Birds of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa

by Dick Watling

Birds of Fiji, Tonga and Samoa is the first definitive account of the ornithology of this island region in the South-west Pacific. This is an area where there is a lack of ornithological material available to the public but where there is a growing demand for information.

The book draws its material from the author’s research and experience in the region and a thorough review of the literature.

Each resident bird species and the regular migrants are given an individual species account with sections on identification-oriented descriptions, flight, voice, food, breeding behaviour and ecology. Many of the land birds have restricted distributions while others have curious discontinuous distributions. Distribution maps are included as an important aid for identification, especially for those not familiar with the avifauna. Vagrant species and unconfirmed sightings are included in the Remarks section of species accounts of birds with which they may be confused.

The birds are magnificently illustrated on full colour plates, painted by Chloe Talbot-Kelly, an internationally renowned ornithological artist and illustrator. She has also prepared black and white text illustrations which depict special features of different birds or important facets of their lifestyle.

Introductory chapters give an insight into the ornithological history of the region, how some of its closely related species avoid direct competition and a summary of how little we know about the breeding and moulting regimes of the land birds. The geography of the region is brought to life by the photographs of Jim Siers, foremost Pacific photographer.

The book concludes with an exhaustive Bibliography of the literature relating to the ornithology of the region, and three indices to enable readers to have easy access to any particular bird by using either English, local or scientific names.
Published in 1982 and now out of print, this lavishly produced book with 15 full colour plates by Chloe Talbot Kelly, has been the definitive reference for the birds of these three Pacific Island countries until the recent publication of `A guide to the Birds of Fiji & Western Polynesia’. Now a collectors item, we hold the last remaining stock of less than 15 copies

About the Author
Dick Watling was born in Uganda and spent most of his childhood in East Africa. Following a brief period living in the United Kingdom, he went to Fiji in 1967 and has been a resident ever since, although continuing his education in the UK. He graduated in Zoology from Bristol University and then gained his doctorate at the University of Cambridge. His doctoral thesis was the Red-vented Bullbul, Pycnonotus cafer, a bird introduced to Fiji where it is something of an agricultural pest. The field work was done over three years between 1974 and 1977, in the Sigatoka Valley, one of Fiji’s major vegetable growing areas and was the first intensive study of any of the region’s birds.

A committed conservationist, Dick Watling has worked in the Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Parks in Tanzania and has assisted the Indonesian Government to set up a system of National Parks and conservation areas as part of the World Wildlife Fund’s Conservation Indonesia Programme.

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