List of birds of Kiribati
This is a list of the bird species recorded in Kiribati. The avifauna of Kiribati include a total of 74 species, of which one has been introduced by humans and three are rare or accidental. Two species listed are extirpated in Kiribati and are not included in the species count. Eleven species are globally threatened.
This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World, 5th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflect this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for Kiribati.
The following tags have been used to highlight several categories. Not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring, native species.
- (A) Accidental - a species that rarely or accidentally occurs in Kiribati
- (I) Introduced - a species introduced to Kiribati as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
- (Ex) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in Kiribati although populations exist elsewhere
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Passerines: Old World warblers
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species worldwide and 18 species which occur in Kiribati.
- Tahiti petrel, Pterodroma rostrata (A)
- Phoenix petrel, Pterodroma alba
- Mottled petrel, Pterodroma inexpectata
- Hawaiian petrel, Pterodroma sandwichensis
- Juan Fernandez petrel, Pterodroma externa
- White-necked petrel, Pterodroma cervicalis
- Cook's petrel, Pterodroma cookii
- Gould's petrel, Pterodroma leucoptera
- Bonin petrel, Pterodroma hypoleuca
- Black-winged petrel, Pterodroma nigripennis
- Stejneger's petrel, Pterodroma longirostris
- Bulwer's petrel, Bulweria bulwerii
- Pink-footed shearwater, Puffinus creatopus
- Wedge-tailed shearwater, Puffinus pacificus
- Sooty shearwater, Puffinus griseus
- Short-tailed shearwater, Puffinus tenuirostris
- Christmas shearwater, Puffinus nativitatis
- Audubon's shearwater, Puffinus lherminieri
The storm-petrels are relatives of the petrels and are the smallest seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like. There are 21 species worldwide and 5 species which occur in Kiribati.
- Wilson's storm-petrel, Oceanites oceanicus
- White-faced storm-petrel, Pelagodroma marina
- Polynesian storm-petrel, Nesofregetta fuliginosa
- Band-rumped storm-petrel, Oceanodroma castro
- Leach's storm-petrel, Oceanodroma leucorhoa
Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings. There are 3 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Kiribati.
Boobies and gannets
Frigatebirds are large seabirds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black and white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have coloured inflatable throat pouches. They do not swim or walk and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan-to-body-weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week. There are 5 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Kiribati.
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The Ardeidae family contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted, unlike other long-necked birds such as storks, ibises and spoonbills. There are 61 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Kiribati.
- Pacific reef-heron, Egretta sacra
Ducks, geese and swans
Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These birds are adapted to an aquatic existence with webbed feet, flattened bills, and feathers that are excellent at shedding water due to an oily coating. There are 131 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in Kiribati.
- Canada goose, Branta canadensis (A)
- Eurasian wigeon, Anas penelope
- Gadwall, Anas strepera (Ex)
- Eurasian teal, Anas crecca
- Mallard, Anas platyrhynchos
- Northern pintail, Anas acuta
- Northern shoveler, Anas clypeata
Plovers and lapwings
The family Charadriidae includes the plovers, dotterels and lapwings. They are small to medium-sized birds with compact bodies, short, thick necks and long, usually pointed, wings. They are found in open country worldwide, mostly in habitats near water. There are 66 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in Kiribati.
Sandpipers and allies
Scolopacidae is a large diverse family of small to medium-sized shorebirds including the sandpipers, curlews, godwits, shanks, tattlers, woodcocks, snipes, dowitchers and phalaropes. The majority of these species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enables multiple species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 89 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in Kiribati.
- Black-tailed godwit, Limosa limosa
- Bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica
- Whimbrel, Numenius phaeopus
- Bristle-thighed curlew, Numenius tahitiensis
- Common sandpiper, Actitis hypoleucos
- Grey-tailed tattler, Heterosceles brevipes
- Wandering tattler, Heterosceles incanus
- Ruddy turnstone, Arenaria interpres
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
- Pectoral sandpiper, Calidris melanotos
- Sharp-tailed sandpiper, Calidris acuminata
- Red phalarope, Phalaropus fulicarius
Skuas and jaegers
The family Stercorariidae are, in general, medium to large birds, typically with grey or brown plumage, often with white markings on the wings. They nest on the ground in temperate and arctic regions and are long-distance migrants. There are 7 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Kiribati.
- South polar skua, Stercorarius maccormicki
- Pomarine jaeger, Stercorarius pomarinus
- Long-tailed jaeger, Stercorarius longicaudus
Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls and kittiwakes. They are typically grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. There are 55 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in Kiribati.
- Ring-billed gull, Larus delawarensis
- Laughing gull, Larus atricilla
- Franklin's gull, Larus pipixcan (A)
Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with grey or white plumage, often with black markings on the head. Most terns hunt fish by diving but some pick insects off the surface of fresh water. Terns are generally long-lived birds, with several species known to live in excess of 30 years. There are 44 species worldwide and 9 species which occur in Kiribati.
- Great crested tern, Sterna bergii
- Black-naped tern, Sterna sumatrana
- Little tern, Sterna albifrons
- Grey-backed tern, Sterna lunata
- Sooty tern, Sterna fuscata
- Black noddy, Anous minutus
- Brown noddy, Anous stolidus
- Blue noddy, Procelsterna cerulea
- White tern, Gygis alba
Pigeons and doves
- Rock pigeon, Columba livia
- Friendly ground-dove, Gallicolumba stairi
- Pacific imperial-pigeon, Ducula pacifica
- Micronesian imperial-pigeon, Ducula oceanica (Ex)
Parrots, macaws and allies
Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak. Their upper mandibles have slight mobility in the joint with the skull and they have a generally erect stance. All parrots are zygodactyl, having the four toes on each foot placed two at the front and two to the back. There are 335 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Kiribati.
- Kuhl's lorikeet, Vini kuhlii (I)
Cuckoos and anis
The family Cuculidae includes cuckoos, roadrunners and anis. These birds are of variable size with slender bodies, long tails and strong legs. The Old World cuckoos are brood parasites. There are 138 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Kiribati.
- Long-tailed koel, Eudynamys taitensis
Old World warblers
The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. They mainly occur as breeding species, as the common name implies, in Europe, Asia and, to a lesser extent, Africa. Most are of generally undistinguished appearance, but many have distinctive songs. There are 291 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in Kiribati.
- Christmas Island warbler, Acrocephalus aequinoctialis