List of birds of the Pitcairn Islands
This list's taxonomic treatment (designation and sequence of orders, families, and species) and nomenclature (common and scientific names) follow the conventions of Clements's 5th edition. The family accounts at the beginning of each heading reflects this taxonomy, as do the species counts found in each family account.
The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories. Not all species fall into one of these categories. Those that do not are commonly occurring, native species.
- (E) Endemic A species endemic to the Pitcairn Islands.
|Table of contents|
Non-passerines: Albatrosses . Shearwaters and Petrels . Storm petrels . Tropicbirds . Boobies and Gannets . Frigatebirds . Bitterns, Herons and Egrets . Rails, Crakes, Gallinules, and Coots . Plovers and Lapwings . Sandpipers and allies . Gulls . Terns . Pigeons and Doves . Parrots, Macaws and allies . Cuckoos and Anis .
Passerines: Old World warblers .
The albatrosses are among the largest of flying birds, and the great albatrosses from the genus Diomedea have the largest wingspans of any extant birds. There are 21 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Wandering Albatross Diomedea exulans
- Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris
- Buller's Albatross Thalassarche bulleri
Shearwaters and petrels
The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized 'true petrels', characterised by united nostrils with a medium septum, and a long outer functional primary. There are 75 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Antarctic Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus
- Cape Petrel Daption capense
- Great-winged Petrel Pterodroma macroptera
- White-headed Petrel Pterodroma lessonii
- Phoenix Petrel Pterodroma alba
- Murphy's Petrel Pterodroma ultima
- Kermadec Petrel Pterodroma neglecta
- Herald Petrel Pterodroma arminjoniana
- Henderson Petrel Pterodroma atrata
- White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis
- Wedge-tailed Shearwater Puffinus pacificus
- Christmas Shearwater Puffinus nativitatis
The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels, and are the smallest of sea-birds. 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 1 species which occurs in the Pitcairn Islands.
- White-faced Storm Petrel Pelagodroma marina
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 the Pitcairn Islands.
Boobies and gannets
The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups comprise medium-to-large coastal sea-birds that plunge-dive for fish. There are 9 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the Pitcairn Islands.
Frigatebirds are large sea-birds usually found over tropical oceans. They are large, black and white or completely black, with long wings and deeply forked tails. The males have inflatable coloured 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 the Pitcairn Islands.
Bitterns, herons and egrets
The family Ardeidae contains the bitterns, herons and egrets. Herons and egrets are medium to large sized wading birds with long necks and legs. Bitterns tend to be shorter necked and more wary. Unlike other long-necked birds suck as storks, ibises and spoonbills, members of Ardeidae fly with their necks retracted. There are 61 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Pacific Reef-Heron Egretta sacra
Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots
Rallidae is a large family of small to medium-sized birds which includes the rails, crakes, coots, and gallinules. Typically they inhabit dense vegetation in damp environments near lakes, swamps, or rivers. In general they are shy and secretive birds, difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs, and have long toes which are well adapted to soft, uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and be weak fliers. There are 143 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the Pitcairn Islands.
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, although there are some exceptions. There are 66 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Pacific Golden-Plover Pluvialis fulva
Sandpipers and allies
The Scolopacidae are 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 species eat small invertebrates picked out of the mud or soil. Variation in length of legs and bills enable different species to feed in the same habitat, particularly on the coast, without direct competition for food. There are 89 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Bristle-thighed Curlew Numenius tahitiensis
- Wandering Tattler Heterosceles incanus
- Sanderling Calidris alba
Laridae is a family of medium to large birds seabirds and includes 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 1 species which occurs in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Laughing Gull Larus atricilla
Terns are a group of generally general medium to large sea-birds 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 now known to live in excess of 25 to 30 years. There are 44 species worldwide and 7 species which occur in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Gray-backed Tern Sterna lunata
- Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata
- Black Noddy Anous minutus
- Brown Noddy Anous stolidus
- Blue Noddy Procelsterna cerulea
- Gray Noddy Procelsterna albivitta
- White Tern Gygis alba
Pigeons and doves
- Henderson Fruit Dove Ptilinopus insularis (E)
Parrots, macaws and allies
Parrots are small to large birds with a characteristic curved beak shape. 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 back. There are 335 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Stephen's Lorikeet Vini stepheni (E)
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. Unlike the cuckoo species of the Old World, North American cuckoos are not brood parasites. There are 138 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Long-tailed Koel Eudynamys taitensis
Old World warblers
The family Sylviidae is a group of small insectivorous passerine birds. The Sylviidae 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 2 species which occur in the Pitcairn Islands.