In the mid-80s when David Bishop first visited New Caledonia, the Kagu was critically endangered and seemingly impossible to see. Now, thanks to concerted conservation efforts by the local park authorities, it has staged a remarkable comeback, and with special help we have an excellent chance of seeing this “missing link” in the avian world. And while seeing this iconic species may well be the main focus of the tour for many of us, we should also encounter a remarkable diversity of other spectacular avian endemics.
This remarkable odyssey begins as we wing our way from the Sydney on the eastern seaboard of Australia out over the vast Pacific Ocean to the island of New Caldedonia. A seriously ancient chip off the once enormous Gondwanaland block. New Caledonia hosts, in addition to the Kagu, one of the most extraordinary aggregations of endemic plants and birds in addition to a small number of endemic mammals and reptiles. During our time on the mainland or Grande Terre we will seek out such specialties as: White-bellied (or New Caledonian) Goshawk, New Caledonian Imperial Pigeon (the world’s largest arboreal pigeon), the lovely Clove-feathered Dove, New Caledonian (split from Red-fronted) and the rare Horned parakeets, the endangered and most peculiar Crow Honeyeater, New Caledonian Myzomela, Barred Honeyeater, New Caledonian Friarbird, Yellow-bellied Robin, New Caledonian Whistler, New Caledonian Cuckoo-shrike, Striated (or New Caledonian) Starling, Green-backed White-eye and the superb Red-throated Parrotfinch. During our time here we will also visit the exquisite offshore island of Lifou where two species, Small and Great Lifou white-eyes are found nowhere else on earth. We can also expect to encounter several other species here including the lovely Red-bellied Fruit-Dove and Cardinal Myzomela.
The Kagu, a monotypic family endemic to New Caledonia