moustached Kingfisher (which is endemic to Bougainville Island in Papua New Guinea, where it is now easier to access, and Guadalcanal). Exploring the relevant area for these birds requires arduous mountain trekking, including steep, slippery and difficult/dangerous trail sections, walking up rivers and lots of ‘off-trail’ in steep terrain. We have spoken with experienced people who have explored the area and they regard trekking in the area as high risk when it comes to the issue of safety. So for the time being, pending the discovery of easier and safer access to these birds, we are not including the Guadalcanal highlands in our tours.

Important: Flight schedules in the Solomons change unpredictably, and flights to most islands are infrequent (sometimes only twice a week), so participants need to be aware of this and have a flexible approach. The order in which the islands are visited changes every tour (!) and changes to the amount of time spent on particular islands likewise varies. Our Solomon Islands birding tour itinerary has a built-in safety margin to allow for the inevitable schedule changes. Risking missing a major island (or having far too little time on one or two islands) owing to too tight an itinerary is something we feel is best avoided!

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels at Honiara and Gizo are of a good standard. The hotel on Malaita is fairly simple, although it usually has functioning air-conditioning. The guesthouses on Rennell, Kolombangara, Makira (near the airstrip) and Santa Isabel are fairly basic but provide mattresses, clean sheets, cold showers and toilets. Accommodation is very basic at Hauta on Makira, where we will sleep on bamboo beds in traditional, open-plan village houses, and washing is under piped stream water or in the local river. One night will be spent in a basic camp on the mountain on Kolombangara. Road transport will be by minibus/passenger van and 4×4 vehicles. Roads away from the Honiara area are mostly bad, but in any event, we do not travel far on them.

Walking: Our Solomon Islands birding tour mostly involves moderate walking effort, and while there are a few easy areas there are also a number of demanding hikes. On Kolombangara the upper part of the trek to the summit is demanding. The trek on Makira up to Hauta involves a steep hike on muddy trails lasting for a number of hours (with possibly one or more river crossings en route) and there is also a steep hike of two hours on Santa Isabel from the coast up to our accommodations.

Climate: Hot and humid. Although it is the ‘dry’ season, rain is still very likely and it can be heavy. Boat journeys and the camping night on Kolombangara can be cool.

Bird Photography: Opportunities during our Solomon Islands birding tour are worthwhile.


  • Challenging but exciting tour to see a huge number of poorly-known island endemics!
  • See more restricted-range species here than in any other Endemic Bird Area in the world!
  • Hop between thirteen different tropical islands in search of amazing species.
  • Four bizarre endemic genera are to be found on this tour, represented by Solomons Frogmouth, Woodford’s Rail, Makira Honeyeater and Bare-eyed White-eye
  • Black-faced Pitta represents the eastern distribution limit of the pitta family.
  • Similarly, Solomons Cockatoo is the furthest east that raucous family goes.
  • Evolutionary trends are fascinating in the Solomons, best seen through 10 different species of white-eye – some of them truly weird.
  • Monarchs feature heavily, with White-capped, White-collared and Chestnut-bellied Monarchs usually being favourites.
  • Different Dwarf Kingfishers on most islands, and plenty of chances to see both Ultramarine Kingfisher and Beach Kingfisher.
  • Astounding parrot diversity includes Duchess Lorikeet, Yellow-bibbed Lory and Song Parrot
  • Seeing pigeons such as the lovely Silver-capped Fruit Dove, the funky Crested Cuckoo-Dove and the rare Yellow-legged Pigeon.
  • Sanford’s Sea Eagle is often the last Haliaeetus species for many participants.
  • Boat trips in the western islands give us an excellent chance to see Heinroth’s Shearwater.
  • Declining species such as Roviana Rail, Solomons Nightjar and Rennell Shrikebill.
  • Remote-island rarities such as Kolombangara Leaf Warbler and Makira Thrush.
  • Finding exciting birds such as Fearful Owl and White-eyed Starling with regularity.


  • FIRST DAY: Our tour starts at the city of Honiara on Guadalcanal island.
  • REST OF TOUR: Exploring Guadalcanal, Malaita, Tetepare, Kolumbangara, Gizo, Rannongga, Vella Lavella, Fera, Santa Isabel, Makira (or San Cristobal) and Rennell Islands
  • LAST DAY: Our tour ends at Honiara.

To see a larger map, click on the square-like ‘enlarge’ icon in the upper right of the map box.

To see (or hide) the ‘map legend’, click on the icon with an arrow in the upper left of the map box.

To change to a satellite view, which is great for seeing the physical terrain (and for seeing really fine details by repetitive use of the + button), click on the square ‘map view’ icon in the lower left corner of the ‘map legend’.


Birdquest Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.

We also include all tipping for local guides, drivers and accommodation/restaurant staff.

We also include these flights in our tour prices:



Honiara-Fera (Santa Isabel)-Honiara

Honiara-Kirakira (Makira)-Honiara.


Cumulatively these flights amount to a very large cost.

Deposit: 20% of the total tour price. Our office will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)

2024: confirmed £10750, $13790, €12540, AUD20820. Honiara/Honiara.
2026: provisional £10750, $13790, €12540, AUD20820. Honiara/Honiara.

Single Supplement: 2024: £570, $740, €670, AUD1110.
Single Supplement: 2026: £570, $740, €670, AUD1110.

The single supplement will not apply if you indicate on booking that you prefer to share a room and there is a room-mate of the same sex available.

The single room supplement relates to Honiara, Gizo and Malaita only.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.


Solomon Islands: First Day  Our tour begins today at Honiara, the capital of the Solomon Islands, situated on the island of Guadalcanal.

Owing to endless flight schedule changes in the Solomons, we can never predict the order in which the islands will be visited, other than the fact we start and end the tour at Honiara on Guadalcanal, where the sole international airport is situated. The islands we will be visiting are described below and the amount of time we spend on each will be sufficient, or more than sufficient as we must always build in a considerable ‘safety margin’ on Solomons Islands tours to avoid the risk of being forced to miss out an island, or have far too little time on one, owing to unexpected flight schedule changes.


The name Guadalcanal is still synonymous with huge air and naval battles and bloody jungle warfare, for some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific between Japanese and Allied forces took place on and around this island. Relics of that great struggle can be found littered throughout the island and its offshore waters, a stark reminder of darker days, when for a brief period in history Guadalcanal was thrust to the forefront of the world’s stage. Now largely ignored and forgotten by the rest of the world, Guadalcanal, like the rest of the Solomons, is a sleepy backwater which receives few visitors from the outside world.

Pacific Swallows, Willie Wagtails, Olive-backed Sunbirds, Singing Starlings and introduced Common Mynas are conspicuous around Honiara and Brahminy Kites are often to be seen at the edge of town.

We will spend much of our time at Mount Austen and on a logging road that penetrates into the mountains. As we walk along trails through the forest we should encounter such Solomons endemics as Pied Goshawk, Solomons (or Ducorps’s) Cockatoo, the attractive Ultramarine Kingfisher, Guadalcanal Dwarf Kingfisher, Chestnut-bellied Monarch, Steel-blue Flycatcher, Midget Flowerpecker and Brown-winged Starling, and we should also find the uncommon Black-headed Myzomela, which is restricted to Guadalcanal. We also have a fair chance of finding the rather elusive endemic Guadalcanal Owl (now treated as an Athene species restricted to Guadalcanal rather than as a more widespread boobook). There is also a slim but real possibility of finding the rare White-eyed Starling amongst the many Metallic Starlings and Long-tailed Mynas.

More widespread species include Buff-banded Rail, Pale-vented (or Rufous-tailed) Bush-hen, Claret-breasted, Superb and perhaps Yellow-bibbed Fruit Doves, Glossy and Uniform Swiftlets, and Grey Fantail.

We will also visit the Betikama wetlands, a haunt of the flightless and threatened endemic Woodford’s Rail as well as Little Pied Cormorant, White-browed Crake and Australian Reed Warbler, while Red-backed Buttonquail may be found in the surrounding grassland. The still remarkably abundant Solomons Cockatoo sometimes poses well for photographs here and we will keep an eye out for vagrants to the islands, as this is a prime location for such wanderers.


From Honiara on Guadalcanal, we travel by ferry to the town of Auki on the adjacent island of Malaita.

We will explore the forested hills of the island’s interior. Malaita is the only island in the Solomons with heavy forest clearance but some good forest sections remain accessible.

The endemic Malaita White-eye is fairly common, but the endemic Red-vested (or Red-bellied) Myzomela will take some time staking out flowering trees. Both Coquerell’s Fantail and Brown-winged Starling have distinctive subspecies on Malaita which may be split as full species. We also have a good chance of an encounter with the as-yet-undescribed subspecies of Woodford’s Rail that occurs on this island. The recently-split Malaita Owl is very poorly known but we could get lucky.


This little-visited island in the New Georgia group, which we will reach by boat from Munda Island, holds some interesting birds, including such New Georgia endemics as Crimson-rumped Myzomela, the handsome White-capped Monarch and Dark-eyed White-eye.

The cryptic endemic Solomons Nightjar was once found throughout the Solomons, but this nightjar roosts on beaches, often among seaweed just above the tideline. As a result, it has declined severely owing to greatly increased human disturbance and has only been reliably recorded in recent times from Tetepare. We will be trying our hardest to get to grips with this poorly-known species that has only been seen by a few birders.

Melanesian Megapode (or Melanesian Scrubfowl) are frequently to be heard and Tetepare is a particularly good place to see this retiring species.  Other possibilities include Little Kingfisher and even the rare and declining Dugong.


From Tetepare we will travel by boat across to the volcanic island of Kolombangara where we will spend the first night in a basic guesthouse.

Our main target in the Kolombangara lowlands is the endemic Roviana Rail, a species which was only described in 1991 but which emerges onto short grassland at dawn and dusk together with Australasian Swamphens. A goose-like honking is likely to reveal a pair of Sanford’s (or Solomons) Sea Eagles sparring high overhead. Kolombangara, with its rich reefs and forests, is a stronghold for this threatened endemic predator.

Another highlight is the huge Buff-headed Coucal, and we will search through large numbers of Red-knobbed Imperial Pigeons for Pale Mountain Pigeon, and through the many Rainbow Lorikeets for the beautiful endemic Duchess Lorikeet. The endemic Solomons White-eye is a common bird here, while the endemic Grey-capped Cicadabird is straightforward to find. The range-restricted North Melanesian Cuckooshrike is usually to be found in the coastal forest and White-rumped Swiftlets should be seen hawking overhead.

Other more widespread species include Pacific Reef Heron, Striated Heron, Pacific Black Duck, Osprey, Pacific Baza, the dashing Oriental Hobby, Stephan’s Emerald Dove, Cardinal Lory, Eclectus Parrot, Sacred Kingfisher and White-bellied Cuckooshrike. Much rarer, but occasionally seen, is Meyer’s Goshawk.

Early the next day, we will start our ascent of the mountain. Walking slowly through the primary forest, we will be hearing forest birds all the way. Lowland forest species include five rather uncommon endemics; New Georgia Dwarf Kingfisher, Coquerell’s Fantail, Kolombangara Monarch, Oriole Whistler and Solomons Cuckooshrike. Walking quietly, we are also likely to encounter Metallic (or White-throated) Pigeon, Brush Cuckoo and Blyth’s Hornbill.

In the stunted moss forest near the summit, we will camp overnight amongst montane species such as Red-breasted Pygmy Parrot, Island Leaf Warbler, Pacific Robin and large flocks of endemic Kolombangara White-eyes. From the camp viewpoint, we should spot some fast-flying endemic Pale Mountain Pigeons and tiny endemic Meek’s Lorikeets.

The following morning we will awake to a dawn movement of pigeons and parrots. Walking to the top of the mountain, our objective is to find the Kolombangara Leaf Warbler, an unobtrusive mouse-coloured bird which has an extremely tiny range around the rim of the volcanic caldera atop Kolombangara. It is quite an effort to reach the home of this special little creature, but it is definitely worth it and it is usually smiles all around when we succeed!

Once we have succeeded we will pack up camp and descend to the lowlands and travel by boat across to Gizo Island for some well-deserved creature comforts.


While on Gizo we will walk along a road through a mixture of scrub, gardens and plantations looking for the attractive but endangered endemic Gizo (or Splendid) White-eye, which is often found in mixed flocks with Crimson-rumped Myzomela, Rufous Fantail and White-capped Monarch.


During the crossing from Gizo to Ranongga, and during the other crossings between the New Georgia Islands, we will be keeping a lookout for the rare and poorly-known Heinroth’s Shearwater and we have a good chance of an encounter. More common seabirds during the crossings include Brown Booby, Lesser and Great Frigatebirds, Black and Brown Noddies, and Greater Crested, Roseate, Black-naped, Common and Bridled Terns.

The journey should also turn up Beach Stone-curlew, Beach Kingfisher and the impressive Sanford’s Sea Eagle.

Once we reach Ranongga we will find the smart endemic Ranongga White-eye and the endemic subspecies of several other forest passerines. Island Imperial Pigeons are usually conspicuous and the large Beach Kingfisher frequents the coastline.


Across another 8-kilometre (5-mile) strait from Ranongga, we reach Vella Lavella, another island with its own endemic, the Vella Lavella (or Banded) White-eye. We will also search for the attractive endemic form of the Oriole Whistler and may also see Melanesian Megapode, Stephan’s Emerald Dove and the huge endemic Buff-headed Coucal. As the sun sets, we will return to our hotel on Gizo.


The airstrip for Santa Isabel is on the small offshore island of Fera, where we should see Island Monarch and may encounter a wintering Pacific Long-tailed Cuckoo.

After crossing the channel to the main island, a steep walk up into the hills takes us to Tirotogna (or Tirotonga) village, home of some of the most sought-after Solomons endemics.

The village has built a simple ‘ecotourism facility’ (a guesthouse) for visiting birders and here in this remote but happy place we will enjoy some wonderful hospitality.

Our prime target on Santa Isabel will be the beautiful endemic Black-faced Pitta, which has been seen by very few birders. Although very shy, it is highly vocal and we should all hear and with persistence eventually see what may be the least-known pitta in the world!

White-billed Crow, an endemic species with an outlandish huge bill and remarkable calls, is common here, as is the endemic Yellow-throated White-eye. Less common endemics are North Solomons Dwarf Kingfisher, Solomons Cuckooshrike, Solomons Monarch, Red-capped Myzomela and Woodford’s Rail. The very poorly-known endemic Imitator Sparrowhawk is a secretive forest raptor that requires an unusual amount of luck to get to grips with, but by spending some time at viewpoints overlooking the hills we may strike gold.

We will also want to find the endemic Solomons Frogmouth (now placed in its own genus), the interesting West Solomons Owl (now classified as an Athene rather than as a boobook) and the imposing endemic Fearful Owl. All are difficult to see at night, especially Fearful Owl, although we will try hard if necessary. Hopefully, our keen local guides will have found us roost sites for these rare and little-known species so that we can observe them in detail in daylight.


Another flight from Honiara will take us to Kirakira on the island of Makira (or San Cristobal), from where we will drive along the few kilometres of road and then hike inland to the village of Na’ara in the Hauta conservation area. Hauta is a classic example of integrating conservation with traditional values.

The hike takes several hours and is steep and usually involves one or more river crossings (the crossings may be aided by canoes, depending on the state of the water levels). However, we will take our time over the hike, passing through plenty of good forest and enjoying the forest bird species along the way. We will see our first Makira endemics such as the attractive White-headed Fruit Dove, Makira Cicadabird, Sooty Myzomela, Makira Honeyeater (or San Cristobal Melidectes), White-collared Monarch, Makira Flycatcher, Makira Fantail, Makira Starling and Mottled Flowerpecker, as well as the regionally-endemic Yellow-bibbed Fruit-Dove and Yellow-bibbed Lory.

Makira is the easternmost limit for several bird species and groups, such as Common Kingfisher, whilst this isolation has led to divergent evolution of others, such as the distinctive but sneaky local form of the Spangled Drongo (found only on Makira and Guadalcanal).

Staying at about 1600ft (500m) in the Hauta conservation area, we will enjoy the traditional village hospitality while we explore a network of trails in pristine hill and mountain rainforest with the aid of our skilled local guides.

This is the best site for the threatened and virtually endemic Yellow-legged Pigeon and endemic Chestnut-bellied Imperial Pigeon, which are both uncommon but join other pigeon species in the fruiting trees or perch on exposed branches. We will trek to the higher ridges in the area to search for Shade Bush Warbler in the dark forest understorey, whilst the Makira (or White-bellied) Thrush is very shy and requires luck and patience to see well. Endemics in the mixed-species flocks here include Makira Leaf Warbler and Grey-throated White-eye, together with the more widespread Long-tailed Triller.

Whilst looking for thrushes and other birds we may also encounter Bronze Ground Dove and we have a very good chance of finding the endemic Makira Dwarf Kingfisher. Throughout our time in the area, we will be listening carefully for the distinctive call of the endemic Crested Cuckoo-Dove. With time and persistence, we should be able to lure one into view, allowing us all to admire this most bizarre pigeon. The Makira Owl is now treated as a single-island endemic rather than as part of a widespread ‘Solomons Boobook’ and we have a good chance of seeing this interesting bird during our visit.

After a final morning at Hauta, we will return to the lowlands and stay overnight in a guesthouse close to the airstrip. Here we will have another chance to catch up on lowland forest species before we fly back to Honiara.


The remote island of Rennell is a World Heritage Site. Landing on the rough grass airstrip, we will disturb numbers of Australian Ibis which are remarkably tame and widespread across the island, behaving almost like farmyard chickens. The endemic race pygmaeus (restricted to Rennell and nearby Bellona), is not only smaller than the nominate race birds found 1,500 kms away in Australia but has pink legs and looks and sounds quite different. It is surely a potential split as Rennell or Pygmy White Ibis.

On Rennell birds are abundant along the trails through the forest which grows on this large raised coral reef, situated far out in the Coral Sea and very unlike most of the other Solomon Islands, which are mountainous. Despite heavy and ongoing logging, most of the Rennell endemics, including Rennell Fantail, the beautiful Rennell Shrikebill, Rennell Starling, Rennell White-eye and the weird Bare-eyed White-eye, are generally common and confiding, but the Rennell Whistler is uncommon and restricted to undisturbed forest.

The other passerines on Rennell include three Melanesian endemics, Cardinal Myzomela, Fan-tailed Gerygone and Melanesian Flycatcher, as well as Yellow-eyed Cuckooshrike and Island Thrush (the latter a Eurasian Black-bird-like race, found here at sea level). As elsewhere in the country, there is very little hunting in the extensive forests and we will see large numbers of the endemic Silver-capped Fruit Dove, as well as Pacific Imperial Pigeon, Mackinlay’s Cuckoo-Dove and Song Parrot. Another highlight is the abundance of diminutive Finsch’s Pygmy Parrots, which can be watched nibbling away at the trunks and branches of the roadside trees. Other species likely to be seen are Shining Bronze Cuckoo, the elegant Moustached Treeswift and Pacific Kingfisher, whilst this is the only island in the Solomons with resident Brown Goshawks.

If we have time, we will try to make an excursion to a more distant part of the island where a large freshwater lake holds Australasian Grebe and an island in the lake provides a nesting area for Red-footed Boobies and Great and Little Pied Cormorants.

Solomon Islands: Final Day  Our tour ends today at Honiara.



Please see the details on the tour Overview page.


by Pete Morris

View Report


View Report


View Report

Other Melanesia birding tours by Birdquest include: