A few birds from Bougainville

2006 September 26
by David J. Ringer

UKARUMPA, PNG — I’ve just returned from PNG‘s Autonomous Region of Bougainville, which is composed of the northernmost Solomon Islands. I had far less opportunity to bird than I’d hoped but still managed to see some nice Solomons endemics like the rusty-collared Pied Goshawk and striking Cardinal Lories.


On Buka Island, my room looked out over the sea, and Lesser Frigatebirds flew past every day. Lesser Frigatebirds are separated from Great Frigatebirds by their white axillaries, which are most easily visible in the black-breasted males.


One afternoon, the frigatebirds came over in flocks of dozens, spiraling high in great kettles before suddenly streaming away as if at a signal only they understood. This shot captured almost 50 birds.


Louisiade White-eyes occur on a few small islands east of New Guinea, including Nissan Island. Nissan, an atoll between Buka and New Ireland, is also home to huge, gorgeous White-bellied Sea-Eagles and to the Atoll Starling, a species that occurs on only a few small islands from the Admiralties east to the Solomons. I had a nice, if brief, look at one pair of the yellow-eyed birds.


White-bellied Cuckoo-shrikes are widespread in Australasia, from eastern Indonesia to the Solomons.


Brown-winged Starlings (Aplonis grandis) are endemic to the Solomons. The brown primaries for which the species is named can be surprisingly difficult to observe. Brown-wings are notably larger and bulkier (though proportionally smaller-headed) than other Aplonis starlings. Lanceolate neck feathers give them a slightly maned look, and their eyes are dark.


Brown-winged Starlings’ thin, high-pitched notes are completely different from the harsh calls of Metallic Starlings and the loud, commanding cries of Singing Starlings. They also look very different in flight.

Related posts:

  1. Solomon Islands birds
  2. Some black, some white
  3. If you don’t see, listen
  4. Birds of Tropical Storm Lee, Part 1
  5. Two hours hunting mystery birds
2 Responses
  1. Mike permalink
    September 28, 2006

    Fantastic pics and report, David. For my money, even Lesser Frigatebirds are magnificent.

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