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Fruit Doves of Fiji
Fruit Doves are all small, compact birds and to those unfamiliar with them not immediately apparent as doves either in flight or when foraging. Five Fruit Doves are found in Fiji and they include some of Fiji’s most spectacularly beautiful birds.
The Many-coloured Fruit Dove is widespread throughout Fiji but is primarily a forest bird, and rarely encountered away from mature forest, but locally it may be found in isolated stands of favoured fruiting trees, generally figs Although generally a bird of large and intermediate-sized islands, it readily travels between islands and is sometimes found on small islands, even those with poor forest.
These doves are active, gregarious feeders on small fruits and berries, generally in the canopy, but it is figs, especial^b the fruit of those of the towering strangling figs which they are particularly fond of, and forests or forest remnants well stocked with these are always attractive to this dove.
It is the male Many-coloured Fruit Dove Ptilinopus perousii, a name which aptly describes this beautiful dove, which many believe is Fiji’s most attractive bird, although this is only apparent on close inspection when it can be seen to be truly multi-coloured; at a glance it appears pale cream with a deep crimson cap and band across the back. In flight, or high in the canopy, the male appears creamy-yellow.
The female Many-coloured Fruit Dove is much less attractive than the male being a drab grey-green, darker on the back and wings, with pale yellow undertail. Interestingly the female is very similar in appearance to the Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove
P^a~nopus porphyraceus another common Fijian Fruk Dove, and in this dove both sexes have a similar plumage. This makes identification in field problematic, but fortunately they have very different calls which readily distinguish them, and the Crimson-crowned Fruit Dove is restricted to Fiji’s smaller and some medium-sized islands.
TheWhistling Dove Ptilinopus layardi is also endemic to Fiji but is restricted to the islands of Kadavu and Ono. The Whistling Dove has an unremarkable plumage, but it has a very strange call for a dove – a loud rising whistle which is immediately followed by a short falling trill or tinkle, the latter only heard at close quarters.
If the endemic Orange Dove ~ti/inopus victor gives way to the Manycoloured Fruit Dove as Fiji’s most attractive bird, the male is certainly Fiji’s most conspicuous bird and a sight of this bird in flight is the highlight of many a visiting bird watcher’s journey to Fiji, a journey which will have taken them to the islands of Taveuni andVanua Levu or their offshore islands.
FDC – Fiji’s Golden Dove Ptilinapus luteovirens is endemic to Fiji, occurring on the Fijian islands of Viti Levu, Ovalau, Waya, Beqa and Gau. While the male is a striking golden yellow colour which is best observed whilst it is flying, the female is a drab green colour.This dove is a forest species but common also at the forest edge and in the intermediate vegetation zone where it frequents forest patches, secondary scrub and gallery forest. Golden Doves are predominantly agile subcanopy feeders of a wide variety of small berries and fruits.The Golden Dove has a very strange call for a dove, the male delivers a sharp yapping call somewhat similar to a puppy’s bark heard at a distance, it has a strong ventriloqual quality.
As the Golden Dove is a widespread and common species where it occurs, this yapping call is a characteristic sound of theViti Levu bush, though the tall is far more often heard than the dove is seen.
|Collared Petrel is a small gray-and-white petrel with a dark hood, a bold dark “M” pattern across the upperwings, and a distinctive bold black underwing pattern. Very variable. Silent at sea. (Merlin, 2022) Sea Birds|
|The Lesser Frigatebird is the smallest of the frigatebirds, but note that the female is larger than the male. Adults are easier to identify than younger birds. Adult males are almost entirely black with a red throat and white spurs emanating outwards from the body onto the wing. Adult females have a black belly and throat, a white breast and hind collar, with similar white spurs on their sides. (Merlin, 2022) Sea Birds|
|A Great Crested Tern is a large elegant tern with a very long lemon-yellow bill. The black cap does not extend down to the bill. The juvenile is scaly-looking with much more black on the back and wings. Occurs along coasts and estuaries; very rarely further inland or on freshwater ponds/lagoons. (Merlin, 2022) Sea Birds|
|The Brown Booby is a large seabird of inshore and offshore waters in tropical regions around the globe. The Head, neck, and upper parts are solidly brown. Often seen from beaches, sometimes just beyond the breakers. (Merlin, 2022) Sea Birds|
|The Rock Pigeon is a fairly large pigeon. Pale gray overall with two bold black wing bars and iridescent purple and green on the neck. (Merlin, 2022) Pigeons Of Fiji|
|The Peale’s Imperial Pigeon is a large, long-necked, long-tailed pigeon. Body and tail brown, head and neck gray, throat and chest peachy pink. Usually solitary on large and medium islands in extensive mature forests. The most common call is an owl-like “whu!..whu!..whu!..whu!” (Merlin, 2022) Pigeons Of Fiji|
|The Pacific Imperial-Pigeon is a large pigeon with a mostly gray body, green wings, and a distinctive and diagnostic black fleshy knob above the bill. Found mostly in the inland forest up to around 1000 meters of elevation. Often heard giving an extended, rapidly bubbling “crrrroooooo” call. (Merlin, 2022) Pigeons Of Fiji|
|The Red Throated Lorikeet is a distinctive, mostly green lorikeet with bright red thighs and a large red throat patch with a thin yellow lower border. Resident of upland rainforest above 500 meters of elevation. Unique within its limited range. Call is a high-pitched “tsit” or “tsee.” (Merlin, 2022) fiji Rarest Land Birds|
|The Pink Billed Parrotfinch is a distinctive, mostly tree-dwelling finch. Body uniformly green, rump red. Note the striking black mask and the contrasting thick pale pink bill. Prefers forest and forest edge, but also found in adjoining scrub, up to 1000 meters of elevation. Voice is a thin, high-pitched “cheee cheee cheee.” (Merlin, 2022) fiji Rarest Land Birds|
|The Red Junglefowl Cock is the “original chicken” that is smaller than its domestic descendants and is widespread throughout South and Southeast Asia; can also be found as an introduced species in many regions around the world. (Merlin 2022) Jungle Fowl Of Fiji|
|The Wimbrel is mostly brownish above, with pale feather edges, tan below, with neat dark stippling. The crown is dark brown with a pale central stripe, and most show a narrow dark eyeline. They walk slowly through shallow waters and with their long bills they probe mudflats, and sand for invertebrates such as crabs. Visiting Shorebirds To Fiji|
|The Wandering Tattler is a medium-sized, gray shorebird with short yellow legs and a straight bill. Elongated, horizontal posture. In breeding plumage, look for jaggedly barred underparts and thin white eyebrows. Usually found on rocks, where it typically forages independently while bobbing its tail up and down. Wandering typically gives a ringing trilled call. (Merlin 2022) Visiting Shorebirds To Fiji|
|The Pacific Golden Plover is a slender plover spangled with gold. Breeding plumage shows a black belly and face with mottled white sides and undertail coverts and a white stripe down the side of the neck that continues onto the sides of the chest and flanks. (Merlin 2022) Visiting Shorebirds To Fiji|
|The Bristle Thighed Curfew is a large shorebird with a long, curved bill. Similar to Whimbrel but warmer brown and with a cinnamon-colored rump. The bristly feathers on the upper legs are visible at close range. Occurs in wetlands, sand dunes, rocky shores, pastures, and golf courses. Call is a loud “kee-oo-ee.”. (Merlin, 2022) Visiting Shorebirds To Fiji|
|The Collared Lory is a beautiful multicolored parrot with a dark purple crown, a bright green neck, a red chest and throat, a purple belly, and green upper parts and undertail. The bright yellow bill is obvious. Widespread in most habitats, including towns and gardens. Unique within its range. A typically parrot-like “tzreet” is the most common call, with similar squabbling calls often heard. (Merlin, 2022)|
|The Peregrine Falcon is a sleek, fast-flying large falcon. Always look for a grayish back in adults, long wings that almost reach the tail tip, and a powerful but slender build. The dark mark below each eye varies in shape and size. Juveniles are more heavily patterned below than adults and can be quite brownish above. Adaptable, and can be seen in a wide range of habitats; often encountered in areas with steep cliffs, as well as around coastal mudflats and open areas with shorebirds. (Merlin, 2022)|
|The Barn Owl is a medium-sized owl with a heart-shaped facial disc and deep dark eyes; the only Tyto owl present throughout much of its range. Color of the facial disc and underparts varies from pure white to rusty orange. Hunts primarily rodents in open areas by night, foraging with a slow and buoyant flight. Roosts in old buildings, tree hollows, caves, and nest boxes by day. Its call is a bone-chilling, rising shriek. (Merlin, 2022)|
|The Pacific Reef-Heron is a small heron that hugs rocky coastlines. Light-morph individuals are usually white all over, though some may show patches of gray. Dark-morph individuals are entirely dark gray. Both morphs have a yellowish-green bill and legs. Light morph adults are distinguished from egrets in the area by their distinct short-legged appearance and noticeably thicker bill. (Merlin, 2022) Herons & Egrets|
|The Little Green Backed Heron is a short stocky bird with relatively short legs and thick necks that are often drawn up against its body. They have broad, rounded wings and a long, daggerlike bill. Juveniles are browner, with pale streaking on the neck and spots on the wings. Herons & Egrets|
|The Great White Egret is a large, lanky, long-necked white heron. Size and black legs help separate from other egrets. Slowly stalks prey in shallow water. Often seen singly, but sometimes gathers in large numbers where food is plentiful. Breeds in colonies, frequently mixed with other egrets and herons. (Merlin, 2022) Herons & Egrets|
|The White Faced Heron is a small gray heron with a white face and yellowish legs. Common around wetlands, parks, and gardens. Often solitary. When disturbed it makes a grunting cough noise as it flies away. Young birds lack the white face. (Merlin, 2022) Herons & Egrets|
|Crimson Crowned Fruit Dove is a colorful dove that often sits motionless in the canopy. Males are distinctive, with a bright silver face and chest, a purple forehead, and a bright yellow tip to the tail. The call is usually two low cooing notes followed by an accelerating, messy cacophony of similar notes. (Merlin, 2022) Fijian Fruit Doves|
|Orange Dove is a spectacular and unique dove. The Male is vivid orange with peculiar hair-like feathers and bright yellow wingtips. The Head is duller brown than the body. The Female is mostly green with a yellow under-tail and a brownish face. The unique voice sounds much like a dripping tap from a distance, but up close more like someone clicking their thumb and finger together: a regular “drip drip drip.” (Merlin, 2022) Fijian Fruit Doves|
|The Whistling Dove is a small dove (20 cm) that is sexually dimorphic in its velvety plumage. The plumage of the male is dark green with a yellow head and under tail coverts, the female lacks the yellow plumage. The call is a distinctive whistling call, a clear rising whistle followed by a falling ‘tinkle’ (Pratt et al 1987) Fijian Fruit Doves|
|The Australian Magpie is a large black-and-white bird with the long, pale bill with dark tip, Blackhead, face, underparts, white nape, upper wing coverts, and rump, and either black or white back. Song a memorable fluty warble. (Merlin, 2022) Invasive Bird Species|
|Red Vented Bulbul is a dark, sleek, medium-sized bird with a black crest and a white rump. The red color under the tail is often difficult to see. Eats fruit, flower buds, and insects. Conspicuous and sometimes gregarious, often seen high in trees or perched on wires in urban and rural areas; generally prefers scrubby edge habitat instead of dense forest. (Merlin, 2022) Invasive Bird Species|
|Java Sparrow is a small, plump finch with a very thick pink bill. The black head and white cheek patch are distinctive. Juveniles have a similar color pattern but are grayer. Social; forages in flocks and roosts communally. Forages in rice fields, grasslands, meadows, and urban and suburban areas (in the introduced range). The call consists of one or more musical chirps. (Merlin, 2022) Invasive Bird Species|
|The Spotted Dove is brown overall with a rosy breast and a unique white-spotted black nape patch. Coos loudly and often: “coo-a-roooo”. (Merlin, 2022) Invasive Bird Species|
Animalia | Animals are multicellular, eukaryotic organisms in the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, and go through an ontogenetic stage in which their body consists of a hollow sphere of cells, the blastula, during embryonic development.
Aves | Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class Aves, characterised by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a strong yet lightweight skeleton.
Taxonomy | The classification of organisms into a hierarchy of groupings, from the general to the particular, that reflect evolutionary and usually morphological relationships: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species.