List of birds of the Solomon Islands

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This is a list of the bird species recorded in the Solomon Islands. The geographical area covered by this article refers to the archipelago of the Solomon Islands, which includes the island of Bougainville, a province of Papua New Guinea, as well as the group of islands that make up the nation state of Solomon Islands. The area's avifauna includes a total of 289 species, of which 71 are endemic, 3 have been introduced by humans, and 39 are rare or accidental. 26 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 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. Introduced and accidental species are included in the total counts for the Solomon Islands.

The following tags have been used to highlight certain relevant categories. The commonly occurring, native, species do not fall into any of these categories.

  • (A) Accidental A species that rarely or accidentally occurs in the Solomon Islands.
  • (E) Endemic A species endemic to the Solomon Islands.
  • (I) Introduced A species introduced to the Solomon Islands as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions.


Table of contents

Non-passerines: Grebes . Shearwaters and Petrels . Storm petrels . Tropicbirds . Pelicans . Boobies and Gannets . Cormorants . Frigatebirds . Bitterns, Herons and Egrets . Ibises and Spoonbills . Ducks, Geese and Swans . Osprey . Hawks, Kites and Eagles . Falcons . Megapodes . Buttonquails . Rails, Crakes, Gallinules, and Coots . Thick-knees . Pratincoles and Coursers . Plovers and Lapwings . Sandpipers and allies . Skuas . Gulls . Terns . Pigeons and Doves . Cockatoos . Parrots . Cuckoos . Barn owls . Typical owls . Frogmouths . Nightjars . Swifts . Treeswifts . Kingfishers . Bee-eaters . Typical Rollers . Hornbills .

Passerines: Pittas . Swallows and Martins . Wagtails and Pipits . Cuckoo-shrikes . Thrushes and allies . Old World warblers . Fantails . Monarch flycatchers . Australasian robins . Whistlers and allies . Thornbills and allies . Sunbirds and Spiderhunters . Flowerpeckers . White-eyes . Honeyeaters . Drongos . Bellmagpies and allies . Crows, Jays, Ravens and Magpies . Starlings . Waxbills and allies .

See also       References

Grebes[edit]

Order: Podicipediformes. Family: Podicipedidae

Grebes are small to medium-large sized freshwater diving birds. They have lobed toes, and are excellent swimmers and divers. However, they have their feet placed far back on the body, making them quite ungainly on land. There are 20 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Shearwaters and petrels[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Procellariidae

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 14 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Storm petrels[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes. Family: Hydrobatidae

The storm petrels are relatives of the petrels, and are the smallest of 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 4 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Tropicbirds[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Phaethontidae

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 Solomon Islands.

Pelicans[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Pelecanidae

Pelicans are large water birds with a distinctive pouch under the beak. As with other members of the order Pelecaniformes, they have webbed feet with four toes. There are 8 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Boobies and gannets[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups comprise medium-to-large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish. There are 9 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Cormorants[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Phalacrocoracidae

The Phalacrocoracidae is a family of medium-to-large coastal, fish-eating seabirds that includes cormorants and shags. Plumage colouration varies with the majority having mainly dark plumage, some species being black and white, and a few being colourful. There are 38 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Frigatebirds[edit]

Order: Pelecaniformes. Family: Fregatidae

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 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 3 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Bitterns, herons and egrets[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Ardeidae

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 9 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Ibises and spoonbills[edit]

Order: Ciconiiformes. Family: Threskiornithidae

The Threskiornithidae is a family of large terrestrial and wading birds which includes the ibises and spoonbills. They have long, broad wings with 11 primary and about 20 secondary feathers. They are strong fliers and despite their size and weight, very capable soarers. There are 36 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Ducks, geese and swans[edit]

Order: Anseriformes. Family: Anatidae

The family Anatidae includes the ducks and most duck-like waterfowl, such as geese and swans. These are birds that are modified for 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 6 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Osprey[edit]

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Pandionidae

The Pandionidae family contains only one species, the Osprey. The Osprey is a medium large raptor which is a specialist fish-eater with a worldwide distribution.

Hawks, kites and eagles[edit]

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Accipitridae

Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 233 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Falcons[edit]

Order: Falconiformes. Family: Falconidae

Falconidae is a family of diurnal birds of prey. They differ from hawks, eagles, and kites in that they kill with their beaks instead of their feet. There are 62 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Megapodes[edit]

Order: Galliformes. Family: Megapodiidae

The Megapodiidae are stocky, medium-large chicken-like birds with small heads and large feet. All but the Malleefowl occupy jungle habitats, and most have brown or black colouring. There are 21 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Buttonquails[edit]

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Turnicidae

The buttonquails are small, drab, running birds which resemble the true quails. The female is the brighter of the sexes, and initiates courtship. The male incubates the eggs and tends the young. There are 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Rails, crakes, gallinules, and coots[edit]

Order: Gruiformes. Family: Rallidae

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 9 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Thick-knees[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Burhinidae

The thick-knees are a group of largely tropical waders in the family Burhinidae. They are found worldwide within the tropical zone, with some species also breeding in temperate Europe and Australia. They are medium to large waders with strong black or yellow black bills, large yellow eyes and cryptic plumage. Despite being classed as waders, most species have a preference for arid or semi-arid habitats. There are 9 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Pratincoles and coursers[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Glareolidae

Glareolidae is a family of wading birds comprising the pratincoles, which have short legs, long pointed wings and long forked tails, and the coursers, which have long legs, short wings and long pointed bills which curve downwards. There are 17 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Plovers and lapwings[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Charadriidae

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 6 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Sandpipers and allies[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Scolopacidae

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 22 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Skuas[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Stercorariidae

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 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Gulls[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Laridae

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 Solomon Islands.

Terns[edit]

Order: Charadriiformes. Family: Sternidae

Terns are a group of generally general 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 now known to live in excess of 25 to 30 years. There are 44 species worldwide and 15 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Order: Columbiformes. Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere. There are 308 species worldwide and 22 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Cockatoos[edit]

Order: Psittaciformes. Family: Cacatuidae

The cockatoos share many features with other parrots including the characteristic curved beak shape and a zygodactyl foot, with two forward toes and two backwards toes. They differ, however in a number of characteristics, including the often spectacular movable headcrest. There are 21 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.==== Promeropidae

Parrots[edit]

Order: Psittaciformes. Family: Psittacidae

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 11 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Cuckoos[edit]

Order: Cuculiformes. Family: Cuculidae

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 8 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Barn owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large sized owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons. There are 16 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Typical owls[edit]

Order: Strigiformes. Family: Strigidae

Typical owls are small to large solitary nocturnal birds of prey. They have large forward-facing eyes and ears, a hawk-like beak, and a conspicuous circle of feathers around each eye called a facial disk. There are 195 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Frogmouths[edit]

Order: Caprimulgiformes. Family: Podargidae

The frogmouths are a group of nocturnal birds related to the nightjars. They are named for their large flattened hooked bills and huge frog-like gape, which they use to take insects. There are 12 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the Solomon Islands, one species of which was only described in 2007.

Nightjars[edit]

Order: Caprimulgiformes. Family: Caprimulgidae

Nightjars are medium-sized nocturnal birds with long wings, short legs and very short bills that usually nest on the ground. Most have small feet, of little use for walking, and long pointed wings. Their soft plumage is camouflaged to resemble bark or leaves. There are 86 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Swifts[edit]

Order: Apodiformes. Family: Apodidae

Swifts are small aerial birds, spending the majority of their lives flying. These birds have very short legs and never settle voluntarily on the ground, perching instead only on vertical surfaces. Many swifts have long swept-back wings that resemble a crescent or a boomerang. There are 98 species worldwide and 4 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Treeswifts[edit]

Order: Apodiformes. Family: Hemiprocnidae

The treeswifts or crested swifts are aerial near passerine birds, closely related to the true swifts. They differ from the other swifts in that they have crests, long forked tails and softer plumage. There are 4 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Kingfishers[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long pointed bills, short legs, and stubby tails. There are 93 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Bee-eaters[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Meropidae

The bee-eaters are a group of near passerine birds in the family Meropidae. Most species are found in Africa but others occur in southern Europe, Madagascar, Australia and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage, slender bodies and usually elongated central tail feathers. All are colorful and have long downturned bills and pointed wings, which give them a swallow-like appearance when seen from afar. There are 26 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Typical rollers[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Coraciidae

Rollers resemble crows in size and build, but are more closely related to the kingfishers and bee-eaters. They share the colourful appearance of those groups with blues and browns predominating. The two inner front toes are connected, but the outer toe is not. There are 12 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Hornbills[edit]

Order: Coraciiformes. Family: Bucerotidae

Hornbills are a group of birds whose bill is shaped like a cow's horn, but without a twist, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. Frequently, the bill is brightly coloured. There are 57 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Pittas[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Pittidae

Pittas are medium-sized by passerine standards, and stocky, with fairly long, strong legs, short tails and stout bills. Many, but not all, are brightly coloured. They are spend the majority of their time on wet forest floors, eating snails, insects and similar invertebrate prey which they find there. There are 32 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Swallows and martins[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Hirundinidae

The Hirundinidae family is a group of passerines characterized by their adaptation to aerial feeding. Their adaptations include a slender streamlined body, long pointed wings and short bills with wide gape. The feet are designed for perching rather than walking, and the front toes are partially joined at the base. There are 75 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Wagtails and pipits[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Motacillidae

The Motacillidae are a family of small passerine birds with medium to long tails. They include the wagtails, longclaws and pipits. They are slender, ground feeding insectivores of open country. There are 54 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Cuckoo-shrikes[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Campephagidae

The cuckoo-shrikes are small to medium-sized passerine birds. They are predominantly greyish with white and black, although some species are brightly coloured. There are 82 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Thrushes and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Turdidae

The thrushes are a group of passerine birds that occur mainly in the Old World. They are plump, soft plumaged, small to medium-sized insectivores or sometimes omnivores, often feeding on the ground. Many have attractive songs. There are 335 species worldwide and 6 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Old World warblers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sylviidae

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 11 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Fantails[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Rhipiduridae

The Fantails are small insectivorous birds which are specialist aerial feeders. There are 44 species worldwide and 8 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Monarch flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Monarchidae

The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines, which hunt by flycatching. There are 99 species worldwide and 14 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Australasian robins[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Petroicidae

Most species of the Petroicidae have a stocky build with a large, rounded head, a short, straight bill, and rounded wingtips. They occupy a wide range of wooded habitats, from subalpine to tropical rainforest, and mangrove swamps to semi-arid scrubland. All are primarily insectivorous, although a few supplement their diet with seeds. There are 43 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Whistlers and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Pachycephalidae

The family Pachycephalidae includes the whistlers, shrike-thrushes, shrike-tits, pitohuis and Crested Bellbird. There are 57 species worldwide and 3 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Thornbills and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Acanthizidae

Thornbills are small passerine birds, similar in habits to the tits. There are 65 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Sunbirds and Spiderhunters[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Nectariniidae

The sunbirds and spiderhunters are very small passerine birds which feed largely on nectar, although they will also take insects, especially when feeding young. Flight is fast and direct on their short wings. Most species can take nectar by hovering like a hummingbird, but usually perch to feed. There are 131 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Flowerpeckers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Dicaeidae

The flowerpeckers are very small, stout, often brightly coloured birds, with short tails, short thick curved bills and tubular tongues. There are 44 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

White-eyes[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Zosteropidae

The white-eyes are small and are mostly of undistinguished appearance, the plumage above being generally either some dull color like greenish olive, but some species have a white or bright yellow throat, breast or lower parts, and several have buff flanks. As their name suggests many species have a white ring around the eyes. There are 96 species worldwide and 12 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Honeyeaters[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Meliphagidae

The honeyeaters are a large and diverse family of small to medium-sized birds most common in Australia and New Guinea. They are nectar feeders and closely resemble other nectar-feeding passerines. There are 174 species worldwide and 10 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Drongos[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Dicruridae

The drongos are mostly are black or dark grey in colour, sometimes with metallic tints. They have long forked tails, and some Asian species have elaborate tail decorations. They have short legs and sit very upright whilst perched, like a shrike. They flycatch or take prey from the ground. There are 24 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Bellmagpies and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Cracticidae

The cracticids: currawongs, bellmagpies, and butcherbirds, are similar to the other corvids. They have large, straight bills and mostly black, white or grey plumage. All are omnivorous to some degree. There are 12 species worldwide and 1 species which occurs in the Solomon Islands.

Crows, jays, ravens and magpies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Corvidae

The Corvidae family includes crows, ravens, jays, choughs, magpies, treepies, nutcrackers, and ground jays. Corvids are above average in size for the bird order Passeriformes. Some of the larger species show high levels of learning behavior. There are 120 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Starlings[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Sturnidae

Starlings are small to medium-sized passerine birds. Their flight is strong and direct, and they are very gregarious. Their preferred habitat is fairly open country. They eat insects and fruit. Plumage is typically dark with a metallic sheen. There are 125 species worldwide and 11 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

Waxbills and allies[edit]

Order: Passeriformes. Family: Estrildidae

The estrildid finches are small passerine birds of the Old World tropics and Australasia. They are gregarious and often colonial seed-eaters with short thick but pointed bills. They are all similar in structure and habits, but have a wide variation in plumage colours and pattern. There are 141 species worldwide and 2 species which occur in the Solomon Islands.

See also[edit]

References[edit]