List of birds of American Samoa

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This is a list of the bird species recorded in American Samoa. The avifauna of American Samoa include a total of 65 species, of which 5 have been introduced by humans, 14 are rare or accidental and 1 species, the Mao, is extirpated.[1] 6 species are globally threatened.[2] American Samoa has no endemic bird species but several near-endemics occur and many of the land birds occur in good numbers.[1] A variety of seabirds breed in the islands. Hunting and introduced predators have reduced their numbers but there are still some important breeding sites such as Lata Mountain on Ta'u Island.[3]

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, 6th edition.[4] 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 American Samoa.

The following tags have been used to highlight several categories, but 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 American Samoa
  • (I) Introduced - a species introduced to American Samoa as a consequence, direct or indirect, of human actions
  • (Ex) Extirpated - a species that no longer occurs in American Samoa although populations exist elsewhere

Shearwaters and petrels[edit]

Tahiti petrel or tai'o, breeds in the mountains

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Procellariidae

The procellariids are the main group of medium-sized "true petrels", characterised by united nostrils with medium septum and a long outer functional primary.

Storm petrels[edit]

Order: Procellariiformes   Family: Hydrobatidae

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.

Tropicbirds[edit]

White-tailed tropicbird or tava'e, a common seabird

Order: Phaethontiformes   Family: Phaethontidae

Tropicbirds are slender white birds of tropical oceans, with exceptionally long central tail feathers. Their heads and long wings have black markings.

Boobies[edit]

Red-footed booby (left) and brown booby (right), common offshore

Order: Suliformes   Family: Sulidae

The sulids comprise the gannets and boobies. Both groups are medium to large coastal seabirds that plunge-dive for fish.

Frigatebirds[edit]

Lesser frigatebird or atafa, breeds on Rose Atoll

Order: Suliformes   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 colored 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.

Herons and egrets[edit]

Pacific reef heron or matu'u, common resident

Order: Pelecaniformes   Family: Ardeidae

The family Ardeidae 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.

Ducks[edit]

Pacific black duck or tolo'a, resident in small numbers

Order: Anseriformes   Family: Anatidae

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.

Pheasants and partridges[edit]

Order: Galliformes   Family: Phasianidae

The Phasianidae are a family of terrestrial birds which consists of quails, partridges, snowcocks, francolins, spurfowls, tragopans, monals, pheasants, peafowls and jungle fowls. In general, they are plump (although they vary in size) and have broad, relatively short wings.

Rails, crakes and gallinules[edit]

Australasian swamphen or manuali'i, widespread in thick cover

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, 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[edit]

Pacific golden plover or tulī, a migrant seen on coasts and grassy areas

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.

Sandpipers and allies[edit]

Bristle-thighed curlew or tuli'olovalu, a migrant in small numbers from Alaska

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Scolopacidae

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.

Gulls, terns, and skimmers[edit]

Sooty tern or gogo'uli, 67,500 nests were counted on Rose Atoll in 1998

Order: Charadriiformes   Family: Laridae

Laridae is a family of medium to large seabirds, the gulls, terns, and skimmers. Gulls are typically gray or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They have stout, longish bills and webbed feet. Terns are a group of generally medium to large seabirds typically with gray 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.

Pigeons and doves[edit]

Many-colored fruit dove or manuma, rare and threatened by hunting

Order: Columbiformes   Family: Columbidae

Pigeons and doves are stout-bodied birds with short necks and short slender bills with a fleshy cere.

Parrots[edit]

Blue-crowned lorikeet or segavao, breeds in the Manu'a islands

Order: Psittaciformes   Family: Psittaculidae

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. The Old World cuckoos are brood parasites..

Barn owls[edit]

Barn owl or lulu, a widespread nocturnal bird

Order: Strigiformes   Family: Tytonidae

Barn owls are medium to large owls with large heads and characteristic heart-shaped faces. They have long strong legs with powerful talons.

Swifts[edit]

Order: Apodiformes   Family: Apodidae

Swifts are small birds which spend 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 which resemble a crescent or boomerang.

Kingfishers[edit]

Pacific kingfisher or ti'otala is common in a variety of habitats

Order: Coraciiformes   Family: Alcedinidae

Kingfishers are medium-sized birds with large heads, long, pointed bills, short legs and stubby tails.

Bulbuls[edit]

Red-vented bulbul or manu pālagi, introduced to Tutuila in the 1950s

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Pycnonotidae

Bulbuls are medium-sized songbirds. Some are colorful with yellow, red or orange vents, cheeks, throats or supercilia, but most are drab, with uniform olive-brown to black plumage. Some species have distinct crests.

Monarch flycatchers[edit]

Order: Passeriformes   Family: Monarchidae

The monarch flycatchers are small to medium-sized insectivorous passerines which hunt by flycatching.

Honeyeaters[edit]

Wattled honeyeater or iao, a common resident

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.

Starlings[edit]

Polynesian starling or miti vao, a native bird of forests

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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Watling, Dick (2001) A Guide to the Birds of Fiji & Western Polynesia, Environmental Consultants (Fiji), Suva.
  2. ^ Lepage, Denis. "Checklist of birds of American Samoa". Bird Checklists of the World. Avibase. Retrieved 25 September 2008. 
  3. ^ O'Connor, P. J. & Rauzon M. J. (2004) Inventory and monitoring of seabirds in National Park of American Samoa. Retrieved on 25 September 2008.
  4. ^ Clements, James F. (2007). The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-4501-9.