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 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.
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.
- (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: Acrocephalid 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.
- 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 medium septum and a long outer functional primary.
- 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 heraldica
- 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 seabirds. They feed on planktonic crustaceans and small fish picked from the surface, typically while hovering. The flight is fluttering and sometimes bat-like.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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, making them difficult to observe. Most species have strong legs and long toes which are well adapted to soft uneven surfaces. They tend to have short, rounded wings and to be weak fliers.
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.
- Pacific golden plover, Pluvialis fulva
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.
- Bristle-thighed curlew, Numenius tahitiensis
- Wandering tattler, Tringa incanus
- Sanderling, Calidris alba
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 1 species which occurs in the Pitcairn Islands.
- Laughing gull, Leucophaeus atricilla
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.
- Grey-backed tern, Onychoprion lunatus
- Sooty tern, Onychoprion fuscatus
- Black noddy, Anous minutus
- Brown noddy, Anous stolidus
- Blue noddy, Procelsterna cerulea
- Grey 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. 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.
- Stephen's lorikeet, Vini stepheni (E)
Cuckoos and anis
- Long-tailed koel, Eudynamys taitensis
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.